The Winchester House
A few months ago, after a my previous blogs discussing cloud computing adoption, I changed subject and authored a short series of articles around the challenges of adopting an architectural-led approach to your IT strategy in general, and data center design in particular. (If you missed them, you can read them here: part 1, part 2, and part 3). The theme of these articles centered on the Winchester House in San Jose, California.
This house was extended by builder after builder, without any architectural blueprint. Consequently, this house had many doors opening into blank walls, abandoned staircases, and other “features” — and it was in construction for year after year, with point additions compounding the problems. I then asserted that this analogy can apply to how IT architectures sometimes evolve – bit by bit, without a formal blueprint or “grand master” plan, if you will.
Architecture-Led Facebook Poll Results 31 Jan 2012
I finished the series with a poll on our Cisco Data Center Facebook page – thanks to all of you who spotted the poll and took the time to respond. The results were indeed interesting, so I thought I’d share back the results with you and discuss the implications. As the diagram shows, you certainly told us loud and clear what your biggest issue was when it came to adopting an architectural-led approach to your IT strategy and data center design: “We don’t have clear enough business goals for IT” scooped 65% of your votes, way ahead of all other options (!!) – so let’s discuss now in some more detail.
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Tags: architectural-led, architectures, cisco_services, cloud_computing, data center, data_center, facebook poll, IT strategy, market research
Our team is excited and ready for a great week at Cisco Live Europe! We’ve been working on demos, speaking sessions, and social events for the conference – and it’s finally here.
I encourage you to meet us in the World of Solutions expo hall to learn more about Cisco Unified Management – featuring Intelligent Automation for Cloud and Network Services Manager in the Data Centre & Virtualization Demo Booth and in the CloudVerse Pavilion.
There are several conference sessions on intelligent automation and cloud computing. Follow us at @CiscoIA on Twitter where we’ll post updates and reminders about key sessions.
In fact, you may have to choose between some great breakout sessions being held at the same time. Here are a few of the key sessions that feature Intelligent Automation:
- Inside Cisco IT: Elastic Infrastructure Services – ITMCOC-2568 (Tuesday, Jan 31, 14:15 pm)
- Converged Infrastructure and Orchestration with Vblock and Cisco Intelligent Automation – BRKSPS-2202 (Tuesday, Jan 31, 14:15 pm)
- Cloud Automation – BRKNMS-2659 (Friday, Feb 3, 9:00 am)
- Create “Network Containers” in a Multi-Tenant Data Center – BRKNMS-3999 (Friday, Feb 3, 9:00 am)
- Orchestration of UCS via Cisco Process Orchestrator – BRKDCT-3105 (Friday, Feb 3, 11:00 am)
At Cisco Live this week, you’ll learn how our Unified Management solutions deliver intelligent automation for intelligent infrastructure solutions in a Unified Data Center approach:
When you’re ready to unwind after the big first day, join the data centre team at 18:30 for a meet-up at the W XYZ bar in the Aloft ExCel Hotel next to the conference. Here’s your personal invitation.
And for even more fun, play the Cisco pinball in the World of Solutions! There are prizes for high scores every day, with a pinball challenge on Wednesday at 16:00 – follow @CiscoPinball on Twitter for details.
We look forward to meeting you – enjoy the conference!
Tags: automation, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, ciscoia, cloud, data center, intelligent automation, unified management
The other day I was “making” breakfast for my daughter, as I poured the cereal from the box I noticed that the “toy” was the box. The box had a game board printed on it and you had to cut it out along with the game pieces and the die. The game instructions were printed inside the box, so I ended up with a whole bunch of cardboard snippets and the game. She was so excited to play the game, so we played the game, it was an arduous journey but I stuck it out because that’s the kind of dad I am. When we finished playing, my daughter with her eight years of life experience remarked, “You just don’t get anything good for free anymore!”
Anymore?!! How many reference points could she have in her eight years? Myself, being a little older, I have some more experience with “free”, and sadly I have to agree with her that the free you get today is not as good as the free you used to get, to the point where seeing the word free no longer excites me.
