The road in my picture below – the A82 that winds through Glencoe in Scotland – was used in the James Bond “Skyfall” movie in one of the amazing car chase scenes. This road winds through sparsely inhabited territory, has lots of ups, downs, bumps and turns and if you’re not careful it can be a dangerous road. I’ll draw the analogy here with the challenges of introducing new technologies: there can be ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown, if you are not careful. And in my case here, I’ll use this analogy to illustrate the challenges of adopting OpenStack: without the right kind of approach, without a carefully managed exploratory “pilot” investigation and subsequent roadmap planning, you may find that adopting OpenStack – or any other open source software solution, for that matter – has its share of challenges, ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown.
Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, the crossover edition. That’s right, this week, as we answer the question “I’m an Engineer, Why Would I Do That?” with TechWise TV’s very own Jimmy Ray Purser (@jimmyray_purser). He’s taking up the question of why FlexPod instead of of DIY architecture with NetApp’s Joel McKelvey (@joelmckelvey). This episode is lively and informative as our experts explore the solution from a tech and business point of view.
In less than 48 hours, on Nov 6th, Cisco will officially announce details of its approach to Application Centric Infrastructure based on innovations from Insieme networks.
[To join our Webcast with John Chambers and Insieme Soni Jiandani on Wednesday November 6 at 10:30 am EST/7:30 am PST register here ]
No doubt that there are great expectations riding on this announcement. In part due to Insieme’s pedigree, and in part due to the promise it brings. The former I covered in my previous blog – Application Centric Infrastructure gets ready to rumble. As for the latter, it is important to put the promise in perspective.
As businesses of all sizes continue to pump billions of dollars of investment into data center and cloud IT and consumption models, the expectations for IT to generate a credible RoI in terms of business agility, productivity and efficiency has never been higher. IT today epitomizes a very powerful business function that directly impacts agility and contributes to bottomline and customer experience. It is but natural to think of data centers are futuristic, glamorous environments, quietly humming away transforming businesses at their core. Many new data centers are in fact that, and seem to come out for sci-fi movie.
However, in a majority of cases, many data centers have just “grown-up” too fast over the last decade that saw adhoc spurts in data center consolidation and server virtualization. While both phases have provided tremendous benefits in terms of efficiencies and economies of scale, they have also contributed their mite to increasing operational complexity. From cabling sprawl, to network and server sprawl, to VM sprawl – the rapid growth has in some cases negated cost efficiencies gained through server virtualization. The same can be said of software stacks with complex licensing and version control issues. The affinity to applications in this chaos has somehow been either taken for granted or partially lost in the complexity, making it harder to bring predictability into application deployments or troubleshooting, leading to both time and cost overruns. How can this be simplified? How can infrastructure be better linked to the needs of applications? How to make life simpler for data center operations and facilitate a better application experience?
Per a survey conducted by ESG last year, 63% of IT pros say new app deployments take a month or more, 50% say upgrades take just as long. 77% of enterprise IT pros say they would manage more than 150 applications over the next year. This is a lot! For IT to deliver high performing apps, they need a way for infrastructure to automatically respond to the needs of the application, and to have excellent visibility when something goes wrong and requires troubleshooting during application deployments or upgrades.
A lot of our data center customers are in the healthcare industry -- This topic is close to my heart, as I used to work in this field several years ago. Healthcare organization are facing specific challenges in moving to the cloud, that Cisco and partners address carefully.
IT innovation and integration in healthcare is on the rise, causing a fundamental shift for healthcare organizations. As economic factors and government regulations begin to push more and more independent physician practices to the cloud, healthcare organizations now work with cloud service providers and share the responsibility to meet regulatory demands set forth in the recent package of HIPAA changes. So what does this move to the cloud mean for healthcare organizations?
“As more healthcare professionals move to the cloud, IT organizations need to evaluate how to federate public cloud services with their private cloud efforts. This type of transformation will require organizations to look beyond just building a private cloud. They need to build and buy a secure, scalable, and reliable network that supports privacy, high availability, and mobility, all while meeting cost targets.”
It is clear that the new HIPAA regulations require a more shared responsibility between IT and service providers, but with a certified Cisco Powered cloud provider, healthcare organizations can be empowered to expand both their private and public cloud solutions.
In three short years OpenStack has become cloud management platform that is “Too Big to Fail” (according to Citi Research). Whether it is true or not, OpenStack is definitely gaining traction and is making a profound impact not only as a viable Cloud management option, but also on the software economics for Cloud solutions.
Cloud computing is rapidly transforming businesses and organizations by providing access to flexible, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructure. These elastic capabilities help accelerate the delivery of infrastructure, applications, and services with the right quality of service (QoS) to increase revenue. Cisco’s approach—innovative and unified data center infrastructure that provides the underlying foundation for OpenStack technology—enables the creation of massively scalable infrastructure that delivers on the promise of the cloud.
Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with OpenStack provides the foundation for flexible, elastic cloud solutions enabling speed and agility. As the saying goes “Every Skyscraper is built on a strong foundation of pillars”, the OpenStack platform requires the core requirements from the underlying infrastructure – simplification, rapid provisioning, self-service consumption model, and elastic resource allocation. Cisco UCS uniquely provides a policy based resource management model, which simplifies by integrating compute, networking and storage with the ability to scale and automate deployment.
This foundation addresses every stage of cloud deployment be it private or public cloud offerings. Some of primary workloads targeted for OpenStack based deployments are:
Web server, multimedia, big data, and cluster-aware applications
Applications with extensive computing power requirements and mixed I/O workloads
To accelerate these cloud infrastructure deployments, Cisco has developed starter configurations focused on compute-intensive, mixed or heterogeneous and storage-intensive workloads. The various server nodes are typically sized to include the OpenStack controller, compute, Ceph storage, Swift proxy and Swift storage.
Cisco UCS Solution Accelerator Paks for Cloud Infrastructure Deployments
Scaling beyond 160 servers can be implemented by interconnecting multiple UCS domains using Nexus 3000/5000/6000/7000 Series switches, scalable to thousands of servers and to hundreds of petabytes storage, and managed from a single pane using UCS Central in a datacenter or distributed globally as shown in figure.