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Tag Archive: CloudCenter

  1. Why Cloud? Justification for Non-techies

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    Cloud computing is all the rage today, to the point that it feels like you can’t fill out your “buzzword bingo” card at any meeting without using the phrase. There are all kinds of technical reasons why cloud has the market momentum it does, but what if you aren’t swayed by such things? If you’ve seen technology trends come and go, you need non-technical justification for moving your business in any direction, and cloud computing is no different for you.

    So, what is the main justification for business owners to use cloud that doesn’t involve a lot of technical jargon? Let’s get to the bottom line and talk ROI and payback instead.

    Asset Procurement Financials Before Cloud

    If you go back to a simpler time, before virtualization was even a thing — let alone cloud computing — the financial justification process for IT or any other kind of capital asset was pretty much the same:

    1. Spend a lot of money up front on equipment
    2. Wait for that equipment to be installed and configured correctly
    3. Reap gains to your own business based on this new equipment for years to come.

    In this model, it is common to estimate what the expected annual gains were and to calculate a payback period. In other words, how long will it take you to recoup your investment made in Year 0 before the equipment is even installed? When weighing options against one another, those with shorter payback are more attractive than those with longer payback.

    Another way to judge different choices against one another is with an ROI calculation. Take the total anticipated returns, subtract the total investment, divide at difference by the total investment and multiply by 100.

    The difficulty with either payback or ROI approaches is that you are left to estimate the total returns. In other words, you don’t really know what benefits you’ll receive with your large, up-front purchase — you have to estimate it. And since typically this kind of analysis is made over a three-to-five-year period, it can be awhile before you figure out whether or not you’re wrong. And if you are, it can be a very expensive proposition to correct it.

    Enter Cloud: Getting More At-Bats More Quickly

    Instead of having to wait two years to figure out if your estimated returns are correct, wouldn’t it be better to find out sooner? And instead of estimating the returns in the first place, wouldn’t it be better if you could find out the actual benefits sooner? Also, I bet you’d rather pay as you go instead of investing all that money up front and hoping the return comes at all, right?

    These are the real business benefits of cloud. In baseball terminology, it’s about getting more at-bats, or put another way, more cycles with your technology investment by trying options that don’t require the long installation lead times. That allows you to quickly evaluate the benefits of the investment with a smaller up-front investment and either celebrate the genius of your choice or admit defeat and move on to an alternative.

    Think about what that means for the ROI calculation. The lone value in the denominator of that equation is the total investment. Lower that, and whatever number is in the numerator will look better.

    For the payback, this cloud model enables a business not to estimate returns based on a lot of spreadsheet mechanics that are influenced by the sales team trying to get your investment, but instead can be based on your actual use of the technology as soon as possible with an option to stop without financial penalties. That lets you gather more detailed data on your financial returns sooner.

    Cloud Is Not About Tech, It’s About Speedy Investments

    This is the real takeaway here: Speed. In the modern economy, it is more efficient to try technology investments, quickly determine if they deliver the benefits they promise, and move on than it is to go through some long sales cycle that is followed by an even longer installation process to find out whether or not the equipment you purchased was a huge waste of resources or not. It is OK to fail, just do so quickly so you can cross that wrong answer off your list and move closer to whatever the right solution is. Doing that over and over again with solutions that you pay for as you go is a far better use of your budget.

    This piece originally appeared on betanews.

  2. Time flies when you are having fun – New CloudCenter Release

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    Time flies when you’re having fun and building great products! Those who have been following CloudCenter (formerly CliQr) know that it’s been about 6 months since we were acquired by Cisco. During that time, we’ve have been extremely busy. Not only was there a lot of normal day to day activities needed to integrate into Cisco’s processes and systems, but the team was also working to crank out another great feature-filled release. I happen to be especially proud of this release since I was it’s my first release in the product manager role for CloudCenter.

    Blog image CC

    Image: CloudCenter combining both cloud and data center in one platform

    With my new role comes some great perks like getting to play with the engineering builds right when a new feature is completed. I’m proud to report that not only is CloudCenter 4.6 now generally available, but it’s a great, big, first release under the Cisco banner. This release delivers an even deeper integration with Cisco ACI, a more simplified networking model across clouds, and an easier deployment experience.

    Deeper ACI integration

    CloudCenter first introduced Cisco ACI integration about a year and a half ago—right before CiscoLive 2015 in San Diego. Naturally, after the acquisition in April, one of the first things we set out to do was to deepen that ACI integration and provide more value to our customers. The 4.6 release’s vision centered around generally increasing networking flexibility. But also giving users the option to use either existing Cisco ACI objects (endpoint groups, bridge domains, and virtual machine managers) or dynamically create new ones.

