There are many roles of service automation in the dynamic data center. “As-a-service” is becoming the norm due to the appeal of per-use pricing and faster time-to-productivity. Service automation is one of the basic building blocks to start delivering “as-a-service” and improve agility and flexibility as well as reduce costs. Automation also plays a vital role in the adoption of cloud-based technologies. By automating capacity, configuration and change management IT is able to increase resources with relatively short notice and without additional staff members. When financial management is included, automation begins to provide a value-based value with chargeback and showback capabilities. It is easier than ever for empowered employees and application developers to circumvent traditional IT procurement and provisioning policies to take advantage of new desktop, mobile as well as cloud-based software and infrastructure IT does not support. The consumerization of IT has been well-documented as workers find they have better technology at home than at the office. As the boundaries between consumer-based and enterprise-ready services continue to blur, service automation allows IT to better serve empowered workers demanding better and faster support from IT along with service levels equivalent to commercial levels. Automation plays a vital for IT to operate as a service broker by providing their employees with a menu of services that they may or may not own.Lastly, automation plays a vital role in providing the flexibility and agility sought after as IT services become a critical part of all business processes supporting marketing, sales and other functions in the enterprise. Automation allows IT to create standard business processes that simplify execution and yield fewer mistakes while allowing IT to respond faster to increased demand from customers across a wide, diverse area. With fewer mistakes, organizations experience lower overall IT costs. Lastly, automation increases productivity to levels not possible with manual methods while freeing up IT staff to focus on competitive innovation.
Why is automation critical for today’s dynamic data centers? This chart shows the IT costs for managing virtual as well as physical servers.. The bottom bar indicates the cost of server spending --- which over the years has decreased as is expected. The purple bar indicates the cost of managing standalone servers. The orange bar shows the cost of managing virtual servers. As can be seen, the orange bar has increased significantly --- translating into increased IT costs for managing their environments. Why? Virtualization has made it virtually “free” to spin up multiple virtual servers on demand. However, the rest of the solution stack remained on the manual provisioning process. And as those virtual servers were spin up quickly, server sprawl was created because legacy management tools did not provide the visibility into this new virtual environment. <click> Just where was IT’s time being spent? In a survey of CIO and IT Directors, IDC indicates that IT spends over 75% of their time configuring, deploying and administering infrastructure resources. This leaves a meager 23% of their time available for competitive innovation needed to better align with the business. IT needed new tools and ways of configuring infrastructure to enable them to become more agile and flexible
In 2011, companies began transitioning from best-of-breed components cobbled together to work as a unit, to converged infrastructure solutions. These new hardware solutions have helped organizations move from silos of compute, networking and storage resources into unified single solutions where the components have been pre-validated and tested to work together across virtualized and non-virtualized resources. Converged infrastructure provide IT with a single platform that is built from unified compute, network and storage technologies that enable IT to scale up to large-scale data centers without architectural changes. While there are multiple studies showing how converged infrastructure reduce IT costs and deliver ROI in as short as nine months, management of these solutions was still an issue. Legacy management tools have been slow to plug converged infrastructures into their complex management frameworks. Converged infrastructures need centralized, simplified management that deliver end-to-end automation. With the converged infrastructure market becoming mainstream, customers have started to look forward to cloud-deployments. Converged infrastructure provide an excellent foundation for clouds to launch into cloud because they provide the unified, elastic pools required to accommodate cloud deployments. While IT was focusing on converged infrastructures from 2010-2012, Gartner estimates that between 2012-2015 78% of all of enterprises will be deploying and focusing on private clouds to complete their automation journey and achieve the benefits of speed, flexibility and agility for their organizations.
Cisco Cloupia delivers centralized automation across physical and virtual resources. The unified service delivery and reporting enables IT to lower total cost of ownership through comprehensive utilization, performance and system dashboards that keep IT in control and knowledgeable. With this type of information, IT can ensure optimal utilization of their converged infrastructure resources and potentially eliminate the need for additional capital purchases – reducing total cost of ownership.
