Whether working with bare-metal servers or virtual machines; provisioning applications and infrastructure traditionally are independent tasks that are completed by different data center teams. Infrastructure is usually provisioned manually. Applications are customarily provisioned via golden templates. As customers look to move automation beyond infrastructure to include applications, the maintenance complexity and manual “last mile” configuration associated with application golden templates is no longer a sustainable solution.
The situation has made Puppet and Chef popular. Both assist with automating the infrastructure life cycle as well as rapid application deployment. But some system admins prefer to use Puppet. Some prefer Chef. Cloud admins want to use Amazon, vCloud Director or OpenStack. What to do?
Cisco lets you use either or both and makes it easier to automate application delivery thanks to the Cisco Application Stack Accelerator for Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). With this cloud accelerator, those “last mile” deficiencies are practically eliminated.
Bringing together the knowledge of infrastructure and application specialists, this solution automates the design and configuration of application stack components. The result is an application blueprint that consistently delivers applications within minutes, across multiple cloud platforms, to the exact design and specification of the application architect.
Watch these two videos to better understand application blueprints as well as how they can be consumed by Cisco IAC.
Video #1 clarifies what an application blueprint does and how to design and configure them
Video #2 walks you through how to deliver fully configured multi-tier cloud applications with Cisco IAC
Why is this important? Customers tell us that they struggle with multiple requests for virtually the same application. One particular customer, discovered that they had 250 requests for the same application in a two month period. Each one of these requests took IT four to six weeks to deliver before the project could begin. This not only shows down IT but your business as well.
Using Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator, you can automate the design, configuration and consumption of applications via the Cisco IAC portal. The result? Customers get their application within 30-40 minutes instead of four to six weeks resulting in projects starting sooner. IT spends less time spinning up multiple versions of virtually the same application allowing them to focus on new innovative services. Bottom line: your business experiences agility, speed, and efficiency.
Industry analysts forecast that four out of every 10 companies will be utilizing a private cloud by the end of 2014. With cloud automation becoming this prevalent, you owe it to yourself to learn how Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator can speed up the design, configuration and consumption of applications within your organization.
Together, this solution can help you deploy applications efficiently; reduce complexity and ensure that applications are deployed to the architect’s exact design and specification.
Major change and growth is happening in the way data centers are functioning. This change is being led by cloud technology.
IT’s role is changing from an infrastructure provider to strategic business partner. The new role for IT is to align you with the services you need, when you need them, from a portfolio of internal or external services.
Once viewed as your organization’s virtual machine dispenser, cloud is quickly maturing. You have expectations beyond virtual machines. You need applications along with the underlying components that support that application. You need an automated way to manage application life cycles as well as integrate business financials.
Cisco has lived this data center evolution and has been surfing the sea of change. It has the tools for you to accelerate cloud delivery in your organization as well.
Introduced last week at CiscoLive Milan, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 4.0 is a game changing solution that extends cloud beyond the data center. It is a great choice if you:
• Want a single modern business portal that acts as your central order point for IT or any business service. Cisco IAC delivers. With a modern, on-line shopping experience, you can order data center services, applications, development platforms and telephony or collaboration services with a single-click order experience.
• Require your cloud management to be heterogeneous not homogeneous. Cisco IAC 4.0 operates in concert with UCS Director to deliver a solid multi-vendor private cloud platform that spans physical and virtual infrastructure components. With this unique combination, you can shift your focus from “how to build” to delivering differentiated services for your organization to consume.
• Understand that networking is hard and a vendor with domain dominance is essential. Network services in the cloud are difficult and as a result the network team is rarely included in the cloud conversation. Cisco IAC’s out-of-box templates for network services, such as firewalls, load balancers, and VPNs, allows your network team to once again participate in the conversation.
• Want cloud governance that goes beyond basic health and status. With advanced financial management across multiple tenants and platforms, you can tailor prices per tenant, or geography, or application type. When you order a service, Cisco IAC automatically delivers a price quote which becomes a threshold to which consumption, by budget or actual resource, can be tracked. When this threshold is reached, you will be notified that additional funds or resources are required or the service will be terminated.
There is a sea of change occurring in data centers today. You need a strategic partner who has the
vision to successfully navigate this change. Dive in and learn how Cisco IAC can support your business – like it supports Cisco’s data centers.
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
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
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
As you may have seen in the announcement on December 17th, Cisco along with its partners Citrix and Desktone by VMware, are announcing our joint solutions for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). Clearly our customers demand choice and flexibility in how they choose to implement desktop virtualization, not just in terms of the delivery technology, but also in terms of the ownership model. You’ve told us you want virtual desktops and apps that fit your business and IT consumption models. You want it “your way”. And for a growing constituency, it just makes sense to shift the burden of designing, implementing and managing the solution to an affordable OPEX model, outsourced to a Cisco-powered Service Provider. Cisco DaaS offers our customers the choice and flexibility they expect.
