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Inside Cisco's private cloud

John Dix | March 6, 2014
The company has virtualised all servers supporting internal IT and is now getting ready to deploy SDN.

But that number will always fluctuate as the company gains resources through acquisitions, Manville says. "Although we actively consolidate even the engineering data centers, we can't always do that because of latency considerations, the tools they're using, etc." 

On the production side of the house Cisco today has two data centers in the Dallas area, one in Amsterdam and one in Singapore. And it has still others that support both development and production work in Raleigh, N.C., San Jose, Mountain View, St. Leonards Australia and Bangalore.

All of the company's production and backup environments are on UCS today, Manville says, and all of the virtual machines that support the business are being managed in the company's private cloud. Besides the flexibility achieved, the shift has reduced costs dramatically, he says.

With CITEIS, Cribari says Cisco set out to keep virtual machine subscription models simple: Internal IT customers coming in through a Web portal can either use CITEIS Express to acquire virtual machines provisioned for 30 day lease, or sign up for Virtual Data Centers (VDCs) that require a quarterly commitment. VDCs come in Medium (75 VMs), Large (120 VMS), and Jumbo (360 VMS).

"We built an easy to use Web portal based on an electronic service catalog of IT offerings" that lets users easily build sophisticated environments in short order, Cribari says. "Let's say you want a virtual data center with 100 VMs. You go in and select how much storage you want and in what increments you want to grow that storage, and then you select other things like, what kind of network do you need? Do you need a DMZ or an Internet facing network, or do you just want an internal production network." Users can then layer on Platform as a Service (PaaS) options, such as an Oracle database schema or an Apache server. 

Cribari says Cisco can provision a standard CITEIS Express VM which authorized users can do without approval — in less than 15 minutes (in a demonstration a VM showed up in four minutes). 

"If I click to provision one VM it pulls up my details based on my login and it shows my department ID and where it's going to be built, and then I can select VMware ESX or Open Stack KVM," Cribari says. "So I pick one and the service catalog goes back to orchestrate our inclusions, and soon I'll get an email saying Your VM is provisioned. It's ready to use. Here is your VM name and your IP.' And once you click that, you're up and running."

"Pre cloud, we would have to architect the server, then design it and find data center space, and then go through procurement, installation, configuration, and then secure it and deploy it," he says. "That process lasted anywhere from six to eight weeks. Now with CITEIS we're provisioning virtual machines in minutes, because you build them before they come. You're building the infrastructure, you're setting the policy standard, and then you're provisioning applications into the environment you constructed."


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