Well I have found some exceptions to that rule. As a developer for a couple decades now I have used many development tools and environments. Along the way either I or my employer had to pay for those tools, but now almost every development product I use is free and not cheesy cereal box game free but full featured with community support and add-ons to extend the capabilities of the product. That’s the kind of free to get excited about.
Why get excited? Well take for instance the Cisco UCS Manager; it has an XML API that is communicated with via XML documents in an HTTP post. Every tool I use to write applications that interface with the UCS Manager is free. That’s great you say, but you still need a UCS Manager and to get that you need a UCS Fabric Interconnect and you need chassis, blades, adaptors, memory, disks, etc. and you start to think things like “the UCS we just ordered isn’t here yet” or “the UCS systems we have are all production and we can’t test our scripts against them.”
Don’t despair because Cisco has released a UCS Emulator for the 1.4 and 2.0 versions of the UCS Manager firmware. The UCS Platform Emulator (UCSPE) has significant capabilities to enable UCS Manager development, things like hardware configuration importing from a live system, exporting of a configuration and the ability to build an emulated UCS system like the one you just ordered. In addition to the emulation capabilities the UCSPE also includes the UCS Object Model documentation, example scripts, Visore (the object browser) and more. Don’t know what the Object Model is or concerned you need more information on the XML API, check out these docs.
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Tags: CiscoUCS, UCS Emulator
On several recent occasions, in discussions with my customers, colleagues and industry peers, the importance of the network, as it relates to Cloud Computing and Data Centers, has been challenged. I am surprised that such a topic is even up for debate ! In my opinion, the underlying network infrastructure of any given Data Center is the architectural foundation for service and application strategy; be it Cloud Computing, Virtual Desktops, Video or even Hosting services.
If we look at a broader scale, no one can argue the complexity and at the same time, the intelligence the modern Internet brings to it’s consumers. How would enterprises and service providers alike, offer converged services like voice, video and data without any network intelligence ? Not to mention, security, application scaling and other managed services. Networks are no longer the traditional packet switching platforms, it’s the heart and soul of intelligence which integrates with other intelligent applications to differentiate the multitude of services that can be enabled over a common medium. As application requirements are increasingly becoming complex, the need for equally smarter transport is critical.
Virtualization is bringing a whole new perspective to this discussion. It’s true you can account for network, compute and storage virtualization within a given solution; virtual switch, virtual machine, virtual firewall, virtual load-balancer, etc.; but how far can we abstract the network ? One can absolutely argue, Cloud Computing is server/compute resource centric, however for most enterprises, when you combine this compute structure with application workload requirements from business, technology and operations perspectives, suddenly the foundation architecture plays a crucial role – i.e. the network and it’s interconnects.
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Tags: Cloud Computing, data center, Networks
I have talked to many enterprises that want a private cloud; also service providers that want to build a public cloud based upon Cisco UCS / Nexus. They all would like to get to their first generation of cloud very quickly. We have many conversations on infrastructure to use, the right choice of hypervisor, and what use cases to start with. Today I talked to a customer of our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that wants a differentiating end user portal. Everyone can spin up a VM, but how to do it in a way that will drive adoption and new business, whether it is for the enterprise or service provider? How do we do this at a cost and a timeline that meets the needs of the business and the CIO.
These are not lightweight concerns. I have seen many data center automation projects that focused too much on the provisioning and not enough on the end user experience. The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit at Cisco has been involved with many customers building private and public clouds with our software stack. This includes Cisco IT’s very large private cloud deployment based upon our software. The two services they deployed: CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services) Express and CITEIS VDC (Virtual Data Center) has received broad acclaim. Watch the following videos by Jamie MacQuarrie of the Intelligent Automation team on these two CITEIS Services.
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Tags: Cisco CloudVerse, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco IT, cloud services, data center, orchestration, private cloud, self-service, server provisioning, UCS, Unified Fabric