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How We Migrate Hundreds of Applications to the New ACI Platform

I am in the trenches of our migration to an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform, helping my team transition hundreds of applications. Cisco IT has broken down the migration process into nine steps:

  1. Complete network dependency mapping. In this exercise, the applications team validates the mapping of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) to databases, for upstream and downstream applications.
  2. Build the ACI fabric in parallel with the existing infrastructure using Nexus 9000 Series Switches.
  3. Install seed compute into ACI fabric.
  4. Connect fabric to traditional network via uplinks.
  5. Define endpoint groups (EPGs) and network application profile.
  6. Install seed storage into ACI fabric.
  7. Move application to ACI. This move can take hours or days depending on the size and complexity of the application.
  8. Move storage and compute units.
  9. Iterate: identify next application(s) to set up and migrate.

ACI App Migration Diagram

The nearly 200 applications that I’m working on spread across multiple Cisco IT services and fall under Customer Care. They include

  • Install Base
  • Product Support
  • Case Management
  • Consulting Service Delivery
  • Service Order, Return, and Repair Management
  • Service Parts Planning and Inventory Management
  • Customer Entitlement and Access Request Management
  • Customer Service Delivery Platform

In my role as an ACI Prime, I’m responsible for steps 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of the migration process. I work closely with IT architects, IT managers, and my infrastructure partners to execute the remainder of the steps. The application space is complex as multiple applications are tied to a single database. Applications need to be moved in a logical grouping. The size of one application and the size of a group of applications drive the network component. I work with several application teams and infrastructure partners to coordinate the move. We work in an agile way and have a good Scrum cadence.

Over the next few months, as my team completes the ACI migration steps that I’m responsible for, I will share my experience and lessons learned with you. Stay tuned, as we are winding down the first step (Network Dependency Mapping). So I’ll be back soon with more about that.

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Criteria for SDN/NFV Vendor Selection – Heads Up on Cisco Live

Cisco Live US 2015 is just around the corner, and will start in San Diego on June 7th, running through Thursday 11th June.  I’m surprised and honoured to be one of the folks wearing a “Cisco Live Speaker” shirt, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I’ve been working on over the past year or two.

I’ll be basing a lot of my presentation off of as yet unpublished, independent market research, into the challenges of SDN and NFV adoption, some of which are illustrated in the diagram below.  The final copy of this brand new market research report landed on my desk just last weekend – May 23rd 2015.  Hot off the press, it was funded by Cisco but conducted completely independently by a leading market research company.  The intent of this report is to guide our SDN and NFV professional services strategy. Some of the insights, however, are too useful not to share with you!  Covering a global audience, with separate questionnaires for service provider and enterprise businesses, we had set out to increase our understanding of the latest challenges of adoption of SDN and NFV as appopriate in (enterprise) businesses, including public sector, and service provider markets.

Some of the Topics in my Cisco Live Presentation

Questions I Will Discuss In My Cisco Live Presentation


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ITD: Winner of the Best of Interop 2015

When the Best of Interop 2015 award winners were announced at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, the ITD team members couldn’t control their emotions. This team is well known to work in a startup-mode — comes up with new ideas, builds a prototype, demonstrates it to the executives and SEs, goes into execution mode, and delivers a world class solution.

As the leader of this team, I was asked by several media representatives for an interview. Here is an interview by Information Week news desk (watch full-screen for HD):

ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) is now shipping on Nexus 9k/7k/5k series of switches.

Here is an informative blog on ITD.


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Get Yours Now! Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services Solution

Lots of excitement and energy continue to surround NFV (Network Function Virtualization), and it is getting even better. During the charged atmosphere at the inaugural NFV Congress in San Jose, we were delighted by more than just technology posturing, including the availability of SDN (Software Defined Networking)/NFV platforms like Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services Solution that enable Deutsches Telekom’s International CloudVPN, and Telstra’s Symphony initiative for Unified On-Demand services.


The focus of the discussions this year shifted from cost cutting towards how NFV Read More »

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Hybrid Devops – Software Defined Disruption

Businesses have been and will continue to be disrupted by software agility and innovation. If you have any questions, just ask, if they are still in business, Movie Rental Companies (Netflix), Taxi Companies (Uber), and Retail Companies (Amazon) to just name a few areas (companies that disrupted an industry with Software). Software defined disruption has changed the landscape and continues to drive tremendous business value like never before. What’s most exciting is that we have not seen anything yet compared to what the Internet of Everything (IoE) will disrupt! To understand software disruption better and determine the innovation opportunities it helps to take a look at the typical devops model today, challenges, and opportunities.

The typical devops model is represented the figure below:


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