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Composable Infrastructure Part 4: Infrastructure as Code

How do you treat hardware like software? That question sounds like a contradiction, but we’ve been helping customers answer this question for the past six years with Cisco UCS. When you abstract all configuration and identity of hardware and transform it into software defined infrastructure (SDI), or better yet, policy driven infrastructure, you’re moving down the path of managing the “infrastructure as code.”

An essential aspect of this automated management is encapsulating the best practices of your server, storage and network experts as policies and templates. Cisco describes these as Service Profiles. The Service Profiles combined with the open Application Program Interface (API) in UCS provide a common “language’ for provisioning and configuring the infrastructure across the different types of devices. As we examined in a previous blog in this series, the combination of true SDI plus best practices defined in Service Profiles makes sure routine tasks are implemented consistently and correctly to reduce risk. Our customers are receiving tremendous benefits using Service-Profiles today with their existing UCS blade and rack systems, and we have extended this same management framework to our composable infrastructure.

Here’s where it gets fun:  DevOps and Infrastructure as Code

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What You Missed at OpenStack Tokyo


What You Missed at OpenStack Summit

The OpenStack community gathered in Tokyo for the 12th-Liberty release of the OpenStack platform. The Foundation reported over 5,000 attended the conference–50% for the first time. Attendees were from across the globe with 46% from APAC and 38% from North America. Job roles varied and included developers (28%), user/operators (25%), manager/architects (19%), sales/marketing (11%), and CxOs (10%).

OpenStack has entered the post-excitement phase, which may appear slow-moving, but reflects deeper customer engagement and a focus on the operationalization of OpenStack. Hundreds of interesting sessions were presented by community members and recorded for those who could not be there.  Check out the OpenStack Foundation Summit site for the full schedule.  Common themes included overcoming the complexity of configuring, deploying and maintaining OpenStack; retaining workload flexibility; and various approaches to manageability, scalability and extensibility. Having the Summit in Japan was an opportunity to highlight Asia-based users of OpenStack, including Kirin Brewing, Yahoo Japan, NEC, NTT Resonant, GMO Internet, CyberAgent, and Rakuten.

Below are links to the strategic and technical sessions presented on Cisco solutions at the Summit.

OpenStack Summit Sponsored Sessions:
Migrating Enterprise Applications to OpenStack
Bringing Enterprise Grade OpenStack Clouds Online Faster
Panel on Real-World Solutions for Network Function Virtualization
OpenStack: Changing the Face of Service Delivery

OpenStack Summit Technical Sessions:
Finally FDE: OpenStack Full Disk Encryption and Missing Pieces
Monitoring Docker Containers and Dockerized Applications
Neutron Firewall-as-a-Service Roadmap
OpenStack Consumption Models: Three User Perspectives
Containers Are Hot, But How Do They Network?
Kolla: Ansible Deployment + OpenStack in Docker Containers = Operator Bliss
Let’s Talk Roadmap: OpenStack Style
Ceilometer + Monasca = Ceilosca
OpenStack Federation Panel: Past, Present and Future

vBrownBag Tech Talks:
Addressing DHCP and DNS Scalability in Neutron
Multiple Ceph Storage Clusters with OpenStack
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and OpenStack
Best Practices for TDD Ansible and OpenStack Deployment
Nova Solver Scheduler: Optimization and Scale for OpenStack Cloud
Scalable and Reliable OpenStack Deployments on FlexPod
Troubleshooting RabbitMQ and Its Stability Improvement
Kubernetes on OpenStack
Cache Affinity Solutions for VNF/Cloud Workloads
Gluon: A Networking Service Beyond Neutron
Network Segmentation in the Cloud
Cisco UCS and Red Hat OpenStack to Streamline Deployment
Accelerate POC to Production with OpenStack on FlexPod

For more information on OpenStack at Cisco, visit and mark your calendars for the next OpenStack Summit April 25-29 in Austin, Texas.

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Splunk on TechWiseTV: Operational Intelligence at Scale

Big Data.  Big Responsibilities.

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Composable Infrastructure, Part 3: “What is it??”

“Did you say compostable infrastructure? That means using a biodegradable cardboard chassis that can go in the compost bin, right?”  :)   This conversation is more common than you think right now as people are introduced to this for the first time.   So what exactly does composable infrastructure mean?  Perhaps the best description I’ve heard comes from James Leach who recently told me “our customers need us to wrap code around the server, not sheet metal.”   I think that concept gets at it pretty well, and no surprise since he’s one of the people behind our M-Series Modular Servers and Cisco System Link technology.  Still, it’s early days for this concept in the industry and many customers we talk to haven’t been exposed to the term.

We took some time recently to interview Jed Scaramella from IDC to help explain it all.  Here’s another segment in that series, this one focused on answering the question, “What is Composable Infrastructure?What Is CI Screen Capture

Composable infrastructure is is emerging out of two trends: disaggregated servers and software-defined infrastructure. Both are prerequisite capabilities: you need be able to take humpty dumpty apart AND put him together again. Disaggregation is where we unbind local shared storage and network I/O from the processor and memory.   Subsystems are no longer bound by the server chassis or the traditional motherboard. Then, with a unified control plane and API, these physical and logical resources are pooled and management software composes the resources on demand, so the system can be created to conform to the unique requirements of the workload. That’s the software-defined part.

Path to “Infrastructure as Code”

While many are just beginning to talk about composable infrastructure as a future strategy (“Houston, we have a vision…”) Cisco has been executing on disaggregated systems and software defined infrastructure since the introduction of UCS, through three key areas of innovation:

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Composable Infrastructure, Part 2: What are the Benefits?

Jed ScaramellaWe recently sat down with IDC analyst, Jed Scaramella, to talk about an interesting and accelerating trend in data center technology: composable infrastructure. With UCS M-Series servers, Cisco has taken an important step forward in this space. To help frame things up, we asked Jed for his take on the market drivers and customer needs fueling innovation. We’ve broken the conversation with Jed into a series and hope to shed some light on how this will re-shape computing architecture and the opportunities for IT.

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