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Cisco puts enterprises under Insieme control

Cisco puts enterprises under Insieme control

Cisco this week is unveiling an enterprise version of its Insieme controller that's intended to allow IT to extend policy-based automation and configuration to WAN and access networks.

The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), which debuted with the Nexus 9000 switching line and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric strategy of Cisco spin-in Insieme Networks, is targeted initially at data center and cloud operator networks looking to automate operations as virtualization spreads workloads and associated traffic beyond the boundaries of a single data center. The APIC Enterprise Module introduced this week takes that automation and simplified operation to enterprise WAN and access networks to handle mundane, repetitive and complex tasks associated with network configuration and resource allocation.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 10 things we learned - or didn't -- from Cisco's Insieme launch +

The module is available as either a hardware appliance or software-based virtual appliance. With it, IT can view its entire wired and wireless networks as a single entity instead of individual network elements, which Cisco says results in reduced complexity and time to application rollout, and more efficient network management.

Policies, once defined, can be pushed out to each network element instead of requiring IT to configure each individual element manually. These policies are also adaptable to network changes, Cisco says.

The APIC Enterprise Module supports a variety of new and legacy APIs and protocols such as OpenFlow, Cisco onePK and command-line interfaces to support new programmable Cisco devices as well as legacy infrastructure.

The module includes a network information database, policy engine and automation manager. It also integrates with and automates Cisco's Sourcefire security products to provide rapid, network wide threat detection, Cisco says.

The APIC Enterprise Module also provides network-wide QoS, and can be used with third-party applications to provide an end-to-end WAN orchestration and management, Cisco says. The module includes a northbound API developer's kit so the controller can be linked to higher-level orchestration systems like OpenStack through a RESTful API.

The APIC Enterprise Module is in early field trials now and will be available in the second quarter, which is the timeframe for Cisco to roll out APIC for data centers. Pricing was still to be determined though Cisco did say APIC Enterprise Module software would be free for existing SMARTNet customers. The hardware appliance will not be.

Cisco this week also extended its cloud software offerings with, among other things, a product designed to enable organizations to combine and move workloads across different clouds.

Cisco InterCloud allows enterprises to move workloads among private, public and hybrid cloud environments through a single interface. It's designed to enable users to move compute, storage and application resources among different public and private cloud networks depending on the needs of that workload.

InterCloud works with Cisco cloud provider customers such as BT, Telstra, Savvis and Virtustream, and public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Rackspace may also adopt InterCloud through Cisco's InterCloud Provider Enablement Program.

Cisco partners supporting InterCloud include EMC, Citrix, CSC-Service Mesh, Denali Advanced Integration, NetApp, RedHat, RiverMeadow, VCE, and Zerto. An initial customer for Cisco InterCloud Business Edition is software giant SAP.

Also this week, Cisco said it is working with Red Hat to extend OpenStack and enable interoperable cloud environments. These include Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform as a Service offerings designed to allow customers to manage both legacy DevOps environments and web-scale cloud environments.

Lastly, Cisco unveiled a new release of its Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) management software to improve ordering and provisioning of IT services. IAC 4.0 includes an enhanced service catalog for ordering from a self-service portal.

IAC 4.0 also includes integration with Cisco's UCS Director and Prime Network Services Controller management suites to provision physical and virtual infrastructure, and automating virtual network services. And multi-cloud management capabilities allow customers to orchestrate multiple cloud environments, including Amazon EC2 and OpenStack, Cisco says.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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