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At Cisco Live, executives discuss strategic directions in multicloud networking

SiliconANGLE covered Cisco Live in Barcelona this week, providing exclusive commentary and interviews from its livestreaming studio theCUBE.

Here are highlights from the interviews with Cisco Systems Inc. executives, partners and customers:

Extending data centers throughout the multicloud and to the edge

Roland Acra, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Data Center Business Group:

“Two big announcements from my group were ACI Anywhere and HyperFlex Anywhere. And we captured them under a common moniker of there’s nothing centered about the data center anymore, because both these speak to things going outside the data center ACI anywhere is the integration of ACI our software defined networking solution into the two of the most prominent public cloud providers out there, Amazon and Azure and for HyperFlex Anywhere. The exciting news is the expansion of HyperFlex, which is our hyperconverged solution. Also outside the data center to the edge of the enterprise, specifically branch offices and remote locations. “

Managing the multicloud comprehensively

Dave Cope, senior director of market development for Cisco’s Cloud Platform & Solutions Group:

“If you think about the old world, if you had an application and a target, whether it’s a cloud or any data center, you’d have to hard wire those together. And as you have more and more apps and they’re changing faster and now more and more cloud environments with no standardization across those environments, this whole hard wiring together doesn’t work anymore, so we have to rethink cloud management, and that’s what CloudCenter’s really all about. How do you describe an application, its components, sequence, and dependencies, independent of the nuances of those targets, and allow CloudCenter, once you define your application, to understand the resources on each of these environments and lay down that application natively on those different environments. And it does provide both least common denominator support around core primitives like compute storage network security, but also provides access to these higher-level services… so you really get the best of both worlds. Move there easily, manage the workload and take advantage of all these rich services.”

Leveraging AI to power cloud management automation

Kaustubh Das, vice president of computing systems at Cisco, and Katie Colbert, vice president of alliances at Pure Storage:

“We’re doing some work in AI and ML….We’re doing some work on automation, coupling Intersight, which is Cisco’s cloud-based automation suite, with Pure Storage and Pure Storage’s ability to integrate into the Intersight APIs…. Intersight is our software management tool driven from the cloud. So everything from the personality of the server, the BIOS settings, the WLAN settings, the networking and the compute pieces of it, that gets administered from the cloud, but it does more. What it does is it can deliver playbooks from the cloud that give the server a certain kind of personality for the workload that it’s supporting. So then the next question that anyone asks is, ‘Now that we have this partnership, well, can it do the same thing for storage? Can it actually provision that storage, get that up and running?’ And the answer is yes, it can, but it’s better because what it can not only do is, not only can it do that, getting that done is super simple. All Pure Storage needed to do was to write some of those Intersight APIs and deliver that playbook from the cloud, from a remote location potentially, into whatever your infrastructure is, provisioning compute, provisioning networking, provisioning storage, in a truly modern cloud-driven environment. So I think that’s phenomenal what it does for our customers.

Programming the network from end-to-end

Prakash Rajamani, director of product management at Cisco, and Ronnie Ray, vice president of product management at Cisco:

“One of the main things we did when we started with Data Center is to start thinking and having the vision to get a data center platform. With that in mind, every feature, every capability that we built in the product was built API first before we built a UI around it. That has helped us immensely in the last couple releases we’ve started delivering features as APIs even before it had a face to it, and I think that has helped us prioritize and make sure that we are able to meet the demands going demands of customer or partner we had a customer who was like ‘I need this feature now’ and we … had a big back log, we couldn’t get things done. But the fact that we were able to get the APIs we were able to work with the customer and say, ‘Hey here you can wire these three APIs and you can get what you’re looking for,’ and he was like, ‘Wow, that’s so simple and I’m on my own.’ He was happy, we are happy we are able to manage our backlog better. So I think the main strategy for us that’s working is going API first on a pragmatic basis. This is us moving completely software-driven.… We provide …  very business-driven, simplified internet APIs. The grander APIs allows the customer who wants to say I want A, B and then D and E to move forward compared to internet-based API.”

Building the developer ecosystem for multicloud apps

Susie Wee, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco DevNet:

“[Developers] can also leverage the ecosystem. ‘Cause you’re used to doing everything yourself, but you’re not going to win by doing everything yourself, even if you made everything modern, right? You still need to use the ecosystem as well. But you know, but then at that stage what you can do and actually we’re seeing this as, like our developers are not only the infrastructure folks, but now, all of the sudden our ISVs, app developers, who are out there writing apps, are able to actually put stuff into the infrastructure, so we actually had some IoT announcements this week, where we have these industrial routers that are coming out, and you can take an industrial router and put it into a police car and because a police car has a dashboard camera, it has a WiFi system, it has on-board computer, tablets, like all of this stuff, the officer has stuff, that’s a mobile office. And it has a gateway in it. Well now, the gateway that we put in there does app hosting, it can host containerized applications. So then if you take a look at it, all the police cars that are moving around are basically hosting containerized apps, you have this kind of system, and Cisco makes that…. And then we have the gateway manager that does it, and if you take a look at what does the gateway manager do it has to manage all of those devices, you know, and then it can also deploy applications. So we have an ability to now manage, we also have an ability to deploy containers, pull back containers, and then this also works in manufacturing, it works in utility, so you have a substation, you have these industrial routers out there that can host apps, you know, then all of a sudden edge computing becomes real. But what this brings together is that now, you can actually get ISVs who can actually now say, hey I’m an app developer, I wanted to write an app, I have one that could be used in manufacturing. I could never do it before, but oh, there’s this platform, now I can do it, and I don’t have to start installing routers, like a Cisco partner will do it for a customer, and I can just drop my app in and it’s, we’re actually seeing that now.”

Making software-defined wide-area networking more agile

Gordon Thomson, vice president of global enterprise networking at Cisco:

“What we’ve created is… this software overlay network in various different areas. We’ve created a fabric. In the data center we’ve created an ACI fabric. In the branch and the campus we’ve created what we call software defined access fabric. And in the ONE we’ve created this software-defined ONE fabric with our Whiptail acquisition. Also with Meraki. The interesting thing is people have created these software fabrics to drive automation onto the network to save money. To move more quickly. What we are saying to our customers is actually the value isn’t just about driving automation onto each of these fabrics, it’s about how you take information from each of these fabrics, connect that information together holistically and then start to provide more value around behavioral analytics. To secure your environment more. You’re going to see individual fabrics…. Connecting them together is going to help us secure the environment even more effectively. It’s also going to help us analyze what’s going on more effectively as well.

How to watch theCUBE interviews

SiliconANGLE offers various ways to watch these and other theCUBE interviews that took place at Cisco Live in Barcelona, including theCUBE’s dedicated website and YouTube. You can also get all the coverage from this year’s event on SiliconANGLE.

TheCUBE’s dedicated website and Ustream

All of theCUBE’s exclusive interviews from Cisco Live are available on theCUBE’s dedicated website.

Watch on the SiliconANGLE YouTube channel

All of theCUBE interviews from Cisco Live, which runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, are also loaded onto SiliconANGLE’s dedicated YouTube channel.


SiliconANGLE also has podcasts available of archived interview sessions, available on both SoundCloud and iTunes.

Guests interviewed on theCUBE

To check out the complete lineup of guests who appeared on theCUBE during Cisco Live in Barcelona, visit theCUBE’s event page.

(* Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE were sponsored and are identified as such. Sponsors have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

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