Why Cisco Customers LOVE Extending UCS Deployments with HyperFlex

– October 31, 2016 – 0 Comments

Hi again! You may have heard by now that Cisco’s Hyperconverged Infrastructure – Cisco HyperFlex Systems – has been engineered on Cisco UCS, and in this blog I will share what it means to you. In nutshell, engineering HyperFlex on UCS not only allows you to extend existing tools and skillset to hyperconvergence, but also provides the platform to create the most adaptive and flexible hyperconverged solution in the market.

Cost Efficiency

Cisco HyperFlex provides the unique ability to truly scale resources independently. When you need to scale just compute, for example in non-persistent VDI deployments, you can simply add UCS blades or racks that join the hyperconverged resources as compute-only nodes. This is done with our IOvisor, a VIB that provides a network file system (NFS) mount point to vSphere, effectively adding these servers to the unified pool of available resources. You don’t have to pay the high cost of disks and software in additional nodes, significantly lowering your overall TCO by truly adapting resources to the needs of your specific environment.

 

Convenience and Flexibility

One of the benefits of running on the same UCS platform is that you can leverage existing assets in the your datacenter. Continuing the example of expanding the hyperconverged cluster, you can grab an existing UCS B200, C220 or C240 and add them as compute-only nodes. Once the VIB is deployed, these compute-only nodes become part of the joint pool.

 

Dynamic Resource Utilization

Another key aspect of this model is the ability to shift these resources across Hyperconverged (HCI) and converged or traditional infrastructure. The compute-only nodes can be used to support the hyperconverged cluster, and based on seasonal or daily application demands they can also be shifted to support your traditional infrastructure, providing true cloud-like agility across your datacenter.

 

Leverage Existing Skillset

Too often hyperconverged solutions don’t play well within your datacenter, requiring separate management paradigms dedicated to hyperconverged clusters. By engineering HyperFlex on UCS we allow you to extend the popular UCS Manager policy management to HyperFlex clusters. Both deployment and expansion processes leverage UCS service profiles, streamline daily operations and increase overall infrastructure consistency and reliability across the datacenter. HyperFlex nodes are managed like any other UCS server in your datacenter.

Want to learn more?

 

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

Reduce Risk with Subscription

– October 31, 2016 – 1 Comment

The software market has changed radically over the last three or four years.  So have software license models.  Big Data, cloud and mobile have forced changes.  One of the most significant is the sun setting of the standard – the perpetual license.

Perpetual licenses redirect scarce resources to negotiate pricing.  For both you and the vendor with no value generated.  They increase business risk.  Force you to pay for functionality that may not be consumed for another few years. They divert money targeted to new initiatives.

Hybrid cloud has rapidly become the deployment model of choice to achieve speed and agility.  Approximately 73% of organizations are investigating or deploying worldwide.  What is needed is a new license model that mirrors the consumption model for hybrid cloud.

NOW AVAILABLE! Subscription licenses for Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite.  Watch this video to learn more:

Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite delivers a modular approach to hybrid cloud adoption.  Composed of four “offers,” this solution facilitates your journey to the cloud. It offers a phased approach to automation.  When combined with subscription licenses, your investment can be in line with the functionality and value you need today.

The concept of subscription is simple.  Remember subscribing to magazines?  Sign up for the number of years desired.  At the end of the term, simply renew.

The concept is the same. Start with Infrastructure Automation.  When combined with a 1-year annual license, your business can begin its journey at a lower entry cost.  40% less than what you would experience with perpetual licensing.  At the end of the subscription term, simply renew.

Your business experiences real value.  It can start small.  Pay for the automation you need now.  Then expand. Risk is reduced.  No sunk costs for an expensive solution. No need to trade-off between business innovation and software.

Business transformation is happening. It’s all about stepping up organizational performance. Years of managing data and accelerating business has taught Cisco exactly what is needed to bring speed and simplicity to your business.

