Helping Customers Automate Infrastructure Deployment with Cisco UCS Director

Cisco is having its 25th Live! conference this week in SF – I am fortunate to be part of the team behind our UCS Director integration. Unlike certain flash-only vendor announcing UCS certification as “integration” in a press release, we showcase how we solve real customer challenges jointly with Cisco UCS Director team. This is a teaser post for now and I promise to post a demo video in Nimble Storage youtube channel after the show ends! As always, let’s start with the “why”, follow by “how”:

Why UCS Director:
• Tired of toggling between different UIs for device info/status in your environment? UCS-D provides unified view of your converged infrastructure across compute, network, storage and virtualization layers
• Tired of writing custom scripts through ssh/powershell/API to automate repetitive tasks? UCS-D simplifies complex operations by clicking & dropping tasks to create end-to-end workflows spanning physical compute such as UCS, network such as access layer switch/router/firewall/LB, storage such Nimble Storage and virtualization hypervisor such as ESXi
• Tired of responding to endless cloud consumer requests to get VMs, VLANs, storage, etc? UCS-D enables self service by exporting orchestration workflow as catalog item

Common storage tasks to automate:
From our in-depth discussions with our customers, we discover that the following tasks from storage side could really use automation:
• volume provionsioning
• volume grow
• snapshot
• clone
• obtain ESXi boot volume UUID from Nimble for UCS service profile cloning
• removal of snapshot, clone or even volume

Unified View of SmartStack Converged Infrastructure
Let’s take a look at how Nimble + Cisco SmartStack would look under single pane of glass:

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Why don’t we have anything for the networking layer? That’s the beauty of the SmartStack with Nimble connected directly to the Fabric Interconnects using appliance port mode.  Clicking on each layer will bring up useful info about each element – for example, here’s what one would see with the Nimble arrays in a scale-out cluster:

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Now moving on to the fun stuff that greatly simplify customer’s workflow automation end-to-end. All of the common storage tasks listed above could be automated easily by dragging the corresponding task supplied by Nimble:

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Here’s what a sample workflow looks like for automating volume provisioning:

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Just for kicks, here’s a more advanced workflow that will automate ESXi boot-from-SAN installation in a SmartStack (tasks involved: clone service profile, obtain boot volume UUID from Nimble, update new service profile with iSCSI initiator info, as well as boot volume target iQN) — this automation use case has been asked by a good number of our SmartStack customers, so we are super excited to be solving this for our customers.

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Last but not least, to further simplify cloud resource consumption by end users, any custom workflows could be exported to the service catalog with a few simple steps:

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Afterwards, the end users will see this once logged into UCS Director self service portal:

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That’s it for now on our very first post on UCS Director – there will be more goodies to come.  In summary, this is what we call integration that solves real world customer pain points (listen up, flash-only vendor) – NOT just Cisco UCS certification in a press release claiming “integration”.

2 thoughts on “Helping Customers Automate Infrastructure Deployment with Cisco UCS Director

  1. Hi,

    Is the workflow available as a download from anywhere? Always looking for UCSD workflows that will be useful.

    Thanks

    Joe.

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