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Tag Archive: hybrid cloud

  1. 10 ways Cisco CloudCenter simplifies AWS

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    AWS2

    Since CloudCenter makes it easy to add AWS to your data center-based hybrid cloud service offerings, and automate deploy and manage of applications, I thought a “Top 10” list was in order.

    Register for the Dec 15th live demo webinar that will highlight these features.

    CloudCenter is an application-centric hybrid cloud management solution. It lets you build on your Cisco infrastructure foundation, and extend application deployment and management capabilities to include public clouds like AWS.  Most enterprise IT organizations I work with already have experience with a public cloud like AWS. And, are now looking to broker multiple public cloud services to IT consumers. CloudCenter has a significant TCO advantage over hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud solutions that are environment specific or use hard-wired automation.

    CloudCenter integrates seamlessly with AWS and “Abstracts the cloud” so developers and users get the power of automated application deployment and management, without having to understand AWS API calls.

    1. Deploy a virtual machine on demand. Easily integrate with service catalogs such as ServiceNow or Cisco Prime Service Catalog, a custom IT front end, or use the out-of-the-box enterprise marketplace. Give your IT consumer self-service on demand “One click” deploy an OS image with CPU and memory to user’s choice of regions, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and availability zone. The IT organization centrally controls who, what, where, when and for how long OS images are deployed. You can track costs and usage with roll-up or drill down reporting by application, cloud account, user group, and more.
    2. Manage images in multiple regions. Automate management of OS images across multiple AWS regions. Whether you build cloud specific images, check out and harden an Amazon provided AMI, or rent vendor updated images, a simple CloudCenter API call updates logical to physical OS image mapping to simplify maintenance, and make sure users are always consuming the latest IT approved OS images.
    3. Deploy any application stack on demand. Users can self-service deploy a fully configured infrastructure and application stack, including databases, middleware, application and web servers, and load balancers. CloudCenter automates deployment of existing enterprise applications or cloud-native micro service architectures. You get cloud-scale features with traditional applications without refactoring or changing application code. And you get full flexibility with composite topologies including a mix of OS images, application services, containers, configuration tools, and unique AWS services.
    4. Automate Continuous Deployment. Did you know you can deploy from Jenkins to any data center or cloud with one CloudCenter plugin? A code change can trigger a build which then triggers a deploy of a full stack environment including the latest build. CloudCenter makes it easy with a Jenkins plugin, and simple API call integration with other popular build automation tools. And CloudCenter abstracts the cloud so your developers don’t have to spend time learning cloud specific API calls, or writing hard-coded scripts for different AWS regions and availability zones.
    5. Auto scale across availability zones. You need to deploy applications in multiple AWS availability zones in order to get AWS 99.995% uptime guarantee. You can deploy master and slave components in different availability zones and autoscale across them both. You don’t need complex scripting in a cloud formation template. You don’t need deep knowledge about security groups or network Access Control Lists (ACL). CloudCenter makes it easy.
    6. Migrate across regions. You can use powerful migration features to move an application from one AWS region to another. Once an application is deployed, users can select an application, pick target region, and “one click” migrate the application and optionally the data if needed.
    7. Automate micro-segmentation. When a cloud agnostic Application Profile is deployed in AWS, CloudCenter automates creation of Security Groups and Access Control Lists that deliver micro-segmentation with white list communication. You can easily deploy and manage a large number of applications without using shared segmentation that opens security risk of East-West traffic.
    8. Including AWS specific services. In general, we recommend you use cloud-agnostic services to model Application Profiles to a single profile that can be deployed to data center, AWS, and other clouds. That is key to lower hybrid cloud TCO. But you also have the choice to model AWS-specific services as part of an application profile, or use call outs to call unique AWS services when needed.
    9. Benchmark price and performance. Compare price performance metrics to determine when AWS is the most cost effective choice. Or determine price differences between AWS regions. Performance across regions shouldn’t vary. But, price in different regions can. Also, use benchmarking to find out when multiple small instances are more cost effective than one large.
    10. Stay in control. CloudCenter is an enterprise-class solution that includes governance and security features that meet the needs of the most demanding and complex IT organizations. Multiple AWS accounts? Multiple groups using a single AWS account? No problem. Control usage and get complete cost and usage visibility with policy-base guardrails that give users self-service on demand deployment, with IT oversight that help users make the right choices every time.

    Register for the webinar to see CloudCenter and AWS in action!

    Read the Datasheet – CloudCenter with Amazon Web Servies

    Watch AWS re:Invent session Dev211: Automated DevOps and Continuous Delivery

  2. How to Manage a Successful Multi-cloud Strategy

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    This piece originally appeared on Sand Hill.

