Cisco Partner Summit – Day 2 – Cisco and the Data Center

Day 2 (Wednesday) at Partner Summit is the day where we dive deeper in to individual programs, practices, and announcements.  For me the day centered primarily around data center.  The theme for today (in the morning general session) was innovation.

Padmasree Talking Future Trends

The general session was handled by Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco.  Honestly, this keynote is usually my favorite as I love to hear her speak about future trends and what she sees coming.  As usual she has some interesting statistics that make you think…and make you worry.

Some of these included:

  • The Internet will double every 5.32 years
  • Video will Quadruple all IP Traffic by 2014 – Majority on mobile devices
  • Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2015
  • Cloud technology (it’s broad, I agree) will be used by 70% of Enterprises by 2012
  • 56% of orgs want VDI (As I’m fond of saying, it’s the third annual year of VDI)
She went on to talk about Cisco’s innovation and R&D as well as new offerings, especially around cloud automation and migration.  Cisco is announcing a really starting to firm up their strategy and offerings here.  If you haven’t heard about CIAC (Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud) you will soon.  It’s a solution built around their acquisitions of Tidal, newScale, and LineSider).  It’s a complex product.  It takes a lot of customization..but it’s exceedingly powerful and capable and goes beyond what other automated provisioning products can do.  Building upon the she discussed Cisco Cloud Connect…a set of network services and technologies that “enable” the cloud.  Vague, yes…but it’s an initial discussion and something we will hear a lot more about in the near future.  Finally she covered Cisco’s unified data center strategy and the success that they, and we, have had with Nexus and UCS.
The entertainment today…again the theme is innovation…was C2C.  They are a French group of DJs that use turntables as instruments.  Very cool…very good.  I immediately added them to one of my Spotify playlists.

Working in the Collaboration Lounge Between Sessions

The big session for Wednesday for me was The Unified Data Center Practice.  There was a lot of really good information, updates, and program evolutions.  One major announcement for partners was the creation of a new Cisco Data Center Architect Scholarship.  This announcement was made by John Growdon (Sr. Director – Channel Business Development – Data Center) as a want to help partners solve our largest constraint on growing our business….the lack of good talent in the market.

John Growdon Announcing the DC Architect Scholarship

When discussing the challenges in growing a data center business he made some very good points.  The key people driving solutions and opportunities in that business are “Data Center Architects”.  They are people with deep knowledge and understanding of the technology as well as how it helps customer business.  The problem is that these people just are not available.  Employment is at 100% for them and they are usually very happy at their current partner.  So what do you do?  You create them and Cisco wants to help by funding the training and growth.

At Varrow our experience mirrors this.  We can’t find enough good talent in the market…even in a really bad economy.  We are working on processes to grow and mature our own people and I fully expect to take advantage of this new offering from Cisco.  And..if you’re a Data Center Architect type person and want to join the Varrow team PLEASE contact me.

Other topics discussed was the new CIAC ATP (Authorized Technology Partner) program for partners.  This is a way for partners to work with Cisco and ramp up on CIAC and build their own internal organization.  It takes a significant investment and underlying capabilities (such as business process consulting) and it is not for all partners but we are VERY interested.  Another new program was the Master Cloud Builder speciality which combines unified fabric, compute, infrastructure (Vblock/Flexpod), and cloud management capabilities under a Master specialty.  Again, that’s what we do and are very interested.

A Terrible Picture of Padmasree

Throughout the day we have the opportunity to meet with executives and do round table discussions.  In the afternoon I took advantage of that and sat in with a discussion with Padmasree.  Excuse the awful picture.  I thought it would be rude to take a straight shot….  What amazed me is that the room was only half full.  These should be taken advantage of as the questions were great, the answers truthful and direct, and it was an open forum.   The questions asked at this session centered on security, competition, cloud automation, and R&D/engineering.  Very informative.

My final session of the day was centered on VXI and virtual desktop.  The majority of the session was VDI basics for partners just entering the market and reasons to enter that area.  Cisco is starting to ramp up VXI and provide an integrated, media rich VDI offering.  One of my largest complaints is around the VXI program.  Cisco requires partners to have several competencies with one being Advanced Collaboration (Voice/Video).  While I understand the goal there are many partners with deep VDI capabilities that do not do voice and video, like us.  While we can offer VXI and the VXC clients to customers through an exception due to our data center capabilities, I still think it’s short sighted by Cisco.  While deep VXI may be the goal, many orgs are still working to deploy “basic” VDI.  Isn’t it better to leverage deep partner VDI capabilities to put the foundation down for later VXI media rich offerings?  I think so.

And that’s it for my day!  Most of my fellow partners went out on the USS Midway for a party but I had been fighting a headache all day and did not make it.  Instead I had a nice steak and caught up on some work…it’s not all glamorous.

1 Comment

  1. I just learnt that Cisco has entered the top 4 in terms of market share in servers especially with the UCS Server which has gained increase popularity since it was started in 2009. I recently got a job at a Cisco Partner in Nairobi, Kenya and one of our major focus is on Unified Communication systems, and we are the first company in the region to deploy Nexus switches so the opportunity is great here. Please share me your email address, mine is [email protected] so that I can enquire a few things from you

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