B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 month ago

Unpacking the Cisco Intersight platform

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The next level of Cisco platforms is here and more flexible than ever. Dedicated Cisco engineers built the Intersight platform with careful attention and user feedback as their guide—Intersight scales from a small dashboard to enterprise-level capabilities. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Carol Wright, senior technology consultant, John McNelly, technology consultant II, both of Ingram Micro and Dave Nentarz, systems architect at Cisco, about: 

- Defining Cisco Intersight 

- Qualifications for running Intersight

- Future features within the Intersight platform 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next dot ingram micro dot com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. I'm your host, Shelby skat Hawk, and our guest today are Carol Wright, senior technology consultant at Ingram Micro, John McNelly, senior consultant too for Ingram Micro, and Dave Nantard's systems architect for Cisco. Carol, Dave, and John welcome, Thank you very much. Hello, Hello Shelby, Thank you, Shelby. Excellent. Well today we are talking about Cisco Inner Site. But first let's get some context and so, Dave, what is this go inner site? Is it a new offering? Is it something that people may not be as familiar with, but uh, it might be getting a higher profile coming up. Yeah. Sure, Shelly, thanks for having me on the podcast. I appreciate that. So, when we talked about Cisco inter Site and you know it's origins. We have to almost go back to two different times. One origin was it was kind of modeled after the success of our Moeraki offering. Right. If you're familiar with the Moeraki offering, you're familiar with the Mauraki dashboard, where all of the configuration and intelligence has done in a public cloud and then that information and that configuration, those policies and that the complete configuration is pushed down to access points or switches or firewalls or video cameras that are on premise at an individual customer environment. It is a very successful model, and you know, the customers and the marketplace has responded by driving Moroaki growth, you know many you know, four or five times over. And so that same model is really around what Cisco inter Site is platform gone right, where it is a public cloud sas offering and it is a configuration and operational platform that is completely managed and delivered by Cisco and supported by Cisco, and customers just consume it and we're adding new features in two Cisco inter Site, you know every weekend or every other Thursday. It started out in two thousand fifteen as a tech preview type of product. It was actually called Project Starfish back then and customers were able to just access and play around with it and see if they like this, you know, saspace offering model. It removes a lot of...

...the resources needed on premise and moves them to the public cloud, so customers don't have to worry about the management of their infrastructure. In two thousand seventeen, we actually relabeled it Cisco Intersite and then that's when it became a actual product on the Cisco line card. Is tax supported in a subscription format, and um, we've seen some great adoption. So it's new in the fact that there are new features dropped all the time and even some major modules like intersite workload Optimizer that was introduced in So we're constantly innovating inside that public cloud environment for the operational platform of inter site. But you know, it's been around since uh good seven years and spent a product for five years, and we're not going to slow down in the future with our innovation that we dropped into intersite. Yeah, well, Murky has become a household name, but uh, you know inner site, so this is a staff based public cloud operations or dashboard. Then so as I understand that then and it's been around since, I do understand that it has new capabilities though that that weren't around. I mean, you're you're releasing new capabilities all the time. But I guess what is vastly different between the Inner Site of old and Inner Site today? And Carol, I'll ask you that certainly. And and like they've said, you know, when Starship came out in two thousands fifteen and then it was renamed Inner Site and two thousand seventeen. Partners that started adopting it early, they enjoyed services revenues that they normally weren't able to achieve at that time. And you know it, there's new products that it's mandatory force, such as UCSX and M self servers that are coming out next year. But there's so many things that they can do, would like the advantaged tier of licensing, such as doing an operating system install advisories from tech you know, doing storage inventory, launching a virtual KVM session, and even third party server management. We're gonna end current feature preview. You can manage de L Power Edge and HP pro Alliant red Fish servers. So there's a lot of new features as Dave mentioned, that are always coming out, and we're expecting you know, more product features to come out in the very foreseeable future. But it's growing so fast. And everyone was used to you know, typical direct connection to the data center. You had an Ethernet connection at your desktop or your laptop, and now everything body's used to traditional cell phones, you don't connect to the data center. But the I T we're still connected to that physical connection with the cloud. They're able to connect wherever they are and manage their...

