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Data Center and Cloud

By now you have may have seen the Cisco announcement of the Unified Data Center and Unified Management http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=578106.  This exciting story around Unified Management began in the late summer of 2010 when the engineering team in Cisco’s Tidal Software acquisition began the integration of the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator and the UCS Manager.  We realized that we could take our experience with hundreds of customers in application automation and apply that toward infrastructure automation, specifically around provisioning, virtualization and cloud.  Our future was cloudy and that was indeed a good thing.

Five months later after intensive technical and business innovation, in the third week of January in 2011, the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit introduced our cloud automation suite which brought the ease of Amazon EC2 to the private cloud for both physical and virtual clouds.  The solution consisted of newScale’s self service and service catalog technology, integrated to the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator for  automation of infrastructure provisioning and IT operations management tool integrations.   I had been a customer of both of these companies at a previous job and had experienced the benefits of automating both the end user and back end systems with these two companies.  With the new use cases of data center and cloud automation I was convinced that these technologies could be the basis of something transformational for our customers.

The front office of newScale solved the problem of how an IT shop can present an orderable set of standardized cloud services to my end users through a service catalog and manage the business processes associated with ordering and governance.  The back office of the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator accomplished all the “last mile” configurations by performing the technical provisioning; driving the APIs of Cisco’s UCS Manager & Nexus, VMware  and the relevant storage provisioning.  With Cisco UCS we can very easily manage and automate physical and virtual clouds as a single construct and set of offerings.

Since then the team has been very busy.  Cementing our cloud stack, Cisco acquired newScale in a much heralded public announcement that Cisco was indeed in the business of Cloud Automation Software.  We have be very proud of how well received the Cisco software stack was when presented to and deployed by companies small and large including service providers.  Most excitingly, Cisco IT deployed the stack for the corporate private cloud http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/complete-the-cloud-journey-handing-the-keys-to-the-users/.  The collaboration of the business unit with Cisco IT was key to our Cisco-on-Cisco story.  Read about some of our other customer stories such as Silicon Valley Bank ACS, a Xerox Company, and Cisco IT.  The Cloud was real and it was built with Cisco.

Most recently the Cisco Network Services Manager http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11636/index.html.  has been added to the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud architecture  to automate and virtualize end-to-end  IaaS network infrastructure provisioning.  This technology, from the Linesider acquisition, takes Unified Management to the next level with an API accessible abstraction layer that simplifies platform configuration through a policy based engine to define the network configuration.   The technology enables administrators to define the logical constructs of the Cloud (access/security, tiers of service, resources and constraints) without having a rigid model for those aggregated network services.  This enables faster cloud setup time and dynamic, fluid network service evolution.  Rigid gold, silver, or bronze network containers will be last year’s news.  Virtualizing physical network infrastructure will be as easy as virtualizing servers.   This is big news to network configuration gurus and this discontinuity in technology that will have far reaching positive implications to Cisco customers.

The Unified Management  technology stack is represented below:

and has the unique position of focusing on cloud automation while living alongside your previous IT investments http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11869/index.html.  I learned this early in my career, vendors hawking rip-n-replace solutions just don’t understand the pressures that IT shops are under.

We have retired the newScale brand, replaced by the Cisco Cloud Portal and the Cisco Workplace Portal product offers.  Additionally we have just changed the name of our well known Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator to the Cisco Process Orchestrator and the Tidal Server Provisioning to the Cisco Server Provisioner.  We have also retired both the newScale and Tidal Software web sites.  The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit, under the recently formed Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group is quite excited to take on the new challenges of Cisco Unified Management for Cloud.  Want to learn more?  Email CiscoIAPrivateCloud@cisco.com.

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