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Easy to Build, Easy to Manage: Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud

What if a private cloud could give your developers the easy, fast, and predictable experience that public cloud delivers, but inside your own data center, behind your own firewalls?  It’s what more and more companies are looking to provide.

Different clouds for different crowds

Innovative organizations are increasingly deploying two modes of IT — traditional IT and agile IT. Traditional IT is what we’ve all know. The focus is on “doing IT right,” with approval-based governance, and price-for-performance. Agile IT is focused on “doing IT fast,” supporting prototyping and iterative development, rapid delivery, continuous, and value to the business.  Gartner calls this model “bimodal IT” and estimates that 45% of CIO’s already deploy a second, agile mode of IT.

Cisco has a long history of providing infrastructure for traditional enterprise private cloud environments. In fact, we lead the industry with Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions such as vBlock Systems, Flexpod, and VersaStack. With the acquisition of Metacloud in September 2014, we now offer an agile IT environment for developers.

Enter Metacloud

The Metacloud product, now available worldwide as Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud, delivers the engineering and ongoing operations to provide a public cloud experience within the firewalls in an organization. The advanced operations subscription to Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud takes the burden of engineering and operations of the private cloud environment away from your teams, so they can focus on automating the testing, deployment, and scale of your applications.

Metacloud solved the challenges of running a sophisticated OpenStack® private cloud that delivers an easy, fast, predictable “public cloud-like” experience to developers. But under our original model customers are still left with the challenge of building an OpenStack private cloud—cobbling together the data center components of your private cloud, using  traditional IT models for getting those set up and configured.

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Preparing for the Next Big Wave in IT: The Intercloud’s Role in Digitization

There is no question that we’re on the cusp of rapid IT evolution. Ten years ago, a small subset of IT managers and system administrators defined and drove infrastructure and services with a finite set of management tools for everyone’s use. In the emerging cloud world, the control of the data center has become segregated into individual hardware components (compute, network, storage) and become more available to the masses.

Today developers are building and running cloud services and next generation applications.  As users, we are also composing our own cloud services to get our job done and combining all the various things we can consume in the cloud. That means the number of users and developers that touch IT systems and services has grown exponentially, which is why automation, programmability, and light weight development environments have become critical in the IT landscape.  By definition, the consumption of these varying services have also driven the requirements for fast, hybrid IT and given the opportunity to companies like Amazon Web Services to capitalize on the users.

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!

But we are anticipating a much bigger wave in IT – one that we all have to be prepared for – which is digitization. With all things of value connecting to the network, we are walking around with super computers in our pockets and in our cars and homes.  These “things” (e.g. FitBit, Nest, and the Telsa smart traffic mapping application) are the new “users” that are consuming services and data from our surroundings and using these services to get their jobs done.  This is another order of magnitude greater than the system administrators who drove the IT revolution and the users like us who drove the initial cloud revolution. We need to find a way to push the intelligence and services all the way out to the edge and tie this uber-distributed compute fabric together to support the “things” while giving the developers and users the automated, secure platform, intelligence, and analytics that they need.

Hyper-distributed Application Environment

This means in the current cloud economy, enterprises will need a bimodal IT model to take advantage of this uber-distributed compute fabric – one that supports their existing legacy applications AND one that supports hyperscale applications (those cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, ecommerce, etc.).  We need to allow enterprise to deploy those new applications in hundreds of clouds and not just on their own private cloud. Enabling this kind of distributed application environment will require an agile, FAST IT development strategy combined with the right cloud platform to manage it. In addition, this cloud platform needs to be hybrid as well to allow full workload mobility across any cloud, from any vendor in a way that guarantees visibility, security, compliance and full open standards.

We believe that Intercloud, the global network of connected clouds that we’re building with our partners, is the right hybrid cloud platform to help users take advantage of digitization and IoE in the near future. Our partners are going to play a major role in making this a reality for their customers.

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Earlier today on main stage during Cisco Partner Summit in Montreal, I gave more than 7,000 partners a preview of this Intercloud-enabled journey to Fast IT and digitization, and the role they’ll be able to play with customers. Within this journey there are a few different Cisco solutions that partners can sell to their customers and monetize today or in the near future:

