Cisco: Flexible Hybrid Cloud Networking with Infrastructure as Code and Cisco Nexus Dashboard


Applications become the most visible aspect of an organization’s brand. The performance, usability and accessibility of branded apps are of the utmost importance as they are a primary interface for customers. To keep up with changing customer expectations, developers and operations teams are rapidly adopting design patterns that use containers and microservices for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI / CD). In order to enable these innovations to offer a competitive customer experience, IT is increasingly relying on a hybrid cloud model.

The enterprise cloud network, including the WAN, keeps application components securely connected and operating in a predictable and efficient manner. In this sense, the network is an integral part of the design of modern applications and plays a vital role in maintaining the KPIs that protect the brand, as customers depend on the applications to accomplish their daily tasks, including essential services where the availability is crucial. Being able to securely automate workflows and gain deep visibility into the cloud network, compute infrastructure, and applications has always been a critical need for IT organizations, and more so in the new hybrid world.

But hybrid cloud is getting tough

Deploying applications in the cloud is relatively straightforward for new cloud native applications. According to IDC research, to gain business agility, companies commit to modernizing more than half of their existing applications by 2022, leveraging cloud native application architectures as a means to achieve their goals. * This is an important part of existing application deployments. For many organizations, refactoring these applications to a cloud-native foundation will include integration with existing data center services and data repositories, while leveraging built-in security policies to protect payments and information. personal. This accelerates the rise of hybrid applications.

The transition to hybrid cloud introduces new challenges, such as the many individual services on a smartwatch pulling data from a plethora of sources, but hyper-evolved to serve millions of customers. Services established in an on-premises data center should be easily accessible to cloud application containers, such as when a cloud native shopping cart needs to access payment information on the PCI island in the private data center . The entire communication path needs protection with guaranteed service levels.

Hybrid cloud requires a centralized cloud networking platform Designed to support multiple operator personas – NetOps, DevOps, and CloudOps – to manage an ever-changing constellation of services, data sources, and connections. Historically, provisioning a new application required a handshake between DevOps and NetOps, with NetOps setting up the network before DevOps could deploy the application. This was a manual, error-prone process involving static dependencies, thus reducing the speed of change. Fortunately, the growing adoption of infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools helps automate and simplify the management of the complex interactions between data centers, hybrid clouds, networks, and compute infrastructure.

Infrastructure as Code is the operational link between DevOps and NetOps

IaC automation capabilities are essential for DevOps teams to automate the provisioning of cloud infrastructure. DevOps teams can leverage a cohesive automation model for infrastructure and workloads at the edge, co-locations, data centers, and public clouds. Depending on the desired outcome, IT teams can leverage IaC tools such as HashiCorp Terraform and Red Hat Ansible, by interacting with the Cisco Nexus dashboard to manage cloud networking services, or through Cisco Intersight to manage resources. calculation.

NetOps can now expose the consumer infrastructure services of DevOps and CloudOps teams through the Cisco Nexus dashboard. Using HashiCorp Consul Terraform Sync with Nexus Dashboard, DevOps can directly drive the infrastructure changes needed to deploy and manage applications while allowing NetOps to monitor progress in real time, across the global infrastructure. . This is made possible by the automation capabilities of Cisco Nexus Dashboard enabling rapid deployment of services, CI / CD pipelines and seamless collaboration between DevOps, CloudOps and NetOps.

Take, for example, a development team working with the owner of the Nexus dashboard to bundle connectivity permissions for a hybrid cloud app into an IaC plan / playbook. NetOps can use Nexus Dashboard to define secure connections necessary for the application to work between clouds and on-premises services, and only those services. This frees DevOps from setting and tracking the network permissions needed by the app. DevOps can make functional changes to a plan / playbook using existing infrastructure and connectivity requirements or NetOps can add new resource connections as needed for updates.

Learn the IaC pathways for network operations

NetOps teams, one of the main operators of Nexus Dashboard, have the opportunity not only to provide valuable assistance to DevOps to keep applications up to date and run efficiently, but also to advance their professional careers. Learning the principles of IaC using Terraform or Ansible is a core skill set that will become even more valuable as organizations continue to migrate to hybrid application architectures and operations. hybrid cloud. To support this learning journey, Cisco Development Network offers courses, learning labs, videos, and sandboxes to experience IaC and Nexus Dashboard services such as Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator. These training opportunities enable a more productive partnership between NetOps and DevOps teams, improving the deployment and maintenance of mission-critical applications.

Collaboration with Cisco Nexus Dashboard and Cisco Intersight

Today, IT teams who base workflows on Cisco Intersight can seamlessly leverage the Cisco Intersight service for HashiCorp Terraform. Likewise, network operations teams using Nexus Dashboard as their cloud networking platform will be able to take advantage of Cisco Nexus Dashboard support for HashiCorp Terraform cloud agents. Cisco gives IT teams the ability to integrate IaC models, regardless of the infrastructure management platform or toolchains they use to ensure the desired results. With both approaches, Cisco Solution Support provides a single point of contact to support the integration of Nexus Dashboard and Intersight with Terraform Cloud for Business.

For more information and demonstrations on dual use of IaC through Cisco Nexus Dashboard and Intersight, see the various resources below.


Using Infrastructure as Code to Deploy F5 Application Delivery and Cisco ACI Service Chaining

Enabling Business Transformation with Cloud Native Networking

Video: Cisco Nexus Dashboard Simplifies Application Management with HashiCorp Terraform

Cisco Live Session: Accelerate Data Center Infrastructure Provisioning Using Infrastructure as Code

Getting started with infrastructure as code

Cisco Nexus Dashboard

Automation of compliance-driven network infrastructure with Consul-Terraform-Sync

Read more blogs from Thomas Scheibe

* Global Service Mesh Forecast, 2021-2025, IDC Research, August 11, 2021, # US48108721

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