Cisco: “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter.”
Oct12

Cisco: “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter.”

Already one of the biggest players in the red-hot cloud infrastructure market (it grew 25.8% in the second quarter to $12.3 billion), Cisco Systems — in third place with 8.2% marketshare, trailing Dell (11.8%) and HPE (11.1%) — has a lot of credibility when it says cloud is transforming the datacenter. “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter,” said Tom Edsall, formerly a Cisco Fellow, SVP and GM, Insieme Business Unit, Cisco Systems. However, he told IT Trends & Analysis, the challenge is now you have an infrastructure that is basically a multi-vendor infrastructure. Rather than just a collection of hardware and software from different vendors, you have to throw in the various cloud providers like Amazon and Azure. He said organizations have part of their infrastructure running on different clouds, with different APIs, and are struggling to make the differences disappear. “The problems that we encountered 10 years ago are happening all over again,” said Edsall. “Then it wasn’t cloud, it was multi-vendor.” He added that the company has had strong success with on premise with its ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) portfolio with over 4,000 customers. But while the customers really like the application-centric approach, they are frustrated because “they can’t get the same API at Amazon.” They want to know how do they get a common experience across these systems, said Edsall. Ever helpful, Cisco recently announced a management and automation platform for its Unified Computing System (UCS) and HyperFlex Systems, Cisco Intersight. To be available 4Q17 in two versions — the Cisco Intersight Base Edition will be available at no charge, while the Cisco Intersight Essentials Edition will cost you — it is intended to simplify datacenter operations by delivering systems management as-a-service, instead of having to maintain ‘islands of on-premise management infrastructure.’ ‘The longer-term vision of Intersight is spot-on,” noted Matt Kimball, senior datacenter analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy. ‘Not only does it address the issues IT organizations face today, but it also provides a platform that can accommodate the unknowns of tomorrow. If Cisco successfully executes this vision, it will firmly position itself as a leader in multi-cloud infrastructure orchestration and management.’ Unsurprisingly, a canned quote included in the Cisco release was equally ebullient: “Organizations that move to cloud-based systems management platforms will find that service delivery quality is significantly improved, the overall risk to the business goes down, and IT staff productivity is increased,” said Matt Eastwood, Senior Vice President, IDC. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) –infused cloud-based management tools can offer deep insights into the state of the infrastructure, identify troubles before they become major issues, and enable quicker ‘root cause’ identification and analysis...

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EMC & SDE: Canniabalize or Be Cannibalized
Sep07

EMC & SDE: Canniabalize or Be Cannibalized

Today’s the day Dell closes the $65-billion EMC acquisition (and Apple releases the iPhone 7), but while the mega-deal has been inching through the regulatory and shareholder approval process, it’s been business as usual for the storage giant, and increasingly, the usual business has involved alternatives to its bread and butter, disk drives. The enterprise storage giant has been pushing flash, AKA solid state drives (SSDs), software-defined storage (SDS), and now, stealing a page from its virtualization business, VMware, software-defined everything (SDE). Also referred to as SDX, SDI (software defined infrastructure) and software-defined environments (IBM’s nom de guerre), SDE is am umbrella term that describes how virtualization and abstracting workloads from the underlying hardware can be used to make IT infrastructures more flexible and agile. In a recent conversation with EMC’s Manuvir Das, SVP, Advanced Software Division, he told IT Trends & Analysis that the current evolution of IT is offering customers a couple of choices in pursuit of shrinking data centers, lower CAPEX and OPEX and the ability to leverage the cloud: some form of do it yourself versus an all-in-one solution, and hardware versus software lock-in (and that at the end of the day, there’s no getting away from software lock-in). With 14 years at Microsoft, including the development of Azure, the company’s public cloud offering, he should know a lot about software lock-in. “The reality is there is nothing beyond software lock in… there is no way a customer can live in a world where there is no lock in somewhere in the stack.” Lock-in is an ongoing concern. “We don’t want to trade a closed hardware world for a closed software world,” said Nick Lippis, ONUG co-founder and co-chairman, said in his opening presentation at the Open Networking User Group spring conference in May. “All too often, the vendors have the upper hand,” stated IDC in a recent report. High switching costs or other “vendor control points,” such as proprietary technology integrations or overly customized applications, can make it too much trouble for enterprise customers to discontinue using one vendor and switch to another. Das said the challenge with a DIY approach to a complete software-defined solution — “the holy grail of what a software defined data center would look like” — is that he sees “very few customers who have the remotest idea of how to do that.” This is not something you get just off the shelf, he added. Of those who have taken this approach, he has yet to meet anybody “with any degree of success.” Lack of success doesn’t appear to be an inhibitor to SDE/SDDC. Vendors fighting for their slice...

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