What you may have also noticed with this announcement is that Cisco and its partners are continuing to bolster the underlying infrastructure/fabric of our desktop virtualization platform, to the benefit of both our premises-based and cloud-based (DaaS) clientele. To that end, we’re sharing some important enhancements we think make the overall platform an optimal underpinning for virtualized desktops and apps.
Raising the CPU Performance Bar
The Cisco UCS B200 M3 Series Blade Server continues to be our flagship VDI workhorse delivering industry-leading performance for virtual desktops and apps. We’ve updated this server to incorporate the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Series Processors (Ivy Bridge), and with that we’ve delivered unprecedented performance gains. For example, based on single-blade characterization testing conducted by Cisco, and using the industry-recognized LoginVSI for workload testing, we’ve successfully deployed 252 VMware Horizon View desktops on a single blade (based on LoginVSI Max threshold). This represents a 31% increase in server hosting density over the previous CPU.
The Economics of Flash
Nowhere is the benefit of flash technology seen so forcefully as with VDI workloads where the IOPS bottleneck has traditionally driven the up front CAPEX hurdle of desktop virtualization, out of reach for many environments, especially smaller ones. Cisco has worked extensively with our portfolio of industry-leading storage technology partners to continue to offer prescriptive design guidance on how to tap into the benefits of the flash and hybrid-flash arrays.
Nimble Storage has been a featured joint solution on which many of our customers have experienced the economics of this hybrid-flash solution first-hand. Many organizations are increasingly tapping into the efficiencies of this solution in conjunction with Hosted Shared Desktops (ie: Citrix XenApp), for which we’re announcing a brand new reference architecture based on Nimble’s CS240G-X4 with Cisco UCS, Citrix XenApp 6.5 on Microsoft Hyper-V. The Citrix Validated Solution supports 1,000 hosted shared desktops running on the Nimble array. The compact 3U solution provides cost-effective performance and capacity through its flash-optimized hybrid storage architecture, that combines the exceptional performance of flash with the favorable economics of high-capacity disk. The validated architecture allows customers to eliminate risk, speed time to deployment, and scale as needed using the modular design.
Making Physical and Virtual Indistinguishable: Immersive Graphics
You may have caught my blog in support of the Citrix/NVIDIA/Cisco joint solution announcement on Dec. 11th. Similarly, customers like SSOE are reaping the benefits of our joint solution with VMware and NVIDIA. It’s no surprise that end users need (no, demand) that their virtual environment behaves akin to the physical one they left behind. Just talk to any designer, healthcare clinician or researcher in an academic setting. This has been one of the stumbling blocks around expanding the number of use cases that can be targeted by VDI, specifically where graphics-intensive applications are used.. I encourage you to learn more about our joint solutions with VMware and Citrix
Accelerating the ROI of VDI and App Virtualization – It’s All in the Bundles
To close this out, I want to shift focus to the “last mile” problem of the journey to virtual desktops. No, not the “networking” last mile, but rather that point at which you’ve made the determination to implement a solution, to get your feet wet, ie: how to get started.
Earlier this month, Cisco released brand new Solution Accelerator Paks for Desktop Virtualization with VMware and Citrix. These bundles offer attractive discounting, along with single-SKU ordering simplicity. Organizations seeking to get into desktop virtualization can take advantage of Solution Accelerator Paks to deploy small pilot or proof-of-concept environments that offer great scalability when the need arises.
These bundles also offer expansion and upgrade options for adding more users, tier-0 flash storage from Fusion-io and LSI, as well as GPU options based on NVIDIA GRID K1, and K2. Check out our brochures for VMware and Citrix as well as the ordering guides if you want more detail (VMware , Citrix )
January 12-14: Citrix Summit
Let me conclude by pointing out that next week is Citrix Summit, and for our channel partners attending the event, you’re encouraged to stop by the Cisco booth, and also check out the following:
Cisco’s Frank Palumbo, SVP Worldwide Data Center Sales takes the stage for the keynote at 9am ET
Cisco’s breakout session, SUM 142 “Driving Success with Mobile Workspaces: the Citrix and Cisco Go-To-Market Framework” is at 3pm ET
And I’ll be in the Citrix Booth Theater at 1pm covering the Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix
Tuesday: Cisco’s Ram Appalaraju, VP Data Center Business Group delivers breakout session SUM 111 “NetScaler Roadmap and Vision” at 10am ET