Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud -Part 2 – Cloud Service Assurance

October 29, 2012 - 0 Comments

Last week Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design – So  I asked today Laszlo Bojtos, System Manager for the Cisco Cloud Service Assurance validation effort, to illustrate this concept with the recently published Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design.   This design guide is one of the recent CVD releases in the Cloud systems management and orchestration area.  You can view the complete portfolio of Cisco Validated Designs for Data Center and Virtualization on Design Zone at . We will cover this topic in two chapters , with a second chapter  more focused on the integration of Cisco Intelligence Automation for Cloud.

Q: Laszlo, last time we heard that Service Assurance is critical for companies, organizations and service providers looking to deliver cloud –based services.  Why is it so important?

A: Enterprises and Service Providers need to ensure that DC/Cloud services can be trusted and service levels ensured, hence they need to use advanced service assurance tools to automate service monitoring and issue resolution.  Cisco Systems Development Unit (SDU) identified key enterprise and service provider data center and cloud service assurance requirements and selected Zenoss Inc for Cisco Unified Data Center management implementation.  Cisco’s Cloud Service Assurance provides both fault and performance management with service impact and root-cause analysis.

As a DC/Cloud domain manager, Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) provides comprehensive monitoring coverage for data center infrastructure components and workloads, and tracks ever-changing relationships between infrastructure components and applications automatically.  Zenoss CSA understands how business services make use of cloud resources and provides contextual root cause analysis to provide clarity during event storms, and ties cloud projects easily into existing management processes.

Q: And customers can purchase Zenoss CSA from Cisco, right?

A: Yes, Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) became a Cisco SolutionsPlus product from Zenoss  and was added to the Cisco price list in September, 2012.

Q: OK, I’ve done a little research on Zenoss CSA. What is the difference between the original Zenoss Service Dynamics product and Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) from Cisco?

A: Zenoss CSA was built from the same proven code base that powers Zenoss Service Dynamics. We worked with Zenoss on additional ZenPacks (product adapters) and new functions for complete Cisco Unified DC (VMDC reference architecture) coverage. Then, we created a Cisco Validated Design through the verification of this Zenoss CSA package in Cisco Virtualized Multi-service Data Center (VMDC) lab facilities. It’s pre-built and pre-tested to deliver success rapidly. Additionally, Zenoss CSA is licensed and priced with the Cisco Data Center in mind.

Two key new Zenoss CSA functions are expanded monitoring coverage and auto-discovery of VMDC networking devices.  The initial release covers Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and MDS 9000 series platforms, as well as the Nexus 1000v and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), and the Nexus 2000, 5000, and 7000 series.  It also covers the Catalyst 6500 series and Virtual Switching System (VSS) with the Firewall Services Module (FWSM) and the Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) modules.   The Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) series is also included in the monitoring and auto-discovery scope of Zenoss CSA.

The diagram below illustrates how Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance simplifies data center & cloud infrastructure management and provides a single API to other management applications (orchestration, chargeback, service desk etc.).




Q: And best practices to set this up are described in the CVD, right?  Briefly summarize the key technical benefits of Zenoss CSA one more time for us, Laszlo.

A: Yes Didier, best practices from our lab-validation effort with the Cisco VMDC system are documented in the Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design.  You can also find a Cisco Cloud Service Assurance system data sheet and some short demonstration videos on Design Zone for Data Center and Cloud Service Assurance on

To summarize, Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance consolidates fault and performance management on compute, virtualization, storage, data center network and network services devices.  All of these data center infrastructure physical and logical components are auto-discovered and populated in the Zenoss

CSA database. The product supports multi-vendor network/virtualization/compute/storage hardware equipment as well as OS, software applications, and virtual hardware and software elements. It also allows customizations to add support for any other 3rd party equipment.

An extensive set of key performance indicators for Cisco IaaS infrastructure components are included with this solution.

In addition to data center resource monitoring, Zenoss CSA provides business service association to the physical infrastructure to identify service impacting events which need to be resolved by the data center IT operations staff.   Another key capability is root-cause analysis.  Once service impacting events are identified, underlying events are prioritized for fast cause identification and resolution.  This can reduce repair time significantly.

Zenoss CSA is also aware of infrastructure redundancy which protects services. If redundancy is compromised but the services are still operational (due to redundancy), Zenoss CSA is able to show that the service is impacted, so it redundancy would need to be restored to prevent future service outage.

Figure bellow illustrates example of compute service impact model used for root-cause and service impact analysis which is auto-discovered:

Cloud Service Assurance can be integrated with a cloud portal and orchestration systems. In my next update, I would like to highlight how orchestration and portal integration with assurance enhances DC/Cloud operation automation. ”

Stay tuned – We are coming back tomorrow with an additional chapter on the integration of Cisco Intelligence Automation



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