There is a lot of buzz in the market about Cisco Cloupia and how it is
positioned relative to other Cisco solutions such as Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.   The term cloud is often used interchangeably for automated infrastructure provisioning as well as for true clouds, as mentioned in my previous blog.  To better understand where these solutions should play in your data center’s cloud journey, I offer the following explanation.

Historically, to keep pace with the growth of business applications and the data they generate, IT infrastructure resources were deployed in a silo-like configuration.   One set of resources was devoted to one particular computer technology, business application or line of business.    These resources were not always optimized and could not be reconfigured or shared to support varying workloads.

A few years ago, EMC, NetApp and VCE introduced us to converged infrastructures.   Converged infrastructures package multiple technology components into a single, optimized solution.   The components include servers, networking and storage technology.   Each of these industry leading solutions is built around Cisco UCS and Nexus switching.

Converged infrastructure solutions address the problem of siloed architecture and IT sprawl by pooling and sharing resources rather than dedicating a set of resources to a particular computing technology, application or line of business.  Converged solutions create a pool of virtualized compute, network and storage resources that are shared by multiple applications or line of business.    These pools can be increased or decreased providing the elasticity crucial to reducing costs and driving up IT efficiencies.

But while these converged solutions do deliver cost savings in energy, floor space and increased application performance, they do not solve all of IT’s problems.    The key is automated provisioning and unified management of these solutions for optimal cost savings.

Analysts as well as CIOs agree that IT spends approximately 75% of staff time and resources, setting up, configuring, deploying and managing infrastructure assets.    That leaves a mere 25% of time and resources that can be dedicated to competitive innovation.    While these figures are astounding in today’s virtual data center environment, the question still remains “how can IT become more efficient with existing staffing levels?”      And that’s where Cisco Cloupia comes in.

Cisco Cloupia delivers holistic management for all three of the industry’s leading converged infrastructure solutions and is the only solution on the market today that manages both physical and virtual management from a single pane-of-glass.   29% of the total time spent managing and maintaining infrastructures mentioned in the statistic above, is dedicated to updating and maintaining infrastructure.   To address this, Cisco Cloupia goes one step further by automating the maintenance and update process resulting in significant time savings for IT staff time and greater resource availability.  With automation replacing manual configuration, set up, deployment and management, IT can begin to shift the 75:25 ratios in favor of flexibility and innovation.

Now that the infrastructure layer is under control, converged solutions also serve as enablers for private and public cloud deployments, including IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.   This is where Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) excels.

From a solution stack perspective, Cisco IAC sits on top of Cloupia to deliver the critical foundational layer for deploying and managing cloud-based computing, including infrastructure resources.   Cisco IAC provides customers with a self-service portal from which they can order, control and manage their cloud-based services transparently throughout their lifecycle.

What is unique about Cisco IAC compared to other cloud solutions is its ability to scale from test and development to production workloads, from initial cloud pilots to large-scale enterprise-wide initiatives and from simple virtual machines to multiple virtual data centers.

Managing multiple cloud environments is simple with acceleration packs available from the Cisco IAC community.   The multi-cloud accelerator simply snaps into Cisco IAC enabling provisioning and management of Amazon EC2, OpenStack or VMware vCloud Director instances.

While at VMworld Partner Exchange, the following video was recorded that explains Cisco Cloupia and IAC positioning further.   Check it out.


Part of the confusion results from seemingly overlapping capabilities—but think about this analogy. You can do some basic drawing work in Microsoft Word, but you wouldn’t use it as a design tool, and you wouldn’t use a design tool that has some editing capability as a word processing tool. They both have some capabilities that overlap out of necessity, but they are distinct in purpose, and that’s true for Cisco Cloupia and IAC also. If you’re going past converged infrastructure management then you need Cisco IAC.

Cisco offers these two solutions in order to meet customers where they are on their cloud journey and, wherever that is, help increase management and efficiency. So, the complementary solutions of Cloupia and IAC are targeted to the two-pronged phases of a journey to the cloud.    If your goal is to automate the provisioning of your converged infrastructure, your solution is Cisco Cloupia.   When you are ready to go beyond infrastructure automation, Cisco IAC delivers the cloud framework for cloud-based service delivery across private, public or hybrid deployments.



Joann Starke

No Longer with Cisco