Organizations are rethinking their data centers and nothing is off limits for discussion – everything from infrastructure to software to processes, and even more fundamentally, the very ways in which a data center serves the business. One element that is empowering this phenomenal shift is IT automation. It is vital. No automation, no effective IT. The more sluggish IT is, the more costly it is to the business. Organizations know that, and they want to automate IT processes at all levels to increase effectiveness, time-to-market, and innovation so that they can perform well and compete effectively.  IT automation has proven itself, and now it is ready for its closeup.

This week at CiscoLive in San Francisco, you will see just how far automation is reaching into organizations. No longer content to provision virtual machines through a VM dispenser, companies are looking for ways to automate the entire solution stack: applications down through the infrastructure that supports them.

Announced Friday, May 16th, Cisco UCS Director 5.0 automates every step necessary to provision the network, compute and storage resources, both physical and virtual, from a single pane of glass. With over 2,500 hours of prebuilt multi-vendor orchestration tasks, Cisco UCS Director 5.0 lets your organization deploy new infrastructure instances up to 90% faster than script-based solutions.   Last November, Cisco UCS Director announced support for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). In this latest release, support has been expanded to include the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the ACI fabric for Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches.

Why is this important to you? Infrastructure and business applications work together in a tiered fashion.Compute, network and storage resources provide the foundation critical to your application’s performance. Cisco UCS Director ties UCS service profiles and APIC policies to deliver application-aware infrastructure containers. It ensures that all your infrastructure elements are in synch, and tuned to the specific requirements of each application – across the application’s life cycle.

Okay, you have a tuned infrastructure container. Now what? Glad you asked.

Cisco Prime Service Catalog (PSC) completes the application life cycle by configuring application elements, middleware, databases and web servers directly into UCS Director containers.  Utilizing a graphical canvas embedded into Cisco PSC, architects can map application elements directly into UCS Director’s infrastructure containers. Out-of-box integration between Cisco PSC and OpenStack HEAT convert this graphical representation into an application template that defines a configured application stack, shown in the figure below.

Infrastructure application container with JBoss software (orange) configured into server

But you want applications delivered as a service. The recipe is simple:
Step 1: Take one application infrastructure template
Step 2: Add Pricing, service level details and business policies
Step 3: Save

Viola! Application-as-a-service delivered consistently the first time, every time. Developers can browse available blueprints or stacks to design new services. IT is relieved of manually provisioning and de-provisioning application stacks. End-users get what they need for projects in about 40 minutes. Business moves forward. IT stays in control. Everyone wins!

If you are at CiscoLive in San Francisco, we would love to see you in these sessions to learn more:

PSODCT-1405    Application Centric Cloud Management, Tuesday 8:30 – 9:30
PSODCT-1004    Cisco UCS Director 5.0, Thursday 8:20 – 9:30


Joann Starke

No Longer with Cisco