“A Day in the Clouds” – APIs for Cloud Infrastructure Automation
When we really try and boil down the appeal of Cloud Computing, the ability for a person or business to move from “great idea” to “implementing the concept” almost always moves to the top of the list. The true value of Cloud Computing is fundamentally about “now”. You want resources now. At times you’ll want to expand those resources now, as the business grows. You might also need to reduce those resources now, as projects end or priorities changes.
The concept of “now” was the focus of Cisco’s participation in the Intel “Day in the Clouds” event last week at their campus in Oregon. The event allowed all of the Intel Cloud Builder partners to come together and collaborate around the technologies evolving the Cloud Computing market. This was a follow-up to the initial Reference Architecture that we had submitted to the program, which focused on a modular implementation of Virtualized Multi-Tenant Data Centers.
ChipChat podcast with Intel’s Allyson Klein and Brian Gracely – “Enabling the Unified Data Center with Cisco”
While our Reference Architecture focused on many areas of the Data Center, from Virtualization to Unified Computing to Unified Fabric and Unified Network Services, we decided to focus the demo portion of our involvement on automation. Specifically we focused on the existing complexity faced by operations groups looking to build Public Cloud or Private Cloud as they automate the deployment of applications or VMs across network, compute and storage. All too often, application teams either have to coordinate with multiple functional teams, or add excess complexity to their homegrown systems in order to automate the deployment of underlying IT resources.
Our demonstration focused on the simplicity of working with the Cisco UCS API and it’s ability to provide granular automation into every aspect of Compute, Network and Storage I/O. All of this automation and management functionality extends across multiple UCS chassis. But one thing that many people don’t know is that the Cisco UCS Manager (UCSM), which ships with the UCS (via the Fabric Interconnect), is a Java implementation of the UCS API. So everything that can be done via the UCSM GUI can also be done by 3rd-party tools. Think about that for a second. That means that IT operations teams could get started with UCS + UCSM now to get familiar with the product and begin building Cloud Computing infrastructure today. Over time, they can begin automating all of this functionality without having to change any operational processes. Putting the power of “now” into their hands at the pace that best aligns their IT skills and business needs.
Not only did we demonstrate how granular Cisco UCS Service Profiles can be created, but we also highlighted the suite of tools available to customers, partners and the UCS Management ecosystem. Within this toolkit we highlighted the Cisco UCS Emulator (runs within a VM) and goUCS tools (deep visibility into the XML API). All of these tools and frameworks are freely available to download and use within IT environments today. They are the simplest ways to begin seeing how to leverage automation and infrastructure built for Cloud Computing.
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