Being at Cisco Live was a very different experience for me this year. Previous years I spent most of my time in the Intelligent Automation booth discussing functionality in the areas of service catalogs, portals, and orchestration workflows. It was mostly a technical conversation of how to build private cloud catalogs and how to provision infrastructure. This year my Cisco Live experience started off in talking to about 80 partners at the Cisco Connected Architecture Forum Summit; a very interesting crowd. It was here that I talked about what Cisco IT and our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit experience was in deploying private clouds for end users. I discussed Cisco’s private cloud CITEIS, and our new product release Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition. I discussed Physical and Virtual Clouds and there was much interest in the concept of a services portal and automation construct for both Physical and Virtual clouds, something that is enabled very elegantly with the UCS Manager API. Partners asked great questions: How quickly can they deploy this starter cloud? How do customers chart out their journey to the cloud? Where do they start and what do they do first? Great conversations ensued…
Service Delivery Partners are a key strategy for the deployment of Cisco Cloud software stack. Watch the following interview with Sydney Morgan of Cisco IT and Dave Kinsman from World Wide Technologies, a partner of ours in this area as we talk about the Journey to Cloud and our experiences on the deployment side.
I spent the rest of Cisco Live talking to some great IT organizations about their cloud plans and journey that they are on. Some interesting examples are:
Financial Services: This customer of ours was focused on the deployment of cloud and the changes to the organization as they were coming off of Mainframe centric workloads, deploying them to x86 architectures on UCS. How the application developers would use the newly minted cloud was top of mind.
Service Provider: Many Cloud Service Providers are right at the intersection of business and technology: what service offers can I offer out of the chute to differentiate my company? Discussions around how our IA for Cloud technology stack and pre-built services and automation can make that easier. We also discussed the need and desire to train up their staff to become service designers and workflow authors.
Manufacturer: This customer is focused on operational efficiency and how automation software can reduce the mundane and routine tasks in operations. Replication of system configuration in a standardized way allows their deep application support teams to focus on differentiating their business.
As Jason Schroedl announced, http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/announcing-the-new-cisco-intelligent-automation-for-cloud-starter-edition Cisco’s Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit, in conjunction with the Unified Computing System has just announced a solution for customers of UCS and vCenter that want a Cloud Automation system that can perform both Physical and Virtual server provisioning. It is called the starter edition for a reason. We find that many customers are not sure what they want from their cloud and are looking for a great place to start. This is not what I call the “starship enterprise” of clouds. It is the first step that a company will take on their cloud journey.
I have talked to many enterprises that want a private cloud; also service providers that want to build a public cloud based upon Cisco UCS / Nexus. They all would like to get to their first generation of cloud very quickly. We have many conversations on infrastructure to use, the right choice of hypervisor, and what use cases to start with. Today I talked to a customer of our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that wants a differentiating end user portal. Everyone can spin up a VM, but how to do it in a way that will drive adoption and new business, whether it is for the enterprise or service provider? How do we do this at a cost and a timeline that meets the needs of the business and the CIO.
These are not lightweight concerns. I have seen many data center automation projects that focused too much on the provisioning and not enough on the end user experience. The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit at Cisco has been involved with many customers building private and public clouds with our software stack. This includes Cisco IT’s very large private cloud deployment based upon our software. The two services they deployed: CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services) Express and CITEIS VDC (Virtual Data Center) has received broad acclaim. Watch the following videos by Jamie MacQuarrie of the Intelligent Automation team on these two CITEIS Services.
Early in my career I moved quite a bit, new job, growing family, whatever the reason it seemed like every two or three years we were packing up and going to a new place and meeting our new neighbors.
Each new place had its own protocol for getting to know the neighbors, sometimes they came to us other times we had to walk around the block with the kids in tow to make that connection. The benefits of knowing your neighbors are many, who’ll lend you tools, who will help move furniture, etc.
Knowing the device neighbors in you network is just as important and fortunately there is a protocol for that, Cisco Discovery Protocol Cisco Discovery Protocol. This article is a guide to getting to know your UCS Fabric Interconnects’ neighbors in a manual and automated way.
Earlier in my career, I ran a corporate IT and managed services tooling team. I wish it was garage type tools, but it was IT operational management tools. My team was responsible for developing and integration a set of ~20 applications that was the “IT for the IT guys”. It was a great training ground for 120 of us; we worked on the bleeding edge and we were loving it. We did everything from product management, development, test, quality engineering deployment, production and operational support. It was indeed an example of eating your own cooking. Applications where king in our group. We had .NET, J2EE, JAVA, C, C+, C++ and other languages. We have custom build and COTS (commercial off the shelf) software applications.
One day on a fateful Friday, my teenagers happily asleep on a Friday night way past midnight (I guess that made it Saturday), I was biting my nails at 2 AM with my management and technical team on a concall wondering what went wrong. We were 5 hours into a major yearly upgrade and Murphy was my co-pilot that night. I had DBAs, architects, Tomcat experts, QA, load testing gurus, infrastructure jockeys, and everyone else on the phone. We had deployed 10 new servers that night and were simultaneously doing an upgrade to the software stack. I think we had 7 time zones covered with our concall. At least for my compatriots in France it was not too bad; they were having morning coffee in their time zone. Our composite application was taking 12 seconds to process transactions; it should have taken no more 1.5 secs. The big question: can we fix this by Sun at 10 PM when our user base in EMEA showed up for work, or do we (don’t say this to the management) roll back the systems and application…. I ran out of nails at this point…. My wife came into my dark home office and wondered what the heck was going on…..