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Cisco’s Private Cloud: Pain And Profit

Cisco is not a cloud service provider, but it has an expanding suite of products under the label “Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1.” With it, Cisco is building out a private cloud across seven major data centers in hopes that its experience will serve as a model for customers to build out their own private clouds.

Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 derives both from Cisco’s own data center experience and from acquisitions such as Tidal Software in 2009 with its IT automation products, and newScale in 2011 with its service catalogue, self-service portal and process orchestrator.

When it started its data center conversions in 2009, Cisco moved decisively into virtualization and found that server consolidation leads to many other changes. IT operations managers wrote scripts that automated steps in the virtual server creation process. Some integrated Cisco software with open source code. Others generated scripts for provisioning a simple database server.

Cisco started with simple virtualization of our data center, [but as server consolidation took hold] we had a lot of tribal knowledge associated with all those different pieces,” recalled Mike Myers, director of technical services for data centers and platform services (an unprepossessing title for someone who has been commissioned to convert bare metal servers and “tribal knowledge” into a company-wide second-generation private cloud).

Network Computing

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