When IT departments discuss the top challenges that they face, management is always towards the top of the list. The industry as a whole has a poor track-record of delivering tools that simplify the environment. One of the promises of virtualization and cloud computing is that staff can move beyond managing individual devices (often still with CLI) to higher level orchestration of the environment and perhaps even with some automation built in.
When Cisco first launched its Data Center 3.0 initiative – which eventually morphed into the current Private Cloud effort – it delivered VFrame Data Center from the Topspin acquisition as the management tool to help optimize virtualized environments. Since that time, the requirements for IT organizations have rapidly evolved and to help meet this, the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud platform has been launched.
As can be seen in the slide above from Cisco, this new platform includes:
- A service catalog and self-service portal OEMed from newScale.
- An orchestration engine from Tidal Software, which Cisco recently acquired.
Studies show that only about 15% of U.S. IT organizations have formal chargeback mechanisms, which is a required first step for those that want to create IT-as-a-Service solutions. CIOs are under tremendous pressure to streamline operations. This will require tools like the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that will allow not only chargeback or showback, but also the definition of service profiles and policy that allows for on demand, self-service by business units. What I don’t see in the Cisco materials is the ability to support not only private cloud (the documentation mentions VMware, Xen, Hyper-V, EMC and NetApp), but also public cloud such as Amazon or Rackspace. newScale technology has the capability to integrate both public and private cloud solutions into a single hybrid cloud service catalog.
Action Item: CIOs should be looking to management tools to provide visibility into costs and utilization. Offerings like the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud should be considered for companies that have adopted virtualization technologies to allow internal IT to have some of the same characteristics as an external service provider.