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What is Infrastructure Programmability?

The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs.

This blog series examines how infrastructure programmability is providing a faster time to competitive advantage and highlights the differences between programmable infrastructure and traditional infrastructure, and what programmability means for your entire IT infrastructure.

To read the second post in this series that discusses benefits of network programmability, click here. To read the third post in this series that discusses how IT leaders can embrace this change, click here.

The proliferation of devices and applications has increased the complexity of traditional IT infrastructure. The complexity arises from manually managing the infrastructure box-by-box that is slow and error-prone.  The adoption of cloud computing has compounded the problem with on-premises and off-premises resources. As a result, IT leaders have to allocate critical resources to maintain and troubleshoot these systems. In a recent whitepaper, Zeus Kerravala indicated that 83% of IT budget is used to simply maintain the current operating environment. This leaves precious few resources to invest in business-enabling innovation.

At the same time, business leaders are demanding their IT infrastructure to provide them with a faster time to competitive advantage. Quick time to market is paramount in a world where a new competitive advantage might only last a few months or even weeks. And, as if these challenges are not enough, new cyber-attacks not only threaten innovation but can also threaten the organization itself.

Infrastructure programmability is providing a faster time to competitive advantage.

Infrastructure programmability is providing a faster time to competitive advantage.

Programmability to the rescue

Infrastructure programmability provides the ability to control and change the functions of IT infrastructure. Let’s take a closer look.

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Cisco and Citrix Partnership will shine at Citrix Synergy 2014

April 28, 2014 at 6:30 am PST

CitrixSynergyCisco

In case you didn’t notice , the partnership between Citrix and Cisco has been growing nicely over the part 2 years in many areas .
Amongst numerous areas of collaboration here are some common solutions that will be highlighted at the coming conference Citrix Synergy

  • Cisco Enterprise Mobility solution for business to employee with Citrix XenMobile
  • Cisco Desktop Virtualization with Citrix Xen Desktop 7.1 on Cisco UCS
  • Cisco DaaS with Citrix (CloudPlatform or UCS director on UCS)
  • Cisco’s Citrix NetScaler 1000V  (vPath and RISE)
  • Cisco ACI strategy and how Citrix integrates OpFlex.

The last bullets point, especially the endorsement by Citrix of RISE ,  the new protocol for Nexus 7000  have been amply covered over the past weeks  in blogs from Gary Kinghorn  as well as video – You will find links at the bottom of this blogs. But check also Citrix page on Netscaler 1000V.

Citrix was  one of the close partner present  when we announced  last month at Interop  OpFlex, a new open standards- based protocol (OpFlex)  for Application Centric Infrastructure  (ACI) .In this video, Sunil Potti, Citrix VP & GM Netscaler,  explained why Citrix is standing shoulder to shoulder with Cisco on this topic.

Cisco and Citrix have been also working diligently to offer the best solutions in terms of mobility . You may want to check this blog from Jonathan Gilad on Cisco strategy and solutions around mobile workplace . Check his recent blog Beyond BYOD to Workspace mobility 

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Mo’ Traffic, Mo’ Problems: How to Turbo Charge Business Growth across the WAN

Today’s successful business leaders recognize that mobile apps, immersive web content and high definition video are all essential to elevating customer engagement and empowering employees – not to mention growing revenue and increasing productivity.

But as the Internet of Everything becomes a reality, and introduces seemingly endless opportunities to connect more people, more devices, and more content across a highly distributed network – global Internet traffic is expected to triple by 2017 (Cisco VNI, 2013), and frankly, today’s WAN architecture is beginning to show its age. Ultimately, our customers will need to rethink their current network to accommodate the increase in traffic.

Those deployments will be critical for in-branch revenue growth in verticals like retail – where a connected digital experience for customers and employees can deliver superior performance for a host of cloud applications including eCatalogs, Omni-channel engagement, in store mobile apps, guest Wi-Fi and product demos. This trend also extends to other verticals: Read More »

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Driving New Network Programmability Talent Needs

Over the past year, we saw the idea of software-defined networking (SDN) become an integral part of IT conversations globally. As this technology evolves, the term “network programmability” can be used to capture the idea of opening up the network.

The Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud by 2017, and more than two-thirds of all data center traffic will come from the cloud. Companies building enterprise private clouds, public clouds and hybrid clouds will need qualified talent to optimize their cloud deployments for maximum efficiency.

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Cisco ACI with OpenStack at Redhat Summit – A perfect Pairing

Last week at Redhat Summit in San Francisco, Cisco Data center was well represented in speaking sessions, and solutions expo. I saw lots of traffic at our demo booth featuring Cisco ACI with OpenStack. Customers and Partners alike, showed great interest in how Cisco APIC integrates with OpenStack and enriches Data center operations. We showed the powerful capabilities of Cisco’s Neutron plug-in implementation and how workflow functions like, “create network”, “create subnets and vlan”, “create security groups”, etc. can be elegantly accomplished from the Open Stack console and aligned with the APIC object model via the APIC-Open Stack  API integration. View Demo here: http://youtu.be/pWMXTb237Vk

ACI with OpenStack demo

ACI with OpenStack demo

We also presented in two sessions one titled “Deploying OpenStack with Cisco networking, compute, & storage” and the other  “Automating Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments with Cisco ACI & OpenStack”. We talked about plans to introduce the group policy model from ACI into OpenStack so that  DevOps teams and NetOps teams can streamline and automate their work while focusing on application and tenant needs at a policy level.

Ravi_DeCapite_t_0450_OpenStack_with_Cisco

The benefit will be that the Group Policy Plugin provides APIs to build Application Network Profiles including service chain requirements.  Both OVS and the ACI Fabric then implement the full policy including distributed L2, L3, and security.   ACI also allows customers to separate tenant polices from operation.  The Tenants manage their applications while the ACI admin manages network operations and infrastructure using policy and it’s all done with automation that speeds up your OpenStack operations.

There was also strong interest in the OpFlex protocol, which Cisco announced at Interop a few weeks ago and how it opens up the ACI policy framework to a broad eco-system. We had lots of other demos showing our Open Stack integration, from a UCS, Nexus 1k, UCS Director stand-point, to round off a 360 degree view of our commitment to broad industry initiatives.

I want to shift focus now to two cool videos recorded last week, by the dynamic team of Joe Onisick and Lilian Quan from the Insieme Business Unit, at Cisco. Joe emphasizes “traffic flows within the ACI Fabric, and application of policy”, while Lilian covers the magic behind how “traffic is handled within the ACI fabric” with emphasis on re-route, bounce, ARP flooding avoidance, etc.,

Stay tuned for more videos on the ACI Fabric mode in near future. We also have a slew of whitepapers coming up that will cover the APIC/ACI Fabric innovations. Check out the recently posted APIC Policy Model whitepaper  that walks you through the basics of the object oriented policy model, Spine-Leaf network architecture and its benefits, APIC policy enforcement, Unicast/Multi-cast policy enforcement, concept of end-point groups (EPG) and all related concepts that you would find extremely valuable as you consider a policy based network architecture for your Data center needs.

I will be covering more exciting news on the ACI front, as we approach Cisco Live San Francisco. Stay tuned

Reference Links

APIC Policy Model whitepaper http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/data-center-virtualization/application-centric-infrastructure/white-paper-c11-731310.html

OpFlex -- An Open policy protocol http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/data-center-virtualization/application-centric-infrastructure/white-paper-c11-731304.html

OpFlex -- An open source approach http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/data-center-virtualization/application-centric-infrastructure/white-paper-c11-731303.html

(ACI-OpenStack demo) http://youtu.be/fYQDvKVg-ag

(Opflex announcement) http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/introducing-opflex-a-new-standards-based-protocol-for-application-centric-infrastructure/

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