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Duct Tape for Cloud: Integration Features of Cisco Process Orchestrator and IA for Cloud

The Cisco Process Orchestrator has very rich integration capabilities, yet we often hear the question, “Does it integrate with…” or “Does it work with” [insert product]. The Cisco Process Orchestrator is a primary component in the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud management solution.

The fact is that in modern environments with modern orchestrators the answer is always yes. The reality is that cloud automation requires a Process Orchestrator tie into a variety of different systems in order to start offering cloud services. Remember, Cloud is an operating model, not a product. This means that to deliver self-service, on-demand services requires all the elements of the service be orchestrated.

Cisco’s internal private cloud is one such example.

The graphic below shows the components in the deployments. You see integration with Cisco UCS, VMware and storage, as you would expect. It also orchestrates IP address management (that IP won’t provision itself), Remedy incident, CMDB, ActiveDirectory (so tenants can log in), image management and a few other things such as Service Assurance.

By the way, the architecture below is Cisco Process Orchestrator provision across multiple Cisco data centers.

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CLOUD COMPUTING IS READY FOR YOU. BUT ARE YOU READY?

Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  And we also looked at the journey you need to take to deliver IT as a Service. Cloud computing is part of this journey and it is happening – and I mean all types of Clouds – Private, Public and Hybrid. In other words, we are entering the World of Many Clouds. Forrester Research recently published a report that concluded, “Cloud computing is ready for the enterprise… but many enterprises aren’t ready for the cloud.”1   Yet cloud deployments are happening, driven by workload virtualization and changes in application architecture and usage.

Take a look at this short video with Paul Perez (VP/GM of Unified Computing System and CTO of Data Center Group) and me. Paul shares his insights on the trends of how Cloud is changing the way of the IT and the challenges you will be facing.

Guess what? Once again Cisco is here to help you on your journey to the World of Many Clouds. How you ask?

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The Journey You Need To Take To Deliver IT As A Service

Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once.  Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys.  For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.

So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…

It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.

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Cisco’s Prediction of 2013 Education Technology Trends: The Big Three to Watch

December 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm PST

IOE_Mini_Infographic_4131I believe that the New Year will signal three major shifts in education:  The Internet of Everything, Shared Services, and Cloud Computing.

We are rapidly moving into a phase that we call “The Internet of Everything.”  Today, there are more things connected to the internet than there are people in the world.  In the near future, everything that we see will wake up as more and more people, processes, data, and things join what we call the internet and change the way we work, live, learn, and play.  For education, this means that the experiences that we deliver to students will be more connected, integrated, flexible, and meaningful.  Students will increasingly learn on their own terms, quickly and easily accessing content, joining courses, and connecting with experts across the globe.  Connection will happen seamlessly; students will design their own learning experiences.  They will be empowered by public education networks and a multi-device mobile world.

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UCS: Foundation for Cloud

December 4, 2012 at 11:44 am PST

A story came out today showcasing the platform built to power Xerox Managed Print Services (MPS), and it’s hard to describe better example of how Cisco’s data center technology comes together to help unlock the full potential of cloud computing.  In the lead-up to this release and the webcast that we’re airing this Thursday, I had the pleasure of working with Tom Force who leads up the architecture team at Xerox that built the MPS cloud.  What I heard him describe illustrates some of the fundamental differences in UCS that come into play for cloud builders:

  1. Fabric-centric design.   MPS is a cloud based service and hosts over a hundred applications.  Many of these are multi-tier apps and they benefit directly from the fact that every server in a UCS environment is connected to a single high performance, deterministic, low latency fabric.  This eliminates hops between servers and opens up the platform to support intense E/W traffic within the servers that collaborate to deliver services.   Contrast this to traditional architectures that put layers of switching between servers with in-chassis blade switching modules.  The performance gains were noticed and communicated by Xerox customers to Tom, and that is the end result that really matters
  2. Form factor agnostic design.  In UCS a server is a server is a server regardless of the shape of the box.  The Xerox MPS cloud leverages blade and rack servers as and where they make sense and the architects and administrators can manage them all in one abstracted pool of resources.  No other platform so fully eliminates the concerns of what shape the sheet metal is.
  3. A unified control plane exposed via XML API.  The MPS cloud is orchestrated with vCloud director.  The deep integration between UCS Manager and cloud platform SW enables automated discovery and configuration of new compute resources as they’re added to the system.  This creates the true elasticity and automation that a cloud of the magnitude of Xerox MPS demands.   Programmable pools of abstracted computing and network elements is what separates a robust cloud from one built on a brittle, manual infrastructure foundation.
  4. UCS Manager Service profiles:  Simplification of server image types and elimination of configuration drift as applications move from development through test, staging and deployment was a big win for the Xerox IT team.  Having a infrastructure that can be reliably and accurately provisioned and maintained, both in the primary and remote DR sites is another area Tom cited in our conversations.
  5. UCS Central:  this is recently released technology that allows customers like Xerox to manage multiple UCS domains across the data center and across geographies.
  6. I’m sure i’m forgetting something but I’ll go with 5 unique attributes for now.

You have to love it when a plan comes together. **

 

**Fictional rendering of Tom Force

This Thursday, the Xerox team is joining us for a dynamite webcast we’ve pulled together to talk about UCS and laying the right foundations for cloud.  James Staten of Forrester, who is THE MAN on cloud, helps us kick it off and we also have architects from FICO joining to talk about their private cloud design.   If you’re in the business of looking at infrastructure strategy for cloud computing this is one you don’t want to miss.

Check also Xerox case study 

 

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