Cisco, during an online Future Cloud event, unveiled the UCS X-Series blade server platform that enables IT teams to independently scale, compute, and store in a way that was previously only possible using a rack-based system.
At the same time, Cisco is adding low-code Intersight Cloud Orchestrator tools to enable IT operations teams to automate workflows. Cisco is also employing Kubernetes and an instance of Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) foundation to create a Intersight Workload Engine that functions as Cisco operating system for its Hyperflex portfolio of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms.
In addition, the company is adding Cisco Service Mesh Manager as an extension to the Intersight Kubernetes Service to make it simpler to deploy instances of the open source Istio service mesh for managing application programming interfaces (APIs).
Collectively, Cisco is relying on the automation framework made available via its Intersight platform unifies the management of Cisco platforms, says DD Dasgupta, vice president of product management for Cisco cloud and compute. “Intersight is the glue,” he says.
Cisco also announced that Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a software-defined framework that enables IT teams to manage networking operations by declaratively expressing their intent, will be available on public clouds from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google this fall. A Nexus dashboard will provide a single console for configuring and managing common policies across a hybrid cloud computing environment.
The Cisco ThousandEyes, a cloud-based service for tracking Internet performance, has now also been integrated with the latest generation of Cisco switches.
Finally, Cisco is adding a range of advisory services to enable organizations to optimize both cloud computing environments and the software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) employed to access them.
Flexible platforms such as Cisco UCS X-Series coupled with Intersight and other capabilities are also intended to enable organizations to reduce the total cost of IT, says Dasgupta. In effect, Cisco is making a case for replacing legacy rack-based systems with a blade server that can be configured any way an IT organization best sees fit.
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Shifting IT Costs
It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations are going to modernize their data center environments as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to subside. However, it’s clear many data center modernization efforts were postponed as organizations found themselves relying more on cloud platforms to drive various digital business transformation initiatives.
Nevertheless, the bulk of enterprise data continues to reside in on-premises IT environments that are evolving into private clouds. The challenge now will be finding a way to centralize the management of what is becoming a highly distributed cloud computing environment. Cisco is clearly in a race to extend the reach of its management framework from the cloud to the edge to manage those environments before a whole host of rivals launch similar initiatives.
The issue is going to be funding that initiative. Organizations are essentially being asked to allocate funds to reduce the total cost of IT. At a time when there are a lot of competing agendas within organizations that may be a difficult sell for IT leaders. After all, unless IT is absolutely broken there’s always a natural tendency among business executives to not fix something that isn’t perceived to be broken.
Unfortunately, IT environments in the absence of continuous care have a tendency to break down in catastrophic ways at the most inconvenient time imaginable. As IT environments become more complex it’s increasingly apparent that, in many cases, legacy IT platforms are already being stretched well beyond their known limits.
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