Guest Blogger: Yair Dolev (@CiscoCloudY) brings extensive experience in enterprise application development and management of advanced data center virtualization technology products to Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group. Prior to Cisco, Yair was Director of Product Management at data center automation authority Tidal Software, and managed the groundbreaking Azul Virtual Machine products at Azul Systems, which enabled data centers to run large Java workloads on highly scalable, optimized hardware.
What do IT managers want? Speaking with customers about their plans to adopt a private cloud, we get to glimpse into the wild world of enterprise IT transformation. Customers have been telling us about how their business environment is rapidly changing, and many share their elaborate vision for becoming a sophisticated IT as a Service organization. We, in turn, have shared with them the capabilities of our newly released Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud version 3.1 (Cisco IAC). I am delighted to see how Cisco IAC 3.1 resonates so well with IT teams. Here I mention some highlights of this newly upgraded cloud management solution.
First off, we’ve made it easy to leverage more of the infrastructure footprint for via the cloud. Customers often own different infrastructure stacks, whether by choice as a hedge, or by chance, as a result of mergers. They might have a vBlock, a FlexPod, and another asset that uses, say- HP servers. A cloud system should not require complete infrastructure homogeneity. With IAC 3.1, each infrastructure pod (regardless of the vendor) is treated as one “Compute POD” (Point of Delivery), with multiple PODs all connected to and managed by one unified resource management layer.
Aspiring cloud administrators reveal that they need to accommodate disparate teams of cloud consumers with varying levels of isolation between teams. To that end the new virtual data centers in IAC 3.1 closely model the access concept customers seek. IAC 3.1 affords administrators a high degree of control with each of these deployment environments, including where to locate it, the level of resource sharing vs. resource reservation, network isolation and access scope. And this opens up opportunities for more user teams, more applications, and more business operations to proceed with cloud adoption. For example, an application requiring a high trust level can be localized to a VDC that’s placed on a dedicated POD, provisioned with extra network security measures, and given all pre-reserved CPU, memory and storage resources.
A highlight of the IAC Portal is the strict Role Based Access Control that ensures people get all the visibility allowed to them, without being able to access assets of other teams. IAC 3.1 puts stronger governance powers at the hands of the cloud administrator team with standard approval control. Now essential control tasks such as setting up to two levels of administrative approvals for each service request, are easily done with a few mouse clicks in the Portal. Ordering a physical server requires scrutiny? Increasing the size of a VM requires prior authorization? No problem. To ensure administrator don’t lag behind on handling approval requests, IAC includes email notifications, queues and portlets out of the box. And this covers even additional services that the customers beyond the standard product. Another reason why it’s more feasible to move to a cloud service in production.
One of the biggest resonating points is about robust growth and extensibility. IT organizations share about their growing demand for cost control, increased agility, and competing with public cloud services a la Amazon AWS. They need a solution that will grow with them through the stages of evolution towards an ambitious future vision. IAC 3.1 starts with a top-level “god panel” the enables or hides entire service classes. Cloud administrators get complete control over which services they prefer to start offering, and which ones to add next. Closely matching the larger organization’s adoption readiness is key: don’t offer too little, don’t offer too much.
This is where the cloud admin enables and disables whole service classes from a “god” control box.
Enterprises need a solution path that fits their specific needs, and Cisco realizes that customers vary greatly. That’s why IAC brings a rapidly expanding standard feature set and a visionary product road-map. That’s why IAC 3.1 includes over 250 portal and orchestrator built-in points for cost-effective solution extension. And that’s why we announced our growing solution accelerator program. This is such an important point that I need to expand on during a following post. Stay tuned!