Software-defined infrastructure (SDI) provides the analytics and centralized management capability to help organizations gain the speed and agility to meet dynamic business demands. This enhanced visibility enables informed decisions at the right time and provides an increased level of control to ensure business continuity and lifecycle return on investment.
Andreea Ciurea, Go-to-Market Support Services Manager for Europe at NTT, and James Dukes, Head of Partner Services Sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Cisco, discuss how SDI supports the digital transformation of their clients.
How do you explain software-defined infrastructure?
Andreea: When it comes to support services, both NTT and Cisco have been evolving to deliver lifecycle services designed for the dynamic infrastructures that are so vital for digital business transformation.
These new infrastructures can’t rely on traditional break/fix maintenance and have much more potential to enhance user and client experience. Our clients need a new operational model that provides more visibility and control. They need access to proactive insights into network performance and asset lifecycles. Are their devices nearly defunct or no longer supported? Is their network running at the desired speed, and is it always available? And if there’s a vulnerability or a risk of downtime, will they receive a timely notification?
Our clients may also be struggling to monitor and manage multiple license types across vendors to ensure lifecycle compliance, efficient utilization and risk mitigation. This can lead to unforeseen vulnerabilities and an inability to control costs.
Software-defined infrastructure can simplify operational management while delivering new levels of speed and agility. The power of the analytics and centralized management enabled by SDI is harnessed in the evolution of NTT’s tried-and-trusted Support Services.
Developed in close collaboration with Cisco, our new SDI Services are founded on deep API-level integration to realize lifecycle value for legacy hardware and software.
How does Cisco perceive these changes in the market, where organizations now need real-time and proactive network infrastructure insights?
James: There are many places where organizations can source a simple break/fix service, but proactive visibility and enhanced control are now key.
Our clients, irrespective of sector, need to be agile – while facing tighter investment and resourcing constraints. They need a faster return on any investment they make, and for that, they must have full visibility of their network environment and the expertise to take the right action and decisions at the right time.
NTT’s SDI Services provide that visibility and support because it's not just about whether a device is on or off; it's about what it is doing at any given time and whether there are issues like vulnerabilities or security alerts to consider. The NTT Services Portal aggregates multiple data sources to provide a single source of insight so our clients can make informed and timely decisions.
How did the evolution of the predictive service model come about?
Andreea: The evolution from traditional break/fix to data-driven lifecycle services has added layers of value to NTT’s trusted Uptime and proactive support services.
Uptime service offers are now integrated with our SDI Services. A digital wallet supports optimized license management across technologies and vendors in addition to hardware asset availability and management. Our clients can now get insights to help them realize lifecycle value from their licensing estate.
We also integrated some of Cisco’s tools with our SDI Services so our clients can take full advantage of Cisco’s SDI technologies. Our Premium service, for example, uses controller-based technologies (such as Cisco DNA Controller) to provide deeper levels of insight. And extensive integration with platforms like Cisco Success Tracks, based on a connection to PX Cloud, provides telemetry that supports accelerated technology adoption and predictive insights. This enables risk mitigation and the optimization of lifecycle value.
To help our clients deploy SDI controllers and technologies, we offer SDI Controller Activation Accelerators and use cases as part of our technical expertise. So, they gain the value of their new investments with minimal operational disruption. We also provide quarterly recommendations, identifying best practices for procurement, adoption and management.
These are just some examples of how the combination of NTT’s and Cisco’s technical expertise, commitment and capabilities gives our clients the visibility and control they need to accelerate their return on investment and transform their network.
Is it too complicated for organizations to analyze the additional telemetry produced by this model without the expert guidance of a services provider?
James: The complexity of the solutions and the software is increasing because we're asking it to do more by becoming more proactive or predictive.
Previously, when you dealt with an issue, you'd say, “Well, we've experienced that issue here, and we've got the same setup in another location, so it may happen there too – but we don't know that it will.” But in the software-defined infrastructure environment, a single-pane view can give you dynamic alerts for such risks.
To our clients, these lists of alerts may appear daunting, but we help them identify the priorities. We filter out much of the complexity to provide robust, accurate and actionable information. For example, an alert shows a risk of a network crash – but here’s also what to do about it.
What is the value of the relationship between NTT and Cisco in this area?
James: It’s a productive relationship that goes back more than 30 years. The common thread is that we are stronger together. Case studies have shown our two organizations achieving groundbreaking successes and addressing complex client challenges.
From a Cisco perspective, we are driving client outcomes even more than before by putting SDI on top. We can now say, “The client is asking for this and this. Is there one true solution from one party that can deliver it all? And if they can, is it the most efficient and the most expedient? Are there other features that we can bring in there to create value?”
Andreea: The keyword here is trust, built through a dynamic, long-standing partnership. We are open and always willing to support each other, and that's why our partnership has been so successful.
Every time you look at a country or a region where we’ve been successful, it's because we worked together with a clear focus on delivering value for our clients. When we apply this formula, we develop offerings such as SDI Services that enable client success by maximizing the potential of our strategic relationship.
Read more about the value of Software-defined Infrastructure Services.