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Cisco Reimagines the Business Data Center

Cisco wants to promote a new view of the data center in business as a key resource for securing, aggregating, automating, and extracting insights and competitive advantage from data assets.

Data center in the darkLearning@Cisco senior manager for products Antonella Corno hit some interesting notes in a post this week to Cisco Learning Network's Talking Tech with Cisco blog. Corno's piece, which popped on Monday, is titled "In the Word of Digitized Business, the Data Center Reigns Supreme" and lays out a new, forward-leaning vision of modern data centers, particularly at the enterprise scale.


Her primary thesis appears in the second paragraph of that piece, is as follows:


"Enterprises need access to data from anywhere. They must analyze it instantly and then use it to make rapid decisions closer to where the data came from in order to fuel innovation and reach their desired business outcomes. Thus, the business need has changed from simply connecting devices. It is now about securing, aggregating, automating, and drawing insights from the data these devices generate. All done in a way that opens up new markets and new business models."


According to Ms. Corno, it’s a big market to contemplate as well. She turns to IDC as a data source to observe that, “Spending on data centers will rise to $16 billion by 2019.” That same firm also forecasts that by next year (2018), more than half (60 percent) of companies will turn to “highly instrumented data centers that use automation to boost efficiency and tie data center and IT spend to business value.”


Corno is making a strong case that those who thrive in this brave new world will be those who master the new skills needed to make modern data centers accomplish this mission. I have to agree, as the IT world continues to pivot into virtualization at all levels, including SDN and NFV, along with virtualized applications, platforms and, infrastructures (aka SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).


What Skills? What Services? Automated Exactly How?


The skills involved require a mindset that breaks out of narrow fields such as servers, storage, networking, and hardware. Rather, these new skills tie all of these elements together, just as assembling all the disciplines just named into a coherent, functioning data center involves understanding, designing, implementing, and automating infrastructures that tie everything together.


Into the mix, of course, savvy IT pros also must understand how to bring together software (applications and services), the cloud, virtualization, and secure data centers (and data protection), along with the infrastructures that make them go. This leads to an interesting mix of skills and topics that Cisco is starting to emphasize at all levels of IT in business environments: