Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

Simplifying Cloud Infrastructure Deployments with Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco UCS and OpenStack

In three short years OpenStack has become cloud management platform that is “Too Big to Fail” (according to Citi Research). Whether it is true or not, OpenStack is definitely gaining traction and is making a profound impact not only as a viable Cloud management option, but also on the software economics for Cloud solutions.

Cloud computing is rapidly transforming businesses and organizations by providing access to flexible, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructure. These elastic capabilities help accelerate the delivery of infrastructure, applications, and services with the right quality of service (QoS) to increase revenue. Cisco’s approach—innovative and unified data center infrastructure that provides the underlying foundation for OpenStack technology—enables the creation of massively scalable infrastructure that delivers on the promise of the cloud.

Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with OpenStack provides the foundation for flexible, elastic cloud solutions enabling speed and agility.  As the saying goes “Every Skyscraper is built on a strong foundation of pillars”, the OpenStack platform requires the core requirements from the underlying infrastructure – simplification, rapid provisioning, self-service consumption model, and elastic resource allocation. Cisco UCS uniquely provides a policy based resource management model, which simplifies by integrating compute, networking and storage with the ability to scale and automate deployment.

This foundation addresses every stage of cloud deployment be it private or public cloud offerings. Some of primary workloads targeted for OpenStack based deployments are:

  • Self-service development and test environments
  • Massively scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions
  • High-performance, scale-out storage
  • Web server, multimedia, big data, and cluster-aware applications
  • Applications with extensive computing power requirements and mixed I/O workloads

To accelerate these cloud infrastructure deployments, Cisco has developed starter configurations focused on compute-intensive, mixed or heterogeneous and storage-intensive workloads. The various server nodes are typically sized to include the OpenStack controller, compute, Ceph storage, Swift proxy and Swift storage.

 

Cisco UCS Solution Accelerator Paks for Cloud Infrastructure Deployments

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 10.12.12 AM

Scaling beyond 160 servers can be implemented by interconnecting multiple UCS domains using Nexus 3000/5000/6000/7000 Series switches, scalable to thousands of servers and to hundreds of petabytes storage, and managed from a single pane using UCS Central in a datacenter or distributed globally as shown in figure.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco IT Best Practices for Creating a Private Cloud

The Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services program, or CITEIS, is our internal implementation of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) resources in a private cloud. CITEIS is designed to provide a consumer-type IT experience to our developers while Cisco IT maintains governance and control over the infrastructure. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Applications: The Reason We Have Infrastructure

October 27, 2013 at 10:45 am PST

Recently, the conversations I have been having about Software Defined Networks have shifted from supplying agile networking for VM provisioning and live migrations to looking at the problem through the lens of the application team.  In the past, I spoke about provisioning VMs and moving VMs as a surrogate for the application.  An application and a VM are not always in a one-to-one ratio.  This is a convenient simplification for everyone except perhaps the IT operations teams provisioning multi-server, tiered, or distributed server applications.

In this blog post, I want to complement Gary Kinghorn’s blog, The Promise of an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), to briefly share insights from talking with many IT operations managers and architects responsible for traditional enterprise applications as well the new distributed applications for cloud infrastructure.  What they are saying has profound implications for cloud infrastructure.

Conventional IT organizations have dedicated teams managing their applications, compute, network, security, and storage infrastructure.  These functional organizations must work together much like runners in a relay race to manage the lifecycle of the applications used by an enterprise.  These runners need to be agile but the racecourses are not the same every race.

When you look at some categories of applications side by side, the implications on business agility – the speed that a business can execute on a strategy (esp. one dependent on IT) – and the requirements on applications, network and security teams become apparent.

