How to Stop Shadow IT with Cisco UCS Director and ITaaS


March 23, 2016

Face it, we’re spoiled. The internet today promises and delivers instant gratification and instant results in almost every aspect of our lives.

Want to watch TV? Binge a whole season right now.

Want to listen to music? Stream hundreds of songs instantly.

Need a new app on your smartphone? Download and use it immediately.

This expectation bleeds into the workplace as well. When Marketing or another department needs a certain tool, they don’t want to wait weeks for IT to research a solution and manually provision resources. They want it right away, and sometimes employees will just go out and find it themselves, thereby creating a Shadow IT environment. That is something no one wants.

Somehow, the IT department must find a way to compete with the instant results of public cloud supported solutions ready for download at a moment’s notice. There are numerous strategies to stop Shadow IT, and many have merit. To do it the right way, however, you need to establish IT as a Service (ITaaS) in your organization.


Stop Shadow IT: Two-Pronged Approach to Creating ITaaS

Changing Perceptions of the IT Department

ITaaS is more than just a technology solution. Certainly, products like Cisco Unified Computing System Director (UCS Director) will enable the capabilities to enact ITaaS, but what it really requires is a rethinking of the relationship IT has with the rest of the organization.

In most companies today, IT is seen as an arbiter and repair crew. They preserve the existing function of systems and enact policies to try and manage the company’s use of technology.

ITaaS asks that you reposition the IT department as a deliverer of solutions.

Tell us what you need, and we’ll provide a robust tool with a bow on it.

At the heart, that’s what IT has always been, but ITaaS demands that you meet the expected turnaround time. Otherwise, the IT department is just another impediment to letting other departments get their work done.


Cisco UCS Director

Here’s where the technology side comes in. The perception of the IT department is linked to the results you can deliver, and Cisco UCS Director empowers the IT department to become a solution provider like any other public cloud application.

Cisco describes UCS Director as, the orchestra conductor of your data center.” It abstracts hardware and software into automated and programmable tasks, thereby expediting the provisioning process. With a few clicks, new applications can be spun into virtual machines, and the foundational resources can be provisioned in a matter of minutes—not weeks.

  • Cisco APIC: The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) aligns with the UCS Director to automatically determine the required resources and develops policies to support the application. This whole process can then be managed from a single, centralized pane of glass.
  • Resource Management: Compute and storage resources are restructured as available pools. Applications are then assigned to these pools to draw the necessary resources to support their function. As needed, IT administrators can adjust the size of any given pool to optimize their allocation.
  • Task Library: Within UCS are scripts for more than 2,200 tasks in a task library. From re-syncing contained VMs to generating VLANs and VNX LUNs, the task library allows UCS Director to automate activities that would have normally required the direct attention of IT personnel.
  • Multi-Vendor Solution: Cisco UCS Director is compatible with an array of leading technology solutions including, but not limited to, HP, VMWare, EMC, and VCE.

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For Further Reading:

How to Combat Shadow IT

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