Cisco has announced a new service, called Intersight, that will let IT manage UCS servers and HyperFlex hyperconverged systems from a Cisco cloud.
The service, which will debut in the fourth quarter of 2017, aims to make it easier to manage application infrastructure.
Cisco points to multiple benefits of moving the management plane into a cloud service:
- SaaS-like software updates & delivery of new features
- Manage devices from a single console regardless of location
- TAC integration for streamlined customer support & troubleshooting
- Collect & analyze system data (not customer data) for capacity planning & predictive maintenance
- Reduce the amount of customer infrastructure dedicated to management
- Role-based access control & user customization of the UI
- Compliance monitoring for licenses & hardware compatibility
- Customers can use the service as hosted by Cisco, or choose an MSP or partner
Cisco also says it plans to work with vendor partners to integrate other features and capabilities into the service, such as security services.
The Meraki Influence
Intersight is taking a page directly from the Cisco Meraki business unit, which, as a startup, was an early pioneer of cloud-based infrastructure management.
In a briefing, Cisco acknowledged the Meraki influence. Internally, the move to cloud-based management will allow Cisco’s own developers to move away from big-block software releases to a CI/CD model, which should enable faster iteration and deployment of the software.
At present, customers can still choose to manage UCS and HyperFlex using the traditional premises software, though Cisco says this stack will eventually go into maintenance mode and then be retired.
Cisco plans to make a private cloud instance of Intersight available for organizations that need to have management software within the data center for security or compliance reasons. However, that’s at least a year away.
As mentioned, Intersight is expected to be publicly available in Q4. At present it is in a tech preview.
Existing customers that want to access Intersight will need the latest UCS Manager software that was announced with Cisco’s M5 UCS release earlier this year. They’ll also need the latest software release for HyperFlex.