In previous blogs I have described how organizations are maturing beyond provisioning of individual servers to provisioning of richer cloud-based application stacks. Known as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), this capability takes cloud technology beyond infrastructure to automate the application life cycle. PaaS allows developers and IT operations to collaborate and ensure that application stacks are consistent and delivered to your customers — within minutes.
Last summer at CiscoLive Orlando, the Application Stack Accelerator for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) was introduced and we quickly noticed that PaaS was an extremely popular topic! This popularity has grown. The demand for PaaS is heavy as organizations, probably like yours, look to extend cloud automation to the design, configuration and implementation of the application life cycle. Read More »
In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Jamie MacQuarrie (@JMacQuarrie) and Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul) discuss both the history and future of the data center. How have automation and standards changed the operational model for applications? How are roles changing with the changing technology?
For these answers and more, listen in:
A lot of great ideas here--let us know what you think.
**The next shoot is at Varrow Madness, Charlotte, NC, March 20, 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**
This is 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)
As previously introduced in my colleague Song’s blog post, Cisco Prime Service Catalog is an industry-leading IT service catalog solution for any managing any type of service request – from desktop to mobility to data center. If you aren’t familiar with our product already, make sure to watch this video:
In most organizations, there is no single system or “app store” that end-users can use to request all the IT tools and services they need to do their job. There are typically different siloed processes for ordering, fulfilling and tracking each of those IT resources (e.g. mobile devices, laptops, applications, infrastructure, access to systems). And with the continued proliferation of new technologies and applications, this has become increasingly frustrating for end-users – and more challenging for IT service delivery teams. Cisco Prime Service Catalog provides a modern and unified approach to solve these problems, with a simple and user-friendly service catalog that eliminates the complexity of ordering services across these different IT silos.
The results? Increased productivity for end-users. Faster and more efficient IT service delivery. Higher IT customer satisfaction scores and greater IT-business alignment.
So what’s new in the latest version of Cisco Prime Service Catalog? Version 10 is packed with several new features and enhancements, including:
A next-generation HTML5 user interface with new capabilities. The user experience for our IT service catalog was inspired by consumer internet sites and app store concepts, and developed in collaboration with Cisco’s own IT organization. In this modern new user interface, end-users can easily search and filter for different apps and tools to find specific services, select and configure the options they want, and place them in their shopping cart.
Depending on who they are in the organization, end-users will have a different view of the catalog – based on role-based access controls. So your employees can search and browse through the catalog to find and download different mobile and desktop apps:
Flexible policy frameworks to enable greater control of available IT services. For example, we’ve added new quota functionality for managing IT resource requests. Quotas are especially useful when automating the delivery of finite resources like storage or compute capacity, or managing against departmental budgets or grants. Another examples is our new policy alerts and enforcement for lease expirations, to notify users before auto-expiring their access to particular resources. Providing your users with the option to automatically extend or cancel their lease can improve resource utilization and increase customer satisfaction.
Finance and demand management enhancements for showback and a “bill of IT”. All IT service providers charge for their services, but the concept of pricing and costing is still new for many enterprise IT organizations. Showback is a typically starting point, and we’ve added new capabilities to differentiate pricing for different classes of service (e.g. gold, silver, bronze) for different departments or tenants. Chargeback is often challenging for many IT departments to implement organizationally, but showback can provide a “bill of IT” with the details of who is using how much of what – without actually implementing cross-department charging. In other words, it shines a light on actual IT consumption and costs. In this new release, we’ve also made it easier to integrate with 3rd party billing systems and tools (e.g. Cloud Cruiser) to help automate financial cross-charges between departments
You may have heard the buzz about the internal Cisco IT deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the “eStore”. It’s been featured in a number of articles in the media as the internal enterprise app store that powers Cisco’s BYOD and mobile apps program – and provides Cisco employees with a one-stop shop for all IT services (from desktop to data center). If you’re attending Cisco Live in Milan later this month, you can learn more about the case study in this “Inside Cisco IT” session here.
Another service catalog case study that we’re featuring at Cisco Live Milan is Steria. Steria is a great example of one of our service provider customers in Europe; they’ve used Cisco Prime Service Catalog to enable on-demand, self-service delivery for a broad range of IT workplace services, including desktop and mobile applications. You can read more in my earlier blog post – or if you’ll be in Milan, check out the session here.
During the week of Cisco Live Milan, you will also hear more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0 in the context of our soon-to-be-announced new release of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). Cisco Prime Service Catalog is one of the bundled components within this cloud management software solution, so the enhancements in version 10 are also reflected in the upcoming new release of Cisco IAC. You can join one or more of the Cisco Live Milan sessions listed here to learn more about Cisco IAC.
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.