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Easy to Build, Easy to Manage: Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud

What if a private cloud could give your developers the easy, fast, and predictable experience that public cloud delivers, but inside your own data center, behind your own firewalls?  It’s what more and more companies are looking to provide.

Different clouds for different crowds

Innovative organizations are increasingly deploying two modes of IT — traditional IT and agile IT. Traditional IT is what we’ve all know. The focus is on “doing IT right,” with approval-based governance, and price-for-performance. Agile IT is focused on “doing IT fast,” supporting prototyping and iterative development, rapid delivery, continuous, and value to the business.  Gartner calls this model “bimodal IT” and estimates that 45% of CIO’s already deploy a second, agile mode of IT.

Cisco has a long history of providing infrastructure for traditional enterprise private cloud environments. In fact, we lead the industry with Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions such as vBlock Systems, Flexpod, and VersaStack. With the acquisition of Metacloud in September 2014, we now offer an agile IT environment for developers.

Enter Metacloud

The Metacloud product, now available worldwide as Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud, delivers the engineering and ongoing operations to provide a public cloud experience within the firewalls in an organization. The advanced operations subscription to Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud takes the burden of engineering and operations of the private cloud environment away from your teams, so they can focus on automating the testing, deployment, and scale of your applications.

Metacloud solved the challenges of running a sophisticated OpenStack® private cloud that delivers an easy, fast, predictable “public cloud-like” experience to developers. But under our original model customers are still left with the challenge of building an OpenStack private cloud—cobbling together the data center components of your private cloud, using  traditional IT models for getting those set up and configured.

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5 Ways to Manage Your Developers in OpenStack

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Photo courtesy of Klaus with K, Creative commons.

Customers frequently ask how to avoid a “wild wild west” situation as they move from tightly-controlled traditional infrastructure to the self-service, highly abstracted model that Cisco OpenStack® Private Cloud provides.

They have concerns over quality assurance, security, costs, resource utilization, and more. There’s often a hesitation to take the handcuffs off their developer teams by giving them access to real cloud, even though they clearly realize that if they want to let those teams innovate faster and roll out new features faster, it’s necessary.

Here are five tips for maintaining control of your developers as you move to OpenStack, in no particular order:

#1 – Just don’t do it

If moving fast is your goal, meaning that you want your development teams to be able to create and roll out features faster than ever before, you may need to trade control for speed. That’s right. Don’t do it. There’s a real argument to be made that if your goal is to move fast, you need to get out of your developers way. To summarize a quote from Adrian Cockcroft (@adrianco) in a great talk he gave at Monktoberfest last fall: when big-company CIOs ask how he found such awesome developers at Netflix, his answer is that he hired those smart developers away from those same CIOs, got out of their way, and they built amazing things.

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Why Compromise Your Public Cloud Experience?

Have you used a public cloud? The experience as a developer is truly fantastic. Enter your credit card information and go. Need more resources? Click. Tear down a server and start over? Click. Want APIs for granular access to configure and automate every part of your deployments exactly the way you need them? No problem. Built-in integration with the modern tools and platforms you’re using? Of course.

Traditional IT vs Cloud

Compare that to traditional infrastructure where it takes phone calls or tickets, approvals, and many different platforms that typically aren’t integrated just to get access to servers. Automation is difficult or impossible. Moving fast as a developer just isn’t something you can do. You spend your time wrangling the infrastructure instead of building your app.

The public cloud experience for a developer is liberating. It’s easy, fast, and predictable. It helps them deliver on their promises to the business by removing any obstacles to the resources they need.

Smart companies are freeing their development teams from traditional IT models and helping them move fast by taking advantage of cloud.

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See It. Learn It. Build It. Launch It.

Walking through the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live in Milan, I was struck by two things. First, we have an amazing array of platforms for developers who want to write applications that take advantage of the network – platforms that enable software-defined networking, collaboration, security, connected mobile experiences, data analysis at the edge, analysis of data in motion and more.

And second, our team has really focused on getting developers up and running with hands-on experiences as fast as possible. The DevNet Portal is a one-stop-shop for the resources DevNet Softrware Screenshot2_cmprssddevelopers need most. It speeds their development time by stepping them through their choice of learning tools, developer kits, APIs, forums to engage with Cisco engineers and lots of supporting documentation.

Then, a sandbox of developer tools provides access to the latest Cisco software and hardware platforms online. Developers can test in a real-world environment and quickly know that their code is verified to work with Cisco production equipment.

In fact, our APIC-EM controller sandbox set a Cisco record for the most users in its first two months of availability. Even now, the only way to get the latest early-field trial (EFT) version of APIC-EM is through either the EFT program or DevNet Sandbox.

The DevNet Zone and the DevNet Portal are innovative catalysts, helping the developer community to create new apps and automation functions on the network-as-a-platform. The personal and virtual interactions are inspiring.

Developers play a pivotal role in the progress of the Internet of Everything. Here this week in Milan, developers can see it, learn it, build it and launch it.  I was amazed.

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Engineers Unplugged S6|Ep4: onePK

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, we welcome for the first time (and not the last) guest host Janel Kratky (follow her @jlkratky)! She’s hosting Jason Pfeifer and Glue Network’s Gregg Wyant as they discuss onePK and how to apply it to the real world. You don’t want to miss this one, it ends with a Glunicorn.

If you would like to become Internet Famous, and strut your unicorn talents, join us for our next filming session at VMworld 2014. Tweet me for details!

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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