As cloud technology and organizations mature, customers are shifting their focus from the provisioning of individual servers to richer cloud-based application platform stacks. Why? Servers usually do not exist as standalone entities but are designed to run something tangible for the business. For example, multi-tier application platform stacks have in their design multi-server elements such as database, application and web servers.
In this era of the cloud, creating golden templates for each of the elements required to configure these multi-tier stacks and the servers they reside on, is not only unwieldy for IT to maintain and manage but they are monolithic. This means if one single element changes, the whole golden image needs to be revised. Golden images are not configurable and frequently require additional manual configuration to complete installation.
What’s the solution? It begins with the concept of DevOps.
DevOps is a software development method that permits better collaboration between software development and IT operations in a way that these multi-tier application servers can be consumed in the cloud without human intervention. There are a number of disciplines included under the DevOps category, but this blog will be focusing on configuration management.
Puppet and Chef are two of the leading configuration management vendors in the DevOps segment delivering the following benefits:
• Elastic and continuous configurations
• Increased productivity to handle hundreds to thousands of nodes
• Improve IT responsiveness by reducing time to deploy changes
• Eliminate configuration drift and reduce outages
There is a lot of buzz about this capability. How much buzz? Watch this video from CiscoLive Orlando.
Within the next month, Cisco will be releasing a cloud accelerator that delivers configuration management of multi-tier application stacks. Based on the TOSCA-modeled graphical user interface, customers utilize a canvas that simplifies the design of these stacks into templates. Each element: server, network device and storage; is represented on the canvas with a graphical icon. Behind each icon are configuration details for each component. For example, network device configuration may include firewall rules and load balancing algorithms. For servers, Cisco is leveraging Puppet and Chef or home-grown scripts. The result is a blueprint that allows for consumption of the complete application stack by end users, on demand, delivered by the cloud.
So now we have blueprints. Where’s the real advantage?
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is the golden key that gives you the advantage because it unlocks this new approach to cloud efficiency. Providing blueprints for multi-tier application stacks on their own do nothing if they cannot be ordered by customers from a standardized menu of services and acted upon by an orchestrator to automatically deploy the entire configuration. Extending functionality for DevOps is just another example of Cisco IAC’s ability to go beyond IaaS without requiring a solution rip and replace or major push-ups by customers.
Why just provision servers and continue to increase IT costs with manual “last mile” provisioning?
Cisco IAC and the configuration management accelerator simplify the delivery of multi-tier application stacks through self-service ordering and repeatable delivery. Cloud accelerators are designed to follow the vision and strategy of Cisco IAC eliminating code islands that become problematic when you upgrade to the next generation Cisco IAC edition.
To browse through the current cloud accelerators, go here. First time visitors will need to sign the register.
If you would like to learn more or comment, tweet us at: http://twitter.com/ciscoum
I hope that you are able to join us at Cloud Connect this week in Santa Clara as we have much to share with you. Cloud Connect is a great show that attracts more than 4,000 industry decision makers, offering an ideal venue for Cisco to share the value of our cloud solutions. Cloud Connect is an opportunity to showcase how we at Cisco are at the forefront of cloud computing, enabling our customers and partners in a world of many clouds. Whether you are building your own private cloud, using services from a public cloud, offering cloud services, or enlisting a hybrid approach, we’re here to have a conversation on how we can help.
In our booth, you’ll find demos on:
Managing Cloud Network Services: This demo shows how a server/virtualization administrator can create a security policy once for a virtual machine and then make sure of enforcement across the network. Cisco Virtual Network Management Center will be used to show how service chaining can take place with the Cisco Nexus 1000V and virtual Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway as virtual machines are turned up and move throughout the data center.
Cloud Automation and Orchestration: Learn how to access a service portal to create a request for virtual machine(s) and provision a bare-metal server. The demo will also show how an administrator can create a service catalogue for users to leverage.
Cloud Computing with Cisco UCS: This solution overview highlights the centralized management with high scalability of Cisco UCS to facilitate building-block entities (policies, resource pools, and templates) for rapid server provisioning.
OpenStack API for the Cisco Nexus 1000V: Exhibit on how we integrate our Cisco Nexus 1000V with open-source hypervisors to allow for the continued evolution of advanced virtual machine networking and cloud management to provide more control, visibility, and programmability for customers.
Cisco continues to roll out innovations that will enable the next generations of multi-cloud computing. I’m a product manager working on Cisco’s Cloud Management software, and we’re all about the high-level, self-service, automatic provisioning of services that the end-user cares about. The network just moves ones and zeros, and all protocols of interest (HTTP, SSH, RDP, SQL, etc.) work fine over TCP/IP. The hypervisor takes care of putting that pesky motherboard chipset and storage bus into a black box, right? The end-user doesn’t care about that stuff, or at least doesn’t want to have to care about it.
A common perspective, except among the engineers who manage the network, is that network infrastructure is a bunch of mysterious plumbing that “just works” and how it does what it does doesn’t matter. Indeed, many vendors in the “cloud” arena would like to perpetuate this perspective on the network. They would like you to believe a bunch of dumb pipes can carry traffic and that determination of the traffic (content, flow, etc.) is determined at higher levels in the stack.
