By now you have may have seen the Cisco announcement of the Unified Data Center and Unified Management http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=578106. This exciting story around Unified Management began in the late summer of 2010 when the engineering team in Cisco’s Tidal Software acquisition began the integration of the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator and the UCS Manager. We realized that we could take our experience with hundreds of customers in application automation and apply that toward infrastructure automation, specifically around provisioning, virtualization and cloud. Our future was cloudy and that was indeed a good thing.
Five months later after intensive technical and business innovation, in the third week of January in 2011, the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit introduced our cloud automation suite which brought the ease of Amazon EC2 to the private cloud for both physical and virtual clouds. The solution consisted of newScale’s self service and service catalog technology, integrated to the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator for automation of infrastructure provisioning and IT operations management tool integrations. I had been a customer of both of these companies at a previous job and had experienced the benefits of automating both the end user and back end systems with these two companies. With the new use cases of data center and cloud automation I was convinced that these technologies could be the basis of something transformational for our customers.
Following on from my introductions to what is happening at this data center conference see part 1 and part 2), in this article I’ll talk more about something I’ve not really blogged about in my previous blogs (which is surprising given my NMS background) - data center management and Cisco Intelligent Automation. I managed to catch up with a senior manager in the Cisco IT team, Rich Gore, who game me some terrific insight into their deployment of Cisco Intelligent automation. And I’ll also relate some experience of my own on why, when it comes to the products you produce, you should always (as the US folks tend to say) “eat your own dog food”!
Think about it, when was the last time the business said “thank you” to IT? It’s probably been a while. Unfortunately, all too often we hear complaints that IT is too slow, or that IT is the department of “no”.
Deploying a private cloud is one way to help turn IT into the department of “yes”, with faster and more responsive IT service delivery. The customers of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud have compressed the cycle time for IT provisioning from weeks to minutes. That means that project managers and application developers no longer have to wait for IT – they can speed up their projects and get business applications up and running more quickly.
And if there’s one golden rule to remember for your private cloud solution, it’s that the business wants apps. They’ll be thankful if you can provision and manage their applications in a cloud environment with consistency, reliability and speed.
So if you’re interested in on-demand application delivery for your private cloud, check out this presentation from Cisco Intelligent Automation and our ecosystem partner rPath:
Cloud Expo was indeed a very interesting juxtaposition of people espousing the value of cloud and how their stuff is really cloudy. You have a group of presenters and expo floor booths talking about their open API and how that is the future of cloud. Then you have the other camp that tells us how their special mix of functions is so much better than that. All of this is a very interesting dialog. APIs are indeed very important. If your technology is indeed a cloud operating model then you must have an API. Solutions like Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud rely on those APIs to orchestrate cloud services. But APIs are not the end all. The reality is that while the cloud discussions tend to center on the API and the model behind that API, the real change enabling the move towards cloud is the operating model of the users who are leveraging the cloud for a completely fresh game plan for their businesses.
James Urquhart’s recent blog: http://gigaom.com/cloud/what-cloud-boils-down-to-for-the-enterprise-2/ highlights that the real change for users of the cloud is modifying how they do development, test, capacity management, production operations and disaster recovery. My last blog talked about the world before cloud management and automation and the move from the old world model to the new models of dev/test or dev/ops that force the application architects, developers, and QA folks to radically alter their model. Those that adopt the cloud without changing their “software factory” model from one that Henry Ford would recognize to the new models may not get the value they are looking for out of the cloud.
At Cloud Expo I saw a lot of very interesting software packages. Some of them went really deep into a specific use case area, while others accomplished a lot of functional use cases that were only about a inch deep. As product teams build out software packages for commercial use, they have a very interesting and critical decision point that will drive the value proposition of the software product. It seems to me that within 2 years, just about all entrants in the cloud management and automation marathon will begin to converge on a simple focused yet broad set of use cases. Each competitor will be either directly driving their product to that point, or they will be forced to that spot by the practical aspects of customers voting with the wallets. Interestingly enough, this whole process it drives competition and will yield great value for the VP of Operations and VP of Applications of companies moving their applications to the cloud.
Early in my career I moved quite a bit, new job, growing family, whatever the reason it seemed like every two or three years we were packing up and going to a new place and meeting our new neighbors.
Each new place had its own protocol for getting to know the neighbors, sometimes they came to us other times we had to walk around the block with the kids in tow to make that connection. The benefits of knowing your neighbors are many, who’ll lend you tools, who will help move furniture, etc.
Knowing the device neighbors in you network is just as important and fortunately there is a protocol for that, Cisco Discovery Protocol Cisco Discovery Protocol. This article is a guide to getting to know your UCS Fabric Interconnects’ neighbors in a manual and automated way.