Cisco Discusses New Cisco Information Server 7.0 and the Role of the Network at Data Virtualization Day in NYC

Cisco brought the fifth annual Data Virtualization Day to the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to share details about advancements coming in Cisco Information Server 7.0, the advantages of data virtualization, as well as the importance of the network.

Cisco and Composite together can do things together now that neither could have done without the other, noted Mike Flanagan, general manager for Cisco's Data & Analytics Business Group. Increasingly, he noted, organizations will leverage data virtualization to access not only relational data in various repositories but also new forms of non-relational data.

One way to look at the synergy between the companies is the the network connects data sources physically and data virtualization connects it from a semantics perspective, observed Bob Eve, director, Product Management, Data Virtualization Business Unit. This was the second Data Virtualization Day hosted by Cisco since the company acquired data virtualization vendor Composite Software in July 2013, and a number of presenters referred to the software by its former name.

Comprehensive Approach to Data Access

Data virtualization, the company says, provides a comprehensive approach to managing and accessing data that can help harness all of a company’s data to address an array of requirements such as achieving a single view of customers, timely reporting for reporting, analytics for drug trials, aggregated information about persons of interest for homeland security, or real time data integration.

Cisco Information Server 7.0

Increasingly, companies want all people to have access to data to drive better decision making from top to bottom, said Jim Green, now CTO, Data Analytics Business Group at Cisco, who led Composite Software as chairman and CEO.  The 7.0 release of Cisco Information Server (CIS) will ship in November, he said. A key component of the new release will be the Business Directory, which provides a portal to data and elevates data from schemas to information that business people care about with context.  CIS 7.0’s Business Directory, the company says, is designed for business self-service, enabling users to use search and categorization techniques to find data and then use BI tools to query it. The technology allows users to find the data, access the data, create a virtual sandbox, analyze the data, and gain business insights. With virtual sandboxes, Green said, the data looks like it is local, allowing users to do analytics on data more rapidly.

Data Tsunami

Observing that the "Internet of Everything" is driving a data tsunami, Flanagan said that industry research shows that there were 12.5 billion connected devices in 2010, with that number expected to grow to 25 billion in 2015, and reach 50 billion by 2020.

“We know that people will need to make use of all this data,” said Flanagan. The characteristic that all those devices have in common is that they are all connected to the network, he noted, emphasizing the network is central to the future of analytics.  Moving all that data back to a data center is not going to be possible, he said, and what will be needed, is the ability to “move analytics to the data rather than bringing data to analytics.”  This will allow users to derive vale from data much faster. And, as companies increasingly seek to leverage streaming data, the network becomes more important said Flanagan noting that streaming data and data at rest equal new opportunities for insight.

Importance of the Network

Also emphasizing the importance of the network, Paula Dowdy, senior vice president, Services Sales, Cisco Systems, EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia), observed that a “hybrid IT” approach spanning private and public clouds is necessary to help address serious policy and governance issues because CIOs need a model that balances concerns across costs, risk, control, security, and portability.  “It is all about the network. If the network goes down you don’t have access to the cloud,” she said. Cisco’s “InterCloud” is the most comprehensive approach to cloud in the industry, she said, and data virtualization is a key enabler. The principles of the InterCloud are that a hybrid cloud approach requires the ability to place workloads on any cloud and move them back, application centric policy control across all IT, network-centric partner systems, and virtualization at scale to support the IoE explosion. InterCloud interconnects private and public clouds to deliver a hybrid IT environment, and data virtualization is critical to realize the benefits of cloud and hybrid IT, she said.

Data Virtualization and Data Governance

In addition to spreading access to data to more users, data virtualization also supports security, compliance, and governance, noted John Wren, vice president for information technology, Enterprise Applications at Cisco customer Flextronics. The company, which provides design, manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket services, has implemented the CIS, currently has 500 data sources connected to its system.  Aside from the greater potential use of analytics across more data resulting in more insights, “data virtualization acts as a gateway to user and source systems,” he said, and prevents users from accessing data from source systems directly, which also benefits the IT department. 

For more information about Cisco Information Server 7.0, go here