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It’s no secret that users demand more in the digital age. This means going beyond brands and proprietary technologies to ensure things work together seamlessly and make people’s lives simpler, faster and easier.
When we announced our partnership with Google Cloud in 2017, we talked about our shared vision of building a truly “open” hybrid cloud. As one of the key areas of our partnership, we’re working on an architecture to bring “the best of both cloud worlds” to enterprise users when it comes to on-premises environments and public cloud.
This April at Google Next in San Francisco, we announced the next phase of our partnership, building on the progress we’ve made so far. Not just in hybrid cloud, but spanning multiple areas, and with ‘open’ being the universal thread.
…but what does open really mean anyway? And why?
Open means choice and freedom for the user, who’s the common denominator in everything we do. In the digital age, everyone is a demanding consumer that wants to move at the speed of light with great user experience:
IT operations managers
Developers that build the experience
A new open multicloud world
A great example of this is our progress with hybrid cloud and our investments in containerization and Kubernetes. Now, with the Cisco Hybrid Cloud Architecture for Google Cloud’s Anthos, we are expanding our partnership to integrate Google Cloud’s Anthos with Cisco cross-portfolio multicloud technologies such as Cisco HyperFlex, Cisco ACI, Cisco SD-WAN, Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud, Cisco CloudCenter Suite and AppDynamics.
Our mission is to make the modular pieces work together, however without locking users into technology standards or products they don’t need and are not going to use.
The end result is to make the lives of developers and IT infrastructure and operations teams (add security and networking teams to that) simpler. By offering users a consistent experience whether on-premises or in the public cloud when deploying and managing containerized infrastructure based on native Kubernetes and applications.
Finally, we’ve added some of the individual Cisco components that are key ingredients in the solution to the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, making it easier for users to use.
AI and ML in the mix
We are also working together on Kubeflow, optimizing our on-premises data center portfolio to support the next generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applications. This way, IT operations teams can provide a single, powerful infrastructure stack to developers to run AI/ML applications and move them where it makes sense.
Transforming and securing the workplace experience
But what about all the other users, the …non-developer ones, across any vertical, that use Cisco and Google products?
The ones that the brands “Cisco” and “Google” will probably remind them of in their day-to-day office tools. We have arguably two of the most widely-used collaboration software portfolios, so partnering to make them work together makes perfect sense!
Google technology is at the heart of a new Contact Center capability, Cisco Answers, a cloud-based “intelligent agent” that’s powered by Google’s Contact Center AI. That’s part of our Contact Center solutions, providing real-time, contextual assistant to agents, empowering them with context, and minimizing the need for manual information searches while assisting customers. We’re also enhancing the current AI capabilities in our Customer Journey Platform with Google AI tools, with the introduction of the Customer Virtual Assistant, an integrated BOT self-service capability to handle simple and specific requests.
Crucially, Cisco is committed to working with Google to make users, applications and data safer than ever before: from end-to-end visibility and threat detection for Google Cloud Platform with Stealthwatch Cloud, to application security with Cloudlock for G Suite domains and integration of Umbrella with Chromebook.
In addition, the free Cisco Duo CRXcavator extension for Chrome means security teams can analyze risks that other 3rd-party Chrome extensions can pose to users and devices.
All these portfolio integrations are aiming to break down industry barriers and make the life of users simpler and more consistent when using their favorite tools.
Connecting the unconnected
At the same time, we’re working with Google to solve bigger problems, such as connecting the world’s unconnected. Google Station, which enables service providers, venues, and governments to provide fast and reliable public Wi-Fi is powered (among others) by Cisco technology.
The IT focus on cost-cutting is not new. But managing your monthly cloud bill is different from trimming operating costs and wringing efficiencies from on-premises purchased hardware.
Unlike buying infrastructure for your data center, which includes a one-time outlay to a hardware vendor, buying cloud services means that someone cuts a check to each cloud vendor every month.
The pay-per-use cloud service scenario has advantages, but also creates complications. Each instance, storage, and network use may get lost in a bill that includes literally hundreds of line items. Accounts payable may write one check each month to your cloud vendor, but linking each line item back to the group that is paying for it can be tricky. It is easy to overprovision resources and end up paying for resources that don’t add value. And, the person that initially requested the service may stop using the service without deleting the instance, leaving a wasteful remnant on the cloud bill.
The goal with cost optimization in a pay-per-use environment is to simply avoid consumption that doesn’t add value. So now the question is: How exactly do you do it?
You can use analytics and automation take a bite out of your next cloud bill:
Inventory: Take stock of all workloads, storage, and network traffic, and link back to those who are consuming the service.
Reporting: Report back usage to the project, group, or business unit that requested the service. This can enable show-back or hard charge-back to those paying for the service.
Optimization: Use automation to avoid paying for services that don’t add value.
Here are some simple ways to use automation to optimize your bill, after you take inventory and sort reporting.
Right-size instances. This is the low-hanging fruit of cloud cost reduction. IT has a habit of over-provisioning “just in case.” But in a pay-per-use and auto-scaling environment, it is better to use a smaller instance size for each tier of frequently deployed workloads. Then, use deployment automation to default to the standard configuration, either through self-service or IT help request.
Turn it off when you are done. This is another easy one. Automate the deletion of short-lived workloads after a preset period of time. Set a policy to delete workloads for developers after two weeks or after two days for QA and test stages of the lifecycle—whatever appropriate timeframe makes sense for each use. This can also be done for certain types of temporary workloads or even for anything related to an underfunded project. Sending a notification prior to deletion will ensure that users can extend the workloads if needed.
