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Cisco Intersight: AI-Driven IT Operations Strategy


September 26, 2018 - 2 Comments

Cisco launched our cloud-based platform for AI-driven IT operations (a.k.a. AI Ops), Cisco Intersight, last September. It already delivers significant benefits, and we intend to take it to the next level with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

 Guest Blogger: Gautham Ravi, Director, UCS Product Management

A New Era in Operations Management

“Work smarter, not harder” is critical to improving IT efficiency. Organizations are adopting a multicloud strategy, so you need scalable and consistent management across data centers, private clouds, edge, and branch environments. Cisco Intersight delivers this consistent management, automation and policy enforcement across a variety of servers and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). It helps you work smarter by delivering proactive support and actionable intelligence through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), so that you can proactively manage complex environments and reduce risk.

Traditional IT operations management tools are deployed on-premise, they are vendor and device focused, difficult to maintain, and have limited ability to scale. We introduced a new era of systems management with Cisco Intersight. It provides the simplicity of software as a service (SaaS) with unlimited scalability. Intersight is enhanced by AI and ML to provide users with actionable intelligence.

Requirements for AI Operations

Gartner introduced the concept of AI Operations (AI Ops) a few years ago. AI Ops should not be confused with AI systems, like the Cisco UCS C480 ML M5 we announced earlier this month. This Gartner blog provides their definition:

AIOps platforms utilize big data, modern machine learning and other advanced analytics technologies to directly and indirectly enhance IT operations (monitoring, automation and service desk) functions with proactive, personal and dynamic insight. 

A recent IDC report also provides more information regarding AI-driven systems management.

Our product management teams looks at the requirements for AI Ops from a practical perspective. We try to offer functionality that will provide actionable insights and automation to simplify and enhance day to day operations. Something that we ask ourselves everyday is, how can Intersight make daily routines easier and faster across operations groups and teams? In order to achieve these objectives, we believe AI Ops needs to provide the following:

  • Open automation to streamline routine processes
  • Consistent management services across a wide variety of infrastructure
  • Ability to proactively recognize problems and assist users to respond quickly

Open and Unified AI Ops

If your going to make it easier to work across teams, you have to provide an open framework for AI Ops. One of our competitors claims to deliver “AI for the data center”.  However, the vendor’s platform currently supports only their storage products. Their strategy is vendor focused. When you read about their roadmap, the vendor only plans to support their systems. Customers use systems from a variety of vendors, so their marketing does not align with reality.

An open and unified framework is foundational. That’s why we designed Cisco Intersight to provide an open framework for AI Ops and infrastructure as a service. Intersight supports Cisco UCS and HyperFlex systems today, and we are working with partners to provide support for third party systems. This blog by one of the product managers on my team provides more details.

One of the reasons many IT processes are manual is because tools used by different teams have separate data stores and user interfaces. When you can aggregate data from a wide range of servers, fabric, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure, you have a common repository that is necessary for effective analysis. There are currently hundreds of thousands of devices connected to Intersight. The vast amount of data we are collecting is used with AI and ML algorithms to identify potential problems and provide users with actionable intelligence. We have integrated Intersight with Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) cognitive support, so we have can leverage their AI and ML capabilities as well as best practices.

The Four Benefits of AI Operations

As we continue to enhance Intersight and the Cisco management portfolio, our primary goal is to increase the customer benefits we can deliver through AI Ops. We have defined four categories of benefits:

  1. Improved user experience
  2. Proactive support and maintenance
  3. Predictive operational analytics
  4. Self-optimization of resources

Cisco is executing on our strategy to consistently enhance the customer benefits we deliver through AI Ops.  We will be posting a series of blogs to explain how we are currently delivering the benefits in each of the four categories and our plans for the future. I hope you will enjoy reading this series.

To learn more:

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2 Comments

  1. Exciting stuff!

    • Thanks! You may also enjoy the next blog in the series, https://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/intersight-ai-driven-user-experience