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Cisco Container Platform: What’s In It For Me?


February 8, 2018 - 0 Comments

Maybe you saw the announcement that Cisco is now providing a Google-blessed Kubernetes distribution that is super easy to install on prem.  Possibly you even watched the TechWiseTV episode that shows the wizard-like experience that spins up a container cluster in a few minutes.  Whatever your exposure to this major component to our hybrid cloud partnership with Google we announced in the Fall, you probably asked yourself: What’s in it for me?

That depends, of course, on where you sit in your organization, but the cool part about this entire Google partnership and this component of it in particular is that there’s something in it for just about everybody.

For Line of Business Team Developers

When a modern development team sitting in a business unit is dedicated to microservices-based application architectures so that they can maximize the number of iterations they get in any given year, there’s no such thing as “Shadow IT.”  A developer creating a container cluster on a public cloud isn’t doing it because they are some rule-breaking, hoodie-wearing, evil corporate citizen.  A developer does that because their IT department isn’t moving fast enough for them and the innovation discovery pressures they are under given the product competition they face.  These folks don’t call this “Shadow IT,” they call it “work.”

The thing is, any cycles that developers like this are spending maintaining their own Kubernetes clusters is time taken away from writing code.  Developers hate friction that slows down or impedes the amount of functionality that can go into the next sprint and, up until now, that container cluster maintenance was a necessary evil because they rarely had another choice.

With Cisco Container Platform, now they do.

Now, all developers have to do is point their existing CI/CD toolchains to a Kubernetes cluster provided to them by their newest, most favorite friends in IT with the knowledge that it is backed not just by Cisco but by Google as well.  No more cluster maintenance taking up hours that you could be spending on new functionality.  No more hassles over Shadow IT.  Less friction, more innovation.

For IT Ops

Assuming an IT Ops team can even get the budget to provide Kubernetes clusters to their constituents, they are faced with myriad choices if they try to do it all themselves.  How close to trunk do you want to be?  What configuration settings should be chosen?  When something goes wrong, which forum is best to go to for help?  How do things like the network management dovetail into what is already being provided for bare metal and virtual machine environments?  What does scripting all those choices so that new clusters can be created easily even look like?

With Cisco Container Platform, answers to those questions are easy.

The Kubernetes distribution provided as part of the solution is the exact version of the exact distribution with the exact configurations used by the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), their public cloud hosted managed container clustering service.  No long discussions over what should or should not be included or how it should be configured.  Cisco hasn’t made those decisions, Google has—and nobody has been running container clusters longer than they have.

How simple have we made this to set up?  Go to that TechWiseTV episode and starting at 8:38 you can see for yourself.  We’ve scripted the installation down to a very simple set of wizard-like questions that result in a fully functional cluster in just a few minutes.  Developers can then configure their kubectl appropriately and they are ready to spin up containers on the cluster.  Cisco Container Platform adds Contiv to the standard GKE distribution so that cluster networking can be managed with profiles and optionally be connected to ACI so that a network administrator can manage bare metal, VMs, and now containers all from the same place.

And if something goes wrong, you just call Cisco TAC.  If our front like folks can’t figure it out, we have a direct line to Google.  No wading through forums only to find someone who had a problem that is kinda, sorta similar to what you’re experiencing.  With Cisco Container Platform, you have one throat to choke and we have industrial strength back up.

For CIOs

CIOs know that it’s not only a multicloud world but it’s also a multi-platform world.  To not provide cutting edge technologies to line-of-business teams is to either impede their ability to compete in the marketplace or give them a blank check to go do whatever they want to in the public cloud so they can speed through iterations and keep up with competitors.

The forward-thinking CIO knows that the benefits from microservices-based application architectures are real, but that they have to sit alongside brownfield applications built using preceding waves of software development.  It all has to be supportable and often be subject to SLAs.

Cisco Container Platform offers CIOs a bridge between older technologies and Kubernetes.  It comes with a familiar support model from a trusted name.  By providing profile-based network security, it lowers the Kubernetes learning curve for network administrators responsible for keeping everything secure across a growing variety of platform.  It lets CIOs say yes to Kubernetes so that IT can become an enabler, not a limiter of new innovations that line of business teams can use to go compete in the marketplace.

 



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