Onboard for Oracle’s cloud push, Intel and Cisco share values | #OOW14

Oracle cloudAs Oracle Corp. shifts its focus to the cloud, its partners Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. provide invaluable support: Oracle runs on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), which is powered by Intel’s Xeon processor. Jim McHugh, VP of UCS Marketing at Cisco, and Intel’s VP and GM of Data Center Marketing and Enterprise IT, Shannon Poulin, see the Oracle OpenWorld conference as an event that reinforces cloud as a viable business option.

Poulin described Oracle’s strategy as a “culmination approach” in which the company helps its customers get where they want to go through a diverse range of software options and cloud functionality.

Cisco’s UCS is a something of a lynchpin: it brings together compute, storage, and networking in one integrated infrastructure. As a top provider of x86 blades, McHugh explained that because Cisco “caught the market at a transition,” it was able to become the number two leader in this market. McHugh attributes Cisco’s success to the fact that the company “did things slightly different” and was able to disrupt the market.

Why Cisco and Intel innovate on multiple levels


Cisco’s “engineering approach” to business keeps them working on both the hardware and software levels. Poulin explained that by working on “different levels, you’re going to capture more customers.” Especially as methods of consumption have shifted towards cloud, companies need to adapt to new environments and figure out how to remain competitive. In this day and age, Poulin said, being competitive means offering “mobile apps, maybe a multi-tenant environment on infrastructure that has the capability to accelerate different types of workloads.”

At present, McHugh said there’s still a “trade off with being agile enough with your infrastructure…and having something that’s driven to what the needs of the applications are.” For McHugh, it makes sense to have the “application tied to the platform, tied to the infrastructure underneath.” This approach, Furrier pointed out, drives DevOps and architecture.

Xeon sets standards


Because the two companies had congruent road maps and long histories of innovation, McHugh explained that when it came to Cisco’s UCS product, Intel was their first choice partner. Cisco, he said, was able to provide more value to their customers by focusing on Intel as their sole partner.

Xeon is such an integral part of UCS because it “enables a bunch of solutions that can it on top of [Intel] products,” according to Poulin. In order to deploy new technologies and support orchestration solutions Intel needed to ensure that Xeon could run at its “the absolute fastest” in any environment, whether it’s VMware, OpenStack, or Microsoft. To accomplish this, Poulin explained, Intel made “enhancements to the architecture itself.”

Read more after the video.



Biggest trends in the database


Turning their discussion to customers, Poulin said that he has noticed that as IT departments are asked to innovate without an increased budget, they turn to private clouds for a cost-efficient solution. Turning to cloud environments, he pointed out, is also a response to legacy business units requesting “more flexibility” from their infrastructure.

McHugh chimed in, adding that the tech industry is rethinking what a datacenter is. Data centers are essential to “all mobile apps” and need to function at “cloud scale” for Hadoop deployments. What McHugh says he sees throughout the industry, is a “spread out” of the data center.

How Intel and Cisco handle security


As mobile facilitates the consumerization of IT, Furrier pointed out that companies are faced with new demands and challenges, like security issues.

McHugh explained that Cisco approaches security right from the inception of a project. The company has a “policy-based approach to the infrastructure” in which requirements are replicated across infrastructure. The company’s approach is to “count on the attack happening and prepare for it.” With a policy-based approach, McHugh said, security is incorporated throughout both hardware and software.

Opening the doors to mobile, Poulin added,  means the “attack surface” changes. In response to this danger, Intel and Cisco are working together to virtualize networks. By thinking “holistically,” Poulin says that customers are able isolating a breech and minimizing attack surface.

Software eating IT


While software may be eating “the world,” McHugh said, “data is the lifeblood of software.” The purpose of software, he explained is to “put the right data and decisions” in front of people. To be successful, he said, neither hardware or software on their are own are sufficient for success, especially when handled separately. When hardware and software are fused with data, customers have fewer complications to handle.

A lot of innovation at the software level occurs in concert with hardware innovation, said Poulin  Intel thinks about this topic in terms of how to change a business for the better — software helps companies see how they can better modify their processes and systems.

IT is permeating businesses


Both McHugh and Poulin believe that IT’s role in companies is changing. More and more often, they agreed, IT is becoming “native” to the companies they support. Poulin said that there are already companies that have an “IT-forward model.” He described apps like Uber and HotelTonight as enterprises that are essentially “IT companies that delivery a service.” Even at Intel, he said, IT is central to the way the company interacts with customers and comes up with new products.

McHugh mentioned that as IT permeates throughout businesses, “IT guys” can become “benevolent brokers” that an opportunity to guide their organization, imbuing it with the ability to add value and move quickly.

Image via Oracle, Corp.

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