For nearly two decades, Cisco and Red Hat have collaborated on integrated, industry-leading solutions to optimize IT infrastructure. The partnership brings together Red Hat expertise in operating systems, containers, and automation with world-class data center compute, networking, and management products and solutions from Cisco. The companies have most recently focused on product integrations and features that help customers develop, deploy, and manage the most demanding artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-native workloads across on-premises data centers and multicloud environments.

AI is pushing traditional infrastructure to its limits due to its massive datasets, specialized algorithms, and process orchestration requirements. Given the critical nature of the datasets and the business processes AI is being deployed to improve, IT teams are faced with significant considerations around security and infrastructure scalability to support the inevitable growth.

Together, Cisco and Red Hat are dedicated to reducing the complexity of data center operations to help our customers deploy business-critical workloads across on-premises or multicloud environments in a consistent manner. Our philosophy is that while AI is changing everything, the need for accelerated infrastructure shouldn’t change the way Cisco customers operate their networking and compute environments. We need to help avoid new islands of bespoke infrastructure and operations.

Helping customers adapt to infrastructure modernization requirements

Together, we are building integrated solutions on world-class infrastructure and management platforms from Cisco and advanced open source and automation technologies from Red Hat, including Cisco UCS, Cisco Intersight, Cisco data center networking, and Red Hat OpenShift. Our goal is to deliver a robust, scalable, and automated foundation for customers seeking AI tools and solutions to modernize their applications infrastructure and data center networking operations.

“By integrating Cisco UCS and Cisco Intersight with Red Hat OpenShift, customers can benefit from enhanced performance for demanding AI workloads backed by a reliable containerized environment for simplified application development and management,” said Red Hat’s Tushar Katarki, Senior Director, Product Management, Hybrid Cloud Platforms.

Here’s a summary of what we’re announcing and showcasing at the show.

Extending OpenShift support on Cisco UCS bare metal

Customers can now simplify operations by eliminating the hypervisor layer to run cloud-native workloads. This helps reduce overall infrastructure costs while increasing resource utilization. With OpenShift Virtualization, legacy applications can run in VMs that can be created, managed, cloned, and live-migrated next to containerized workloads on bare-metal Cisco UCS. A bare-metal architecture also offers more direct hardware access, maximizing performance for demanding workloads such as high-performance computing, AI, or other latency-sensitive applications.

New Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for generative AI

Enterprises are investing in GenAI for driving innovation, enhancing decision-making capabilities, and mitigating risks through predictive modeling and scenario analysis, among many other capabilities. At Red Hat Summit, we are introducing several Cisco Validated Designs for GenAI use cases including:

  • How to run GenAI tasks such as inferencing over converged infrastructure with NVIDIA GPUs, the NVIDIA AI Enterprise Software Suite, VMware vSphere, and OpenShift. These CVDs support continuous integration (CI) architectures for both NetApp FlexPod with NetApp Astra Trident and FlashStack with Pure Storage Portworx for persistent storage. These validated designs also highlight sustainability capabilities featuring Cisco UCS Power and Energy Metrics Dashboard.
  • Another GenAI inferencing CVD features the Intel 5th Generation CPU, Intel OpenVINO toolkit, VMware vSphere, OpenShift, and OpenShift AI. This design guide shows how OpenShift Data Foundation users can leverage local storage in Cisco UCS servers for simplified operations.
  • A fourth CVD is for streamlining machine-learning operations with OpenShift AI on FlashStack with NVIDIA GPUs to operationalize and accelerate model delivery with consistency and efficiency.

Enhancing network performance and security

We are also showcasing the benefits of integrating Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) with OpenShift to help customers improve their network operations. We will showcase how the Cisco ACI CNI plugin for OpenShift creates a single, programmable network that eliminates bottlenecks between OpenShift applications and the rest of the infrastructure. This approach also improves security through flexible microsegmentation. Additionally, we will have a new solution demo featuring Lightspeed-ACI, which automates the creation of Ansible playbooks for ACI, accelerating network operations.

Jayakrishna Mada, Product Manager, Cisco Data Center Networking, contributed to this blog.


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Todd Brannon

Product Management Senior Director, Cisco Compute