Data Virtualization Day 2014: A Continued Commitment to Innovation

Trip report

At this year’s Cisco Data Virtualization Day, the word of the year is “synergy.” To reinforce this message, Mike Flannagan, General Manager of Cisco Data and Analytics, kicked off the event by revisiting a major headline from last year: the Composite Software acquisition, described as one of the most significant and strategic moves by Cisco in the past five years.

Flannagan opened by reminding the audience that we were having a very different conversation last year: one not only on innovation – but also on commitment. “Cisco had announced its acquisition of Composite Software and Data Virtualization Day was the first time we had the opportunity to share that with you,“ said Flannagan. “We talked about how, together, Cisco and Composite were better equipped to serve the needs of data virtualization. And, we said a year ago that Cisco is extremely committed to data virtualization. This year we are proud to say that we’ve not only remained committed, but [we] have increased the level of commitment across the board.”

As data virtualization adoption continues to grow from individual project use cases to enterprise level deployments, this commitment – and this synergy  – remains apparent. Today, Cisco is ready to move into the “new data landscape” and take data virtualization to the next level. “We take full responsibility,” announced Flannagan, “not just for the technology, but for the business outcome… For helping customers achieve a more agile way of storing and managing data.”

Cisco is focusing on the Internet of Everything – the connections being made by things previously unconnected. Much of this data will be generated in a massively distributed way, and this immense amount of data will need to be brought together to effectively make the data not just valuable, but value-adding. And, the common thread between all these data types, sources, etc. is their connection through the network. The network, then, is central to the future of analytics, and it’s time to stop bringing data to analytics and move analytics to the data.

As the Internet of Everything matures, predictions are that more and more companies will use streaming data for analytics and leverage this into the overall analytics strategy. This makes the role of the network in analytics even more important. Being able to muscle the role of analytics for data in motion will continue to be more essential. Data virtualization is at the heart of how Cisco plans to stitch together data at rest with data in motion in a new streaming ecosystem.

Then there is the cloud – or, InterCloud, as Cisco is calling it – a strategy that “connects the data virtualization dots” to federate information between clouds. “The future is around a hybrid cloud,” said Paula Dowdy, SVP of Cloud, Software, and Managed Services, “a balance between what can be achieved from a public cloud around speed, and scale, and equally the need for control, security, and data sovereignty.” Announced nine months ago, InterCloud pays homage to Cisco’s legacy of resiliency, portability, and consumer-based capabilities and sits on four key principles: a hybrid cloud requires the ability to place VM workloads on any cloud and move them back (the InterCloud fabric); CIOs need app-centric policy control across all IT components and clouds at scale; a network-centric partner ecosystem gives scale and reach options through choice and data sovereignty; and, the ability to do data virtualization at scale is key in the Internet of Everything.

As CTO Jim Green closed the event’s presentations, he noted that it is time to turn possibilities into reality. “I’d like to take us all on a journey to the future,” said Green. “Data virtualization is growing quite rapidly, and yet we are still at the beginning – we haven’t even seen what all the possibilities are.” With Cisco Information Server 7.0, (coming November 2014), Cisco is moving towards a global deployment model by focusing on big data, InterCloud, and new opportunities in the Internet of Everything.

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