What provisioning the Cloud infrastructure and cooking have in common…
I like to cook. Sometimes, I’ll grab whatever ingredients I have on hand, put them in a Dutch oven, throw in a few spices, and make a delicious casserole that can never be repeated. At other times, I’ll follow a recipe to the letter, measure and weigh everything that goes in, and produce a great meal that I can repeat consistently each time.
When provisioning servers and blades for a Cloud infrastructure, the same 2 choices exist: follow your instinct and build a working (but not repeatable) system, or follow a recipe that will ensure that systems are built in an exacting fashion, every time. Without a doubt, the latter method is the only way to proceed.
Enter the Cisco Tidal Server Provisioner (an OEM from www.linmin.com) , an integral component of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Compute. TSP lets you easily create “recipes” that can be easily deployed onto physical systems and virtual machines with repeatability and quality, every time. These recipes can range from simple, e.g., install a hypervisor or an operating system, to very complex: install an operating system, then install applications, run startup scripts, configure the system, access remote data, register services, etc.
Once you have a recipe (we call it a Provisioning Template), you can apply it to any number of physical systems or virtual machines without having to change the recipe. Some data centers use virtualization for sand box development and prototyping, and use physical servers and blades for production. Some data centers do the opposite: prototype on physical systems, then run the production environment in a virtualized environment. And of course, some shops are “all physical” or “all virtual”. Being able to deploy a recipe-based payload consistently on both physical and virtual systems provides the ultimate flexibility. Yes, once you’ve created a virtual machine, you’ll likely use VMware vSphere services to deploy, clone and move VMs, but as long as you’re using TSP to create that “first VM”, you have the assurance that you have a known-good, repeatable way of generating the golden image. When time comes to update the golden image, don’t touch the VM: instead, change the recipe, provision a new VM, and proceed from there.
With this week’s announcement, Cisco continues its innovation and leadership by bringing unmatched architectural flexibility and revolutionary scale to meet diverse requirements of massively scalable data centers, big data environments, cloud-based architectures or bare-metal deployments – with one evolutionary network: Unified Fabric.
To drive the point home, the real economics of networking reveal that for many organizations approximately 70% of network TCO is incurred after the initial equipment purchase. So why is this important?
In case you missed it, the Cisco Intelligent Automation team was at Oracle OpenWorld a couple weeks ago. This fall has been packed with events for our team, ranging from major partner shows like SAP TechEd and VMworld to local Cisco Tech Days – and we’re at VMworld in Copenhagen this week.
That’s because our Intelligent Automation software solutions are relevant across the entire IT landscape. The more resources and applications that Cisco Intelligent Automation manages, the more our customers achieve efficiencies in their data center – including for Oracle applications and database management.
The Oracle event was a success for Intelligent Automation. We had three theater presentations and two demo pods about Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud and Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler for Oracle enterprise applications running on Cisco UCS. We had great discussions about the heterogeneous adapter framework built into these solutions and showed our self-service provisioning and cross-application workload automation capabilities.
Here’s the presentation highlighting the Intelligent Automation solution at OracleWorld:
VMworld Europe is just around the corner and the final preparations are being completed. The Bella Center, in beautiful Copenhagen Denmark, is undergoing a cloudy transformation that will tickle the technical fancy of geeks and provide answers and directions for the business minded. The cloud has come to the Bella Center and it has a Cisco lining.
Cloud is changing the way we do IT and Cisco is leading the charge. We have the products, innovation and partnerships to help you on your journey to the cloud. Cisco can help you own the cloud. Stop by our booth in the Bella Center to hear about some of these great Cisco solutions:
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud: Cisco powered orchestration and automation tools, which are key component to a successful cloud initiative. We will demo the software in action as it powers the internal Cisco private cloud CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services).
Cisco Nexus 1000v: Cisco’s award winning virtualized switch providing networking and security solutions for the data center. Learn how the Nexus 1000v compliments VMware vCloud Director and delivers highly secure, multitenant data center networks
Where I grew up, you could buy individual cigarettes. While I played ball at the park, I’d see the young men approach the paper kiosk to get a cigarette. Not a pack, just one lonely stick. The customers overpaid on per-cigarette basis but it helped them manage their budget I’d watch them and think nothing of it. It was normal.
People also could buy shampoo in ketchup-sized packages. Unilever still sells them in India. I grew up in the third world, it was the bronze age, but only only on good days. We’re back to bronze with cloud computing, and I’m hyper ready.
For me, the biggest invention cloud computing brings about is unreliable level services. And how important it is to have low quality service levels available on a metered basis. A metered basis the customer can manage. Hear me out.
Today, Amazon’s block storage is unpredictable for databases. The latency in the network is funky. Machines fail to start. Machines don’t fail to fail. Service levels in the cloud don’t exist.
This is not your typical datacenter. It’s a bronze age datacenter. No great expectations, but diminished expectations. And for a young segment of the market, it’s just right and couldn’t be be better.
I sat down with a young start up and asked them why do they use cloud computing if it’s so unreliable, if it requires so much more coding.
Answer: They have more time than money. And the money they have, they have to be parsimonious, avaricious and cautious. They are ok coding more to deal with the cloud’s weirdness. But running out of cash would kil them. The bronze age suits them just fine.
So all the cool kids in Silicon Valley are super excited about writing software for “Designed-to-Fail’ infrastructure. We can’t wait for a chaos monkey to spank us. Well… that’s a San Francisco thing.
So what’s the lesson of this meditation? It’s that service levels are important. Too high and they prevent innovation, too low and they prevent operation.