Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Navigating Multicloud: Key Uses for Cisco CloudCenter

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Using multicloud computing presents companies with vexing challenges. First among them: with each major cloud provider offering a different set of toolsets and user interfaces and protocols, how can a customer manage them as a single cohesive deployment?

Adding to the difficulty, none of the major cloud vendors can afford to sit still – each is constantly updating their offering, making management of these various platform a constant learning chore.

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The Cisco CloudCenter, a multicloud management solution, offers to ease the management headaches of today’s multicloud world.

In this webinar, we will discuss:

  • How are today’s customers using the cloud? What can we learn from today’s common use cases?
  • What are the keys issues in navigating the multicloud environment?
  • What’s CloudCenter’s approach to multicloud management? How does it assist with the issues like governance, cost monitoring, workload management, migration and other cloud tasks?
  • Whats the future of cloud for Cisco, the overall cloud sector, and beyond? 

To provide insight into multicloud technology, I spoke with two leading experts:

Matt Ferguson, Director of Product Development – Cloud Computing, Cisco

Konstantinos Roungeris, Product Marketing Manager – Cloud Computing, Cisco

Moderator: James Maguire, Managing Editor, Datamation

 Download the podcast:


A selection of key points from the full-length interview:

Multicloud Today 


Well, I’ll tell you, the landscape has really changed, and I think complexity is number one. If you think about the tools, in order to enable an IT organization for their own internal IT infrastructure, that’s one area that I think they’ve….established real expertise on. But when you start branching out, you have to learn the tools, you have to understand the capabilities of the other clouds that you might be starting to leverage for a number of reasons. And I think that that is just a tremendous ask, let alone, you have other factors, costs, you have other complexities as far as assurance of the service, the security of the service. So that landscape grows the overall complexity paradigm.


I feel that it’s important to make some clarifications when it comes to using those terms as well, and we see that every day. Now there’s this constant dialogue about multi-cloud versus cloud or multi-cloud versus hybrid cloud, etc. If you take a step back and you look at what has been happening in the industry, is that for the last 10 years at least, there’s this big expansion. There’s customers in IT organizations, so they’re IT organizations that are moving away from on-premises services. And that is happening in two different ways. One is consuming directly SaaS, like we’re having a conversation right now, but I was able to pseudo-install a software using my browser in three seconds and now I’m here talking to you. So half of the tools that we use as Cisco employees are basically delivered from the cloud from different organizations.

So there’s two different motions, that this SaaS-ification of everything and companies that, customers that are using SaaS a lot. And of course, there’s need to be able to leverage all this innovation that is coming from the big public cloud providers. AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM, etc. I think the conversation around multi-cloud is, in most of the cases, and I know we’re here to talk about CloudCenter and the plans that Matt has in his team in terms of the product portfolio for Cisco. So it’s mostly around that, but there’s also a big element around security, a big element around networking.

Cisco CloudCenter


So let me step back a little bit because CloudCenter’s been a product within Cisco for over five plus years, so this isn’t a product that is brand new and we’re entering the market. We’ve evolved, we’ve grown this product for over a number of years. And we did have a heritage of CloudCenter working with private clouds as well, and I think that’s an area that I think we would also acknowledge that a lot of IT organizations have stood up a private cloud and they are looking to operationalize that private cloud just as the same experience that you would get from an AWS or an Azure or a Google Cloud.


There’s a big, big conversation around what is a private cloud and what’s not a private cloud. And I think where the industry is going, and one of the things that we do is talk to analysts and follow their definition and terminology. We’re moving away from this need to equate the environments and call… An on-premises environment is certainly a private cloud. And that happened with OpenStack previously like five years ago, etcetera. That’s where CloudCenter comes in, by the way, because it does offer that agility and that IT as a Service posture that the organization might want.

