Cisco Moves Virtual Assistant into The Office

Well it was due to happen. First we had Siri and Cortana on our phones and PCs, then Alexa invaded our homes and now Cisco is pushing their Spark Assistant into offices and I’m kind of surprised why it took so long. We are about to be up to our armpits in digital assistants, but that isn’t a terrible thing. You see—up until now—we have largely been forced to learn how to communicate with the computers and systems we interface with. But what digital assistants do is they start to bring these systems back towards us. In short, this is the beginning of machines learning how to work with us. I think you could argue that having to learn how to work with someone else puts them in a superior position, the same goes for machines. This past practice kind of made us their servants, where it should have always been the other way around—or, at least more of a peer relationship. This is a major step into creating far better human/machine interfaces and a major step toward a far higher level of efficiency and customer satisfaction with the products we will interface tomorrow. Let’s chat about that this week. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Understanding The Hype Around Hyperconverged Infrastructure

There is a lot of hype around hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). All the big vendors and a number of lesser-known smaller ones are in the game. Dell EMC has doubled down on its HCI portfolio investments; NetApp is entering the market leveraging its Solidfire technology; HPE is investing in growing its SimpliVity line; Cisco acquired Springpath so it could offer its own line, but it also partners with Nutanix, HPE and just about everyone else! Speaking of Nutanix, it was a category pioneer (along with SimpliVity) and its Dell EMC branded business is still growing, even though Dell EMC has somewhat competing products with VxRack and VxRail (the 3 HCI products serve different use cases – a topic for another blog!). Nutanix is also doing a healthy business through Lenovo and its channel partners and it has an agreement with IBM to offer its HCI on Power systems. Lesser-known (but fast growing) Pivot3 just announced 50% growth in bookings! Hitachi Vantara has a product it is also leveraging for Lumada IoT, and VMware sells vSAN for HCI use cases. I’m still just scratching the surface- I know I’ve left some vendors out – it’s a long list! What’s behind all this vendor investment and noise? Lots of user interest. Edwin Yuen and I recently sat down and dug into our new HCI research. In this video, we define what HCI is, discuss why IT organizations are so interested, and look at how HCI will impact more traditional approaches to IT infrastructure. Please watch and I would love to hear your feedback! To read the complete article, CLICK...

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VMware’s Intention to Acquire VeloCloud…

The announcement of VMware’s intention to acquire VeloCloud signals the broadening of the NSX Everywhere story. SD-WAN is a solution that offers agility, security, orchestration, and other business outcomes for remote and branch offices. It should not be considered just an MPLS replacement for the WAN with savings on bandwidth costs. At a core level, both NSX and VeloCloud’s products are based on an overlay network, which offers the flexibility to treat a logical network separately from the physical network, and this core concept has been popularized for many years via MPLS. Ironically, it’s the perceived lack of flexibility and costs of MPLS that have become the initial drivers for the popularization of SD-WAN, which promised to modernize the branch networks and WAN. VMware’s NSX Everywhere plan is similar to Cisco’s ACI Anywhere plan since it enables the core data center networks to reach out into other locations such as a public cloud. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?
Oct19

Talent-Gap Cure Or Just Cur-AI-ting IT?

Cisco originally pitched a story focused on its latest initiatives to address the ‘IT skills and knowledge gap’, which is a big and growing problem, and while the just-released AI-powered predictive services can be folded, spindled and mutilated into a ‘talent-gap cure’, it appears more to be just a really good set of business solutions. The costs and resources required to keep the datacenter lights on can account for 70-80% of IT budgets, said Bryan Palma, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Advanced Services, but while improving efficiencies and uptimes will pay a huge business dividend, that doesn’t mean those freed-up resources will translate into the IT skills and knowledge required to facilitate the new IT reality, digital transformation, which by one estimate will be worth $493.39 billion by 2022, and is speeding along at a CAGR of 19.1%. The new services, available immediately, fall into two categories — Business Critical Services and High-value Services — and are extensions of what the company has been providing for some time, said Palma. Services is the second largest business unit at Cisco, at $13 billion and 25% of revenues, with 90% of its services revenue recurring. A big part of the company’s competitive advantage is its installed base of 50 million networks, he told IT Trends & Analysis, and the telemetry data from that provides Cisco with a better picture of what’s going on in the IT environment than practically every other vendor. Professional services can leverage that data to help customers shift their focus from maintaining their datacenters and network infrastructures to finding new ways to improve customer services and generate revenues, he added. “At the same time we’re seeing that IT has been more defensive and they are looking to be more offensive, and that’s where we’re looking to take them.” Calling it a new portfolio of subscription services, Business Critical Services ‘deliver more capabilities including analytics, automation, compliance and security by Cisco Advanced Services’ technology experts’. “In the past it’s been called optimization,” said Palma, and as part of their ongoing focus on constant improvement, have made a number of improvements. “What we’re trying to do is give them the flexibility to move with their strategic options.” The new service benefits include helping minimize human error by: reducing complexity and cost through automation, orchestration, and technical expertise; accelerating business agility and transformation through advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities; and reducing risk with automated compliance and remediation services.The business outcome objectives are to help reduce downtime by 74%, resolve issues 41% percent faster and reduce operational costs by 21%. The other side of the services portfolio, Technical Services,...

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How Enterprise Organizations Benefit from SOAPA

I’ve written about SOAPA for almost a year now, here’s a link to the original blog I posted last November. The concept seems to be catching on in the industry. I’ve had lots of industry leaders participate in SOAPA videos with me and there are many more videos in the works. I’m happy to say that SOAPA isn’t just an analyst idea or industry buzzword. In fact, 21% of enterprise organizations say that they are very active in integrating security operations technologies and creating a security operations architecture is one of their highest priorities, while another 50% are somewhat active in this area. Security pros are moving to SOAPA for several reasons: To read the complete article, CLICK...

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