  • Discover True Cloud Usage
    Before enterprises race to embrace the world of many clouds and eventually digitization, it is critical that they understand their own cloud usage and what services are within their control. Most CIOs think they know how many cloud services they are using within their enterprise, but they’re usually way off base. In many organizations, line of business (LOB) managers lease and use multiple IT and cloud services without the IT department’s knowledge. After analysis, CIOs usually discover they are using 5 to 10 times more cloud services than they were aware of, called “Shadow IT” or “Shadow Cloud.” This creates exponentially more hidden costs than are visible to the IT department, and a host of other security risks. Our new Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service not only helps customers find out how many Shadow IT services they’re actually using, but which applications are in use, whether the data stored on those applications is encrypted, and how much it is costing them.
  • Build a Hybrid Cloud Platform
    Once CIOs realize the extent of the cloud fragmentation, they need a hybrid cloud model that gives them control over this hyperscale distribution of applications and data. Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite helps customers build their own hybrid private cloud and functions like an internal cloud store while still guaranteeing visibility, control, security, policy management, and compliance. Since it already contains a combination of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, Cisco Intercloud Fabric, and UCS Director, Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite is the one-stop shop for Cloud Builders who want to help enterprises build their own private hybrid cloud and manage the IaaS, Paas, and SaaS services applications inside it, whether those applications are their own or purchased from a partner marketplace or a public cloud.
  • Link IT to OT
    50 billion new things will be connected to the Internet and all of these “things” will create data that will be stored in clouds and will need to be managed by the IT department. This is the world of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Cisco Energy Management Suite is an example of an Intercloud application that links IT to OT to solve this problem. It helps identify the customer’s energy use and provides benchmarks for their cloud, IT, and OT assets. Partners will wrap their own professional services around this offer to perform an assessment of the customer’s environment and automatically create and deploy policies to better manage their customers’ energy consumption all through the cloud.
  • Sell a Private OpenStack Cloud Managed Service
    As I mentioned earlier, a new IT approach is needed for enterprises to deploy cloud-native applications. Centralized computing models won’t work for many of the IoE solutions today. The time-sensitive nature of these solutions requires localized analysis and processing, which requires a distributed intelligence that only the network can deliver. This distributed applications approach leverages the intelligence network as a platform to deploy many IoE applications closer to the decision point and the data so it can enable people and processes to take near real-time informed action. Partners can help enterprises build their own distributed application cloud environment and deploy cloud-native applications using Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud Bundle based on Cisco’s Metacloud acquisition. This OpenStack-based private cloud development application is designed to radically simplify the private cloud start up process for enterprises, deliver a public cloud experience for developers, and provide a reoccurring subscription revenue opportunity for partners. Not only that, but it allows enterprises to create, deploy, and modify these cloud-native applications built for mobile, gaming, or ecommerce (such as the Angry Birds game) that can become a new source of revenue and customer analytics for enterprises.NEarlePS3

 

In conclusion, CIOs need to solve the problem of hybrid IT – not just hybrid cloud. Their new remit is to manage everything from data centers to the cloud, to edges, to mobile devices. Cisco Intercloud is the only solution that has been designed from the ground up to solve this problem while leveraging the power of the network.

 

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Cisco at OpenStack Summit, Vancouver

It’s that time again. The champions of OpenStack are gearing up for the next Summit: May 18-22 in Vancouver, where Cisco is a Premier Sponsor and our objective is to demonstrate the depth of our commitment to OpenStack as developers, operators, and users.

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This is only my third Summit, but I’m noticing some changes here in our preparations at Cisco. For one thing, our engineers are presenting nearly 30 sessions—more than triple the last Summit. That makes sense if you think about the growth of OpenStack and the increasing interest in issues related to enterprise deployment and production environments. Internally, Cisco uses OpenStack for a variety of cloud applications and services and has a lot to share about high availability, scalability and operations for OpenStack.

Of course, Cisco architects will be presenting their perspectives on OpenStack networking topics, including sessions on implementing IPv6, adding enterprise functions to Open vSwitch, availability of Neutron extensions and ML2 drivers, and the innovative use of Network Function Virtualization to create cloud VPNs. You can see the full list on the Cisco at OpenStack Summit website, to mark your schedule in advance.

Cisco will also have a special sponsored track on Tuesday to share details on our OpenStack strategy and breadth of solutions. Presenters will be joined by Cisco customers: Shutterfly, Sprint and Key Information Systems. Attendees at sponsored track sessions will be eligible to win a new MacBook or one of seven iPad minis.

We’re bringing Engineers Unplugged’ back to our booth in the Expo Hall and recording short whiteboard videos to let OpenStack contributors share what they’re working on. Stop by the booth to view a Cisco demo and receive a free Vancouver Summit t-shirt. The roster of demos includes how Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure enables faster, easier, and more accurate provisioning of infrastructure to scale applications in the cloud.

Finally, keep an eye out for Cisco’s social media scavenger hunt with fun prizes, details to be posted on Twitter: #OpenCisco, #OpenStackSummit.

See you in Vancouver.

 

 

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OSpod #28: An Interview with John Dickinson

One of the original projects of OpenStack at the time that it launched was Swift, an Object Storage platform born out of Rackspace. A couple of months ago, we interviewed Joe Arnold, SwiftStack Founder and CPO. This week, we talked to John Dickinson, who serves as Director of Technology at SwiftStack and Project Technical Lead for the OpenStack Swift project. This was a notable day for John and the global Swiftstack contributors because just minutes before the podcast started, two years of effort had finally paid off with the addition of a new erasure coding feature.  Watch the video, download the podcast, or read the transcripts below to learn more about:

  • John’s entry into tech that started with his grandfather’s Commodore 64
  • What Swift is well-suited for, whether you’re a startup or a large enterprise
  • Working with a global team to launch the erasure coding feature
  • Life as a Project Team Lead in OpenStack, and how anyone (even me) can contribute to Swift
  • Challenges in operating Swift at scale, and how SwiftStack solves those pain points

You can follow John on Twitter at @notmyname and on IRC at the same name. His blog and other links can be found on his calling card page.

