What makes Cisco’s Intelligent Automation so Intelligent?

May 22, 2012 - 0 Comments

This is a must read for those who want to deeply understand the philosophy behind Cisco’s automation product portfolio

It should not be news to you that Cisco has invested in software products to drive the management and automation of clouds, datacenters, and applications.  Intelligent Automation is the name that we have for the management and orchestration solutions in the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit in Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group.

What is so intelligent about Cisco’s automation products?  Besides the official marketing and product management answers, I polled our Business Unit and Advanced Services teams and got the following responses (which I distilled a bit).  Oh and by the way, one constraint was that we cannot use Intelligent in the definition of Intelligent Automation (harder than you might think).

The top winners for the best contributions are:  Oleg Danilov (Solution Architect), Mynul Hoda (Technical Leader), Peter Charpentier (Solution Architect), Frank Contrepois (Network Consulting Engineer) and Devendran Rethinavelu (QA Engineer).

Get the Best of Policy and Orchestration (Making a product work well takes concerted architecture influenced by the real world)

  • Achieve the union of Policy and Orchestration in one platform, with the separation of the execution platform from the behavior modeled through service design and automation content
  • Flexible product architecture which allows day 0, day 1, and day 2 sophisticated operational aspects, all in the same design time and run time platform
  • Gives access to sophisticated automation for the end user through service catalogs and self service
  • Enables the modification of action in the light of ongoing events
  • Leverage advanced correlation technology – being able to intercept an event, correlate it against other metrics  collected, and make a decision that drives specific actions under that context

Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge (Like my Grandfather-in-Law said:  Location, Location, Location)

  • Implementation of human knowledge and best practices into automation
  • Knowledge is collected and authored by subject matter experts
  • Enables problem solving through human friendly methods, behaviors and reuse
  • Knowledge that goes way beyond rote step-by-step process
  • The automation occurs at the intersection of the knowledge and context

Easy to Use (Making something easy to use and yet extremely powerful….   The legacy of Steve Jobs and others)

  • Automation that is adaptable to different and changing circumstances, technology domains (application, infrastructure, network, virtualization, end user)
  • And at the same time efficient in execution for the problem at hand
  • A complete, consistent, efficient and measurable management of the end to end process that sees automation (of the many components of your architecture) as one of the tasks in a higher level process
  • Solves complex problems with a direct visual link from the users brain to a visual result represented by the service logic and workflow, in other words it models natural human cycles:  Experience –> Design –> Implementation that you can follow from start to finish as execution occurs

Finally, I can credit our founding architect  Derek Even (Solutions Architect) with a great summary:

“Consider the fundamental difference between animals and humans.  Humans have the intelligence to inquire into the truth of their existence, accumulate and communicate their knowledge.  It is the same with Intelligent Automation, rather than blindly following a set pattern of behaviors or script, Intelligent Automation solutions build in knowledge applied to real-time decisions that allow automated systems to act more like humans than animals.”

If you are feeling caged by your current automation solution, perhaps it is time to upgrade to Cisco’s Intelligent Automation.

If you have any questions or would like more details, please email us.

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