UPDATED 15:12 EDT / JANUARY 30 2019

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From Cisco Live: Agile programmability builds and governs multicloud applications

In a multicloud world, applications live everywhere. For cloud-native application developers, that means the data and business logic that drives them, such as virtual machines, containers and serverless functions, are increasingly spread across many public, private, edge and other environments.

Data centers are beginning to permeate the cloud fabric all the way out to the edge. As Fabio Gori, Cisco Systems Inc.’s senior director of cloud solution marketing, told us in a CUBEConversation last week:

“Let’s think applications. Applications want to go and it’s convenient to go into multiple domains, depending on what you want to do. You want access to cloud innovation from wherever it comes from. So that’s why we have a multicloud world. The data center is still there, it’s critically important, you have a lot of applications, databases that are still there. And now we’re seeing the big new, shiny object which is more and more, ROBO [remote office, branch office] applications. Where for instance IDC believes that 30 percent of applications are going to be deployed into these kind of environments. So your problem is now connecting all of these together, And because the applications are going anywhere, our data center strategy is that the data center needs to follow the applications and support them wherever they go. So it’s a ‘data center anywhere’ kind of strategy.”

Development tools must keep pace so that cloud-native applications can be quickly and efficiently programmed by coders, data scientists and others who may themselves be distributed across the planet and in many organizations. This edge-facing new multicloud architecture requires programmability both at the application and infrastructure levels. As Gori stated,

“Fundamentally if you remember where we’re coming from, we are coming from an era where we’ve been seeing infrastructure kind of dictating application requirements, though the other way around as well. But when you had an application, you will buy specific hardware, networking and everything else including firewalls for a specific infrastructure. So that era actually is not going away, it’s there because it’s built on an immense amount of legacy that you cannot all of a suddenly throw away. However the new world is a world where you see applications fundamentally going pretty much across multiple type of domains, not just a center domain anymore. But here comes the cloud, we have a lot of applications that are going to the edge. If you have a branch office, you may want to take your application over there. Because it’s simpler, it’s sometimes just more economic. You don’t need to move all the data, and still you can have those applications collaborating with your data center, with your cloud.”

At its Cisco Live event this week in Barcelona, Cisco is showing how to take multicloud programmability all the way to the edge, while at the same time providing solutions to continually automate how these distributed capabilities are provisioned, optimized and managed. For developers trying to program distributed applications in the multicloud, this week’s most noteworthy announcements are:

For developers who plan to create cloud-native applications on Cisco technology, whatever their acquisition channel and licensing approach, DevNet Exchange is a powerful new productivity accelerator. It includes two core programs for developers to find, share and reuse artifacts for programming cloud services:

  • Code Exchange: This is an online, curated set of code repositories that help developer to build applications using Cisco platforms and solutions. It accelerates discovery of hundreds of repositories containing code created and maintained by Cisco engineering teams, ecosystem partners, technology and open source communities and individual developers. It enables fast search for code by technology and programming language. It sorts search results by those most recommended by DevNet Developer Advocates, or by the date the repo was last updated, to be presented with the best and freshest projects. Anyone can use this code to jumpstart their application development with Cisco and partner platforms, products, APIs and SDKs. In addition, the repository is populated with sample code and applications created by Cisco product teams to provide guidance in using product APIs and build on top of Cisco platforms and solutions. Every repository in Code Exchange has been reviewed by DevNet Developer Advocates for quality, accuracy and ease of use. When reviewing submissions to Code Exchange, Cisco checks closely for a comprehensive readme file and a clear license.
  • Ecosystem Exchange: This provides a centralized location for Cisco developers, ISVs and customers to discover and market solutions that deliver digital business outcomes in the cloud. Its catalog includes more than 1,500 business solutions, including many with a line-of-business and industry-specific focus, that were created within the Cisco ecosystem and incorporate technologies from throughout the company’s diversified portfolio.

As we ponder the developer impact of these and other Cisco announcements from Barcelona, which I covered extensively in this SiliconANGLE post, it’s useful to consider several points that Gori discussed in the interviews last week:

