Whether working with bare-metal servers or virtual machines; provisioning applications and infrastructure traditionally are independent tasks that are completed by different data center teams. Infrastructure is usually provisioned manually. Applications are customarily provisioned via golden templates. As customers look to move automation beyond infrastructure to include applications, the maintenance complexity and manual “last mile” configuration associated with application golden templates is no longer a sustainable solution.
The situation has made Puppet and Chef popular. Both assist with automating the infrastructure life cycle as well as rapid application deployment. But some system admins prefer to use Puppet. Some prefer Chef. Cloud admins want to use Amazon, vCloud Director or OpenStack. What to do?
Cisco lets you use either or both and makes it easier to automate application delivery thanks to the Cisco Application Stack Accelerator for Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). With this cloud accelerator, those “last mile” deficiencies are practically eliminated.
Bringing together the knowledge of infrastructure and application specialists, this solution automates the design and configuration of application stack components. The result is an application blueprint that consistently delivers applications within minutes, across multiple cloud platforms, to the exact design and specification of the application architect.
Watch these two videos to better understand application blueprints as well as how they can be consumed by Cisco IAC.
Video #1 clarifies what an application blueprint does and how to design and configure them
Video #2 walks you through how to deliver fully configured multi-tier cloud applications with Cisco IAC
Why is this important? Customers tell us that they struggle with multiple requests for virtually the same application. One particular customer, discovered that they had 250 requests for the same application in a two month period. Each one of these requests took IT four to six weeks to deliver before the project could begin. This not only shows down IT but your business as well.
Using Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator, you can automate the design, configuration and consumption of applications via the Cisco IAC portal. The result? Customers get their application within 30-40 minutes instead of four to six weeks resulting in projects starting sooner. IT spends less time spinning up multiple versions of virtually the same application allowing them to focus on new innovative services. Bottom line: your business experiences agility, speed, and efficiency.
Industry analysts forecast that four out of every 10 companies will be utilizing a private cloud by the end of 2014. With cloud automation becoming this prevalent, you owe it to yourself to learn how Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator can speed up the design, configuration and consumption of applications within your organization.
Together, this solution can help you deploy applications efficiently; reduce complexity and ensure that applications are deployed to the architect’s exact design and specification.
Cisco and CA Technologies have been solution partners for years integrating CA IT management solutions with Cisco Data Center and cloud infrastructure. On Jan. 27th, at CiscoLive Milan, the two companies will demonstrate the next generation data center – highlighting synergies in DevOps automation and Unified Infrastructure management. Why is this, a turning point in IT evolution?
In a recent blog, I talked about the growing agility gap in mid-to-large data centers -- that in spite of a decade of unified fabrics, virtualized services and controller abstractions, the demands for scale, performance and security are growing faster than IT can satisfy them. This is due to new mobile, social and Big-Data applications that are much more dynamic due to multi-tenancy, higher demand peaks, more distributed users, broader device support, varying performance needs, 24x7 global usage, and changing security vulnerabilities.
I also said that while the evidence of the agility gap is showing up in ballooning network reconfigurations (such as ports, VLANs, subnets, security services, load-balancing, flow optimizations, monitoring), the solution lies in accelerating DevOps – the relatively new discipline of translating dynamic application and tenant needs into an optimal data center topology – and not just in a controller based programming.
CA Technologies is now showing that DevOps processes can be accelerated by orders of magnitude using Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). This is resulting in application optimized infrastructure, much lower TCO and faster time to new services.
DevOps, the frontline in closing the agility gap
DevOps evolved from the need of global enterprises to meet competitive application demands with “continuous application delivery.” Financial services, Healthcare, Hospitality and Retail are among the sectors for whom the frequency of application changes have shrunk from 18 months, to daily and even multiple times a day!
Drivers include mobile apps that need continuous enhancements, cloud scaling, Big-Data and the use of Agile Methodology where major code changes occur in weekly or daily “sprints.” DevOps brings continuous integration and operational processes to allow several Developer, Quality Assurance and Application-production teams to collaborate to improve agility of application deployments.
As IT departments move to private cloud offerings, DevOps methodologies, and continuous integration capabilities, many segments of the data center market have a strong need for more open, programmable, and application-led networks. In these fully automated environments, network automation for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or applications on demand is becoming essential. As discussed in a recent blog postby Ravi Balakrishnan, the Cisco Nexus 9000 offers the industry’s 1st open and extensible application policy model helping businesses increase agility, flexibility, and scalability and automate repetitive manual tasks, reducing the time to deployment and easing maintenance tasks.