Take the next step.  Read this overview or visit us to learn more about the next generation of hybrid cloud.

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

1 Comments

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IoT) is transforming us into a subscription-based, rather than ownership, model. Saving us all money and the frustration of maintaining “owned” hardware and software.

The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change. Big Data Trends and Directions Webinar

– October 26, 2016 – 1 Comment

Forrester-graphic

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is the source of the phrase “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”.  His saying is totally applicable to today’s world of Big Data and Analytics. Our industry landscape is constantly changing, no doubt about that!

Think about it a bit from a technology point of view: Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL, Machine Learning, Data Virtualization, Data Preparation and on and on… Just take a look at the left – it’s all the Big Data technology waves and happenings according to Forbes/Forrester for 2016

Got all that? So, what to do?  How to keep up and stay current? Well, one thing would be to attend our November 11 webinar – a joint production from Cisco and Intel.

In the session we will be discussing recent big data trends including real-time streaming analytics and how big data technologies are going to play a significant role in data analytics. We will cover Cisco solutions differentiation and how an industry leading partnership with Intel helps to unlock value from your big data.

We have key leads from both company’s: Karthik Kulkarni, one of our factory-based Big Data Solution Architects will speak for Cisco while Tim Abels, Systems Architect Principal Engineer will highlight the Intel perspective.  So no marketing architecture fluff here – just two hard-core technologists presenting their view of our industry.  Interested? Then please register here.

For more information on Cisco Big Data and Analytics solutions visit www.cisco.com/go/bigdata.  While you can start learning about Intel’s Big Data capabilities here.

 

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

1 Comments

    Super excited to see the Cisco and Intel partnership driving Big Data and Analytics solutions.

Unified Automation – New UCS Management Releases Continue the Journey

– October 24, 2016 – 0 Comments

The latest UCS management releases help more than 52,000 customers achieve greater automation and simplification.

The process of automating IT operations and implementing DevOps is a journey. Customers who have implemented Cisco UCS and Cisco HyperFlex have chosen to automate their operations. We’re listening to our customers, and they help drive the requirements. As a result, the latest releases of UCS Manager, version 3.1.2, and UCS Central, version 1.5.1, provide many new features to automate, unify, and simplify daily operational activities.

Figure 1: UCS Management Supports the Entire Cisco Portfolio

UCS Management Across Portfolio

Staying Unified with UCS

When we introduced the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) seven years ago, the goal was to provide a unified means of managing compute, storage and fabric infrastructure resources. We continued to build on this architectural framework with the addition of HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure earlier this year, and we’ve added support for the UCS C3260. The UCS C3260 is  a single or dual, x86-based storage server in a chassis with up to 60 drives. It can leverage the automation and benefits of storage profiles, as well as disk zoning between the dual server nodes. Cisco UCS management now also offers chassis profiles and chassis firmware package management.

A storage profile encapsulates the storage requirements for one or more service profiles. Local LUNs configured in a storage profile can be used as boot LUNs or data LUNs. Storage profiles can contain multiple virtual drives, each uniquely assigned to its own disk group (RAID group).

Unified and Simplified

We continue to enhance the HTML 5 user interface (UI) of both UCS Manager and UCS Central Software. The latest release of UCS Central includes significant enhancements to the dashboard and other functions to improve ease of use. This demo video provides an introduction to some of the capabilities.

Figure 2: Example of a UCS Central Dashboard (Click on image for demo video)

UCS Central Dashboard 1.5

Automating at Scale with Simplicity

Some competitive infrastructure management tools offer just a global dashboard. Cisco UCS Central Software offers far more proven capabilities to automate and manage resources on a global scale. These features include:

  • Role and policy-based management to ensure security and compliance.
  • Centralized keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) manager to launch KVM sessions anywhere in the Cisco UCS environment.
  • Centralized, policy-based firmware upgrades that can be applied globally or selectively through automated schedules or as business workloads demand.
  • Hardware compatibility reports that retrieve the latest compatibility information and compare that to your managed configuration to help ensure current or future firmware is compatible.
  • Global ID pooling and multidomain ID visibility to eliminate identifier conflicts.
  • Global administrative policies that enable both global and local management of Cisco UCS domains and that help ensure consistency and standardization across domains to eliminate configuration drift.

