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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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Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 4.0

I’m at our annual Cisco Live Europe conference in Milan this week – it’s a great event and a great opportunity to introduce new innovations to customers.  In fact, today we announced the latest release of our cloud management software solution: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) version 4.0.

I recently wrote about the new Forrester Private Cloud Wave, and how Cisco was ranked in the top three overall and #1 in strategy.  Our high marks in strategy in that report were based in large part on the roadmap and strategic vision that is being delivered through this new cloud management release – together with the latest release of Cisco UCS Director for infrastructure management.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud is a cloud management platform designed for enterprise and public sector IT organizations building private and hybrid clouds, as well as service providers deploying public or virtual private cloud services.  This is the fourth major release for Cisco IAC – and it’s a big one.

With the new 4.0 release, Cisco is breaking ground by providing both the out-of-the-box functionality that our customers are asking for and the flexibility that we know they need as they extend their cloud deployments beyond basic IaaS.

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Check out what’s new in the latest release of UCS Director!

Cisco’s award winning converged infrastructure management software solution just got even better!  In the latest release of Cisco UCS Director, we’ve added broader and deeper infrastructure support across the compute, network, storage and virtualization layers, as well making the product even more scalable.  The latest release also comes with new software development kits (SDKs) for partners to provide extensibility and interoperability and a northbound API for integration with Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) as well as other cloud management systems.  Let’s take a closer look at these enhancements in detail.

SDKs and APIs

UCS Director’s new SDKs and APIs were recently made available to give our partners the following functionality:

  • Northbound API which integrates into higher platforms like Cisco IAC.  This API enables you to perform operations on Cisco UCS Director resources and to integrate those operations into applications so that they can provide API-supported functionality and features.
  • SDK  available on cisco.com & DevNet (CDN), which provides open automation for partners looking to create new device connector

Compute

                                                            compute   Compute Enhancements

UCS Manager 2.1 (Delmar); KVM console; SAN zoning through UCS   Manager; standalone management of UCS C-SeriesUCS Integration -Local disk provisioning and policies

-Workflow tasks for vNIC templates and service profile

-Assign blade or server pool to group

-Cloning of profile and profile template

 

Whiptail – application acceleration

  •   Invicta, Acella API Version 1.5 support
  •   Inventory reports
  •   CRUD actions,    workflows, and reports
  •   Converged and stack views

 

UCS Central Integration

-Multi-domain Manager concept

-Inventory for UCS-M elements

-Local/global service profile and templates

-Pools and policies for network and storage equivalent to UCS-M

-Select/deselect UCS domain assigned to POD

 

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Data Center and Cloud Management Software at Cisco Live Milan

Ciao! The data center and cloud management software team is in Milan this week to showcase our Unified Management solutions in the Data Center and Cloud booth as well as the Cisco ONE Platform booth at our annual Cisco Live customer event in Europe.

In particular, we’ll be showcasing new software releases including Cisco UCS Director version 4.1, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) version 4.0, Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0, and Cisco Prime Network Services Controller version 3.2.

So, please check out the live demos, join our breakout sessions, and take this opportunity to how our Cisco’s Unified Management software solutions can help your organization improve efficiency, become more agile, and reduce costs.

See below for details and stay tuned for some exciting announcements …

Milan-550x309

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Introducing Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0

I’m excited to announce the recent release of our next-generation service catalog software, Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0.

prime-service-catalog-demo-home-partial

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As previously introduced in my colleague Song’s blog post, Cisco Prime Service Catalog is an industry-leading IT service catalog solution for any managing any type of service request – from desktop to mobility to data center. If you aren’t familiar with our product already, make sure to watch this video:

In most organizations, there is no single system or “app store” that end-users can use to request all the IT tools and services they need to do their job.  There are typically different siloed processes for ordering, fulfilling and tracking each of those IT resources (e.g. mobile devices, laptops, applications, infrastructure, access to systems). And with the continued proliferation of new technologies and applications, this has become increasingly frustrating for end-users – and more challenging for IT service delivery teams. Cisco Prime Service Catalog provides a modern and unified approach to solve these problems, with a simple and user-friendly service catalog that eliminates the complexity of ordering services across these different IT silos.

The results? Increased productivity for end-users.  Faster and more efficient IT service delivery. Higher IT customer satisfaction scores and greater IT-business alignment.

So what’s new in the latest version of Cisco Prime Service Catalog? Version 10 is packed with several new features and enhancements, including:

  •  A next-generation HTML5 user interface with new capabilities. The user experience for our IT service catalog was inspired by consumer internet sites and app store concepts, and developed in collaboration with Cisco’s own IT organization.  In this modern new user interface, end-users can easily search and filter for different apps and tools to find specific services, select and configure the options they want, and place them in their shopping cart.

Depending on who they are in the organization, end-users will have a different view of the catalog – based on role-based access controls.  So your employees can search and browse through the catalog to find and download different mobile and desktop apps:

application-category-view

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And your developers can sort and filter for standard application stacks that they need for testing and development:

Service Catalog | Cisco Prime Service Catalog

(Click here for a larger image.)

  • Flexible policy frameworks to enable greater control of available IT services. For example, we’ve added new quota functionality for managing IT resource requests.  Quotas are especially useful when automating the delivery of finite resources like storage or compute capacity, or managing against departmental budgets or grants.  Another examples is our new policy alerts and enforcement for lease expirations, to notify users before auto-expiring their access to particular resources. Providing your users with the option to automatically extend or cancel their lease can improve resource utilization and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Finance and demand management enhancements for showback and a “bill of IT”. All IT service providers charge for their services, but the concept of pricing and costing is still new for many enterprise IT organizations.  Showback is a typically starting point, and we’ve added new capabilities to differentiate pricing for different classes of service (e.g. gold, silver, bronze) for different departments or tenants. Chargeback is often challenging for many IT departments to implement organizationally, but showback can provide a “bill of IT” with the details of who is using how much of what – without actually implementing cross-department charging. In other words, it shines a light on actual IT consumption and costs. In this new release, we’ve also made it easier to integrate with 3rd party billing systems and tools (e.g. Cloud Cruiser) to help automate financial cross-charges between departments

You may have heard the buzz about the internal Cisco IT deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the “eStore”.  It’s been featured in a number of articles in the media as the internal enterprise app store that powers Cisco’s BYOD and mobile apps program – and provides Cisco employees with a one-stop shop for all IT services (from desktop to data center).  If you’re attending Cisco Live in Milan later this month, you can learn more about the case study in this “Inside Cisco IT” session here.

Another service catalog case study that we’re featuring at Cisco Live Milan is Steria.  Steria is a great example of one of our service provider customers in Europe; they’ve used Cisco Prime Service Catalog to enable on-demand, self-service delivery for a broad range of IT workplace services, including desktop and mobile applications. You can read more in my earlier blog post – or if you’ll be in Milan, check out the session here.

During the week of Cisco Live Milan, you will also hear more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0 in the context of our soon-to-be-announced new release of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). Cisco Prime Service Catalog is one of the bundled components within this cloud management software solution, so the enhancements in version 10 are also reflected in the upcoming new release of Cisco IAC.  You can join one or more of the Cisco Live Milan sessions listed here to learn more about Cisco IAC.

In the meantime, check out http://cisco.com/go/service-catalog to learn more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog.

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