  • Productivity applications like Microsoft Exchange and Web 2.0 applications like SharePoint for collaboration support lots of client -- server traffic (this is North – South traffic) for the hundreds or thousands of end users of these applications within the enterprise.  Characteristic of these server deployments as they scale up users, the load is balanced across the edge servers using server load balancers or applications delivery controllers.  Additionally, since these applications are highly exposed to threats from the external network, these applications have priority requirements for security devices to prevent Denial of Service attacks and deliver secure access.
  • To scale I/O intensive applications such as SQL Server databases, IT organizations use clustered data base servers to handle the transactions or queries with deterministic network performance between servers and storage arrays which can be measured by latency and assured bandwidth.
  • New distributed cloud and big data applications like Hadoop can employ tens or hundreds of servers with unique I/O patterns between servers and terabytes of collected data which require guaranteed I/O characteristics for optimal performance between servers, local data, and the big data repositories.  The traffic patterns are between servers and shared storage within the data center and are often characterized as heavy East-West data center traffic patterns.

Every installation has its unique fingerprint of application requirements but the chart below is useful to provide a comparison and contrast of the requirements for these categories of applications.

App Requirements Chart

Source: Cisco interviews with leading IT DevOps administrators, 2013

IT organizations that want to work faster need to define applications requirements according to these major dimensions and learn to accelerate the workflow of application deployment across pooled network, security, compute and storage infrastructure.

Last June, Cisco revealed its vision for Application Centric Infrastructure, an innovative secure architecture that delivers centralized application driven policy automation, management and visibility for physical and virtual networks from a single point of management.  It provides a common programmable automation and management framework for the network, application, security, services, compute, and operations teams, making IT more agile while reducing application deployment time.

To learn more about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure and how it accelerates application deployment cycles, join our ACI Announcement Webcast on November 6, 7:30 AM PT/10:30 ET/15:30 GMT. Register here.

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco UCS Director is Nominated for a ‘Storage, Virtualisation and Cloud (SVC)’ Product of the Year Award!

October 24, 2013 at 4:55 am PST

I’m happy to report that Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia) has been selected as a finalist for the 2013 Storage, Virtualisation & Cloud (SVC) Awards!  Please take a moment and vote for UCS Director at http://cs.co/SVCAward.

SVCThis finalist nomination recognizes the innovation and differentiation that Cisco UCS Director provides for end-to-end converged infrastructure management — including automation for both virtual and physical resources across compute, network, and storage.

The video below provides a good overview of Cisco UCS Director and its benefits for IT organizations:

 

The sweet spot for Cisco UCS Director is in managing converged infrastructure based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) with Cisco Nexus switches and third party storage — focusing on our market-leading integrated systems including the FlexPod solution with NetApp, as well as VCE’s Vblock Systems and our VSPEX solutions with EMC storage.

But the beauty of Cisco UCS Director is that it can also manage heterogeneous environments, including non-Cisco infrastructure and multiple hypervisors. Whether you call it your single-pane-of-glass or one ring to rule them all, it’s a highly innovative and comprehensive infrastructure management solution for your data center operations.  These capabilities and more are highlighted in the award nomination which you can read here.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Delivering IT-as-a-Service with Cisco Prime Service Catalog and FlexPod at Steria

I’d like to share with you some insights from the recent deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog from one of our customers: Steria.

Steria is a leading provider of IT-enabled business services with 20,000 employees worldwide. Steria serves private and public sector organizations across the globe – with operations across 16 countries throughout Europe, India, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. With their expertise in IT and business outsourcing, Steria provides innovative solutions to help their clients improve efficiency and profitability.

One of Steria’s recent challenges was how to satisfy its clients’ desire to improve employee productivity and enable employees to work from any device. While IT-as-a-Service is becoming an increasingly competitive market in the Americas, offerings in Europe are still sparse – so this was also an opportunity to provide competitive differentiation for Steria’s services. Steria turned to Cisco to solve 3 key problems:

1. Providing employees with instant on-demand provisioning of desktop software and easy access to workplace IT resources,
2. Enabling employees to work from any device anywhere, and thus optimize computing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
3. And providing a simple, user-friendly portal and service catalog to make software offerings easily accessible.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,