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Tag Archive: cloud providers

  1. How Cisco CloudCenter Stacks up

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    This blog originally appeared on Cisco Blogs.

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    If you are like me – all the cloud management tools sound the same. Vendors all use the same words to describe very different solutions. Hybrid. Platform. Automation. Service.

    So to help you figure out what the words mean, I’ve recorded a short webcast with product manager Zack Kielich (@zackOmatic), that shows how Cisco CloudCenter stacks up to Gartner’s Cloud Management Platform feature taxonomy.

    You can access a Gartner report that includes the feature taxonomy list, as well as 5 key questions that help you evolve your cloud strategy.  And then listen to the webcast where we go through Gartner requirements and describe how CloudCenter features deliver 14 Gartner recommended capabilities in 4 key areas.

    So why is a CMP review on the Datacenter Blog?  CloudCenter deploys and manages applications in datacenter or cloud environments.  It’s both a cloud and datacenter solution.

    Some highlights:

    Access Management

    • Multi-tenancy – CloudCenter has a service provider class multi-tenant architecture that offers great value for enterprise IT. It saves money by reducing the solution footprint for organizations with multiple business units. It supports a centralized IT service strategy with a flexible mix of sharing and isolation.  Central IT can offer standard services. Each tenant can consume those services but also add or customize their own, and even skin the UI for different user groups.
    • Governance – A tag-based governance scheme makes it easy for IT to help users make the right decisions. Compliance can be automated by using tags to enforce policies.  Users add simple tags when they deploy applications. IT can hard code tags if needed for compliance.  The tags link to policies that direct placement, deployment and run-time decisions. The tags make it easy for users to make the right choices. And they don’t have to understand the policies.

    Service Management

    • Logical service modeling – This is where CloudCenter really shines. You can model a deployable application blueprint with ease in a drag and drop interface. Each component represents a service like OS, or application or web server, database, etc. You can use out of box, or easily customize or add your own. It supports configuration management tools, PaaS and cloud services, as well as containers. Multiple IT groups can put their configuration finger print on the building blocks or fully modeled stacks before releasing for users. IT maintains control. Users don’t get stuck in the infrastructure weeds, and get an on-demand self-service experience.
    • Usage and cost control – With usage and cost plans, you get a variety of options to create boundaries for self-service on demand deployment. You want to limit developers from a certain group to a pool of 200 VMs in a vCenter environment? No problem. You want to keep AWS costs for a BU to $2,000 per month? No problem. You want to allocate costs across the SDLC for dev, test, staging, and then production. Again, no problem.

    Service Optimization

    • Monitoring and auto-scaling – CloudCenter lets you horizontally scale legacy applications in your datacenter. That’s right! Cloud-like scaling without rewriting applications. Set performance triggers and scale out by deploying additional instances of the whole stack or individual tier, with just enough resource to minimize cloud costs and optimize infrastructure utilization. You can even burst to cloud by scaling out to a cloud for periods of heavy usage.
    • Usage Visibility – IT executives love the consolidated reporting of costs and usage from any of 20 supported datacenter, private and public cloud environments, all in one platform. View usage and costs by tenant, by user group, by application, by cloud. Roll up or drill down. And allocate or charge back costs as needed. You get data needed to make effective decisions.  IT can add use-based economics to traditional datacenter and legacy applications, just like in the public cloud.

    External APIs

    • CloudCenter has mature, documented APIs. Everything users can do from the UI, you can access via API. This facilitates easy integration with development tools like Jenkins, ITSM catalogs like Cisco Prime Service Catalog or ServiceNow, existing ITOM tools like IPAM and DNS. Read the integration guide.
    • SDN like VMware and Cisco API are supported. So you get the security and operational efficiency of zero trust, white list communication between tiers, via fully automated integration. Application owners get confidence in case of a security breach. Network teams don’t need to hand craft port settings or configure firewall runs for each deployment.
    • CloudCenter abstracts the cloud. CloudCenter supports more than 20 different datacenter, private and public clouds. But the APIs are hidden and abstracted by the CloudCenter Orchestrator. Users don’t need to learn each cloud. They get the benefits of Software defined datacenter and cloud, without the cost of learning APIs specific to each platform.

    There’s more.  Check out the webinar to find out about benchmarks, bursting, automated end-of-life actions that all cut your cloud bill or improve datacenter resource utilization.

    Read about how CloudCenter is now part of the revamped Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite.

  2. Can the cloud really be more secure than datacenters?

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    As enterprises continue to rely more and more on software applications to run their core businesses, application and data security are critical for any company. At the same time, security is a complex problem touching all seven layers of the software-networking stack, from physical resources up to application and data layer security. With the multitude of vendors and variables to work with, implementing security is both an intimidating and costly exercise.

    Wouldn’t it be much easier if enterprises didn’t have to worry about security and received a standard security package designed by experts, which took care of all their security needs, including updating and staying current with the latest best-practices? Cloud computing enabled by CliQr does exactly this. CliQr-enabled clouds are even more secure than most datacenters as there is often a piece of the security puzzle that has been overlooked at the datacenter level. Let us begin with cloud security in general.

    Clouds have been developed and designed by companies that host large infrastructures. These companies often use the very same cloud infrastructure to run their core mission-critical applications. Needless to say, these companies have already invested a lot of resources and hired teams of experts to secure their infrastructures. Today’s cloud providers offer very sophisticated layers of security including:

    – Highly secured facilities that host the physical resources

    – Best practice security regulations, configuration control and administration

    – Compliance such as SAS 70 Type II, SOC 1, SOC 2

    – Security audits like PCI, HIPAA, ISO, etc.

    While this takes care of infrastructure layer security, in the interest of flexibility, clouds do not directly implement application and data security, but rather provide the means to complete a business’ security needs on their infrastructure.

    Some ways in which clouds do this are by providing:

    – Secured PKI mechanism for accessing and managing the cloud environments

    – APIs for configuring network firewall settings

    – VLAN constructs for creating isolated private networks

    – Data encryption on storage

    Today it is an enterprise’s responsibility to complete these security requirements on a cloud environment using the above mechanisms and manage the keys securely. In Part 2, I will discuss how CliQr completes this security by taking care of these aspects for the enterprise.

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