Single pane of management across virtual and physical layers is crucial to reducing the 75% ratio that IT spend on maintaining and management infrastructure resources. Competitors typically only focus on virtual and rely on 3rd party solutions, expensive upgrades or services to manage physical resource layers Ease of installation & use - Cloupia can be installed and ready to use in less than 4 hours. Cloupia installs from a virtual appliance and then a 2 hours “tips and tricks” session is conducted to ensure customers get maximum value from the solution. Additional time may be required in the event there is some customization required by customers that are significantly different than “normal” integrations. Multi-vendor CI support – Cloupia is the only solution on the market today that does not lock customers into one storage standard. It is an open platform with extensibility and exposes storage and administrative in the native format of the vendor. Additionally it presents information in native terminology. For example, NetApp – vfilers, aggregates. Model-based orchestration --- similar to UCS, Cloupia understands the relationship of modules and components as well as physical and logical relationships within the converged infrastructure stack. As any of these relationships change, Cloupia can follow the associated changes in relationships. This capability provides IT with complete visibility of their environment from a single pane of glass. We will discuss this in more detail on the next slide. Task Library provides IT administrators with a comprehensive task library that can be utilized for workflow creation. This is available OOB and without professional services. All tasks can be called through an API which enables integration into 3rd party solutions where the UI is not used but complete Cloupia functionality is required. Licensing – Cloupia is a single product solution. One license enables full functionality. This is a significant benefit over other solutions that require customers to purchase multi-products. Virtual Data Center concept – Cloupia is capable of understanding both physical and virtual resources bound by policies within the converged infrastructure stack. As a result, it is capable of reporting resource consumption and is the foundational building block for multi-tenancy. For IT, this logical data and resource separation provides a finer granularity for resource consumption as well as providing for an easy way to partition and allocate resources efficiency. But for our specific topic, virtual data centers facilitate on-demand physical and virtual provisioning because Cloupia is an integrated solution.
Let’s take a closer look at model-based automation. There are two different types of automation: script-based and model-based. Behind automation are workflows that provide the instructions on how to get up a Vlan or provision a new infrastructure instance. Script-based automation (sometimes called blueprints or static workflows) are just that static. They only know a linear set of actions to take and have no knowledge or objects and their relationships. A script is not capable of making a decision if something is missing or accommodating configuration change. In fact, when a change occurs the scripts needs to be revised or potentially a completely new script needs to be created. Solutions that compete with Cloupia in the marketplace not only cobble together multiple tools but multiple scripts. These solutions have different automation models within them that increase the complexity for IT to manage. As we mentioned in the previous slide, model-based automation is knowledgeable of objects and their relationships within the converged infrastructure. Cloupia establishes this knowledge when it is first installed by completing a discovery process establishing the baseline logical and physical dependencies across all layers. As workflows are being completed, Cloupia is capable of determining what is missing or changed, make the change, configure it and continue with automated provisioning. All without administrator intervention.
One of the first screens available to the administrator is a dashboard of the particular converged infrastructure under examination. This dashboard is capable of being customized by the administrator to only see those specific elements desired.
Cloupia provides the administrators with multiple view of their converged infrastructure. This first view shows the components in their hierarchy providing IT with a visual representation of the relationship between the components as well as their status <click to next slide – slide #13> This second view is the same converged infrastructure in a dashboard to quickly identify capacity and utilization of the components within this particular system < click to next slide – slide #14> Lastly, the administrator can drill down into each of these components, in this example we are viewing a report for a NetApp FAS storage filer. The administration can quickly identify the IP Address, software version and ID, the special features enabled (this example shows Snap Mirror is enabled) and amount of storage being saved through snap mirror capabilities. On the left hand side, the administrator can quickly identify statics and utilization for total storage, used and available for this particular vfiler.
This graphic shows all the steps and individuals they need to work with to provision a new infrastructure instance. This process can take weeks – especially if one administrator is on vacation on traveling on business. But with single-click automated workflows, this process gets reduced down to minutes. Each of the bubble here are color coded, in the event that a problem occurred that needed administrator attention, that particular step would be red and the administrator can address the problem and either roll the workflow back to the beginning or continue on.
How does this all look from the IT ops user perspective. This is an example of Cisco Cloupia’s portal. Launching one of these items, for example, IIS Web Server on Vmware, is as simple as clicking on the icon which launches the workflow automation to start.