Cisco also wants to cloud

    Hello! I want to continue the topic of clouds and today we’ll talk about a product from Cisco. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC) - software that can automate an existing data center or help build your private or public cloud. I want to note that there is not so much hype around this software as around platforms like Openstack or Eucalyptus. The software is powerful enough and allows you to solve almost any problem. Anyone interested in welcome under cat.


    CIAC consists of two components: CPO and CCP. None of these products were made by Cisco itself. To automate the processes of Cisco in 2009, Tidal Software Inc. buys for $ 105 million, along with the company receives the product Tidal Enterprise Scheduler. It was assumed that based on this product, Cisco will automate and virtualize data centers built on the basis of the Cisco Unified Computing System. As time shows, so it happened. For a full-fledged cloud, Cisco was missing one more thing - self-service portal. In 2011, Cisco buys newScale and receives a service catalog and self-service portal. After these purchases, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud appears - a bare, useless product. As soon as you begin to work with him at least a little, you will notice that you are working with different products that are trying to connect together. In some places, Cisco has not even changed the original names. In general, there is an opinion that Cisco does not want the cloud, a lot of time is spent, and resources are functional for deploying operating systems on UCS. They want to sell hardware and offer software for this hardware. The question is who needs this? Now everyone is moving towards virtualization.


    As I said earlier, CIAC consists of two components:
    • Cisco Cloud Portal (CCP) - It provides users with a self-service portal through which they can access cloud resources.
    • Cisco Process Orchestrator (CPO) is a cloud backend that automates tasks.

    On the diagram, a gray frame is circled around everything that CIAC can do. At the moment, VMware vCenter can be considered the main virtualization platform. CPO has a connector to connect vCenter and automate the creation and management of a virtual machine. Like many CIAC platforms, this is just a cloud building framework. It also supports Cisco Server Provisioner (CSP) and UCSM for bare metal provisioning.

    Cisco Cloud Portal

    A portal through which a user accesses our cloud. This product uses Java and if you want to install it, you will need:
    • Linux, Windows
    • Java
    • JBoss, WebSphere, WebLogic
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Oracle 11g

    I have listed everything the portal can work with, you need to select one of each item. Typically, a standard installation occurs on JBoss and Microsoft SQL. The installation process is fast enough, but integration with CPO and further configuration without experience can take a lot of time.

    The portal supports LDAP authentication. There are many powerful tools that allow you to customize and add new services without writing code, but all this is so complicated and crooked that you often think of writing your portal from scratch.

    The window for creating a new virtual machine is standard for almost all cloud platforms. A little lower you can still specify the username and password of the administrator. The entire portal works through queries. For example, the creation of a new virtual machine is a request that will later be sent to CPO. Moreover, you can view the status of these requests or, for example, enable the functionality of request requests. In theory, for end users this functionality with requests should be closed.

    Window to view request status. In this case, removing the virtual machine that completed successfully.

    After creating a virtual machine, a user can start working with it and perform standard tasks.

    Cisco Process Orchestrator

    Using this software, you can create workflows to automate processes in the cloud. Installation Requirements:
    • Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008
    • .NET Framework 4
    • Java
    • Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 11g

    CPO is really powerful software that allows you to automate many things. Here is a list of adapters that are:
    • IBM DB2
    • Jmx integration
    • Networking
    • OLAP database
    • Oracle Database
    • SNMP integration
    • Terminal (SSH and Telnet)
    • BMC Remedy
    • Cisco UCS Manager
    • Cloud integration
    • Cisco Server Provisioner
    • Cisco Cloud Portal
    • Email integration
    • Generic database integration
    • VMware vCenter
    • VMware ESX and ESXi
    • Web service integration
    • Microsoft Active Directory
    • Microsoft SCOM 2007
    • Microsoft SQL Server
    • Microsoft Windows

    There is also a beta version of adapters for integration with:
    • vCloud Director
    • Openstack
    • Amazon ec2

    Building new processes is like programming. You drag the activity and step by step build your process to automate a task.

    In the future, you get something like this:

    All of these new processes can be connected to the portal. The user only has to send the necessary data using the portal to complete the process. The administrator can monitor how processes are performed.

    Each process can be deployed and watch how it is performed in steps.


    Interesting enough software from a large company. Moreover, Cisco does not conduct active sales, they try to sell it through their partners or offer large customers. Software is not free. And, for example, I don’t understand how you can pay money and get bare software, which still needs to be finished for a long time, but large companies have their own rules of the game. Budgets allocated - let's cut money. Monstroid and too sophisticated, in my opinion, the portal complicates its customization. As for CPO, the product deserves attention. Question: Does anyone need it for money? I think that when researching the market, not many will dwell on this option, but if you buy a bunch of hardware from Cisco and you are offered to build a cloud, then it is quite possible you will agree. Still, vendor lock-in and partnerships work.

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