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The Evolution of IT Process Automation: A Move Toward Service-Oriented Orchestration

Let’s talk about Cisco Process Orchestrator. We recently released version 3.0 — and there are a lot of exciting features that have been introduced with this new release of our IT Process Automation (ITPA) / Run Book Automation (RBA) software.

Cisco Process Orchestrator is the foundational engine on which Cisco has built a number of data center-, application-, and network-focused automation solutions. These include our cloud management solution (Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud), which embeds this orchestration engine for cloud service automation and helps organizations deploy private, public, or hybrid clouds; an SAP-focused solution resold by SAP (SAP IT Process Automation by Cisco), which lowers TCO of your SAP applications and databases by integrating events and alert management data with incident response information; and a network troubleshooting and triage solution, which helps customers manage repetitive tasks and aids remediation of common issues with network operations.

In this post, I’m going to feature a few of the major highlights of the new version 3.0 release:

  • A new service-oriented methodology for service encapsulation: design workflows that match to the service ordered by the business units
  • Flexible automation packs and solution accelerators: build, version, re-purpose content to drive solutions
  • Service automation integrated with Cisco Prime Service Catalog: optimizing the end-to-end service delivery process

Service-Oriented Orchestration

Building ITPA and RBA workflows has never been easier. With Cisco Process Orchestrator‘s service-oriented orchestration you can move away from traditional static, script-based run-book automation and IT process-level automation. We have built a modeling platform where automation aligns with the highest-level services and allows you to model IT service the way that a high-level service is delivered.

CPO SOO1A shift from static workflow design to dynamic, service-oriented design

In this “top down” approach, designing the services and their desired state is the initial step in automation design. The next step is defining the process actions for these services and then implementing the specific process workflows that traverse traditional IT boundaries to act on and automate the necessary elements to deliver the service.

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Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 4.0

I’m at our annual Cisco Live Europe conference in Milan this week – it’s a great event and a great opportunity to introduce new innovations to customers.  In fact, today we announced the latest release of our cloud management software solution: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) version 4.0.

I recently wrote about the new Forrester Private Cloud Wave, and how Cisco was ranked in the top three overall and #1 in strategy.  Our high marks in strategy in that report were based in large part on the roadmap and strategic vision that is being delivered through this new cloud management release – together with the latest release of Cisco UCS Director for infrastructure management.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud is a cloud management platform designed for enterprise and public sector IT organizations building private and hybrid clouds, as well as service providers deploying public or virtual private cloud services.  This is the fourth major release for Cisco IAC – and it’s a big one.

With the new 4.0 release, Cisco is breaking ground by providing both the out-of-the-box functionality that our customers are asking for and the flexibility that we know they need as they extend their cloud deployments beyond basic IaaS.

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New Independent Analyst Research on Private Cloud Software Solutions

In previous blog posts, my colleagues have written about Cisco’s leadership in cloud infrastructure (#1) and cloud professional services (#1). And as I’ve blogged about in the past, we have a growing portfolio of cloud and infrastructure management software solutions. Now Cisco is getting recognition as a strong performer in cloud software innovation and strategy.

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 »

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Cisco Domain Ten: The Compendium

October 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm PST

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.

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Industrial Grade SDN

September 9, 2013 at 6:55 am PST

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 »

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