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A Perspective on Cisco CloudCenter's Value Proposition

The core strengths of Cisco CloudCenter

CloudCenter center stage

WWT sees significant progress being made in delivering cloud, infrastructure automation and Software-defined Data Center (SDDC) as a unified solution.

In my view, Cisco CloudCenter represents a market-defining solution that allows an organization to consolidate and automate both strategic and tactical use cases into a single API platform. Specifically, CloudCenter provides an outcome based approach that consolidates cloud, application services and infrastructure automation experiences into consistent methods and processes for infrastructure consumption and operations, security policy and posture, and common governance — all while delivering reduced complexity across many environments and platforms.

CloudCenter approach

Strategic API platform

Concepts such as cloud, agile IT, DevOps, Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), Internet of Things (IoT) — along with increasingly complex data center technology and ever-present security threats — have been extremely disruptive to IT organizations across the globe. This disruption has created a very chaotic landscape with more applications, products, tools and services being available than during any previous evolution in the IT industry.

A fast-emerging technology trend to address this chaos is the creation and adoption of APIs that allow us to programmatically automate IT processes. CloudCenter is capable of consolidating and automating the APIs in the areas of compute, network, security, and storage across multiple environments.

CloudCenter as an API platform integrating numerous elements in these key areas.

Cloud, apps, tools and infrastructure

Cloud

Cloud is essentially experience driven. The end user consumes public cloud primarily because it is easy and efficient to get the services that they need to deliver an outcome. Until recently, it has been a challenge to deliver a compelling cloud experience inside of the data center. CloudCenter provides the ability to create a private cloud and also deliver a hybrid cloud that consumes multiple public cloud platforms. This is at the core of CloudCenter as a strategic platform, providing the ability to consume and utilize the preferred infrastructure.

Application services

Application services (i.e., service catalogs) are a critical component of the user experience. Creating content that is aligned with the desired outcome may include simple things such as self-service workloads with a selected OS and machine size (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) or complex N-Tier apps. The goal for IT organizations is to provide app services that hide the complexity of the underlying infrastructure from the user and developer. Again, a core strength of CloudCenter.

Some current supported cloud infrastructures

Tools

There has been an explosion of tools that provide automation capabilities. Many are open source with supporting community content. In most organizations, multiple tools may already exist to address a specific use case or need. These are extremely hard to displace as in most cases the owner is committed to their tool. With CloudCenter there is inherent extensibility and flexibility so that we can integrate to the API of these tools and provide a mechanism to cross-pollinate relevant content from that tool to a wider range of use cases. This provides a significant efficiency gain for IT.

A very small subset of app services

Some of the most common configuration management and infrastructure automation tools

Infrastructure automation

Infrastructure automation is now largely being defined by extensibility and programmatic consumption of APIs. Concepts such as IaC are more relevant than ever since today’s infrastructure architects, engineers and operators are being challenged to provide services at the speed of application driven business. In many situations, they cannot wait for an OEM to build a plugin or approve an integration. This challenge has manifested itself in the open source communities and rapid adoption of common scripting languages such as Python and JavaScript.

Additionally, efficient and reliable infrastructure automation is an integral component of delivering an effective cloud strategy. Infrastructure automation is no longer focused strictly on a specific server type or specific storage array; it must also include public cloud infrastructure and a very wide range of element types. IT organizations require common security, governance and operational processes for all the various infrastructure elements that they have or might have.

The operational and efficiency gain for infrastructure automation provided by CloudCenter is the ability to attach to and consume existing tools (e.g., Puppet, Ansible, Chef) as well as the flexibility to rapidly develop new integrations and services for specific infrastructure needs.

Infrastructure personas that leverage common languages and public content to deliver infrastructure automation

Key takeaways

The significant benefits of using CloudCenter to deliver an experience-driven and API-driven hybrid cloud strategy can be summarized as follows:

Simplified Approach for Cloud and SDDC

  • User experience and business outcome focused
  • Extremely flexible API platform
  • Simplified automation toolset

Consolidation of Strategic and Tactical Use Cases Across Many Infrastructure Environments

  • Application services
  • Tool integrations
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
  • Infrastructure automation

Reduced TCO and ROI while Accelerating Adoption

  • Rapid innovation
  • Common scripting languages
  • Reduce license stacking
  • Consume content from existing/common tools
  • Consume public content