Growing Multicloud Complexity and CloudCenter


So the explosion of applications are just going to continue to grow. On top of that, of those are gonna be 47% thereabouts are gonna be microservices, services on top of that. And each microservice will have roughly around 20 dependencies. So now you start seeing the landscape of what IT organizations need to manage when we talk about consistent policy or consistent assurance and experience of that application. So if you talk about the landscape maybe just five years ago, I think it was very different. Five years ago, I think we had fairly understood processes. IT organization had, I think, a number of tools in their kit that they could leverage.

And so, for CloudCenter, which has a history…and is going through this transition; we have to acknowledge the toolsets that are emerging. And so, does an IT organization, are they looking to manage these cloud management tools themselves, adding an additional layer of complexity? So, now not only am I managing the service, I’m managing the tool on top of that. And the tool landscape is growing tremendously as well. So, that’s skillset, that’s resources, that’s cost, just to manage the tool landscape, let alone the actual service.

CloudCenter Suite: SaaS Service


CloudCenter evolved into CloudCenter Suite. It evolved into a SaaS service. And that’s the important component that Matt’s team are evolving effectively. And he’ll talk about it a bit more about that. But the three components and the three capabilities, and that’s a keyword for us in the way that we’re positioning the whole cloud portfolio. We are around modeling applications, so you were able to…CloudCenter is able to see targets in different environments, including on-premises as well as different public clouds.

Future of CloudCenter – Intersight


So first and foremost, let’s acknowledge the transition of what is occurring in the landscape of Cloud. So we have virtual machines that are something to manage, whether… Regardless of what Cloud you’re on. You have containers that are emerging as the new paradigm of abstraction that is occurring. And then on top of it, the last… Not the last one, but the third one would be serverless. So now, you have a number of different segments of what you have to control and maintain when it comes to Cloud. So that means where we’re going is, again, back to these different modes which you deploy your workloads, whether it’s on a virtual machine or a container, or even a serverless function, requires a different level or a different best-of-breed tool-set in order to deliver that. Now, there’s a couple that are emerging. So it’s not like the landscape is growing and bound to the point where any tool-set will do.

So the emergence of enterprise-ready or tool-sets that really are being adopted by either the developer community or the infrastructure’s code, what I call the Cloud architect, is the ones that are… You’re gonna start seeing Cisco embrace. And that really becomes the future of not only where we’re going with CloudCenter, but what we started incorporating into other SaaS platforms that are very important to Cisco.

We’ve been developing Intersight for the past three years, and it’s been there for a while. But really now, it’s the capabilities we’re gonna be adding to Intersight. And really Intersight started, it’s very beginning, genesis, was really about managing the very first layer of what Cloud is, which is compute. A lot of folks… When you talk Cloud the assumptions is, “I can abstract the compute layer.” Well, compute is at the heart of everything. You still need this infrastructure. Let alone… You also need the storage that goes with that.

You need the networking that goes with that. So what Intersight started with was having the ability to manage that physical layer. So now we start building on top of that layer. So now we’ve started the abstractions, the virtual machine capabilities. And so how do we manage the hypervisors? And then on top of it, the containers? And then how do we manage the containers? And we’re working with Kubernetes in order to orchestrate those containers. And then when you start having those pieces, you can build things like serverless. Now that’s just now that that layer… Now what’s the tools to monitor? What’s the tools to orchestrate? What’s the tools to manage those Cloud environments? So you can start seeing this layering approach that we’re doing to Intersight, and this really is the future and this is where Cisco is going.


People don’t want to manage, to have to build stacks that they have to host and maintain and then upgrade them and manage them. So the whole idea of cloud management, I think is going away towards, I wanna be able to access a source, a platform a source of modular capabilities, so I can perform specific cloud and you can use a different name there, but cloud operations like what are… Matt just described… I described three kind of unique capabilities to kind of answer your question. The CloudCenter, it was one of the… I think, the first software that enabled that build model ones, build ones deploy anywhere you want with just a few clicks. That was the secret sauce.

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