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How Cisco IT Delivers a Robust PaaS for Application Developers


July 16, 2014 - 0 Comments

The faster internal applications can be developed and deployed, the sooner they will deliver benefits for the business. That’s an easy statement to understand, but not so easy to bring to reality.

At Cisco, we’re accelerating internal application development through our infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments. We offer ready-to-go server, storage, and network resources for development teams through Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS), our IaaS environment. Operating on top of CITEIS is the Lightweight Application Environment (LAE), our PaaS environment that provides the operating system, middleware, and system functions as services.

Together, CITEIS and LAE allow a Cisco developer to focus on application coding and testing, not on the underlying infrastructure or software. As shown in the diagram below, we can offer developers the right mix of infrastructure and application services to meet their preferences. And, Cisco IT delivers these resources just a few minutes after the developer orders them.

robust-paas-blog-jul14

Robust Application Services

We call LAE lightweight because the ordering and provisioning processes make very light demands on developers. This is possible with Cisco IT’s internal implementation of the Cisco Prime Service Catalog, which orchestrates all of these complex processes.

But there’s nothing lightweight about the LAE platform service itself. LAE provides a very robust development environment for applications and Web services throughout their lifecycle—from development, staging, and load testing to production deployment. It also supports common developer tools such as Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Perl.

LAE solves several problems that were limiting our ability to support Cisco’s business growth. In the past, when developers would ask about using a new technology, Cisco IT usually said “no” because it took many months and significant expense to build, integrate, and test the platforms. Instead, we wanted to say “yes” with infrastructure and application services that would give our developers more choice of technologies, including open source.

Flexibility for Application Development

For Cisco developers, the key benefit of LAE is flexibility. They can choose the composition and grouping of applications, as well as how applications are distributed across data centers for resiliency. Developers can define their own application lifecycles and follow a continuous integration model as they build and deploy application components.

Another benefit for developers is the automatic provisioning and dynamic scaling of their application environment, which delivers the resources they need without manual provisioning by Cisco IT. For example, when an application’s resource demands increase, LAE dynamically creates additional PaaS instances.

LAE is working so well for developing new applications that we plan to move development of existing applications from their traditional platforms. We expect that LAE will eventually support the more than 5000 Cisco developers worldwide and thousands of applications, including custom and mission-critical software.

How are you delivering PaaS for your internal application developers?

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