In some cases, this is true, but operating this way doesn’t unlock anything new. The model they describe would be brilliant if all of your network requirements were defined in 1998. Few companies can afford to operate technology today like they did in 1998 and remain competitive.
Cisco is announcing a newNexus 1000V(N1KV), and this one changes the game.In brief, the Nexus 1000V is the foundation of the networking services that Cisco brings to virtual computing. The N1KV can be managed using the same NX-OS commands and practices used to manage the Nexus 5K and 7K switches, and extends network control down to the VM and virtual port into which a VM is “plugged in”, even across different vendors’ hypervisors.
The N1KV is also the platform for additional L2 and L3 network services such as those provided by the vASA Firewall, vNAM, and VSG. The new Nexus 1000V InterCloud extends this ability to cloud service providers, such as Amazon, but is “cross-provider” (in fact, it doesn’t even depend on the Cloud Service Provider). For me, in my role as a Cloud Product Manager, this is an important new addition to basic networking capabilities, and is exactly the kind of thing that Cisco can and should do in its role as “Networking Giant” to open up the promise of hybrid or multi-cloud.
I have a mental image of what this can do, and I tried to put this into images to the right. Animation would have been better, I just don’t have the Flash skills to put it together for a quick blog post. I envision a virtual machine as a ghostly “physical” server tower with network cables plugged into it. These network connections can come from end-users in a client-server model, or any of our web-and-mobile constructs. After all, we still are end-users connecting to machines. Of course, the “client” for a compute function could be another compute function, so there is a network cable coming from another nearby ghost server. These ghost servers can today float from blade to blade thanks to most mainstream virtual machine managers (VMM) and a virtual switch like the N1KV, and the cords stay connected throughout. With the new N1KV, that VM can float right out of that VMM and into another VMM (such as across VMware datacenters, or even from VMware to Hyper-V), or out to a public or hosted provider. The cord just magically uncoils to remain connected wherever that machine goes! I love magic.
The N1KV provides that cable that can float after its ethereal virtual machine. It also provides the platform to maintain monitoring by the vNAM, even as the machine moves. You simply can’t economically achieve this using basic dumb pipes. Add to this the new Virtual Network Management Console (VNMC) InterCloud management capabilities. In order for that cord to stay connected, there do have to be network switches or routers along the way that understand how to make that network cable follow the machine. VNMC InterCloud manages these devices, but adds another particularly important capability: actually moving the workload.
VNMC InterCloud adds the ability to discover virtual machines, and convert them to a cloud-provider’s instance format, move what could possibly be a fairly large set of files, and get that machine started back up in a far-away environment, with seamless network consistency. VNMC InterCloud is like a puff of wind that pushes the ghostly VM from my corporate VMWare-based cloud to float over to my hosted private cloud. Remember, ghosts can float through walls.
This is groundbreaking. Workload mobility is one of those hard-to-do core capabilities required for all of us to realize the promise of multi-cloud, and it requires a network that is both dynamic and very high performing. I’ve been looking forward to this from Cisco for some time now.
Today we wrap up our three part introduction of Cisco’s new hybrid cloud infrastructure, Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 1, we provided an overview of the architecture and the components that make up Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 2, we looked a bit more closely into the single pane management of the cloud network and resources across the on-premises private cloud and the cloud service provider. In Part 3, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from customers, analysts and the press in the early stages of this announcement.
Q: What is Nexus 1000V InterCloud? What part of the hybrid cloud infrastructure does it comprise? Is it software, hardware, some combination of both? Is it a switch, a server or an application?
A: Nexus 1000V InterCloud is a set of software components that run as virtual machines on a variety of servers. It forms the infrastructure that extendss your existing on-premises virtual network and virtual services to cloud providers in a seamless and secure manner. It provides all the infrastructure and protocols to support VM migration from the data center to the cloud provider. Effectively, Nexus 1000V InterCloud (with VNMC InterCloud management software) creates a secure, on-demand layer-2 virtual private cloud (VPC).
This week, as part of a major cloud launch that also introduced the Nexus 6000 series and updates to our Cisco ONE portfolio, Cisco unveiled its Nexus 1000V InterCloud solution, which provides a seamless and secure extension of virtual networks from on-premises data centers to cloud service providers. In part 1 of our introductory blog series to this new technology, we discussed the architecture and components of Nexus 1000V InterCloud for creating secure, on-demand virtual private cloud (VPC) containers in a hybrid cloud. In a pre-launch post earlier in January, we looked at some new Forrester research data on hybrid cloud business drivers and how some organizations were looking to overcome the challenges to real hybrid cloud integration. Today, in part 2 of our InterCloud series, we are going into more depth about the hybrid cloud management component, Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) InterCloud.
VNMC InterCloud provides a single pane view of VM and cloud resources across the on-premises resources and those at the cloud provider. It interfaces to orchestration tools and service provider management systems, as well as virtual machine managers.