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Docker and the Rise of Microservices

Over the past 18 months, we’ve been witnessing a rapid transformation in the way applications are built, packaged, shipped, deployed, and instantiated.  This change has been driven by developer demands for simplicity and a shift in focus towards an application-centric view of IT.     To find evidence of this trend, look no further than the skyrocketing popularity of Docker and the movement towards microservice based architectures for running applications.

You could think of microservices as a service oriented architecture built around independently deployable, loosely coupled software components.  By providing the infrastructure to build, ship and run these services, Docker has become one of the most important open source infrastructure projects in the world today.

Why are microservices and Docker so important?  Well, we’re witnessing a bit of a Darwinian process occur at an extremely fast pace in the cloud world today.    Tools that offer benefits in simplicity, speed, scale, and flexibility to applications developers succeed while others fall out of favor.  Docker does an amazing job at shrinking build, test, and deployment cycles and providing a means of separating the functions of infrastructure, platform, and application teams through microservices.  Some of the largest web scale companies in the world have already proven this works and now the challenge remains in bringing more generally into the enterprise environment.

This transition is extremely exciting and creates a number of opportunities for Cisco in the datacenter.  While this is far from an exhaustive list, I wanted to highlight some of the key ones we are seeing.

  1.  Deliver scalable, manageable infrastructure optimized for microservice architectures.  We can make it extremely easy for users to use our UCS, Nexus, and Application-Centric Infrastructure to build turnkey environments with the network, compute, and storage performance and scale they require.
  1. Develop application and operational intent frameworks that leverage Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  Cisco ACI and its application-centric policy language are a perfect fit for Docker and microservice architectures.  The policy language offers the simplicity and the separation of infrastructure requirements that developers are seeking.  Our team is also contributing to the open source community to accelerate the adoption of policy as well.
  1. Help our customers deploy Docker and microservices alongside the environments and tools they already run today.  As Cisco, it is incumbent on us to help provide the unified management tools and infrastructure to offer onramps to this new technology, allowing it to run alongside legacy environments.
  1. Carry out the organizational changes needed to take advantage of microservices.  As Docker and microservices enable greater separation between infrastructure and apps teams, Cisco can play a major role in training over 2 million Cisco-certified professionals to lead this transformation.
  1. Bringing microservices to the network gear itself.  We already allow users to run container-based services directly on our Nexus switches so they can begin to leverage some of the same approaches that are appearing in the computing environment.

So, even at a glance, the rise of Docker containers and microservices creates a tremendous set of opportunities for innovation.  We’re particularly excited about libnetwork, the new Docker network plugin framework, which will be a critical point of integration for Cisco.  Its also an incredibly reassuring and healthy sign that the Docker community is committed to being open and responsive to the needs of its users.

We have already started using this framework to connect Docker with a breadth of networking technology and offer the seamless integration our customers need.   In particular, we have created the Contiv project as an a generic network clustering plugin which integrates with Docker’s libnetwork and we’re excited to work with the community around it.
As we’ve seen over the past year, Docker and microservices more generally are well on their journey to transforming the datacenter.  We’d love to see you help us by joining in the open source development of Contiv or Docker directly or by reaching out to your account teams to learn more about Cisco solutions for containers.

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Cisco Spark: Room for Everyone

My mom…one of the best moms out there in my book.  She plans our fun family reunions, plays a mean game of golf, and keeps a busy household in order.  And she’s also a successful businesswoman with a very full plate.  She runs marketing and advertising for a small business and is an active member of the community.  She is constantly multitasking – jumping between projects and meetings on a host of different topics.  She is “collaborating” all the time.

As a marketer of collaboration products, I can’t help but analyze how people work – especially folks that may not know about all the great collaboration technology out there.  My mom happens to be one of those people.  I’ve actually seen her drive to the office to review some creative designs or spend an hour composing a long email when some simple messaging could have helped her get to the point faster.  And despite her ability to multi-task as any good mom can, I’ve noticed that she often puts small tasks on hold while over-rotating on a key deliverable, later ending up behind schedule because she’s “catching up.”  But all of this is not for a lack of familiarity with technology.  She definitely holds the role of the Chief Technology Officer for our family (sorry dad)!

Until we launched Cisco Spark, Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – June 19, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2

Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Richard McLeod posted this week to update us all on the Tropo acquisition.

Tropo makes it easy to add voice and text messages to applications and Richard takes the time in his blog to show how Tropo fits into the Cisco collaboration strategy. Be sure to check out his blog and give us your feedback.

NEW Red Hat OpenStack on UCS (UCSO) Campaign

Cisco UCS, combined with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL OSP), accelerates cloud deployments, while retaining control and choice over your environment through an open and interoperable cloud solution.

This is a partner-led, partner-to customer model. And to support that, we’ve created all the materials you need to host a live or virtual event, as well as additional supporting materials on the solution.  Start now!

Upgraded Partner Tools Make it Easier to Deliver to Your Customers

Based on specific feedback around the partner experience and your distinct needs, we’ve rolled out improved and upgraded partner tools.

Curtis Hill and Jennifer Petty walk us through these important enhancements in their recent blog post here.

Read More »

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ITD and RISE: New innovations at Cisco Live San Diego

ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) and RISE (Remote Integrated Services Engine) have been helping Cisco partners and customers save massively on CAPEX and OPEX, while providing unprecedented scalability, high availability and ease and deployment. We had several events at Cisco Live San Diego 2015:

  • ITD and RISE Whisper suite meetings for Nexus 9k/7k/5k. For further discussions, please email to nxos-itd@cisco.com
  • A large number of people came to ITD Booth in the World of Solutions, to watch a demo.
  • Breakout sessions :
  • New innovation demo at the Hub:
    • ITD and Analytics Driven Green Networking : First prize winner in Hackathon 2015
  • ITD won the Best of Interop, 2015 in Data Center category. Read blog.
  • Nexus 7702 announcement : Nexus 7702 has a sweet spot in being a “services chassis” with RISE and ITD.
  • Nexus 5k/6k : RISE and ITD are now shipping: NX-OS 7.1.1N1(1)
  • Nexus 9k : ITD is now shipping: NX-OS 7.0(3)I1(2)

We hosted 1:1 customer meetings in whisper suites, during Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego. We had BU Executives, Product Managers, and Engineering Managers on  site to meet with customers. It was a unique opportunity for customers to engage directly with the Business Unit. For further discussions, please send email to nxos-itd@cisco.com.

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Gartner Recognizes Cisco as a Leader for UC for Midsize Enterprises

gartner image 6_15Cisco positioned highest in “ability to execute” among Leaders in the first ever Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications for Midsize Enterprises, North America.

Many midsize organizations are seriously exploring solutions to replace maxed-out, expensive-to-maintain, and/or end-of-life PBXs. They’re weighing what they may need to support their future communications. This new Magic Quadrant from Gartner, published in May, is the first to look specifically at the unified communications requirements of midsize organizations with between 100 and 999 employees.

Phone System or Full UC&C Suite?

Many midsize organizations talk to us about deploying a new phone system. But most I talk to are balancing a much wider range of evolving challenges.  For example, those may include how to:

  • Empower an increasingly mobile workforce
  • Transform team working
  • Increase employee engagement

It’s important to consider vendors that not only fulfill your initial needs, but enable you to evolve. You need a solution that will scale as you grow and your priorities change. We feel that Cisco Business Edition 6000, which Gartner evaluated, features all the essentials. Read More »

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