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A Cloud Management Solution You Can Believe In, Or Better Yet, Bank On

February 1, 2013 at 9:45 am PST

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. 

In my last blog entry, I told you about some of the most fundamental new concepts in Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) v3.1 and how they help address top-of-mind issues for our customers. This time I’d like to address a matter no less significant.

At the core of every cloud initiative there always lurks a concern about the sustained viability of such a comprehensive transformation – and this applies to adoption of a new cloud operating model as well as to the deployment of the new technology required. It boils down to two things: trust and cost. Can I trust that this solution will still fit me in the future, and how much will I really have to pay for this fit?

One of the things I really like about Cisco IAC is that it’s built around a core software platform that allows for an amazing level of flexibility and extensibility. Our software can be configured and adapted to closely fit what your IT organization wants to offer to meet your unique business needs. The user portal can be made to look different and behave differently for a variety of users, and it can enforce your organization’s policies and controls. The orchestration engine is adaptable to model a wide range of customer processes, and it’s extensible to communicate with other IT operations management software, OSS/BSS tools or infrastructure systems. Our solution can be extended beyond infrastructure services, to encompass a broad range of IT and business services at the platform and application layer (more on this later). The best news is: you can protect the investment you made so that the changes persist through future product updates. Let’s review some of these key capabilities:

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Learn about Unified Management in the Data Center and Cloud Booth at Cisco Live London 2013!

January 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm PST

If you haven’t heard about Unified Management, it refers to our portfolio of data center and cloud management software products. Cisco’s data center and cloud management software helps our customers to deliver IT services faster, more efficiently, and with lower total cost of ownership.

This year we’ve made it even easier for you to learn about these software solutions, with several demo stands on the expo floor and more than 17 breakout and theatre presentations.

We invite you to join us at Cisco Live London and learn more…

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Automate Migrating ESX Host Interfaces to Nexus 1000V

January 16, 2013 at 8:45 am PST

“We’ve tried, it can’t be automated!” I’ve heard this more times than I can keep track of and if you read my previous blog you will know that I just do not agree. I have written about automation with Linux utilities, UCS PowerTool, AutoHotKey, Excel, etc… 99.999% of operations can be automated. So when a customer tells me that something cannot be automated I usually respond with “Have you tried …?”

Here is the scenario; the customer has an automated build process for ESX hosts. At the point where the host is ready to be connected to the Nexus 1000V the process becomes manual. The customer would like to use VMWare PowerCLI to migrate the host interface but the Cmdlet to retrieve Distributed Virtual Switches, Get-VirtualSwitch, just returns the DVS objects,  there isn’t a Cmdlet to migrate the ESX vmnic interface.

Hold on a second, I know that VCenter knows about the Nexus 1000V because I see it in the interface. I know that VCenter can manipulate the Nexus 1000V because VCenter is where interface migration is done. I am fairly certain at this point that ESX interface migration from the VCenter vSwitch to the Nexus 1000V can be automated. But what to use to do it, there is no PowerCLI command like Set-ESXHostInterfaceToN1kv. This is typically where automation ends for many, sometimes you have to dive deep into the objects that the system manages and figure out what to do. Sometimes someone has already done a deep dive into something like what you are trying to do and maybe you can build off of their work.
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Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks continued…

Last month in my blog Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks, we discussed reasons why IT process automation solutions for network domain has not fulfilled its promise. Today we will first reason of the two – “Need for out-of-the-box workflow templates for rapid development of network operation process automation for quick-wins”.

In today’s high performance distributed environment, network is vital to maintaining an efficient business. Efficient, scalable and stable network environment requires time and resources from the organization. Information Technology (IT) environments encompass multiple advanced network technologies that include security and wireless for borderless networks, video systems for unified communications, and storage and virtualization management for flexible deployments.

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Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks

Within IT & Network Process Operations community, automation started with the big hype and promise for “self-healing” solutions for systems, network, and process automation.  Remember the promise of “Robotics”!? Wouldn’t it be great to have our servers, systems, and networks solve their own problems? Leading to more stable systems and networks in which system administrators and network administrators would be free to work on higher priority activities and be more productive, improving the quality of Enterprise solutions. Though it is a noble goal, IT and network process automation did not deliver its full promise but instead started us in the journey towards the goal.

There are many reasons why IT process automation solutions for network domain has not fulfilled its promise. Many people have done in-depth analysis, which can be summarized as two big inhibitors for wide-spread adoption of automation in network operations:

  1. Need for out-of-the-box workflow templates for rapid development of network operation process automation for quick-wins
  2. In-depth understanding of complex network implementations with domain knowledge of the Enterprise processes and industry best-practices for support

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