Cisco: We'll Put IT Back in Charge

Cisco and partners say that the cloud can help IT regain control of IT infrastructure.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

November 3, 2017

4 Min Read
Cisco: We'll Put IT Back in Charge

DALLAS -- Cisco Partner Summit -- Cisco and its partners want to put IT back in charge of their enterprise technology infrastructure.

Years of deploying technology in multiple locations have left enterprise IT with cloud sprawl, workloads spread over multiple public, private and hybrid clouds. By applying the right technology and business services, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and its partners are looking to help IT bring all that under control.

"We're putting IT back in control as the cloud broker for their enterprise departments," Scott Mohr, Cisco director, data center and cloud global partner organization solutions, architecture, engineering, said at Cisco Partner Summit Thursday. "These services put IT departments back in the driver's seat."

Several years ago, the problem was "shadow IT" -- individuals and departments setting up their own cloud services without IT approval, such as the sales department signing up on its own for Salesforce, or developers signing on to Amazon Web Services for dev/test. Now, enterprises are looking to move out of their data center, said Vinu Thomas, chief technology officer for Cisco partner Presidio.

"Enterprises come to us wanting to come off the data center and go 'all in' to the cloud," Thomas said. Presidio helps enterprises identify their key business drivers, application infrastructure, people, and business processes. They look at reasons for going to the cloud, existing infrastructure and where they are already invested in the cloud, and then provide a framework for cloud migration. "For the enterprise, it's a six- to nine-month engagement to get them to the endpoint of being truly multicloud," Thomas said.

Figure 1: Cisco's Kip Compton, Engage's Andy Fleck, Presidio's Vinu Thomas, Telstra's Jim Fagan and Cisco's Scott Mohr. Photo by Cisco. Cisco's Kip Compton, Engage's Andy Fleck, Presidio's Vinu Thomas, Telstra's Jim Fagan and Cisco's Scott Mohr. Photo by Cisco.

Some enterprises look to a "big bang" approach, with a comprehensive migration of their entire infrastructure. Others move one piece at a time. Interestingly, the process turns out to be the same, said Jim Fagan, head of global platforms for Australian service provider Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS)

"When we get these big, visionary RFPs, that's a long sales cycle, but how we get to the outcome, it's the same way as getting incrementally there," Fagan said. That means identifying individual applications and use cases and developing a cloud strategy. "The big bang doesn't go quickly," he said.

Andy Fleck, head of cloud management for Cisco partner Engage, works with UK central government agencies, and finds those organizations have special problems. The UK government has a "cloud first" strategy, but has realized that's not always simple. Agencies have stringent rules they need to follow for IT, and local government has old data center infrastructure that is challenging to migrate.

"Now we're seeing people switch from 'cloud first' to 'cloud right,'" Fagan says. Enterprises have already migrated workloads to the cloud and now need to optimize the job. "They're not sure they did that properly," he said.

Kip Compton, Cisco vice president, cloud platform and solutions group, said one Fortune 50 CIO told him over lunch that the cloud doesn't simplify her job. "I don't have to run the air conditioner or the power, but all the other parts of the job are still there," she said. These include security, compliance, working with users, controlling costs, and more.

Cisco's own proliferating product line has contributed to the complexity, Compton confessed. To that end, Cisco this week said it is consolidating its cloud offerings into four packages in the Cisco Multicloud Portfolio: Cloud Advisory, for planning and design; Cloud Connect, for connecting enterprise private networks to the public cloud; Cloud Protect, for security; and Cloud Consume, for deploying, monitoring, and optimizing applications.

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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