Cisco was among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in its new Forrester Wave report, “The Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013”. The report focuses on commercial software offerings for enterprise private cloud deployments, ranking the 10 most significant vendors (from an initial field of 27) based on 61 different criteria – with more than 100 customer interviews. You can download the full report here.
In this evaluation, Cisco received the highest score in strategy and is in the top three overall for our current offering. Read More »
It’s hard to believe but it’s ten months since I first blogged on Cisco Domain TenSM, which is Cisco Service’s framework to guide you on your path to data center and cloud transformation. I’ve now covered all ten domains of this concise and powerful model. I’ll now collect all articles -- including my most Cisco Domain Ten article around the breadth of SDN adoption challenges -- into this one article as a useful summary. So forgive the brevity and please do dive into the links/URLs for more information if indeed you missed these articles first time. And if you’ve read every article and watched our VoDs, please do let me know what you thought of the series -- oh, and thanks!
Going back, now, I started in December 2012, with our launch of Cisco Domain Ten, where I set the focus for my series of articles as cloud transformation. Let me summarize each article with (and for those that know me you’ll know this is a struggle ) just one sentence with the key message from each blog/domain.
The software defined network has become all the rage lately for reasons that seem to vary and are caught up in interesting perceptions. One view was that it allowed a single network to be controlled centrally and divided up logically to prevent different groups from interfering with one another, well that’s true. Another view is that it provides a central place of management that configures and monitors the network for performance and faults, well that is true.
The basis is really the separation of the control plane (configuration and management) onto a server that centrally controls many network nodes. From the data plane which are the switches and routers that pass the data for the application from one end device to another, or many. The SDN controller communicates over a secure communications path using an API supported by the network device.
Yet what may be the most significant possibility of SDN is the ability to use programmatic control from the very applications that use the network for transport to stipulate any number of services that application needs from the network. We are seeing this in data centers that will allow end user departments to define a complete network for say ERP from within the ERP application and no help from IT. Why not for controls? And since SDN is based on open source initiatives the ability for anyone to create and market applications for say a controls system is very real. Read More »
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.
Deploying new servers is a routine task in data centers. Whether it is tied to server refreshes, net new compute initiatives or to an expansion of existing compute capacity, adding new servers can be a time consuming activity for IT personnel. This server deployment process has historically been very manual, with many solutions requiring:
Multiple tools or scripts
Repeated human interaction by the server team throughout the deployment process
Coordination of activities across server, networking and storage administrators for every server deployed.
All of these add to complexity, increase time to production, increase costs, and unavoidably increase the potential of human error.
What is needed is a dependable, repeatable process that automates and streamlines server deployment activities. This lets IT staff to devote their time to more value added activities which improves operations and productivity, yielding a much better TCO picture. Automated, fast, efficient, scalable management and infrastructure -- this is where Cisco UCS and UCS Manager excel.
The efficiency of Cisco UCS server deployment is tied to UCS Manager. Cisco took a unique approach to computing and focused on the common point of interaction, the fabric. Servers don’t operate in isolation. They are part of a total environment that at the minimum encompasses servers, networking, management and storage – a Fabric Based Infrastructure . Cisco’s comprehensive and efficient architecture is the key to why customers worldwide are rapidly adopting UCS.
This detailed paper (below) does a side by side “time to deploy” evaluation of the Cisco UCS B200 M3 and the HP BL460c Gen8. The strength of UCS and UCS Manager for automation is clear in the ease of use and lack of complexity.
Below is a new time lapse side-by-side video -- B200 M3 is 77% Faster Blade Deployment vs. HP BL460c Gen8.This new video (July 2013) illustrates the Business Advantage of the Cisco UCS Unified Compute, Unified Fabric and Unified Management -- Cisco’s Unified Data Center. Comparing this video to the one we did for the B200 M2 is 47% Faster Blade Deployment vs. HP BL460c G7 (May 2011), Cisco UCS Manager has shaved a full minute off the deployment time for two blade servers and still only takes 14 steps to set up the automated process. HP’s time to deploy increased dramatically and is still very serial nature with lots of manual inputs.