Jeff and I are taking the show to the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver! If you’d like to be considered for a guest spot, tweet us at @openstackpod

See past episodes, subscribe, or view the upcoming schedule on the OSPod website.

For a full transcript of the  interview, click read more below.

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Five Reasons You Can’t Ignore OpenStack

Five Reasons You Can’t Ignore OpenStack

1.    It’s growing dramatically.
OpenStack User Survey, Nov 2014
Source: OpenStack User Survey, November 2014

·       The growth trajectory of OpenStack® is similar to that of Linux, and is on track to grow even faster. What started as a sandbox for developers has now become significantly more stable and mainstream.

·       Many larger enterprises are now using OpenStack, even in limited deployments, and as the advantages become more apparent, use will increase.

·       The code itself has matured dramatically since its introduction five years ago. Updates are now far more likely to be bug fixes and usability improvements rather than major new code releases.

·       An impressive number of technology and cloud vendors now offer OpenStack solutions and tools. Almost every major cloud vendor now has a presence in OpenStack. We are nearing critical mass.

2.    The OpenStack community is vigilant about protecting flexibility.

·       The biggest advantage of an open-source approach is that you can create a much more flexible and vendor-neutral cloud environment. As a result, you can lower your costs, avoid the risks of vendor lock-in, and add new capabilities and approaches much more quickly and easily.

·       The cloud is still an incredibly dynamic, rapidly evolving marketplace. New features and approaches are being introduced all the time. If you lock yourself into a single vendor, you’ll be on that vendor’s timeline to bring those new capabilities to your business. Your success may well rest on responding more quickly than your competitors.

3.   It can make a big difference in productivity and staffing.

·       Using OpenStack on an integrated infrastructure platform, like Cisco UCS® offers significant productivity benefits, because the two architectures work together to eliminate many of the manual tasks involved in building a cloud. OpenStack defines how computing, networking, storage, and other essential cloud elements will interoperate, so your IT engineers are free of repetitive deployment tasks and can focus on more value-added projects.

·       If you lock your cloud environment into a single vendor’s approach, you’re limited to staff who specialize in that vendor’s technology—or to long ramp-up times to train existing staff who don’t.  But open source technologies are a smart investment and many of today’s developers and engineers are adding open source to their skill set, expanding the number of people qualified to support your OpenStack cloud.

·       OpenStack is growing rapidly. Even if you’re not planning to begin implementing an open-source approach right away, it’s critical to start building OpenStack skills in your team now, so you won’t be scrambling to catch up later.

4.    Are you avoiding OpenStack because you think using an open-source solution means a long, complex do-it-yourself project?  Not necessarily.

·       Hardened, enterprise-class OpenStack solutions are now available from open-source leaders like Red Hat®, often as part of pre-integrated, ready-to-deploy solutions developed in partnership with vendors like Cisco.  Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Red Hat OpenStack is a fully documented design guide and bill of materials, designed to accelerate deployment of your OpenStack cloud.

·       And for those who prefer to leave operation of OpenStack to the experts, Cisco now provides a fully-managed, on-premises private cloud option, based on technology acquired from Metacloud.  Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud® gives you all of the benefits of a public cloud in a private cloud environment, so you can focus on application development.

·        The number of tools is growing and responding to the need for support.  OpenStack users have made Chef cookbooks and Puppet configuration modules freely available on GitHub.  In addition, the latest technologies for putting infrastructure at the service of cloud applications and services are being made available for OpenStack.  Vendors now offer software-define networking (SDN) controllers, such as the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), that allow you to perform policy-based management of your OpenStack-based cloud environment.

5.   Are you ready for a hybrid cloud world?

·       For many businesses, the immediate priority is to create a private cloud environment to deliver IT as a service (ITaaS). But you want to be able to shift workloads to public cloud resources when it makes sense to do so, as well as meet growing demands from lines of business that want to use public cloud services in the enterprise.

·       Hybrid cloud is growing in importance as it combines the economic benefits of the public cloud with the control and security of a private cloud.  The December 2014 Ubuntu Cloud and Server Survey found that 40% of respondents using OpenStack were planning to implement an OpenStack-based hybrid cloud in the next 12 months.  OpenStack is an obvious candidate for hybrid cloud, with the support of an active open source community, as well as major cloud vendors.

OpenStack may have seemed like a curiosity a few years ago. But it’s becoming a big part of the cloud landscape. If you want to capitalize on the benefits of open source cloud environments before your competitors, start paying attention now—or be prepared to play catch-up later.

 

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