IDC tells us that 68% of organizations have adopted cloud for enterprise apps and that most companies are using multiple clouds in a hybrid strategy.  But once you’ve made the decision to go with a hybrid cloud strategy, among the challenges early on is, what to do with the hundreds if not thousands of virtual machines (VMs) you already have on your local vCenter or that IT is trying to get control of on AWS or Azure?

While you implement the tools necessary to give you your hybrid cloud nirvana, how do you deal with the reality of the VMs currently taking on demand no matter where they are?

One Tool: Brownfield VMs and Hybrid Cloud Deployments

New in the 4.8 release of Cisco’s CloudCenter is a set of features that handles this exact problem.  Imagine being able to point a CloudCenter Orchestrator at an existing AWS account or VMware installation or any other cloud that CloudCenter supports and instantly getting an inventory of VMs already deployed there.  Administrators have been able to do that since CloudCenter 4.5, but now they can assign those imported VMs that were not formally part of applications deployed by CloudCenter to users or groups and have them count against their Usage Plan quotas that limits the amount of resource someone can provision.

By default, the assigned owner of those imported VMs will be able to perform basic operations like power off and reboot directly from within the CloudCenter UI.  But what would be more useful would be the ability to perform more complex operations on those VMs while the applications they serve sit in an interim state prior to the hybrid cloud strategy being implemented


Action Libraries

Once assigned an owner and assuming that owner has the necessary authentication credentials, these imported VMs can have the CloudCenter Agent installed on them, which then enables another new feature to 4.8, Action Libraries.  As an open interface for executing scripts on one to many VM targets, Action Libraries can automate repeatable tasks like performing backups, upgrading Apache servers, adding Tetration sensors, and many other tasks.

And from the new Virtual Machines view in CloudCenter, lists of VMs can be filtered and then have Actions applied in bulk:

Two examples are shown above, but VMs can be filtered by cloud, CPU, Memory, Application Profile, and many other attributes to give maximum flexibility.


You Gotta Start Somewhere

Almost nobody has a greenfield environment on top of which they are laying a new hybrid cloud strategy.  All enterprises start with multiple VMs in multiple places and turn to a formal hybrid approach to bring some structure to what is likely a tumultuous situation they already have.  Action Libraries give system administrators a tool to help them manage this brownfield state from the same interface that provides the basis for their hybrid cloud application deployments moving forward.  That yields the freedom to migrate to a hybrid strategy at whatever pace makes sense while making earlier gains by automating common management tasks.


Pete Johnson

Principal Architect

Global Partner Organization