Cisco today moved to shift all the weight associated with managing its IT environment into the cloud. Cisco Intersight is an instance of the company’s disparate IT management platforms that are all now being unified via a cloud service that IT administrators can employ to manage Cisco servers, storage and networking technologies as well as offerings from third-party vendors that plug into the REST application programming interfaces (APIs) based on the OData specification that Cisco is now exposes. Initially, Cisco Intersight will support both the Cisco Unified Computing (UCS) and Cisco Hyperflex converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms.
Ken Spear, UCS director, Intersight and UCS software for Cisco, says Cisco Intersight is the result of a four-year internal project code-named Project Starship. The goal is to not only centralize the management of Cisco infrastructure, but also use all the data Cisco will collect via Cisco Intersight to apply predictive analytics enabled by machine learning algorithms to prevent outages and anticipate future requirements.
Initially, Cisco Intersight will be exposed as a cloud service managed by Cisco. But in about a year, Spear says, Cisco also expects to make an on-premises version of Cisco Inersight available.
Spear says Cisco Intersight marks the first time an IT vendor has been able to deliver a programmable cloud management service that automates the management of IT infrastructure on an end-to-end basis. In the future, Spear says, Cisco will also integrate Cisco Intersight with Cisco CloudCenter, the management platform Cisco gained via the acquisition of CliQr Technologies, that IT organizations can employ to manage a variety of public clouds.
As Cisco Intersight evolves, Spear says, Cisco will be able identify patterns in a way that will enable IT organizations to create digital fingerprints of activity in their environments to enhance overall IT security. Over time, Cisco will also be providing role-based frameworks for employing Cisco Intersight in, for example, a DevOps environment to manage IT in real time, says Spear.
“Situational awareness will be built into the platform,” says Spear.
Spear says Cisco Intersight leverages the unified management framework that Cisco originally developed for the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Via open APIs, Cisco is now extending the reach of that technology to the rest of its own networking and security portfolio as well as technologies from third-party partners such as NetApp, says Spear. Cisco is also committed to sharing those APIs with any other device manufacturer that wants to connect into the Cisco Intersight management framework, says Spear.
Spear says the problem with most existing management frameworks is that they were designed for a different era a computing. Most of them cannot address distributed computing based on virtual machines and now containers, says Spear.
Cisco Intersight follows the launch of Cisco Tetration Analytics and the acquisition of AppDynamics, a unit of Cisco focused on application monitoring and management, earlier this year. It’s now only a matter of time before Cisco brings all these technologies together in a more cohesive manner. The challenge facing IT organizations is figuring out the roles inside the IT organization that will need to converge alongside all the IT management platforms.