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Project Calico and Cisco join forces to supercharge container networking

In the next generation application infrastructure, users need a better experience and a reduction in deployment complexity for customers looking to embrace containers, PaaS and rapid deployment technologies. IOT and other trends will continue to exponentially drive more traffic, making this need all the more pressing.

To solve this issue, Metaswitch and Cisco are partnering on Project Calico which is focused heavily on customer needs in the areas of Scale, Performance, Security and Developer Experience; all of which need addressing to make containers a first rate citizen of today’s networks and compute infrastructure.

Building upon a standards-first, IP-per-container topology, Project Calico sets to improve the ‘status quo’ of container networking and to provide proven integration solutions for existing cloud, service provider and enterprise infrastructures.

We strongly believe container networking will provide unification of next generation application infrastructure, resulting in better user experience and a reduction in deployment complexity for customers looking to embrace containers, PaaS and rapid deployment technologies. This is critical for simplifying the application performance requirements without adding complexity.

The ability to enable a complete networking strategy, from end user, through datacenter, container and into the application; including policy, QoS, access and security; without sacrificing developer time or increasing complexity is increasingly necessary to scale to the IOT workloads of tomorrow and support hybrid-devops development trends.

Users need very performant networks where policy can be distributed to thousands of containers while maintaining trust; or an environment where hundreds of containers are created every second. Manual intervention is no longer an option so new tools and frameworks are needed, solutions which Cisco and Project Calico are collaborating to provide.

We announced this partnership today at the #MesosCON keynote in Seattle, WA, along with a number of other Cisco partnerships around the Mesos community and an official brand for our open source, mesos-based Microservices Infrastructure solution; http://mantl.io

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Following the keynote, we took some views from project members;

Matt Johnson, Innovation Architect within Cisco’s Cloud CTO team noted: “After looking at the gaps in the current [container networking] landscape, our internal solutions came very close to Metaswitch’s existing work with Project Calico. Instead of splitting the community, we feel it makes sense to work together to innovate at a quicker pace.

Cisco believes container networking should have a simple, standards-based integration story with existing network and compute topologies, supporting enterprise, service provider and cloud into the future. We feel that Project Calico’s ethos mirrors this strategy and look forward to working more closely with the team.”

Andy Randall, general manager of Metaswitch’s networking business unit and head of Project Calico, added: “Project Calico is rapidly establishing itself as the leading virtual networking solution for at-scale, production container networks. We are thrilled that Cisco has decided to join forces with this effort, accelerating the project’s velocity and helping to address the devops community’s urgent need for a simplified, standardized networking solution across multiple cloud and datacenter infrastructures.”

Check back for more news as the partnership progresses. We will be showcasing the results in our open source microservices project, mantl.

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Intercloud Microservices with Docker and Nirmata

At Cisco Intercloud CTO Innovation Center, innovative vendors are selected to integrate and build cloud services for customer and market trials. We combine the world’s best ISVs with Cisco’s best to bring unique innovations to our customers.   At Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego, we launched one such solution – Intercloud Microservices with Docker, Nirmata, and the Cisco ONE Enterprise Suite.  The Intercloud Microservices solution enables a new breed of DevOps – where business get unprecedented agility at scale using cloud-native architectures, and unprecedented flexibility in choosing best-of-breed Cisco Intercloud providers across the globe.

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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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Three Things I Learned at the OpenStack Summit: Day 4

  1. You should never admit that you don’t watch Star Trek.

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OpenStack Podcast #22: Sirish Raghuram

This week the OpenStack Podcast’s guest rockstar was Sirish Raghuram. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Platform9 (www.platform9.com), and he’s also a former long-term VMware employee. From that unique vantage point, he was able to contribute terrific insights about why enterprises haven’t fully embraced the cloud yet and why VMware Integrated OpenStack is probably a net win for the OpenStack community. He also spoke about:

  • Why he founded Platform9
  • What Platform9 provides
  • How containers may change the meaning of PaaS
  • Why 2015 & 2016 will be the turning point for enterprise cloud adoption
  • Why his team uses Ansible for configuration management
  • Who he thinks has done mind-blowing work in the tech world
  • What the current monthly Amazon spending break point is, and how we might bring it down

For a full transcript of the  interview, click read more below.

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