Enhance Automation Using the Ecosystem

UCS management includes integrations with an extensive partner ecosystem consisting of monitoring, analytics, deployment, configuration, and orchestration tools from over 15 ISVs. Your developers can also use the unified API to enhance the value of the Cisco UCS platform using Cisco UCS PowerTool for UCS Manager and the Python Software Development Kit (SDK) to help customize your environment. This allows your organization to leverage your existing tools and policies to implement automation and transition to DevOps at your own pace.

For additional information, checkout the UCS Management web page

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

Monday Morning Sure Looks Fine

– October 24, 2016 – 0 Comments

You’re the head of IT facing the start of another week.   Another set of challenges.  Application teams going around IT.   Business teams expecting near-instant service.  Your company is growing fast.  Way beyond your ability to plan — let alone respond.

You may think this is far-fetched.  I speak with a lot of customers and this is anything but.  The question that follows is, “How do I move faster?”

In a recent study, IDC reports that 73% of organizations are evaluating or starting to deploy hybrid cloud. There are many benefits.  There are also many challenges.

Every company is different.  They have different processes, software, and ways of doing things.  But, a large number of hybrid cloud solutions take a cookie cutter approach. You have to fit into their journey.  Install all 10, 15, 20 components whether you want them or not.

Welcome to the next generation of hybrid cloud management.  Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite provides all the tools your business needs for hybrid cloud.  Watch this video to learn more.

Cisco gets that your business is unique.  Your transformation process should be too.  The modular components of Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite allow you to start at the place of greatest need.  For many, that’s the data center.

This solution delivers comprehensive automation that places you on the road to becoming an industrial power house.  Deliver infrastructure within minutes.  Deploy applications into approximately 20 different data center, private or public environments. Deliver consistent Hadoop and Splunk clusters.

Provide a unified service catalog.   Stop catalog sprawl.  Empower customers to order and manage their own services.

Automated services contain usage and compliance policies.  Your business is safe and in compliance.

Challenges are reduced.  You meet service expectations.  Everyone’s productivity increases.  You’re no longer anxious about Monday morning.

Take the next step and learn more about Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite.

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

Going Beyond SD-WAN At Open Networking User Group

– October 20, 2016 – 0 Comments

Next week the Open Networking User Group meets for its fall conference in New York City. I am looking forward to learning how the SDN landscape is evolving and what is top of mind for IT architects and business leaders.

One hot topic across the board is digital transformation. It has become clear that the network has a key role in determining how quickly organizations can roll out new digital initiatives. Success will ultimately lead to competitive advantage and failure can lead to increased competition or extinction as we have seen with Uber vs Taxis, Netflix vs Blockbuster and Amazon vs Barnes and Noble.

So how will networking need to change so organizations can succeed with their digital transformation? In March, Cisco launched Digital Network Architecture (DNA) to provide IT organizations with a blueprint on how to build out their networks for the digital economy. Cisco DNA clearly outlines the business outcomes that networks will need to deliver:

Cisco_DNA_Arch_-DNA_benefit-768x199

These outcomes will require IT to ensure that their network architectures can support the following technologies – Automation, Analytics, Cloud Managed, Virtualization – while also being open and secure. IT will need to look at their networks holistically rather than as individual components e.g. branch, WAN, campus and data center. Today, solutions like SD-WAN and SDN have been targeted toward that WAN and data center. But what about the branch and the campus LAN? Networks that are ‘Digital Ready’ can no longer be built in silos. You have to look across the network from the user all the way to where applications are hosted in order for organizations to deliver better business outcomes that will accelerate their digital transformation.