A recently-issued Lippis Report provides validation that the Cisco Nexus 9000 product line offers the most comprehensive open programming tools and functions available that can either be leveraged independently, or put to work in unison with other platform capabilities. The report found that the benefits of Cisco Nexus 9000 programming environment include investment protection and improved business agility through support of open protocols, APIs and standards that leverage customers’ existing networking, services including security, physical and virtual compute, and storage assets and accelerate network application deployment times to minutes improving business agility through centralized management.
Cisco 9000 programmability enables use cases across the whole IT delivery chain in terms of being able to orchestrate and automate provisioning of network infrastructure. Applications now have special, real-time access to network buffers, congestion and state information, so that they can actually make better choices and decisions on how they’re delivering services to end-users. In addition, troubleshooting can be automated through applications having much deeper visibility into the network.
The specific use cases for Cisco NX-OS API enhancements span data center network engineers and experienced DevOps personnel in cloud and large enterprise IT organization. For network engineers, NX-OS APIs can simplify and automate common network infrastructure provisioning challenges as well as offer automated troubleshooting through enhanced network visibility.
DevOps personnel may leverage NX-OS APIs and automation tools to create their own custom scripts and leverage the NX-API into other tools with which they are already familiar to customize network device data and use it in the way that’s important for them to either deliver competitive business value or to reduce OpEx through automation.
Cisco 9000 Programmability Highlights
The Cisco NX-OS enhancements for the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series supports numerous capabilities that aid automation and orchestration including providing investment protection through the support of new automation capabilities in the future. Centralized, fine-grained access to Cisco 9000 networking resources is enabled through support for XML, JSON, representational state transfer (REST), remote procedure call (RPC), NetConf, Python scripting, Bash and Broadcom chip-level shell access, and Linux containers for development of custom applications. These APIs have full read and write access to the Cisco 9000 platform, providing programmability, automation, and system access. Cisco-NX-OS also supports APIs enabling rapid integration with existing management and orchestration frameworks. These include OpenStack interfaces to provide Cisco policy consistency across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
We have to propel new use cases for cloud because customers want more than IaaS. And they don’t want to be tied to vendors’ annual product release cycles to get it. But, as they extend cloud-based service delivery beyond IaaS and aim higher in the sky, their heads smack into the ceiling of cloud management. Naturally, they want to prevent the ensuing organizational concussion—the confusion, the fuzziness, the regrouping. So they are turning to Cisco for more flexible and extensible cloud management capabilities. Ask and you shall receive.
In a previous blog I explained how Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) can scale from single to multi-cloud deployments in addition to expanding into the richer application sets. Our support for the why wait if you don’t have to philosophy has created the cloud accelerator program for Cisco IAC. Cloud accelerators prevent those concussions. They are content modules, or cartridges, that insert into the IAC framework. Developers use them to test new application capabilities and deploy them into production, all without costly architectural revisions.
Cisco now gives you two new cloud accelerators: Application Stack Accelerator and Cisco UCS Director Accelerator.
Application Stack Accelerator
This module provides a blueprint designer onto which stack designers create whole application stacks or platforms to their precise specification, allowing consumption through Cisco IAC. This accelerator mirrors the software development process, allowing:
o Blueprint creation
o Blueprint testing
o Blueprint revision based on test results
o Review and approval
o Publication for consumption
An edit-and-copy function is available when hypervisor-specific blueprints are required or new blueprints need to be created with servers in the same network zone.
Cisco UCS Director Accelerator
Managing infrastructure within the whole cloud context is a success factor for cloud. Therefore, this accelerator lets Cisco IAC discover Cisco UCS Director as a node in the cloud and then provision physical NAS storage into an existing virtual data center—specifically NetApp storage. When applications need additional capacity, cloud administrators can add it using the IAC management portal. You will hear about the integration between Cisco IAC and UCS Director and our unified management approach over the next 60 days.
Cisco has transformed cloud management and the new-release waiting game for the better.
Cisco IAC is proving that organizations no longer need to hit their head on the cloud management ceiling and risk concussion.
To learn about Cisco IAC, go here
Click here to learn more about cloud accelerators. First time visitors will need to register.
What happens when the camera stops rolling? Often the conversation doesn’t stop, and sometimes we don’t either. Welcome to a special After Hours edition of Engineers Unplugged, where we do a deeper dive into the earlier conversation with Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) and Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul) around DevOps, the evolving way of working, and the pros/cons of waterfall vs iterative build.
“Expectations are being set in the marketplace.” “The ruthless removal of annoyances.” And more intriguing soundbites discussed by Jay Cuthrell in this episode.
Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)