About the authors: Randy Olsson is Presidio VP Strategic Technology Group, Networking and Security. Matt Rehm is Presidio’s Senior Director of Software Solutions & Strategic Technology Group Collaboration Lead. They were part of the 85-person Presidio team that attended the recent Cisco Live 2018 customer and partner conference June 10-14 in Orlando, Florida.
Presidio attendees and presenters at Cisco Live 2018 experienced so much, it’s hard to choose where to begin. Interacting with some 26,000 IT professionals in attendance, our team strengthened bonds with key technology partners while presenting Presidio’s own unique approach to deploying Cisco solutions.
Much as we’d love to talk about everything we saw and learned at Cisco Live, right now we’ll focus on just a handful of developments that could have a significant impact on how Presidio customers use technology:
The Cisco DNA Center: an open, extensible platform for intent-based networking
Cisco dedicated an entire booth at its event to showcase its DNA Center product: a complete software-based network automation and assurance solution. Cisco DNA Center offers an open, extensible platform with a new suite of easy-to-learn developer tools for creating connections in an instant: integrate devices from any provider, or transform slow, labor-intensive processes into fast, automated workflows.
The DNA Center platform enables software-defined, intent-based networking, an evolution beyond how networking is done today. Using a graphical interface, network engineers literally draw a picture of what they want the network to do, and the system takes it from there.
Using the DNA Center, Presidio showcased our own power-monitoring application to show the power of the new DNA Center API. The app we created can monitor all power usage throughout a network, revealing in dollars exactly what systems are consuming how much power at any given time: for example, when compute-intensive jobs are running, or when CPUs are spinning up. It can even respond to what-if scenarios: for instance, predicting how much you can save over time by swapping out such-and-such equipment. Our app can also be used for billing, based on user-defined tags, so that an individual department can be charged back for phone power usage, switch usage, and so forth.
We were pleased to note that our app resonated with attendees: The first morning alone, several companies expressed interest in having a copy for their own network. Given the positive customer response, Presidio will continue to investigate the opportunities made possible by this exciting new development platform from Cisco.
A Flex Plan for all your collaboration needs
Cisco announced that it will now make it easier for customers to consume its three pillars of collaboration tools – messaging, calling, and meetings – under a new all-in-one licensing arrangement that offers multiple term-of-service options. Moving away from perpetual licensing, the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan will allow customers to consume its collaboration products as subscribers. Under the new consumption models, customers can pay up front or on an annual or monthly basis.
The Cisco Flex Plan enables customers to future-proof next-generation cloud consumption.
In Flex, the customer is entitled to both the cloud and traditional products, placing the entire portfolio under a single umbrella. It allows customers to purchase a per-user licensing model, to be used on-prem or in the cloud, making decisions on a per-user basis, migrating to the cloud at their own speed.
Google Cloud takes center stage
Cisco and Google used this event to announce their upcoming hybrid-cloud platform, set for release later this year. This new offering combines Cisco’s Kubernetes-based Container Platform with its HyperFlex product for hyperconverged infrastructures, all tightly integrated with the Google Cloud Platform.
Google Cloud is the result of a partnership reached late last year by Cisco and Google to help enterprise customers build hybrid-cloud environments that are consistent across GCP and customers’ on-premises data centers.
HyperFlex 3.5 complements Google and Cisco’s hybrid cloud architecture
Tightly integrated with the Google Cloud Platform is Cisco’s latest release of its HyperFlex product, also announced at Cisco Live. HyperFlex 3.5 is a robust platform to power more mission-critical applications, with more clouds and increased performance.
Co-developed with Intel and other technology partners, HyperFlex 3.5 introduces one of the industry’s first All-NVMe hyperconverged appliances using ultra-fast Intel® Optane™ NVMe SSDs for the caching tier and Intel® 3D NAND NVMe SSDs for capacity storage. For Presidio customers, the latest HyperFlex innovations offer the promise of evolving existing hyperconverged infrastructures into a complete platform for multi-cloud environments.
Pursuing a ‘cloud right’ strategy – as a team
All the abovementioned developments – Cisco’s Flex collaboration products, DNA Center developer tools, Google Cloud partnership and HyperFlex innovation – they’re only part of the story. How those diverse pieces are integrated becomes especially important as customers start to identify the role of the cloud in their IT infrastructure.
During the Cisco Live event, Vinu Thomas, Presidio Chief Technology Officer, and Brad Haczynski, Intel’s Managing Director of the Cisco global account team, sat down for an extended video interview about how the Cisco-Presidio-Intel collaborative relationship works for our mutual customers.
“It used to be that it was a ‘cloud-first strategy,'” said Thomas. “And now I would call it a ‘cloud-right strategy’ — which is, ‘Let me choose the right cloud for the right type of workload. We can evaluate all those workloads and applications and your use cases like your data center, and then recommend to you — in partnership with Cisco and Intel — what is the right placement for your workload.”
Brad Haczynski observed, “It’s all about cloud’s economics: the scale and capability of large public cloud services has caused customers to pause in their cloud pursuits. I think what customers are really looking for is, ‘How do I deploy applications, the scalability with ease of deployment, while having policy around security, networking, compute storage, etc.?'”
Watch as Haczynski and Thomas share their perspectives here.
Multiple partners, one direction
Everything we saw and learned at Cisco Live 2018 reinforced a common theme: that whatever we do on behalf of our customers, it can only be fully effective in meeting their needs when we work closely together as a coordinated team: Presidio deploying Cisco solutions based on Intel® technology.
“It’s just a great triangulation,” said Haczynski. “We’re all in the same boat, rowing in the same direction.”