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Cisco Cloud 3.0 Consulting

Unified Computing

A great way to illustrate the basic principles of Cloud computing and provide a quick sense of the market, as well as then linking it to a Canadian Cloud Roadmap, is to review the associated strategy for a vendor like Cisco.

They offer their own maturity model for Cloud adoption that advances from simple private Cloud implementations (now) through to advanced ‘Inter-Cloud’ architectures (future).

It’s also a great example because Canada recently took a heavy body blow to their IT industry innovation capacity with the demise of Nortel. Generating start-ups around a vendor like Cisco is one way to respond.

Cloud is so big because it’s enveloping all of IT including telecomms, and the vendors too, it’s the big game in town for everyone now.

Image representing Cisco as depicted in CrunchBaseThis is mainly because (sshh) it’s actually just the Internet we’re talking about really, it’s becoming a singular computing platform, so that’s everything: It’s the network, the servers, the apps and the data they share, and it’s encompassing enterprise and telco data centres alike, with Private Cloud representing the same internalization of the Internet the same way ‘intranet’ did when the web exploded.

Unified Computing

So for Cisco the key question is in what way is Cloud relevant to their core backbone of network devices like routers and switches?

This is answered through their Unified Computing initiative. This shows the ‘overlay’ that Cloud computing represents, meaning it will be layered on top of an existing IT estate, modernizing it for the new Web 2.0 world.

Cisco’s Cloud portfolio is intended to help enterprises transform their IT organizations through “Data Center 3.0“, and includes their core UC platform and partnerships with VMware and others to cater for the central, multi-tenant Cloud platform in a secure manner. Importantly via technologies like ‘WaaS‘ they also cater for the full end-to-end requirements of the corporate IT and how they will adopt Private Cloud, assuring performance for the SaaS model for apps like MS Sharepoint.

This shows a maturity model for Cloud computing that leads from the basic deployment of Private Clouds right up to ‘Inter-Cloud’, and applies this capability to business-driven scenarios like enhanced Business Continuity (23-page PDF).

and there are many good resources like white papers including this one that tailors this roadmap for government : Cisco Cloud Computing – Data Center Strategy, Architecture and Solutions (16-page PDF).

Cisco Cloud skills

Critically what this also means is that it needs an equally modern set of skills.

Cisco is a great example because they offer a skills certification for their technology, the CCIE, that is the currency of the type of entrepreneurism I would especially emphasize for the broader economic development perspective. Many IT professionals are able to start themselves as a self-employed business based on achieving this credential.

There will be an enormous shift to Cloud, by organizations like government, and so enhancing this skill set with these Cloud-specific abilities will enable more to enter the market the same way, and Cisco offers a consulting framework for this that includes Professional Services such as Cloud Enablement.

Their Cloud security chief Chris Hoff is also leading development of the Cloud Audit methodology, which can be synched up with regional Canadian laws to provide a framework for certifying Cloud providers as being government compliant.


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