...server inventory, the or networking and storage capabilities through the inner site dashboard. So it gives them a lot of flexibility. So, John, let me ask you, is inter site I guess more geared for larger businesses with a pretty good sized I T department or or would it be appropriate for for SMB So, I mean, I guess how big a lift is it for a company's I T department? Yeah, Shelby, that that's a great question. I think a lot of the things that both Dave and Carroll have touched on thus far really kind of highlights how this INTERSTE is appropriate for all size organizations, not just enterprise levels. So we're looking at from a lift perspective. You know, this is a SAS based solution. So this is something where both from a partner revenue model as well as from a moving from an on prem self managed infrastructure platform, which is what we're calling this now. We really want to identify intersit as a platform insofar as that it can be as small as you needed to be all the way up to super large enterprise. It gives you the opportunity to deploy easily quickly. You don't really need to have a lot of in house expertise around management solution management. What you need to have is the ability to you know, get access to the Internet and then no matter where your infrastructure is in the entire world, then inter site will be able to take a look at that infrastructure and then do everything from kind of basis basic monitoring and management up through deployment, all the way up through if we wanted to look at DevOps as well as server rops and even networking operations coming up in the future. It can really be as small a niche at the edge as it needs to be all the way up through large enterprise deployments that are covering as Carol mentioned, multi platform where we can look at other vendor activities as well as the ability to monitor just kind of a soup to nuts infrastructure and and we can in a further session talk a little bit about how the Nexus platform will get pulled into that in the future as well. So, yeah, I think it's I think it's appropriate for all enterprises, and I think it should be looked at as something in the small enterprise as a as a way to shorten that learning curve to get into UCS as a platform. Well, I think that's a good point there, shortening that learning curve, because I mean, we know that talent is scarce, and you know, with many people doing multiple things and wearing multiple hats, it can be difficult to find somebody that may be specializes in one thing or another. I guess, just following up on what you said about it being good for both s mbs and larger organizations, where does that expertise need to lie? How much expertise do you need to have in order to to run inter sight? Certainly, I think the base level is is actually it's it's pretty simple, like if you know, we can do demos, we can show people kind of how to do the initial setup and configuration and leverage profiles and things like that. But you know, it can run the gambit from if you want net ops, server ops, cloud ops, dev ops,...

...all of that can be kind of rolled into this architecture, this platform, so to speak. But if you just needed to move to a simplified single plane of glass that will even make recommendations. There's a recommendation engine available within Intersite. It can really kind of simplify and streamline some of that hybrid cloud modernization that we're looking at. So even small organizations that are looking to try to understand what the economy of scale looks like between on prem data center and moving to a cloud infrastructure or blending that together, Intersite can help them make those decisions and make appropriate business decisions based on kind of the economics of it all, not just simply hey, this is where our area of expertise was previously. Let's look to the future and see how we can leverage these technologies to move our business forward. Carol, So let's talk a little bit more about inner Site's benefits. So, I mean, we know it it lets you control everything from servers to containers. I mean, it's a identified as a platform, But why use inner sight. I guess what sets it apart, And just to tie into some of the things that Dave and John have said, you know, one of the huge benefits is, you know, for the small business that may have a Cisco partner managing their infrastructure, this gives the partner insight into what's going on. You get you know, the stoplight type you know dashboard where you can see red, green, yellow, anything that needs to be addressed. There's best practices that are brought into it from Cisco Tech for all their years and you know, vast knowledge of the product. But it will also proactively give them insight if something's going to fail, they can dynamically send a replacement before it even fails, and before the end user or the you know, I T department even realizes it's failing. You know, it gives them so much more insight. And that integration directly into the tech is just one of those huge benefits. So Dave, let's talk about kind of what's coming next for Cisco Inner Site. You mentioned that those updates are are happening continuously. What's coming down the pike, Well, the list is long and wide, I'm happy to say that. But let me just highlight some of the top things that are coming up in the next several months. First of all, we we've introduced a new UI about a week ago, and that new graphic look for the product is simpler, it's easier to read, and you know, we're consolidating and you know, views and looks on some of our cloud platforms to have consistency across the Cisco portfolio. So there's multiple reasons for the new UI, and it is right now in like a tech preview, But some of the feedback that we've gotten so far is very, very good. It's kind of funny. I saw an email the other day that said, Hey, that new UI, I can't...