If you are attending the ONUG fall conference, this is a quick overview of the activities Cisco will be participating in:

Day 1: Monday 24th October

  1. 12:40-1:40pm. The Lunch and Technology Showcase will give you an opportunity to see a demo of Cisco’s SD-WAN and Branch Virtualization solutions, IWAN and Enterprise NFV
  2. 1:30-1:40pm. . POC Theater. Liad Ofek, Director Product Management, will give an overview of Cisco’s Enterprise NFV solution and how it will enable branch virtualization.
  3. 3:10-3:40pm. Open SD-WAN OSE Exchange Update. Steve Wood, Cisco’s Principle Architect will give an update on the work he is doing to drive open standards into SD-WAN working group.

Day 2. Tuesday 25th October

  1. 1:30-1:50pm. As part of the Luncheon Partnership series, Senior Network Engineer Chris Bregar, will be provide insights into how MTD Products is redesigning its WAN to help achieve its business goals.
  2. 11:45-12:45pm. The Lunch and Technology Showcase will give you an opportunity to see a demo of Cisco’s SD-WAN and Branch Virtualization solutions, IWAN and Enterprise NFV.
  3. 4:10-5:10pm. Dave Ward, Cisco’s CTO of Engineering and Chief Architect will participate in the ONUG Town Hall Meeting – Big Network Data Analytics.

I look forward to seeing you there. For those of you who can’t attend in person, follow me on twitter @ghodgaonkar for updates.

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

From Niche to Mainstream: Cisco Enhances High Accuracy Location Services for the Enterprise

– October 19, 2016 – 0 Comments

Over the past few years, location-based services such as Google Maps, Yelp, or OpenTable have become pervasive in our lives. In fact, 70 percent of smart phone customers now use location-based services. But similar, location-based services in the enterprise have lagged behind—despite its potential to transform the customer experience across industries such as healthcare, retail, and marketing.

VBLE 9.27 - 2Today Cisco is announcing innovative new technologies that will help bridge that gap and move high-location accuracy services from niche to mainstream in the enterprise.  Cisco CMX – our Connected Mobile Experience – is introducing two solutions that deliver on the promise of high-accuracy indoor location for the enterprise.

The first solution, Cisco Beacon Point, uses virtual Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for indoor location services. The solution consists of a single appliance that can generate up to eight virtual beacons, a Cloud-based management dashboard, and SDK that uses the virtual beacons to determine location.

VBLE 9.27 - 1

The second solution consists of Cisco Hyperlocation Solution and a client-side application. The enhanced Hyperlocation module and antenna plug into certain Cisco Aironet access points for improved location accuracy. The new client-side application augments that accuracy by leveraging the sensors on the mobile device for Wi-Fi high accuracy and near-real time refresh.

Why indoor location has lagged

If the potential of indoor location based services is so obvious, then why has the enterprise lagged behind consumer technology?

The answer is actually quite simple. While technologies might seem the same on the surface, under the hood they the consumer and enterprise space differs greatly.

Historically, the adoption of enterprise-grade indoor location based services has been slow because they were seen as too expensive, they lacked expected accuracy, and the refresh rate lagged.  Deployment was seen as complex because indoor location accuracy required an equally accurate infrastructure. And , the expectations of customers often outstripped the abilities of the technology.

Closing the gap

Now, with our combination of virtual beacon and Wi-Fi technologies, we’re helping to overcome these issues and close the gap between consumer and enterprise grade services.

This duo of technologies provides some key benefits. First, our virtual beacon solution overcomes the many management challenges of physical BLE beacons, including dead batteries, lost beacons, and complicated placement. Cisco Virtual Beacon Solution beacons are as easily deployed as dropping a pin on a Google map.

Second, no single technology is right for all high accuracy location use cases. Wi-Fi is optimal for analytics while virtual beacons are excellent for applications, such as proximity marketing, that require faster refresh rates.

