Having worked with designing, building, and deploying services and applications in the past many years it has been amazing to watch the technical advances in the past few years.
When I started working with IT, only large companies could afford to deploy IT systems to run their business and most of these relied on central mainframes and terminals, most of them with displays bathing their users in lush green colors, with the occasional black and white.
No, I’m not old as dirt, although my hair is a gentlemanly greyish color.
Over the past decade, we have now almost gone full circle with the notable difference that IT now permeates businesses of every size, every home, and it’s in our pocket.
For large businesses, there are many choices of how and where they can deploy the IT services needed to run their business, in fact they don’t even need to deploy it, they can just use it like the electricity from the socket on the wall.
And therein lies the challenge.
With large mainframes (and subsequently minis), systems management and IT security was relatively easy, even with PCs attached to central servers in a data center it was achievable. With systems running both in a data center in the cloud and some as services that IT has no control over, systems management and IT security becomes a challenge of Sisyphean dimensions. And we have yet to throw in the fact that all of the services offered are accessed from devices that may or may not be managed or even trusted by IT.
Before someone accuses me of being a luddite and an old … man (or something that rhymes with art), I would like to submit that I actually think that the very scenarios I describe above are by far the better option for the vast majority of businesses both large and small.
In fact, it boils down to choice and agility – being able to choose between deploying and managing some systems on premise, some systems with a cloud provider and some just as services. Being able to serve the business better with agility and flexibility to meet the expectations of modern day users whilst delivering additional value through innovation.
In fact, I believe that running some systems on premise, some in the cloud and some as services – often referred to as “Hybrid IT” is the way forward for most companies.
The real challenge with “Hybrid IT” is one of management, i.e. managing the users, the risks, the servers, the services, the network, and applications.
Cisco addresses this challenge not only from a network perspective, but also from an application perspective with CloudCenter (formally CliQr). In fact, Cisco CloudCenter does a lot more than “just” managing the applications. It’s a platform for a lot of application related “stuff” such as DevOps, busting, etc. I’ll cover these in later posts.
They way CloudCenter works is almost as easy as ABC (well ABDC):
A) You describe your applications, the components they consist of using standard JSON and XML
B) You configure the “target” for these applications and components. This would be your data center(s) as well as your cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google, RackSpace, etc.).
C) You configure your endpoints (i.e. servers or VM’s) the above applications and components run on.
D) You configure the combination of the applications, components and services and you deploy them.
All of this is done in a simple, intuitive tool.
Also, if you have a Cisco ACI environment , CloudCenter can pass the baton to ACI when regards to ports, etc. to ACI.