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How We Migrate Hundreds of Applications to the New ACI Platform

I am in the trenches of our migration to an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform, helping my team transition hundreds of applications. Cisco IT has broken down the migration process into nine steps:

  1. Complete network dependency mapping. In this exercise, the applications team validates the mapping of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) to databases, for upstream and downstream applications.
  2. Build the ACI fabric in parallel with the existing infrastructure using Nexus 9000 Series Switches.
  3. Install seed compute into ACI fabric.
  4. Connect fabric to traditional network via uplinks.
  5. Define endpoint groups (EPGs) and network application profile.
  6. Install seed storage into ACI fabric.
  7. Move application to ACI. This move can take hours or days depending on the size and complexity of the application.
  8. Move storage and compute units.
  9. Iterate: identify next application(s) to set up and migrate.

ACI App Migration Diagram

The nearly 200 applications that I’m working on spread across multiple Cisco IT services and fall under Customer Care. They include

  • Install Base
  • Product Support
  • Case Management
  • Consulting Service Delivery
  • Service Order, Return, and Repair Management
  • Service Parts Planning and Inventory Management
  • Customer Entitlement and Access Request Management
  • Customer Service Delivery Platform

In my role as an ACI Prime, I’m responsible for steps 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of the migration process. I work closely with IT architects, IT managers, and my infrastructure partners to execute the remainder of the steps. The application space is complex as multiple applications are tied to a single database. Applications need to be moved in a logical grouping. The size of one application and the size of a group of applications drive the network component. I work with several application teams and infrastructure partners to coordinate the move. We work in an agile way and have a good Scrum cadence.

Over the next few months, as my team completes the ACI migration steps that I’m responsible for, I will share my experience and lessons learned with you. Stay tuned, as we are winding down the first step (Network Dependency Mapping). So I’ll be back soon with more about that.

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Cisco IT Datacenter Day 2015, Allen, TX – Disrupt or be disrupted!

By 2020 75 percent of all companies will be fully digital. The huge shift to a fully digital ecosystem has accelerated over the last couple of years, resulting in Fast IT, which is the new operating model for Cisco IT. The 3rd annual Data Center Day in Allen, Texas, could not have been a better showcase for this new model with its theme, “Disrupt or be Disrupted!” About 130 Cisco customers from every market segment, and in total more than 300 people, attended the Data Center Days on April 13th and 14th. Read More »

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ACI and CITEIS Fortify the Cloud-Enabled Data Center

In July 2014, Cisco IT turned on the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric for the first time in our San Jose engineering data center. Since then, we’ve been busy building out the ACI fabric in our U.S. production centers and beginning the process of migrating workloads. In phases, we’ll migrate our global infrastructure footprint to ACI within two years. Running on our internal cloud platform called Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS), ACI provides flexibility and elasticity across the data center that wasn’t possible before. So far the results have been better than even we expected. Read More »

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Making Noise About a Quiet Data Center

I like touring Data Centers. Whether it’s a makeshift space with out-of-control cabling or a state of the art, innovative facility, I’m always curious to see how companies accommodate their computing equipment and tackle the inevitable challenges of space, power and cooling.

Ten years ago I visited a then-new Data Center in the western United States that had several interesting features.  Two elements – and the moments I discovered them – still stick with me.
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The Executive Value of Cisco’s Data Center Day

Cisco IT is excited to be hosting its third Data Center Day in Allen, Texas this year on April 14th. Last September, Data Center Day was attended by 144 customers from 75 companies. With registration now open this event is expected to fill up fast!  Read More »

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