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Introducing the Solution Accelerator Community for Intelligent Automation for Cloud

We are excited by the demand for Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition designed for pilot cloud deployments.   Just Recently we announced the new version of our stack, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 3.1.  The release of Cisco IAC 3.1 continues to demonstrate Cisco’s commitment to enterprise customers and service providers to successfully deploy and manage their private, public or hybrid cloud environments.

There are so many opportunities to build private, public, and hybrid clouds with our Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, Server Provisioner and Network Services Manager.  Over a year ago we embarked on a journey to build cloud behaviors  into our product through  a concept we call Accelerator Packs which are XML  files containing the service catalog, data model and orchestration workflows that snap into Cisco IAC Starter Edition or Cisco IAC 3.1.  Accelerator packs extend Cisco IAC’s ability to manage multiple cloud environments such as Openstack, Amazon EC2 and VMware vCloud Director.   Accelerator packs were designed to meet the needs of our differing customers:  large service providers, or enterprises acting as a service provider, that desire completely custom behaviors, and other customers that are looking for pre-built and Cisco supported cloud-in-a-box solution.

Our platform is like the iPOD.  When installed and turned on you have a blank slate, no music ships with that iPOD.  Our automation packs are like the music and video files that upload and then your iPOD comes alive.  With our 3.0 Starter Edition and the 3.1 release, we have productized many playlists for a starter and enterprise grade cloud.  This means more than 70 pre-built portal services and over 150 orchestration workflows.  But wait, there is one more thing:   Cisco Advanced Services, Cisco partners and customers can build their specific content to extend the productized behaviors and content.  It can be transportable from one instance of Intelligent Automation for Cloud to another for leverage and integration.

How do we encourage sharing between all the 100’s of folks building content for this platform?

We are introducing the Solution Accelerator Community Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  Anyone with a registration can access this site.

This will be the place for Cisco, Partners and Customers to post, download, improve, upload content for sharing within the community.  This content can only run on the Intelligent Automation for Cloud software, so if you would like purchase a version of the platform for non-production test and development use, please go here.  While the solution accelerators are NOT open source, the use of this site is governed by these terms of use.

We have placed our Multi-Cloud  solution accelerator on this site and we are extremely proud of our integration with Openstack (and Amazon AWS and VMware vCloud Director).

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Superheroes of the Cloud Part Four: Every Cloud Service Provider needs a Cloud Cheerleader

I am of often surprised by how much interest Intelligent Automation for Cloud receives from Service Providers and enterprises that are building ITaaS.  I come across another individual who fits the mantle of Cloud Hero, someone who really stands out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  Enterprises have choices to either build their own private cloud their way (which many are doing) but they can also choose to leverage a service provider as well.   There is a broad ecosystem of players in this space from of course Amazon, Rackspace, to traditional Telco’s to more focused and nimble smaller cloud service providers.  How you as a service provider (or a cloud architect at your enterprise) think about and drive your organization toward the right choices for your cloud is absolutely critical the adoption, revenue, and ease in operational excellence.

Do you compete at the low end – what some call a commodity cloud?  Do you go after complete multi-tenancy based upon Cisco Network architectures and compete on functionality?  Do you think through how you are going to sell services and what your value proposition will be?  Are there creative angles that you can enable with your Cloud Orchestration framework?  Which of your internal systems do you really need to integrate with?  All are great questions.   Producing a revenue generating (or charged back private cloud) requires the attention to a multitude of details.  Organizations need an energetic individual who speaks their mind and can lead an organization the right balance of business, technology, and ultimately success in monetizing the cloud.

This cloud hero is Karl Marsh, Staff Manager, Tools & Orchestration at Windstream Hosted Solutions,

Previous Superheros:

Superhero 3:  Ravi Rajamani and Brian Krug of Cisco Advanced Services.

Superhero 2:  Johan Milbrink of Presideo Networked Solutions

Superhero 1:  Ryan Carrico of Paypal


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Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud – Part 3 – Flexpod

Over the past two weeks, Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design , then Laszlo Bojtos,  illustrated this concept with the Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design, with a specific emphasis on the integration with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud .

This week I talked with John Kennedy, a Cisco engineer who put a lot of energy on the FlexPod CVDs.

“So John, what is FlexPod ?
FlexPod is the result of collaboration between NetApp© and Cisco to create a cost-effective, scalable solution for cloud applications as well as standard virtualization support.  The FlexPod(t), a pre-defined, pre-tested solution, includes the compute, networking, and storage customers need in a validated (as in CVD) package. But unlike other validated solutions, FlexPod can be scaled up or out, not just one or the other.

What need does FlexPod address ?
It’s probably been a while since you had to source a motherboard. Many of us have done this in the past, in order to get desktop computer system that met our needs. Pre-configured systems were limited in their abilities, and custom design was beneficial.

But choices of personal computer systems have increased, and most folks don’t need to customize anymore, preferring to buy an entire computer system that’s been tested and designed to meet their needs. On the other hand, customers want to be able to expand the system they have to keep up with new technology, or to add capabilities.

Customers need to support multiple types of applications and have multiple purposes for their infrastructure, and the Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for FlexPod reflect that need. The architectures have been validated by engineers from both companies to ensure performance and stability.
But that’s just the beginning. The Cisco Validated Design documents include multiple configurations with multiple types of application and operating systems  Read More »

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Unified Data Center IQ Contest : Last chance to win – It’s all about UCS

A quick note to make sure that  you don’t miss the last weekly leg of this 6 weeks contest –

Last week on November 1st was  a big milestone for our customers with the announcement of Cisco UCS Central – I hope you has a chance to check the blogs on this topic , including the analysis of  partners bloggers. Check here you will find all the clues you need to answer the questions and get a chance to win the iPAD .

So naturally our questions are about UCS  and UCS Central.

To enter the contest and answer the 5 easy questions with multiple choices, just go to and click on the tab “win an iPad !”

Here is one additional clue : To answer the question number 2 about cost avoidance, you definitely want to discover our UCS  TCO tool 

Just a quick reminder of how this contest works :

Read More »

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Accelerating Desktop Virtualization deployments for Small and Medium Business (SMB) customers

As part of the comprehensive desktop virtualization portfolio, Cisco is providing a solution for the small and medium business customers, typically up to 500 desktops environment. The Cisco Solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box offers a simple and affordable desktop virtualization solution combining the benefits of Cisco UCS C-Series Rack servers with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box software.

SMB businesses account for more than 70% of the PC install base and significant proportion of these are potential candidates for desktop virtualization. Many of the SMB environments have uniform workload, defined workload characteristics and nominal application requirements.

The Cisco Solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box integrates connection brokering, load balancing, desktop provisioning, HA, and management functions in a single software appliance that runs on Cisco UCS C260 M2 server – this server is based on Intel Xeon processors and provide expanded memory configurations for the most demanding VDI workloads.

There are 2 defined solutions – Balanced Configuration targeting 60 to 70 users and Performance Configuration targeting 140 to 150 users per server node. Customers can scale either of these solutions by adding servers in a grid or cluster fashion. Cisco provides simplified single SKU ordering process for the Balanced and Performance configurations.

This solution is apt for small service firms, healthcare institutions, educational institutions, state and local government organizations.

For more details on the solution, please refer to the Solutions Brief and for Cisco desktop virtualization offerings please visit

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