10 ways Cisco CloudCenter simplifies AWS

November 28, 2016 - 10 Comments

Since CloudCenter makes it easy to add AWS to your data center-based hybrid cloud service offerings, and automate deploy and manage of applications, I thought a “Top 10” list was in order.

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CloudCenter is an application-centric hybrid cloud management solution. It lets you build on your Cisco infrastructure foundation, and extend application deployment and management capabilities to include public clouds like AWS.  Most enterprise IT organizations I work with already have experience with a public cloud like AWS. And, are now looking to broker multiple public cloud services to IT consumers. CloudCenter has a significant TCO advantage over hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud solutions that are environment specific or use hard-wired automation.

CloudCenter integrates seamlessly with AWS and “Abstracts the cloud” so developers and users get the power of automated application deployment and management, without having to understand AWS API calls.

1 – Deploy a virtual machine on demand. Easily integrate with service catalogs such as ServiceNow or Cisco Prime Service Catalog, a custom IT front end, or use the out-of-the-box enterprise marketplace. Give your IT consumer self-service on demand “One click” deploy an OS image with CPU and memory to user’s choice of regions, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and availability zone. The IT organization centrally controls who, what, where, when and for how long OS images are deployed. You can track costs and usage with roll-up or drill down reporting by application, cloud account, user group, and more.

2 – Manage images in multiple regions. Automate management of OS images across multiple AWS regions. Whether you build cloud specific images, check out and harden an Amazon provided AMI, or rent vendor updated images, a simple CloudCenter API call updates logical to physical OS image mapping to simplify maintenance, and make sure users are always consuming the latest IT approved OS images.

3 – Deploy any application stack on demand. Users can self-service deploy a fully configured infrastructure and application stack, including databases, middleware, application and web servers, and load balancers. CloudCenter automates deployment of existing enterprise applications or cloud-native micro service architectures. You get cloud-scale features with traditional applications without refactoring or changing application code. And you get full flexibility with composite topologies including a mix of OS images, application services, containers, configuration tools, and unique AWS services.

4 – Automate Continuous Deployment. Did you know you can deploy from Jenkins to any data center or cloud with one CloudCenter plugin? A code change can trigger a build which then triggers a deploy of a full stack environment including the latest build. CloudCenter makes it easy with a Jenkins plugin, and simple API call integration with other popular build automation tools. And CloudCenter abstracts the cloud so your developers don’t have to spend time learning cloud specific API calls, or writing hard-coded scripts for different AWS regions and availability zones.

5 – Auto scale across availability zones. You need to deploy applications in multiple AWS availability zones in order to get AWS 99.995% uptime guarantee. You can deploy master and slave components in different availability zones and autoscale across them both. You don’t need complex scripting in a cloud formation template. You don’t need deep knowledge about security groups or network Access Control Lists (ACL). CloudCenter makes it easy.

6 – Migrate across regions. You can use powerful migration features to move an application from one AWS region to another. Once an application is deployed, users can select an application, pick target region, and “one click” migrate the application and optionally the data if needed.

7 – Automate micro-segmentation. When a cloud agnostic Application Profile is deployed in AWS, CloudCenter automates creation of Security Groups and Access Control Lists that deliver micro-segmentation with white list communication. You can easily deploy and manage a large number of applications without using shared segmentation that opens security risk of East-West traffic.

8 – Including AWS specific services. In general, we recommend you use cloud-agnostic services to model Application Profiles to a single profile that can be deployed to data center, AWS, and other clouds. That is key to lower hybrid cloud TCO. But you also have the choice to model AWS-specific services as part of an application profile, or use call outs to call unique AWS services when needed.

9 – Benchmark price and performance. Compare price performance metrics to determine when AWS is the most cost effective choice. Or determine price differences between AWS regions. Performance across regions shouldn’t vary. But, price in different regions can. Also, use benchmarking to find out when multiple small instances are more cost effective than one large.

10 – Stay in control. CloudCenter is an enterprise-class solution that includes governance and security features that meet the needs of the most demanding and complex IT organizations. Multiple AWS accounts? Multiple groups using a single AWS account? No problem. Control usage and get complete cost and usage visibility with policy-base guardrails that give users self-service on demand deployment, with IT oversight that help users make the right choices every time.

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  1. Hello Kurt, sorry to ask againg about it because the context here are based in AWS, however in this case the suppport on it based in Vsphere ( not KVM, Hyper-V )? And other point all API are already to integrate with OpenStack?

    • Hello Rodrigo,

      Ill answer generally, then specifially.

      General – two parts to automated application deployment. 1- deploy infrastructure resources e.g. compute/memory, storage, network. 2- orchestration installation of applicaton components e.g. database, app server, load balancer, AND the applciation itself (binaries, .jar, .war etc.)

      CloudCenter needs an infrasturcture API to call to provision VMs, configure network etc. In datacenter/private cloud – we can install CloudCenter orchestrator in an environment with vSphere, vCloudDirector, UCS Director, Azure Pack, OpenStack. You can use openstack with KVM. Azure Pack with Hyper-V. But we call Openstack API or Azure Pack API – not KVM or Hyper-V directly.

      Does this answer your question?

  2. Like the top 10 approach Kurt.
    Great summary and confirmation below that it is suitable for any environment using an API to deploy infrastructure – relevant for all approaches to cloud.

  3. Hi, I would really like build integration between a consumption catalog such as Cisco Prime Services Catalog and Cloud Center; can you point me to some Cisco documentation that shows how this can be set up?

  4. Hello Roxanne. I appreciate your comment. I love this quote.

    “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — YogiBerra

    In theory, users should be in control. That is part of the great potential of the cloud computing model. But in practice, there are limits. German citizen data can’t be stored in a cloud outside Germany. If you work for a major healthcare provider under HIPPA regulatory guidelines, and you have unencrypted patient data on your laptop, you get fired.

    The key to success in the cloud era, is to give users the ability to self-service within boundaries. If developer wants to deploy a healthcare application for dev or test with dummy data, a public cloud environment may be a an option. But if they then deploy with real patient data, the Phoenix data center may be the only allowable choice.

    CloudCenter balances the “give users what they want, when they want it” mandate, with the corporate governance and security mandates that are reality in the current business environment.

  5. The control is where it belongs-to the users!

  6. Hi Kurt,

    Thanks for the info. Would you mind elaborating “It (Cisco Cloud Center)lets you build on your Cisco infrastructure foundation”? To me this looks like a tool to simplify AWS usage and mask AWS API. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Prashant. Great question.

      The blog is focused on AWS. But CloudCenter can deploy applications in any environment with an API that deploys infrastructure. You are right, it does abstract the cloud API. So when a cloud agnistic blueprint (Application Profile) is deployed, CloudCenter converts all infrastructure API calls to the specific commands native to each environment.

      Building on UCS infrastructure, if you have vSphere, OpenStack, Azure Pack, UCS Director – then CloudCenter can deploy the application, and automated infrastructure provisioning and orchestrate application installation.

      Here is summary video of CloudCenter with UCS foundation.

      Here is list of datacenter/private cloud environments supported.