Suspend it when you are not using it. Automate suspension and restoration of workloads that are used sporadically by specific users (e.g. developers) on a pre-set schedule, such as off at 7 p.m. and back on at 7 a.m. Additionally, give users an easy way to click an exception if they get inspired and want to work in the middle of the night.
Scale it when you need it. Use scaling policies to automatically horizontally scale more instances as usage grows and remove instances as usage shrinks. You can trigger scaling based on simple infrastructure metrics like CPU utilization. But it is even better to use more powerful application performance management (APM) tools like AppDynamics® to instrument your entire application ecosystem. You can detect and respond to emerging user metrics or business process metrics to ensure quality of service where it counts most.
Have a plan. If you have hard cost limits for projects, teams, or even individuals, remember that people respond well when they know the limits and can easily monitor their own usage.
Set a budget. Let people know someone is monitoring cloud usage and costs against that budget and communicate limits in a way that matters to these individuals.
It pays to pay attention to your cloud bill. In a pay-per-use environment, use management tools and automation to avoid paying for services that don’t add business value. This could pay for your ‘free lunch’ (or even free lunches for a year).
To learn more, check out this on-demand webinar: Lifehack, 5 simple ways to cut your cloud bill.
Registering for this on-demand webinar will also provide access to the Gartner Report “Ten Moves to Lower Your AWS IaaS Costs.”
Visit the CloudCenter Suite page for full scope of how multicloud management can be easier.
Orlando is a favorite destination for celebrations, reunions and key events. Families enjoy the many amenities offered by the theme parks and hotels to augment the festivities. Cisco is celebrating 20 years as an SAP premier partner and what better place to have a 20-year anniversary with our SAP customers than Sapphire NOW 2019.
We are planning several activities at our Sapphire booth 935 that will expand your knowledge, generate some new ideas, and show you how to maximize your investment in SAP solutions.
Here is a quick preview of Cisco’s Sapphire plans as a premier event sponsor.
Breakout session Thursday May 9 11:00 am– 11:30 am. Led by Siva Sivakumar, Cisco’s Senior Director for Cisco UCS solutions, learn how Cisco and SAP work together to deliver responsive and innovative solutions for the SAP landscape that are multicloud, multisite ready for the SAP intelligent enterprise. Siva will discuss how Cisco UCS solutions now shipping with Intel Optane DC memory can scale SAP HANA and the SAP landscape to larger capacities at a reduced TCO.
At Cisco’s booth: Theater and demonstrations
Bring your SAP Data Center where your SAP Data lives with Cisco UCS.
Cisco representatives will demonstrate how to take the mystery out of managing SAP performance with UCS systems. Only Cisco UCS and Cisco HyperFlex servers treat infrastructure as code and allow you to use polices to dynamically define how your Intel Optane DC persistent memory is effectively leveraged with SAP solutions. Be sure to read about these new capabilities in my colleague Bill Shield’s blog.
Speaking of Cisco HyperFlex….
Did you know that Cisco HyperFlex, is now certified for SAP HANA deployments? Come learn about how Cisco’s hyperconverged solution delivers the performance needed for SAP application workloads and the databases they use with simple management, reduced TCO, and cloud-like flexibility. Ask how our system achieved a 7-to-1 reduction in I/O operations per second (IOPS) variability and a threefold reduction in read/write latency, validated by third party testing.
Is Securing your SAP environment keeping you up at night?
Attend Cisco’s demonstrations of enterprise security solutions where we will show how Cisco StealthWatch and Cisco Tetration stays vigilante in protecting the lifeblood of your enterprise; your company data.
Learn about SAP Data Hub at the Cisco Booth
And come away with new ideas on ways to maximize its efficacy with Cisco Solutions for SAP Data Hub. These include Cisco’s Kubernetes based container platform, Cisco Container platform. Learn why the quickest way to get Data Hub up and running on-premises is by deploying it in conjunction with Cisco Container Platform. Stay for the theater presentation to learm more about our solutions for SAP Data Hub and how they leverage hybrid clouds for big data processing.
Explore Cisco DNA spaces
Cisco DNA Spaces and SAP together can enhance and create a new line of business use cases leveraging on-location behavior data. Cisco representatives will show how Cisco DNA Spaces helps you learn more about people (visitors, employees) and things (assets, sensors) within your properties using existing Wi-Fi infrastructure. Through the integration of location data to SAP Analytics cloud, develop an end-to-end view of the entire enterprise and customer journey. Think of the possible solutions this provides for any SAP initiative.
Leverage Cisco Webex platform as basis for seamless SAP workflow integration & collaboration
When the shop floor is operating poorly, the entire enterprise suffers, and a crucial part of each workflow/process is human interaction. Cisco representatives will show how to leverage SAP data driven collaboration for an improved handling of business processes. Starting from an incident on the machine, directly engaging remote experts, accessing the right documents and transparently linking to the SAP CRM. See how you build a secure E2E process integrating Cisco Webex and SAP CRM to improve customer-lifetime-value.
Stop by the Cisco Booth 935, have a cappuccino at our coffee bar, and stay for our theater and demonstrations. And help us celebrate our 20 years as an SAP partner.
Don’t forget to follow us on social media for daily updates during the show using the @CiscoDC handle on Twitter, tagging us, and use #SAPPHIRENOW. And if you are not attending, visit the Cisco and SAP partnership page.
This is the finale of our entirely unintentional three-part series on cloud computing at the edge. In Episode 59 we learned about StarlingX—OpenStack’s new cloud-at-the-edge project. In Episode 60 we...