Deploying Multi-Tier Application Stacks with Puppet and Chef
In a previous Cisco Data Center blog, we announced our configuration management accelerator for cloud to enable organizations to move beyond monolithic golden templates into a dynamic TOSCA-modeled application design canvas. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) has been working for months with PuppetLabs and OpsCode (Chef) and has had multiple successful customer proof-of-concept deployments.
The Cisco configuration management accelerator provides customers with a substantial improvement over the manual process of building and implementing multiple golden templates to build multi-tier application stacks. The application stack is now described, and the description drives implementation. Changes to the description apply to all future instances, and can even update running instances in continuous delivery scenarios. The benefit is that the description becomes the master plan and machines are consistently and automatically constructed from that master plan without intervention by IT. Software defines the application configuration.
Cisco’s cloud accelerator approach is true to an open philosophy that provides customers with a choice of solutions – not locking them into a single hypervisor, configuration tool, solution path, or even hardware selection. The configuration management accelerators follow directly in the footsteps of our multi-cloud accelerator released last year. That accelerator enabled Cisco IAC to provision, orchestrate and manage VMware vCloud Director, Amazon EC2, and OpenStack. It has also been extended by customers to include Hyper-V, Azure and Rackspace through the preplanned extensibility built into it.
Much has been made of the “Internet of Things” and a growing array of “smart” things that will soon change nearly every aspect of our lives — from Google’s driverless car and iRobot’s Ava 500 video collaboration robot to “smart” pill bottles that will automatically renew a prescription and remind you when to take it.
While we often think that it’s all about the things, it’s not actually the “things” that create the value, it’s the connections among people, process, data, and things — or the Internet of Everything—that creates value.
You can see the power of connections by adding a sensor and an Internet connection to any “dumb” thing. Consider, for example, your front door lock. It has no “intelligence” of its own — it’s simply a mechanical device that allows you to open and close the front door of your house. But if you add a sensor with a connection to the cloud, that “dumb” device can take an image of your face, send it to the cloud for analysis, and determine whether or not to let you into the house, based on facial-recognition technology. The lock itself doesn’t have the intelligence or compute power to make this decision, but the cloud does. It’s the connection that makes this “dumb” thing “intelligent.”
Cisco celebrated OpenStack’s 3rd birthday recently by releasing the Cisco OpenStack Installer for Grizzly. This blog post has more details.
The OpenStack foundation organizes a four-day OpenStack Summit every six months for contributors, enterprise users, service providers, application developers and ecosystem members. It facilitates the community to gather, discuss and present on several different streams ranging from keynote presentations and general sessions to workshops and developer sessions for planning the next OpenStack release. The next OpenStack Summit will be held in Hong Kong from November 5th to the 8th 2013 at the Asia World-Expo. The number of attendees for the Summit is expected to be around 5000 people. More information on the Summit and how you can register to attend is available here.
Speaking proposals are submitted by the community from anyone with an idea or topic they would like to present. The proposals are voted on by the community to secure a slot in session track. Submissions for the OpenStack summit general sessions closed on July 31st 2013 and are now available for vote.
As compared to the Portland summit that had 250 proposal submissions [you can view session videos from OpenStack Portland Summit here, the Hong Kong summit has more than 600 submissions. There are a lot of great proposals but only the best and most popular will make it to the Summit. The approved sessions typically get recorded and are available for viewing online as well.
Cisco’s OpenStack team submitted several proposals that highlight our involvement and contributions to OpenStack. The table below lists the proposals along with a link to the abstract and speaker details.
Community voting is open now and if you are interested in any (or all) of the above proposals, please vote for them here. The voting is open until Sunday, August 25th 2013. Please note that you do need to be an OpenStack Community member in order to vote; If you are not currently a member, you can easily register for membership via the OpenStack website.
Stay tuned for more updates, as we get closer to the OpenStack summit.
Cloud has had a deep impact on the fundamental ways in which IT services are consumed. Yet we are only on the cusp of the transformation. Cisco estimates that connections among people, processes, data, and things will surge from “only” 10 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. Cloud’s value as a key delivery system will extend to this emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, connecting people, processes, data, and things. And the cloud readiness of each organization will determine its ability to reap value in an era of sweeping change.
But what is the current state of IT cloud consumption? And how do IT decision makers view the future impact of cloud?
Figure 1. Drivers of IT Change.
Source: Cisco/Intel Cloud Study, 2013
In a wide-ranging study, Cisco® Consulting Services (CCS), in partnership with Intel®, sought to pinpoint just how these powerful trends are impacting IT. The “Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study surveyed 4,226 IT leaders in 18 industries across nine key economies, developed as well as emerging: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States. In each country enterprise and midsized companies were represented. The survey was conducted during March and April 2013.
As cloud technology and organizations mature, customers are shifting their focus from the provisioning of individual servers to richer cloud-based application platform stacks. Why? Servers usually do not exist as standalone entities but are designed to run something tangible for the business. For example, multi-tier application platform stacks have in their design multi-server elements such as database, application and web servers.
In this era of the cloud, creating golden templates for each of the elements required to configure these multi-tier stacks and the servers they reside on, is not only unwieldy for IT to maintain and manage but they are monolithic. This means if one single element changes, the whole golden image needs to be revised. Golden images are not configurable and frequently require additional manual configuration to complete installation.
What’s the solution? It begins with the concept of DevOps.
DevOps is a software development method that permits better collaboration between software development and IT operations in a way that these multi-tier application servers can be consumed in the cloud without human intervention. There are a number of disciplines included under the DevOps category, but this blog will be focusing on configuration management.
Puppet and Chef are two of the leading configuration management vendors in the DevOps segment delivering the following benefits:
• Elastic and continuous configurations
• Increased productivity to handle hundreds to thousands of nodes
• Improve IT responsiveness by reducing time to deploy changes
• Eliminate configuration drift and reduce outages
There is a lot of buzz about this capability. How much buzz? Watch this video from CiscoLive Orlando.
Within the next month, Cisco will be releasing a cloud accelerator that delivers configuration management of multi-tier application stacks. Based on the TOSCA-modeled graphical user interface, customers utilize a canvas that simplifies the design of these stacks into templates. Each element: server, network device and storage; is represented on the canvas with a graphical icon. Behind each icon are configuration details for each component. For example, network device configuration may include firewall rules and load balancing algorithms. For servers, Cisco is leveraging Puppet and Chef or home-grown scripts. The result is a blueprint that allows for consumption of the complete application stack by end users, on demand, delivered by the cloud.
So now we have blueprints. Where’s the real advantage?
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is the golden key that gives you the advantage because it unlocks this new approach to cloud efficiency. Providing blueprints for multi-tier application stacks on their own do nothing if they cannot be ordered by customers from a standardized menu of services and acted upon by an orchestrator to automatically deploy the entire configuration. Extending functionality for DevOps is just another example of Cisco IAC’s ability to go beyond IaaS without requiring a solution rip and replace or major push-ups by customers.
Why just provision servers and continue to increase IT costs with manual “last mile” provisioning?
Cisco IAC and the configuration management accelerator simplify the delivery of multi-tier application stacks through self-service ordering and repeatable delivery. Cloud accelerators are designed to follow the vision and strategy of Cisco IAC eliminating code islands that become problematic when you upgrade to the next generation Cisco IAC edition.
To browse through the current cloud accelerators, go here. First time visitors will need to sign the register.
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