Using Cisco’s advanced CMX capabilities, the solutions deliver highly accurate location services for the customer’s preferred technology, be it virtual beacon or Wi-FI giving it an edge over competitors.

We believe that with today’s announcement Cisco will make high-accuracy services a reality for the enterprise. The technology can finally move from niche to mainstream and become as ubiquitous as outdoor GPS location.

Let us know what you think? Could you use location-based services to reinvent how your business operates? We’re all ears.

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

Cisco Extends Storage Networking Solutions with Greater Data Protection, Increased Bandwidth and Simplified Provisioning

– October 19, 2016 – 0 Comments

Data is growing at an astonishing rate. Trends like cloud, IoT and digitization are imposing higher demands on how data is managed, transported, backed up and restored. Increased business dependence on IT means downtime has more meaningful and tangible impact on business operations. There is almost universally increased focus on disaster recovery and business continuance along with the ability to scale and manage data efficiently.

To alleviate these concerns, Cisco today introduced new storage networking solutions that help customers to respond quickly to new business needs, control IT costs, meet compliance requirements and continue business during disruptions. The new Cisco solutions help customers not only with their Business continuance strategy but also to build and scale their data center of the future by enabling them to manage their businesses cost-effectively. With these announcements, Cisco further cements its market leadership in providing both choice and value for server and storage connectivity.

Attend webinar to learn more: Nov 3rd, 9:00 AM PST

webinar - invite

Announcements Highlight

  1. SAN-Extension/FCIP Module on Cisco MDS 9700 Storage Networking modular platforms to build highly available and redundant infrastructure: High-performance and high-density SAN Extension FCIP module to enable disaster recovery/business continuity solutions
  2. Raising the bar of LAN/SAN convergence: Enhanced 10/40G Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and 25G/50G/100G IP Storage Networking Capabilities on Nexus 9K – ACI mode and Standalone mode.
  3. Reduce Operational cost via simplified management: The latest Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) (release 10.1) extends manageability of SAN/LAN to storage arrays, enabling customers to automate provision of end to end LAN /SAN and storage devices/arrays.

 

Simplified SAN Extension for scaling geographically dispersed datacenters

Cisco MDS 9000 24/10-Port SAN Extension Module

The new FCIP Module (Cisco MDS 9000 Family 24/10 SAN Extension Module) offers 24 ports line rate 16G, FC, and 10 Ports of 1/10GE FCIP/iSCSI while providing high-performance SAN Extension solutions. The Module also has two ports of 40GE FCIP capability, support for which will be available in a future release. This solution simplifies data protection and business continuance strategies by enabling backup, remote replication, and other disaster-recovery services across the globe bringing FCIP capabilities to MDS 9700 Series Multilayer Directors.

In the past, , Cisco offered FCIP services only on the Cisco MDS 9250i. With the introduction of this new module, customers now have the option to use flagship MDS 9700 Directors to build high-performance SAN extension with the highest reliability and with integrated FCIP solutions.

 

Raising the bar of LAN/SAN Convergence – 10G/40G FCoE enhancements along with 25G/50G/100G IP Storage Networking capabilities on Nexus 9000 Family

The next generation Cisco Nexus 9000 switches, a key component of the Cisco Data Center architecture and ACI, provide unmatched flexibility and scale with its Cloud Scale and multi-protocol innovations, unlike disparate solutions. The freedom of choice coupled with proven operating system and management enable an evolutionary adoption and consistent SAN and LAN networking operations.

The newly introduces 10/40G FCoE Enhancements along with 100G/50G/25G IP Storage Networking capabilities on Nexus 9000 Platform further enables the consolidation of LAN and SAN networks into a single high-performance network over lossless Ethernet, thereby reducing the TCO of server network adapters, cables, and switches while improving operations agility.  Designed with Cisco Cloud Scale technology, it supports highly scalable cloud architectures, with the option to operate in Cisco NX-OS or Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) mode

fcoe-9K-9500

FCoC-9200

Use Case: Integrating Nexus 9K FCoE and Programmable Fabric

Typically, Nexus 9K is used in spine/leaf architecture, and the new FCoE enhancements enable seamless connectivity from 9K leaf (typically the Cisco Nexus 9200 or Nexus 9300) to Cisco MDS 9000 SAN – enabling transparent connectivity from the access to the SAN core.

