If there are 915,103,765 different ways to set up just six Lego® blocks, imagine the number of options you have when you set up an IT datacenter. Dependencies notwithstanding, the choices are endless. Needless to say, to create a perfectly synchronized hybrid-cloud environment, you need all the help you can get.
I have five children — four boys and one girl. They get bored with most toys quickly and it has certainly been a challenge keeping them productively engaged and entertained. Playing with their Lego sets is one of the few activities that preoccupies them for hours on end — even the youngest — because Lego has ingeniously made it easy and fun for them to perform highly complex tasks. With the different shapes, sizes, colors, and even magnetic blocks with lights, there is no end to what they can design and build, with very little coaching. They have created houses, trains, and planes. I just give them the tools and they start to imagine.
Intersight Cloud Orchestrator (ICO) works much the same way. We supply you with prebuilt supported tasks and example workflows — these are the building blocks you need to more easily and quickly design and orchestrate your infrastructure. Our task library already includes virtualization, compute, and storage, and there’s much more coming down the pike. Everything is color-coded and component categories have distinct shapes. As with Lego building, no major learning curve is required . . . in no time at all you will be making possible the infrastructure that was just a twinkle in your eye.
Last month, we introduced the Intersight Cloud Orchestration service and in a following blog, Lead the Orchestra Without Turning Your Back on the Cloud, we gave you an overview about how it improves workload and infrastructure provisioning. Today, I’m going to show you just how it works, and in subsequent blogs we will delve into specific features.
Laying the Right Foundation
Your infrastructure is the foundation of your entire IT enterprise. Here at Cisco, we are helping you design and build it correctly, from the ground up. Our model requires a minimal amount of time and coding experience to achieve maximum efficiency. And automating tasks always reduces human error, which lowers risk. With the smartest solution in place, you will be well positioned to withstand whatever comes your way. And like all of Intersight’s services, ICO comes fully integrated with the Intersight cloud operations platform.
What sets this service apart from other orchestration platforms is its unique user-friendly handling of the entire on-prem and cloud infrastructure, from individual components to entire systems. ICO is truly a next-gen tool because it enables your automated workflow to orchestrate multiple systems simultaneously with one click. In other words, a manual project that could require hours or days to complete, such as provisioning 100 new separate servers, can be completed in parallel, all at once, while you eat your lunch. And one of our customers, from a Fortune 500 bank, told me that that’s exactly what they did.
With Intersight Cloud Orchestrator, we’ve modernized the provisioning experience and added the cool factor. The attractive and intuitive Workflow Designer dashboard is completely customizable, allowing you to organize and simplify your design experience. You can change your view to see the tasks and workflows you want to focus on and hide the rest. Preset filters simplify creation, testing, and orchestration.
Our low-code/no-code drag-and-drop approach is flexible, natural, and less labor-intensive. It also promotes cross-team and cross-domain collaboration. Whereas, before, different teams with different skill sets had to perform their tasks separately and sequentially to get the job done; now they collaborate, each contributing their expertise, to create an optimal automated workflow that provisions the infrastructure and workload services for them.
In Workflow Designer, step-by-step instructions guide you to create workflows. You drag and drop tasks from a list populated automatically from the task library. During this workflow design phase you define the desired workflow, based on the end-user’s inputs/criteria, which you are asked to fill in. And, to address varied customer requirements, any workflow can have multiple execution paths.
Built-in data transformation reduces the custom coding formerly required to translate parameter or variable data between tasks, such as string formatting, date-time processing, and other conversions. A preview mode is available to test data transformation procedures.
Task Designer enables you to create new tasks so that you can expand your task library — and all tasks can be incorporated into your workflows. You can also expand the number of target devices that can be orchestrated with automation. This increases your Lego supply, giving you more blocks to play with. With Task Designer, you can leverage Web APIs to communicate with target devices, as well as SSH, PowerShell, Ansible, and others.
Rollback capabilities are another important ICO feature. When a problem arises, you can undo some or all the workflow tasks you executed. Or you can use Rollback simply to deprovision the infrastructure components when they are no longer needed, such as at a project’s end.
Now that we have the right tools to build our bridge spanning from the material world of bricks and mortar to the datacenters in the clouds — we plan to travel with you across that bridge. We will continue to create and supply you with all the blocks and widgets you need on your automated journey to hybrid heaven. Take a deep breath; get your blocks in a row; this orchestration party is just getting started!
Please post any questions or comments below and I’ll be happy to respond. See y’all on the next blog — where we will dig down deeper into the ICO weeds!
Find out for yourself why we’re so excited about Intersight Cloud Orchestrator:
Get started for free with our Intersight Premier license.
Take advantage of our 90-day free trial to orchestrate the clouds with ICO.
View our Intersight Cloud Orchestrator (ICO) demo playlist. New demos are added on a regular basis.
Developers, see our latest hybrid cloud resources for Intersight in the DevNet Cloud Dev Center.
Peak under the hood:
Join us on June 24th for a closer look at our new hybrid cloud innovations,
including new Cisco Intersight services and capabilities.