In my previous blog , I noted that IT is increasingly transitioning towards an IT service broker role, taking advantage of multiple sourcing options to become an intermediary of cloud services offered to the business constituents. The role of IT as a broker of cloud services enables them to add value on behalf of its users by dynamically aggregating, integrating, and customizing the delivery of multi-cloud services (whether public, private or a combination of both) to best meet the needs of the business.
It’s now time for Cisco to take the next bold step in leading the evolution of the “World of Many Clouds,” journey with our partners. Today, at Cisco Live! in Milan, we announced important news in the significant expansion of our Cloud Portfolio to enable a new Fast IT model. The new products and services in Cisco’s extended cloud portfolio include:
These solutions that we will detail in coming blogs are designed to provide major benefits for your organization as you move to the world of many clouds. They allow you to
Reduce your exposure to risk in cloud environments.
Enhance your business flexibility with a choice of consumption models in the world of many clouds.
Increase agility and reduce TCO by managing and automating your cloud environments
Our breakthrough hybrid cloud solution, Cisco InterCloud, which lowers total cost of ownership for organizations and paves the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds. The addition of InterCloud to our Cloud portfolio also broadens Cisco’s commitment to openness and shows the unique value our partner-led model.
Cisco is making a big splash with our virtual networking portfolio at Microsoft TechEd North America 2013, running June 3-6 in New Orleans, Microsoft’s premier event for IT professionals and developers. There will be over 7,000 attendees and there is still time to make plans to get there yourself if you want to learn more about Cisco’s role in the Microsoft ecosystem. For details, visit our show microsite.
The event is well-timed with the GA release of our Nexus 1000V virtual switch for the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor reaching customers next week. Not coincidently, the Nexus 1000V has been selected as a finalist in the 2013 Best of TechEd awards in the Virtualization category and is eligible for the overall Attendees Pick award for the show. (If you do go as an attendee, make sure to vote early and often, as they say!)
It’s great to see the enthusiasm and interest in our whole virtual networking portfolio as we ramp up to tap this market in a big way now. I’ve been writing the last couple of months about how much interest there was in the beta version and how well it was received, and how we’ve removed the main barrier to adoption by making the Essential version of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch available at no cost.
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.
Now that everyone is back from last week’s Mobile World Congress, it is a good time to shift gears to the topic of cloud.
Cloud represents a fundamental shift in how applications and information technology (IT) in general are consumed. It is pretty clear that the market is evolving with many flavors of specialized cloud services coming to market, providing a wealth of choice for the enterprise, small and medium business (SMB), and public sector markets and a range of opportunities for cloud providers (CP’s) to provide differentiated cloud services. These services may address industry or country/province specific functionality or compliance requirements. Cisco refers to this trend as A World of Many Clouds.
As predicted in Cisco’s World of Many Clouds vision, organizations are finding themselves with a wealth of cloud services choices from a multitude of cloud vendors. For example, research conducted by Cisco’s IBSG consulting organization found that SMBs are significantly increasing their spend on SaaS services. Between 2011 and 2013 SMBs between 5 and 249 employees will increase the portion of their IT spend allocated to hosted or subscriptions technology services by 2.6X.Similarly, recent research from Parallels has found that SMB’s used 4 cloud services each on average in 2012 and are predicted to use 7 cloud services each by 2015. Read More »
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.