  • Programming distributed applications across the multicloud: “Our data center portfolio is centered around two big components, the first one is networking, particularly Applications Centric Infrastructure. Based on the Nexus 9000 architecture and the second one is our computing portfolio, particularly the hyperconverged infrastructure Cisco HyperFlex. That’s of course an extremely efficient way of condensing what you need to make it very flexible in your application implementation…. And the third is CloudCenter. So with ACI, when it comes to those multicloud domain. ACI was already virtualized in the previous release. [It] is fundamentally Cisco Intent-Based Networking for the data center. It gives you programmability of the infrastructure, it gives you segmentation, it gives you security and a high degree of automation.”
  • Controlling the lifecycle cost of distributed multicloud applications: “What is new in CloudCenter Suite is first of all is the Cost Optimizer [which] helps Operations teams to rightsize workloads, to pickup the best instances in the cloud that you’re using, to minimize your investment or reach your goal or performance in costs. [Secondly], we are adding a very smart Action Orchestrator, which is a workflow manager that helps automate connection of your cloud management system to all the other systems. [And] we can give you different tiers of licenses, so you can start very small, as small as around $50,000 for subscription service and you can buy the subscription on-prem, or you can buy in it software as a service.”
  • Administering policy across multiple application domains in the multicloud: “Cisco enables policy administration that’s “end to end and across multiple domains. [With] end to end… you need to cross different domains that are exceptionally different from each other. And so having consistent policies and single security model, having one means of networking and securing all of this in a containerized world, which is where we’re progressively going, that’s everything and it’s not me saying it but if you look at the CNCF [Cloud Native Computing Foundation], they’ll tell you that securing networking containers is one of the toughest things to do.”
  • Delivering intent-based application management across the multicloud: “Applications have business intent. Let’s make an example. You take a healthcare application. You want in a hospital, you want the doctors to be able to access the full extent of the data over customer record for instance, you may not want the nurses doing the same thing or you don’t want the nurses and the doctors to get access to the financial system of that hospital. So this is actually a business intent that that give an application we’ll have to respect. The infrastructure can and has to cope with the standard requirements by delivering the appropriate kind of segmentation. So you’ll be able to ensure the way the application wants to do the infrastructure delivers.”
  • Extending automated cloud application management to the edge: “In the previous development releases of ACI what we’ve been doing was to aggressively virtualize ACI, so that you will have constructs like virtual posts and virtual leaves to for instance scale your data center implementation to the edge. Now where we’re going with this new announcement is exactly on the other side, which is we’re sending ACI to the cloud to Azure and AWS. So that the constructs that you have typically on-prem under your control, such as Tenants, EPGs and things of this nature will be translated to the equivalent construct in AWS, whether it’s VPCs or security groups and the likes, the two things end up fundamentally corresponding. So that now we have one construct that extends from the edge to the data center to the cloud. It means a high-degree of automations, security and control on the resources. So that you can impose one policy, it propagates all across the board. One way of monitoring the data center flows. And discovering, for instance, if you have any kind of security threat.”
  • Securing distributed applications throughout the multicloud: “People are looking simplicity. So what you have to have is fundamentally an infrastructure that becomes automated, programmable that takes the business intent or the application intent as an input. And actually where a closed-loop system fundamentally monitors and gives you the assurance, the implementation, the assurance that actually what you want to do gets delivered by the infrastructure. And this has to be literally an holistic and cross-domain kind of architecture. You’re going out of the data center, you’re going out to the edge, you’re now going to the cloud. This should be seen as a cohesive, almost fluid environment where you can actually push your policy, your security models. And transform in this highly fragmented architecture into a set of domains or a multidomain architecture that you can control, that you can automate as if it was all yours so to speak, even though in the cloud for instance you’re going into a domain that you don’t control end to end.”

SiliconANGLE is at Cisco Live, currently underway in Barcelona, with exclusive commentary and interviews from the livestreaming studio theCUBE. Coverage began at 10:30 a.m. CEST Tuesday, Jan. 29, and will end at 4:30 p.m. CEST Thursday, Jan. 31. (* Disclosure below.)

How to watch theCUBE interviews

SiliconANGLE offers various ways to watch all of theCUBE interviews that will be taking place at Cisco Live in Barcelona, including theCUBE’s dedicated website and YouTube. You can also get all the coverage from this year’s event on SiliconANGLE.

TheCUBE’s dedicated website and Ustream

All of theCUBE’s exclusive interviews from Cisco Live will be available on theCUBE’s dedicated website.

You can also watch all the interviews on the dedicated Ustream channel.

Watch on the SiliconANGLE YouTube channel

All of theCUBE interviews from Cisco Live, which runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, will also be loaded onto SiliconANGLE’s dedicated YouTube channel.

Cubecasts

SiliconANGLE also has podcasts available of archived interview sessions, available on both SoundCloud and iTunes.

Guests on theCUBE

Guests who will be interviewed on theCUBE include Cisco Live speakers Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager, Meraki, Cisco; Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of IoT, Cisco; Susie Wee, senior vice president and chief technology officer, DevNet, Cisco; Roland Acra, senior vice president and general manager of data center, Cisco; and Sachin Gupta, senior vice president of enterprise networking, Cisco.

Other guests include Guillermo Diaz, chief information officer and senior vice president, Cisco; Prakash Rajamani, director product management, Cisco; Gordon Thomson, vice president, global enterprise networking, Cisco; Bret Hartman, chief technology officer, Cisco Security Group; and Lynn Lucas, chief marketing officer, Cohesity.

TheCUBE’s lineup also includes Dave Cope, senior director, market development, Cisco Cloud Platform & Solutions Group; Wendy Mars, president, Cisco EMEAR; Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Meraki; and Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of IoT, Cisco.

To check out the complete lineup of guests appearing on theCUBE during Cisco Live in Barcelona, visit theCUBE’s event page.

Livestream of Cisco Live

If you’re not attending the Cisco Live event in Barcelona, you can watch the event livestream here(* Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored and will be identified. Sponsors have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: Cisco/Twitter

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