The newly introduced 10G/40G FCoE and 10/25/40/50/100G IP Storage capabilities on Cisco Nexus 9000 delivers superior performance for storage connectivity, to support tomorrow’s mission-critical applications, massive amounts of data and cloud-based environments while leveraging today’s knowledge base and procedures.

DCNM Connect – Automate Storage Array provision

In addition to these new products, to increase efficiency and simplify end to end storage provisioning and management, Cisco is extending DCNM features to enhance Storage management and provisioning capabilities. These new features help IT administrators reduce time to introduce new applications and services. The latest DCNM (release 10.1) extends manageability of SAN/LAN to storage arrays, enabling customers to implement efficiently, visualize, and manage end to end SAN/LAN and storage devices/arrays

 

Bottom Line

The newly introduced Cisco Storage portfolio enables you to protect, scale and simplify storage area networks efficiently.

The new Cisco SAN Extension solution simplifies data protection and business continuance strategies by enabling backup, remote replication, and other disaster-recovery services over MAN/WAN distances bringing FCIP capabilities to MDS 9700 Series Multilayer Directors. The newly introduces 10/40G FCoE Enhancements along with 25G/50G/100G  IP Storage Networking capabilities on the Nexus 9000 Platform further enables the consolidation of LAN and SAN networks into a single high-performance network. The latest version of DCNM removes the need for multiple management applications by enabling DCNM to provision SAN arrays from a single pane of glass to reduce complexity.

Cisco is the leader in providing both choice and value for server and storage connectivity!

For more info:

Webinar: Nov 3rd , 9:00 PST

Storage Networking and IP Storage Networking

Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager

 

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

IT Infrastructure at the Speed of FlashStack

– October 13, 2016 – 0 Comments

Contributors: Tim Stack, Reesha Dedhia

Rapidly changing business conditions, global competition, and digital transformation projects have resulted in an increased reliance on IT to deliver positive business outcomes. Yet, many businesses continue to struggle with delivering the applications and services at the rate and speed required to meet the needs. The culprit? Inflexible IT that cannot support the scale and rate of change their businesses demand. Legacy IT infrastructure remains complex, expensive to deploy and maintain, and risky to upgrade or change.

Modern businesses need modern IT. The FlashStack converged infrastructure solution consists of Cisco UCS servers, Nexus switches, and Pure Storage FlashArray storage. UntitledFlashStack is a high performance, always-on solution that is simple to deploy, operate, and upgrade.

The early results are positive. FlashStack has experienced some really strong traction with thousands of deployments spread across more than 30 countries. A recent customer example is FlightStats, part of FlightGlobal, which provides real-time and historical flight information to both companies and individuals. As their business grew, FlightStats’ IT Infrastructure struggled to keep pace. They deployed FlashStack using just four cables to connect UCS to the Pure Storage array. They run 239 virtual machines on just 5 UCS blades and process millions of messages per hour.

The simplicity and speed in which FlashStack can linearly scale without performance degradation has made it very popular for VDI and Oracle databases. We are excited to introduce two new Cisco Validated Designs:

Cisco and Pure Storage are also collaborating to integrate new technologies such as UCS Director to deliver automation and orchestration capabilities and a one-call support model for FlashStack solutions to help customers resolve issues faster. For more details on FlashStack click here

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.

Buying New Gear? Have You Invested in Operations Management to Assure Your RoI?

