By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated November 01, 2012.
Cisco just rolled out the latest iteration of Intelligent Automation for Cloud. Version 3.1 introduces new features and capabilities to make it easier to deploy clouds, from CloudSync to Network Services Manager.
"Cisco is delivering the capabilities that our customers need to build real private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid clouds," said Jason Schroedl, a marketing executive at Cisco. "We recognize that it's not as easy as, 'Poof, you've got a cloud.' We offer the software, infrastructure, partners, and services to help you get started -- with a pragmatic roadmap for your cloud journey."
Managing a Dedicated Pool of VDCs
Schroedl points to infrastructure-as-a-service use cases in which virtual machines and other resources can be provisioned from a shared pool of resources on-demand.
In more advanced infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, he explained, virtual data centers (VDCs) can be established to provide project teams or departments with a dedicated resource pool of compute, storage, and network capacity for their own organization. With version 3.1, Schroedl said customers can take advantage of these best practices in their own deployment.
"When a business unit, department, or project team needs infrastructure resources, they can order their own VDC from a menu of options -- with pre-set capacity allocations...to enforce consumption limits -- in the self-service portal," he explained. "And on an ongoing basis, they can manage their own dedicated pool of physical blades, virtual machines, virtual CPU, memory, and storage -- by increasing the capacity, adding a physical blade with Cisco UCS Manager, adding a network, etc."
Automating Cloud Sync
With version 3.1, Cisco has also introduced new infrastructure discovery and resource tracking. Dubbed CloudSync, the technology lets you automatically discover, track, and manage all of the infrastructure elements within your cloud environment and the systems connected to them.
"You can run discovery of the infrastructure inventory on-demand or on a scheduled basis," Schroedl said. "Your cloud administrators can keep track of infrastructure resources, assess capacity, and prevent sprawl. They also have the visibility and control they need to ensure security and policy compliance."
With version 3.1, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud includes Cisco Network Services Manager. By bundling Cisco Network Services Manager in Cisco's cloud management solution, Schroedl said the company is providing a foundation for network-as-a-service.
200 Extension Points
Cisco now offers more than 200 extension points for the software, ranging from integrations with your service desk system to open and close tickets, to providing show-back or charge-back support, to integrating with third-party monitoring and service assurance tools. Cisco said this extensibility allows customers to deploy their cloud within the reality of their own existing IT practices, business policies, and infrastructure systems.
Cisco also recently introduced a new Multi-Cloud Acceleration Kit that extends Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud software to manage multiple cloud environments such as OpenStack, Amazon EC2, and VMware vCloud Director.
"Now you can create virtual data centers, on-board tenants, and provision cloud services from within our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution -- whether your cloud is running on VMware or OpenStack, or if you're using the Amazon Web Services public cloud," Schroedl said. "Our customers can start with simple infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, and then upgrade and extend their deployment to include support for virtual data centers and more advanced use cases in a multi-cloud, heterogeneous environment."