All September, SDNCentral is publishing a series on Cisco ACI‘s ecosystem. Don’t miss the first, second, and third articles, and check back weekly for more on Cisco ACI. Also be sure to check out SDNCentral’s Cisco Data Center Channel for the latest on Cisco ACI, OpFlex, and a whole lot more.
Server virtualization has reduced data center costs by making compute resources more flexible and easy to manage, but automating the server alone isn’t enough to reap the full benefits of virtualization and the cloud. After all, what’s the point of spinning up 100 virtual machines in five minutes if you have to wait two weeks for a network connection?
In the video below, Puppet CEO Luke Kanies talks with Harry Petty, director of data center and cloud marketing at Cisco, about how automation needs to be a part of the entire network and application lifecycle for businesses to achieve true agility and efficiency.
Today’s data center is a mix of physical and virtual compute, networking, and storage resources, making a server-centric view of the data center incomplete, Kanies says. Such server-centric, imperative systems keep IT in a point of control, rather than having IT serve the organization overall. On the other hand, the declarative, state-based systems supported by Puppet and Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) better “align the goals of IT with the goals of the business.”
Used extensively in the DevOps world, Puppet integration helps automate configuration and management of machines and the software running on them. Cisco ACI uses an application-aware network policy model to simplify and accelerate application deployment. The two come together in Cisco’s Nexus 9000 family of switches, the foundation for ACI, which come with an embedded Puppet software agent.
The Puppet integration extends automation to network devices, making it possible to automate repetitive and manual network provisioning, configuration, and management tasks. Network constructs like VLANs, ports, network routes, quality of service (QoS) parameters, and access control can now be easily automated, and operations like firmware and configuration management, as well as compliance auditing, become much simpler.
Watch the video and see Kanies and Petty discuss the benefits of this integration for both application development and compliance in regulated environments. “The more you can use software and use APIs to pull the rest of your infrastructure into one common abstraction layer, the faster you can move and the more powerful your systems are,” Kanies says. “Fundamentally, the more powerful your technology will be in general.”