...get it in dark mode. I love dark mode on inter Site. So one of the developers did come back and say, once the new UI becomes, you know, in service and a production offering where someone can truly select it, yes dark mode will be in there. But it's it's surprising to hear how much people love that dark mode look inside the dashboard of inside the dashboard of inter Site. Another thing that's coming up in November is an offer that we're calling Nexus Cloud, and Nexus Cloud is really a cloud based management platform for the data center networking side of the data center, and you know it is powered by Inner site. But we realize most of our customers have our different buying buying departments for networking versus the compute and storage and virtualization folks. So we're literally offering now exist Cloud almost like a stand aload product or something like that. But the really good secret is it is running inside of Inner site. And so what this allows for the future is really for things like converged infrastructure or a full data center stack of compute, storage, and networking both physical and virtual, to be visible and to be operated by Inner Site. So we're really excited about nexus Cloud coming in November, and you know it will probably be uh making a big splash around that uh in the November timeframe. Another feature Carol mentioned is that we are and currently in tech preview for managing um Dell and HPE rack servers that are managed through the red Fish protocol. So that's a built in function of Inner Site. And right now it's kind of like a read only type world in this tech preview, but as we go forward, there will be full configuration and operational capabilities for third party servers. In January February and March of next year. The first quarter, Intel will release their Sapphire product for their CPUs and that will be Cisco's M seven generation of servers. And when we introduce that in our UCS X series, which is our brand new chassis and our Rex servers, intersit is going to be a requirement to manage and operate those servers. And so we're literally putting all of our eggs in one basket of Intersite for Intel and r AM D base wrack servers in that M seven generation and it's it's pretty exciting with the number of offerings that are coming out with that. I would also say that, you know, we're not going to cover the UCS X series roadmap in this session, but I would encourage the listener to, you know, look and see what that roadmap has to offer, because together with intersit, UCSX series is really going to be that platform for the next ten...

...to twelve years. We're seeing amazing market adoption. We're seeing lots of people that have rack server type of profiles come over to the UCS X series because it has an abundance of storage. And we're also seeing a lot of customers that are seeing the sustainability and the power savings from you know, older servers and from many RAP servers. By consolidating on the UCS X series, they're seeing a better you know, a sustainability power budget, especially when energy prices are going up. So this has got a new big floodlight on the topic of you know, energy usage and uh, the UCS X series has got some really good beneficial business outcomes on that front. And then just there's a lot of little features that are constantly coming out and actually customers when they use intersite, they can actually suggest features. There's a question mark up on the top of right of the screen and there's a feedback button there, and most of the features that are coming out and that we are delivering inner Site are based on that customer feedback and based on those customer suggestions. So someone is listening, also, Carol, how do ingram micro partners or resellers really get started with intersit first step is, you know, for partners to reach out and speak to John or I will be happy to help you get started with your inner site practice and build up practice will be helping too, happy to help you with demos and going through you know, how to purchase, you know what the best practices are around inner site. So as we do start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year. So we know that's a that's a broad question. But within this space or or anything that you're keeping an eye on, where are we headed for towards uh, you know twenty three, John, I'm going to start with you, Yes, certainly. So you know, I'm recently just kind of listening to some industry experts, especially some of the Cisco folks. I mean, we're finding that like north of nine of our enterprise customers and even some of our mid market SMB customers are moving to a hybrid cloud environment. That's something that is just happening. We we saw as as normal we see kind of a flee towards the cloud, and now we were seeing a little bit of a drawback towards more of a hybrid infrastructure, whether that be edge computing or if we're starting to look at more devop operations in the cloud and how we can blend that together. And what we're finding in some of the large enterprises is that almost six of these guys are making these moves weekly. So I think what we're seeing moving forward is that there needs to be at dynamic nature with the way that we manage infrastructure, and I think things like Kubernetes being native with inside of inter site is going to be critical for larger enterprise and mid enterprise DevOps as kind of a motion towards an agile development cycle is going to...

