Cisco Storage Analytics Team - IT Team of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: Cisco Systems, San Jose, CA
Company Description: Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT, helping companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. At Cisco, an integral part of our DNA is creating long-lasting partnerships with customers, employees, investors and ecosystem partners, helping them succeed in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate.
Nomination Category: Information Technology Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Information Technology Team of the Year

Nomination Title: Cisco Storage Analytics Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Cisco Systems Global Infrastructure Services (GIS) is pleased to nominate our Storage Analytics Team (SAT) for recognition as the 2016 Information Technology Team of the Year, for the development of their IT Storage Stats solution.

Cisco is geographically diverse, with 25 Data Centers on 4 continents, the largest of which are Richardson (RCDN), Allen (ALLN), and Research Triangle Park (RTP) in the United States. In each location, diverse data is stored on SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. Further, the storage devices themselves vary considerably from each other, with units from different manufacturers and different capabilities, spanning different technological eras.

By virtue of the magnitude, types, spread, and geography of the 90 petabytes of storage we have distributed across the world, there are considerable complications for understanding the consumption and lifecycle metrics across the storage platform. Prior to our Storage Stats solution, the team manually collected and consolidated the information used for making key IT decisions. This often resulted in reconciliation issues between different analysts when compiling the data.

To resolve this, the team developed a three-component solution. Part one, is an automated service that collects fundamental data atoms through data collectors, and updates into a database. Part two is the aggregation service that summarizes the data into a more consumable form. Pre-processing this data ensures that there is no lag in fetching data from the middle tier when requested. The third component a smartphone application. This is a thin application that sends data requests and then displays the resulting summaries in a pleasing and easily understood format.

With our new tools, the time to get decision-ready information has been cut from several days to zero – storage information is now immediately available to our personnel.

The broader Storage Service team now uses the SAT solution for immediate analytics to manage and reduce the costs of operations year over year. The solution provides consolidated executive level information on the state of storage usage and consumption metrics at a worldwide level, Data Center level, and environment level, as well as technology level. Each screen provides an option to email detailed, context-level information in spreadsheet format which can be used by analysts for micro detail.

The SAT app provides a consistent view of storage information in an extremely usable format. It requires no knowledge of the Storage devices, their command technologies, or SQL to fetch or consolidate data. This makes it ideal for executives and analysts. When a user installs the phone application, they can use the app itself to register for permission to access to the data, and further, administrators can manage users, granting or changing access permissions—all within the same app.

This useful solution was developed as a “stretch” project: with limited budget and four contributors working the issue in addition to their regular project inventory. Even so, it took a mere three months to roll the app into production, where it is now in continual use.

Our team:

• Kamal Gangwani, Conception/Lead/Architect
• Vijaya Nattu, Analyst
• Sharmila KS, Backend Developer
• Balakrishna Ambati, iOS Developer

Note: See the attachments for high-level architecture and usage documents.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) accomplishments of the nominated team since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

• New StorageStats solution provides secure, on-demand access storage infrastructure information, both at an executive-level as well as with detailed drill-downs.
• User element is a mobile app: the most convenient tool on a platform available in most people’s pockets.
• It provides consistent, immediate data to all – used by Operations, Life Cycle Management, Service Management.
• The information is always available from anywhere in the world, is secure and does not need VPN on the phone – it only needs data connection.
• It has resulted in savings of several hundred hours of effort for information generation as well as “matching” the results between analysts (reconciliation).
• It has also resulted in hard dollar savings of spend on fleet management – as a result it has consistently reduced budget spend over the past sequential quarters.