– October 13, 2016 – 0 Comments

Are you investing in new IT equipment – or for that matter, any IT services including SaaS/Cloud services?  If so, I wonder how much you have invested in your operations management people, processes, and tools? Or are your operations team left to catch up on their own when you introduce new equipment, technologies and IT services delivered by third parties via the cloud.

If you are not investing in your operations management and IT services management processes at the same time as you invest in new IT equipment, you are potentially missing some of the biggest opportunities for return on your investments.  Have a quick review of the video below and I’ll explain.

 

Before I continue, I’d like to acknowledge my colleague Morgan Hamilton for the inspiration for this blog.  He used the racing car analogy in one of his slide presentations recently that the perfectly captures the challenges that many operations management teams face as new technologies are introduced into  their IT environment.   The photos come from another Cisco colleague, John Seymour. (For more of John’s photography, see thebaldphotographer.com – photos used with his permission)

Figure 1

Figure 1: The vision: the spectacle of car racing

More than a few of us (I’ll put up my hand!) are probably all guilty of painting a glorious picture (Figure 1) of the “grand vision” at the start of a new initiative, “perfection will reign” – as illustrated by racing cars in Figure 1. We prepare the business case, justify the investment, perhaps not realising the full range of operational impacts.  Indeed, perhaps the ops team are not involved in new purchase decisions at all – I’ve certainly see that in my past on regular occasions.

 

 

car on fire

Figure 2: Things can go wrong – even with the best equipment!

Now as many of us know from bitter experience, in some cases, the production rollout will suffer challenges, perhaps even as catastrophic as the car exploding (Figure 2). In other words, the benefits outlined in the project vision are not as easy to attain as initially projected (or, even worse, ‘assumed’).  In most cases, it is the organizational structure and culture, the operational procedures, and available toolsets that will be the difference between no or limited impacts and (as I’ve seen), 8 hour outages with customers including a major airline grounded!

 

car pit stop

Figure 3: The optimized pit stop.  Organization, processes, tools!

Yet if we learn from this Formula One example, it’s not always the equipment (the car in our analogy) that makes the biggest difference to the business outcome (or race time). In the case of formula one, the people organization, process used and tools employed in the pit stop changeover can cut precious minutes off your time.  You can be sure a lot of thinking went into improving the Formula One pit stop process (Figure 3), indeed a lot of up-front investment was almost certainly put in place in order to lean this particular process – to fantastic effect it has to be said.

In IT, it’s not just about troubleshooting processes.  Provisioning and end user service delivery can be much improved by process improvement.  Organizational design, too, is important.  If you are moving from a discrete data center components (network, compute and storage), to unified infrastructure, it will more than likely aid productivity and improve system up-time to re-align your organizational structure, creating autonomous teams as opposed to silo’d network, compute and storage teams.

All of this has me thinking.  When you invest in new equipment for your data center, network or IT environment, are you investing up front in the best troubleshooting processes, the best available productivity tools, and the best organizational model to really get the fastest time to value on your IT investment?

cars - what ops needs to do

Figure 4: The challenge for ops – Changing the wheel while the car still runs!

Cisco Services help many customers across the world design in new equipment.  It’s not uncommon to find that the people, process and tools investment has not been made to accompany capital equipment investment. The net results include operational challenges, missed SLAs, and end customer/user satisfaction, and – of course – delayed return on investment.

While many customers engage Cisco Services for technology advise and architectural design expertise, it’s not as well know that over the past few years, we’ve been investing heavily in building our Operations Management teams and Cisco Services for Operations Transformation: Cisco Services has the expertise and experience to help you with the operations management challenges of new technology adoption.

To finish, then, with another car analogy, with Cisco’s Advisory and Implementation Services for Operations Management, we can, as Figure 4 illustrates, help you change the wheels while the car is on the race track!
.

Tags:

Leave a comment

We’d love to hear from you! To earn points and badges for participating in the conversation, join Cisco Social Rewards. Your comment(s) will appear instantly on the live site. Spam, promotional and derogatory comments will be removed.