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Cisco ACI at F5 Agility 2014, Copenhagen

At F5 Agility 2014 Copenhagen this month, Applications take the central stage.  The key focus area is Application Delivery Controllers (ADC’s as Gartner calls them) and how they are increasingly becoming more important to modern IT than they used to be, allowing scale, availability, orchestration and provisioning.

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Another key focus area is around the deployment of applications and how joint technology solutions present a tremendously powerful option for F5’s customers.  F5’s partners -- and Cisco is a key partner – are a large part of Agility.  Cisco is at the event to demonstrate how its ACI technology integrates with F5 BIG-IP to improve manageability, strengthen security, and ensure faster and more successful deployments.

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We have quite a few exciting things that we are showcasing at F5 Agility from a Cisco ACI perspective, and in this blog I want to take you on a quick tour of the highlights. As a testimony to our growing momentum with the Cisco ACI-F5 joint solution effort, we have demos, business and technical breakout sessions. The event features F5 CEO John McAdam’s keynote on Tuesday June 17, where he will … discuss how applications are impacting the architecture of the data center and driving IT strategy and alignment to key business drivers.

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Cisco Marketing Manager Ravi Balakrishnan is presenting a business breakout session-4 titled “Unleash the power of Cisco ACI and F5 Synthesis for Accelerated Application deployments,” on Wednesday June 18. This session gives a detailed overview on the benefits of our joint solution and the customer pain points it addresses, so do not miss this. I’d also encourage you to attend Paolo Pio and Nicolas Menant’s technical breakout session-3 on Wednesday June 18, where they will walk you through details of ACI/VMDC joint solution.

We also have an exciting demo at the Cisco ACI kiosk, where we are showing how the Cisco ACI and F5 BIG-IP joint solution works with step-by-step illustrations of configuration, deployment and execution. The demos run Tuesdays and Wednesday at the Exhibit Hall for the entire duration of the day. Stop by our demo kiosk to get a deep-dive architecture type white-boarding or brainstorming type engagement with Cisco subject matter experts on ACI-F5 integrated solution. There are several other solution areas where Cisco and F5 are working together including F5 LTM-Cisco Nexus 7000 integration, F5 LTM-SourceFire NGIPS integration etc, so come by our demo booth to learn more.

To learn more on Cisco and F5  partnership visit the Cisco-F5 Alliance web page.

 

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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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Live from Cisco Live!

This blog is live from the floor of Cisco Live in London. The highlight for me this year in London has been the introduction, with our partners Ping Identity, of the Identity Cloud Connector, built on onePK, as part of the Cisco Cloud Connectors family of solutions. I’ll go into that in more detail below, but first some other highlights.

Yesterday we delivered a full day workshop on network automation, including EEM and introductions to onePK. Bruno Klauser, Joe Clarke, Jason Pfeifer, with me in a supporting role, helped  29 attendees through a series of exercises to help them get the most out of the extensive automation features on our platforms. The attendees must have liked it, as the score was 4.61/5. Well done guys!

The buzz here in the World of Solutions (WoS) is great. We have onePK demonstrations in the Data Centre and Borderless Network architecture zones, and we have been talking to customers and partners non-stop, all day. The Open Network Environment (ONE) strategy has really gripped people’s imagination, and it has been very exciting, and fun, to engage in some serious conversations about what ONE can do for our customers’ businesses. Read More »

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Cloud Operating Model – How Does Your Cloud Run?

Wow, lots of excitement this week with all the news in the cloud space.  All very interesting and very much validating of the work that our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit is doing around automation of the cloud.   Now on to actually showing ROI right now for your CIO.

We in the Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit define the cloud operating model as a set of behaviors that define the operational characteristics of your private or public cloud.  Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud  models a private cloud operation through a set of behaviors around the following areas:

  • Catalog of Services
  • Tenant / Organization Model
  • Site / POD model
  • Lease/Capacity management
  • Network Segregation
  • Roles
  • Lifecycle management
  • Administrative capabilities
  • Installation
  • Image Management
  • Storage and Network Automation

Let’s take a look at each of these items and show how this work in our Intelligent Automation for Cloud  Starter Edition:

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Superheroes of the Cloud Part Three: The Original Cloud Builders

In my journeys of talking to IT organizations I come across individuals who really stand out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  This is the third in a series of Blogs on the Superheroes of the Cloud.  What makes these individuals and their organizations special is that they distinguish their organizations by having a unique angle to their Journey to the Cloud.   I won’t spell out the exact formula but I will offer some tidbits on why I am impressed by these superheroes.

Who said that building a cloud operating model is easy?  It is not.  It takes complete focus on the end goal and a systematic approach to defining the many levels and subsystems of the cloud management and automation framework.  It takes lots of time learning from missteps and successes.  You are pressured to hasten the timeline and deliver under budget.  You have to be a visionary and yet be the most pragmatic individual on the block.

When Cisco Intelligent Automation added Cloud Automation to our core DNA, we looked for individuals in our services organization who would stand up and be the original builders and architects of the pragmatic clouds for our customers.  They would train an entire group of people within Cisco and at our partners to build those clouds.  Their students became teachers in their own right.

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