...be very important. And just kind of leveraging inter Site again as a platform to cover both UCSX inter Site and third party vendors is going to give people a way to give enterprises a way to look down the road and say, what do my resources look like? What do I need to make sure that my lines of business are getting service the way that they needed to be serviced, and then move forward from there to try to really be agile in marketplace. So, you know, together with inner Site and the UCS X series going forward, you know, what are we going to see in the next couple of years. I think with the M seven's we're going to see, you know, unprecedented performance application capabilities. We currently have a one gig end to end solution inside the UCSX series with one hundred gig fabric interconnects and that's pretty unique to Cisco. So from a performance perspective and a consolidation of older servers onto UH the UCSX series managed by Inner Site, and we're seeing a lot of consolidation and world records being broken all at the same time. It is the easiest management out there. You know. One of the things that u c S was it's claim to fame when we announced it back in two thousand nine, was it was better networking for a blade chassis, but also the easiest management in the environment. And when customers see what intersite can do as compared to some of our older tools, they will be amazed. One of the modules in Cisco Intersite is UH Intersite Workload Optimizer, and what that does is it basically just says, hey, we see your applications and the infrastructure that's supporting them. Let's listen to that for a little while and tell you is it undersupported from an infrastructure standpoint, meaning you need to add resources, cpu, memory, band with whatever in order to give it the proper amount of infrastructure to serve the customer demand. Or is your infrastructure, whether it's on prem or in the cloud, is it over provisioned and you are spending too much money. Intersitte Workload Optimizer drives for that perfect balance between cost and performance and allows customers to zero in on that perfect line that they're trying to get to. And you need something like Intersitte Workload Optimizer with that AI background, it's just too complex for humans and data to calculate. So the neat thing about Intersitte Workload Optimizer will do that job whether the workload is in the public cloud in Amazon, Azure or Google or on prem and you get a common tool to calculate that capability rather than to sparit tools. So there's a very consistent way of measuring that performance. You know. Another thing is,...

...you know, inter Site Workload Optimizer doesn't even have We have customers that don't have one Cisco server or any Cisco hardware in their environment that are using the inner Site Workload Optimizer. They're basically pointing it towards their public cloud infrastructure and letting it go to town on optimizing. So we're seeing an uptick in that use case as well. And again in the beginning of the year, we're going to be dropping a lot of features around converged infrastructure. So, as I mentioned before, Nexus Cloud is powered by inner Sight. That's the network portion. Intersite ever already covers compute and storage, whether it's physical and virtual, and so this will allow Intersight to completely manage it converged infrastructure environment like a flex pod or a flash deck from pure storage, and we have Intersight that can use that strength of advisories to understand whether that they converged infrastructure is within spec or if out of spec, and then I'll proactively alert the customer to changes that are needed. You know, we're still looking forward to the electronics CBD that will be able to configure and manage converged infrastructure from Intersit, saving customers time and money from you know, reading those cvds and then applying what they've learned in those environments. So the future is bright with Intersity, and I'm really excited about you know the first half of next year with all the announcements that are coming. Carol, how about you, Well, no I T departments and Cisco Partners, their professional services team never have enough time to get everything done. And you know, we're seeing the consolidation into consistency within dashboards such as inner Site that makes it so much easier for them to deploy, to manage and monitor the equipment. They don't have to be connecting to four or five different management platforms to see what's going on on their environment. They're able to make those decisions quickly and leverage best practices, making sure that it's a secure environment and up to date. Well Carol. For listeners who have any questions about what we talked about today, or and I wanted to find out more information about interside, how can they reach out than you can reach out via your Ingram Micro sales trap or John or I any of us would be happy to help and joining into operations with your partners. Excellent, Well, gentlemen. I appreciate the time and the inside and the conversation today, Carol, Dave and John, thanks much joining me. Thank you, thank you, Shelby, thank you very much, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two BE Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag B two B tech Talk. Until next time. I'm Shelby scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B Tech Talk with ingram Micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next B two B...

...tech Talk is a joint production with sweet Fish Media and Ingram Micro. Ingram Micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform,.

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