    Cloud computing, by its very nature, does not limit choices nearly to the same degree that previous data center revolutions have. It used to be that you had to choose between A and B; but with a multi-cloud strategy, you can have both. The trick, then, becomes how to manage multiple clouds over time. How do you decide which applications should go where and who gets access to various resources? When is it time to move off one cloud to another, and what are the odds that you’ll have the same answer for every one of your applications? Start by asking yourself these questions.

    Where are you now?

    Just about every company has some cloud deployments, whether IT knows about them or not, and the first step is to get an inventory of what is being used by whom and why. More than likely what you’ll find is that there is demand for self-service, on-demand access to application deployments and that the specific benefits of a particular cloud pale in comparison. Speed kills in today’s business environment; and for any team, especially those in the line of business, the ability to iterate stands above all else.

    What clouds do you want to consider?

    That inventory you collected will act as a guide here, as will your current data center capabilities. Public clouds are easy to try before utilizing them heavily. Private clouds are more difficult due to your being responsible for the setup yourself, unless you go with a managed option of some sort where a trusted third party comes in and maintains that layer on your behalf.

    Which applications should go where?

    With your application inventory in hand, make a rough sketch of which ones should go on your private cloud targets and which are more appropriate for public.

    Data Privacy Sensitivity chart (Cisco)

    One way to think about this is to plot the workload demand along a Y-axis with the data privacy sensitivity along the X-axis. Applications that have high data privacy sensitivity and/or constant workload demands fit best on a private cloud, where the data can be protected behind a firewall and capital-expensed in-house equipment can be highly utilized. For applications without data sensitivity issues or ones that have wide variances in demand, a public cloud target is best.

    Who gets to do what, where?

    No multi-cloud strategy is complete without considering the people who will be using it, and that means well beyond the traditional IT administrator. End users of all skill levels are desperate for self-service, on-demand resources; and if you don’t offer it as part of your multi-cloud strategy, your user community will go elsewhere. Figure out who needs to deploy what and where you want to let them do so under different circumstances.

    Putting it together with a Cloud Management Platform

    With your application inventory collected, initial deployment targets decided, and who needs to deploy what in place, it is time to put together the whole picture with a Cloud Management Platform (CMP). This emerging class of software enables an IT department to model applications in a format that reuses existing assets and is portable across different cloud targets while enabling the IT administrator to put some limitations on that with governance and metering/billing.

    Ideally, the CMP should enable you to benchmark applications on different cloud platforms so you can make informed choices on what applications should go where for those versatile enough to go in either public or private clouds. It should give you a view of your current world of Virtual Machine (VM) management to ease the transitional period in a way that lets you assign quotas of VM or dollar usage that will work for your current state of loosely deployed VMs and the future state of VMs deployed within the context of the application inventory. Your CMP ought to provide role-based access control so you can flexibly implement who is allowed to deploy what, where.

    Selling your multi-cloud strategy to your internal stakeholders

    Finally, none of the components of a multi-cloud strategy matter if others don’t buy into it. Fortunately, there is plenty here for a wide variety of roles to get excited about.

    • IT admins – Maintain control of a multi-cloud environment unobtrusively
    • LOB users – Get self-service, on-demand resources whenever they want
    • Developers – Deploy new builds as needed without a lengthy ticketing process
    • Security architects – Codify knowledge into every application deployment, automatically
    • CFOs – Highly utilize capital investment in the data center, drive better ROI calculations on the public cloud

    With the help of a CMP, any organization can implement a sound multi-cloud strategy that satisfies the needs of all these constituents, and more.

    Pete Johnson is the technical solutions architect for cloud in the global partner organization at Cisco Systems Inc. He is a 20+-year tech industry veteran and can be found on Twitter at @nerdguru.

     

  3. 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.

    deployment_environment

    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.

     

  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.

  5. CloudCenter + Cisco ACI: Resource Links

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    It’s official. CliQr is now part of the Cisco family. I’ve presented the CliQr CloudCenter + Cisco ACI overview at several local ACI roadshow events. And gotten many requests for additional information about the joint solution.

    Here’s a summary list of CloudCenter + ACI resources you can add to your toolbox.

    Toolbox

    Product Page – has wide range of CloudCenter resources.

    Start with these

    At a Glance – CloudCenter + ACI joint solution overview (2 page)

    Video Demo – CloudCenter + ACI (4 min)

    Expand your knowledge

    White paper – 3x Use Cases and Value (12 pages)

    Video Demo – CloudCenter + ACI (4 min)

    Video Demo Cisco’s Carly Stoughton integrated demo (12 min)

    Video Demo WWT’s Joe Weber integrated demo with VMware vCenter role (11 min)

    Preparing to deploy

    White paper – Deployment topologies and requirements (15 pages)

     

     

     

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