    The net/net of these new and enhanced ACI features is that CloudCenter with Cisco ACI blows away any other solution to give a seamless experience, no matter if you’re using vSphere, OpenStack, Azure Pack, or any other on-premise IaaS cloud API. Network administrators gain flexibility in configuration, automation during deployment, and control of what end users are able to do via self-service on demand offerings —all without ANY coding to the ACI API. On the flip side, end users get a more consistent and expedited deployment of their application profile from an easy to use, self-service experience.

    Simplified Networking

    Since the acquisition, people keep asking us, “are you going to stay cloud-agnostic?” Fortunately, the answer is “Yes” and there is no plan of that changing.  We continue to refine the list of clouds, versions, and regions we support out of the box. And we continue to add enhancements that support a multi-cloud world. The new “Simplified Networking” configuration works by letting an administrator abstract cloud networks and assign a label based on the network’s technical features.

    As an end user, all you have to do is provide your business requirement for the application you’re deploying. CloudCenter then maps all the technical stuff behind the scenes. Need a “Secure” network in Metapod? CloudCenter will map the application in the background to “Network X”. Instead, if the application is landing on AWS, Azure, vCenter, or any of the other clouds we support, the equivalent of the “Secure” network might be “Network Y”.

    By abstracting each cloud’s networks into a business requirement defined label, it makes end users’ life SO MUCH EASIER. Gone are the days when they have to know about the underlying cloud’s network capabilities. At the same time, administrators get more control and guarantee that applications are being deployed appropriately through policy.

    Deployment Experience

    For those old school CliQr users and admins, you’ll notice some slick new user interfaces in this release. Sticking with our mantra of “make life easy for users and admins”, we added the ability for admins to pre-set and hide certain fields from users on the deployment form, let application tiers be deployed across availability zones within a cloud region, and streamlined the deployment screen flow.

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    Image: New deployment environment configuration screen

    Above you can see the new deployment environment configuration screen. Note the visible and non-visible settings for each field. If I’m an admin, I love this feature because it means I can lock down and hide fields that my users don’t need to worry about. Less room for error, fewer questions from users, and more smooth sailing!

    There’s a ton more that made it into the CloudCenter 4.6 release and you can find it all in the release notes. In the next 6 months, you can be sure to expect more announcements of our progress, both in feature releases and as we make waves as a new product within Cisco!

    This blog originally appeared on Cisco Blogs.

     

  3. How Cisco CloudCenter Stacks up

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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 data center, 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 data center 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.

    This blog originally appeared on Cisco Blogs.

  4. CliQr: Have Your Cake and Eat it Too.

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    I love buffets. (Especially when they are all you can eat). But what I really like is the ability to choose what and how much I want. This is where I know that the use of cloud services will become useful. When we don’t have to make an ‘either/or’ decision.

    How work gets done has completely changed in just the last few years.

    Fact is: business moves fast. When application developers or business leaders can’t get what they need the official way… it has never BEEN SO EASY (to go around the IT department).

    Public Clouds offer so much less friction… no PO required… so can you blame them?

    Third party cloud providers are doing a great job providing attractive, easy to use services. They have earned that business.

    Who cares how it splinters your own company…puts your data at risk…or makes it almost impossible to transition from development to production?

    We offer a couple of options for you here at Cisco:

    1. Get Tough. We have tools that can help you identify ‘shadow IT’, those rogue operations. Find them and put the hurt on ‘em. It’s against policy… you have the company rule book to back you up.
    2. Address the Real Issue. Just give them what they want. They are following the path of least resistance… so make it easy.

    We should all be thinking of ourselves as internal service providers. We have to compete and serve company interests viewing the world as it is, rather than as we wish it would be.

    What is it my mom would always say?

    “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

    So how would we go about doing that?

    I suggest we look towards a few winners recently announced by The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA):

    Best Cloud Infrastructure: Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite

    But also, for Best Cloud Management Solution: CliQr CloudCenter… now called ‘Cisco CloudCenter’ because that team is now part of Cisco and these two winners are now integrated.

    In this episode we uncover why these applications are winning awards, and what kind of pain we can help get rid of.

    Thank you to TechWiseTV alum Joann Stark for bringing this one to market… and for introducing me to the smart and energetic Zach Kielich. 

    We will be doing a live workshop on this topic around August 18. Please subscribe to our twitter feed (@techwisetv) and monitor that for updates on where to register.

    Read more right now with Joann’s blog post: “Cisco Simplifies Business Transformation.”

    Thanks!

    Robb @robbboyd

    This blog originally appeared on Cisco Blogs.

CliQr Technologies, CliQr CloudCenter and CloudBlades are trademarks of CliQr Technologies, Inc. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.