Cisco Intersight Infrastructure Services Solution Brief

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Updated:October 28, 2020

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Managing the demands of IT efficiency

IT organizations and infrastructure teams continue to be charged with delivering the digital experiences that are more important than ever to their enterprises. The number of applications continue to grow across on-premises, at the edge, and in hybrid cloud environments. Operations teams have to support existing infrastructure and applications while managing next-generation workloads in an always-on, hyper-distributed world. At the same time, they need to become more efficient in order to reduce costs.

These demands are creating a growing gap between meeting the requirements of the diverse environments and the expertise, processes, and tools to support them. Additionally, IT organizations are adopting DevOps practices to be more responsive to the business. Many have already moved into implementing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) management and are now adopting automation platforms enhanced by intelligence (AIOps) to increase efficiency and continuously evolve.

Introducing Intersight cloud operations platform

Cisco Intersight is a cloud operations platform that consists of advanced infrastructure, workload optimization, and Kubernetes services. The platform is designed to be modular, so you can adopt services based on your requirements. It radically simplifies IT operations by bridging applications with infrastructure, providing visibility and management from bare metal servers, hypervisors, to Kubernetes, serverless and application components, helping transform with AIOps to assure application performance, reduce cost, and mitigate risk.

This unified SaaS platform helps teams securely collaborate, and work smarter and faster by automating lifecycle workflows and common telemetry, enabling consistency and governance with extendable. If features a unified OpenAPI that natively integrates with the third-party platforms and tools.

Redefining infrastructure management

Cisco Intersight infrastructure services make your job easier on a daily basis. With Intersight infrastructure services, deployment, monitoring, management, and support of physical and virtual infrastructure becomes more streamlined. The infrastructure services component works with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, HyperFlex Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), and third-party devices. Telemetry data is available for analysis without the manual steps required when a problem arises. Service Request (SR) and a Return Material Authorization (RMA) are raised automatically.


Key benefits of Cisco Intersight infrastructure services

      Simplifies daily operations by automating many daily manual tasks

      Gives you the convenience of a SaaS platform with the ability to connect from anywhere and manage infrastructure through a browser or mobile app

      Allows you to stay ahead of problems and accelerate trouble resolution through advanced support capabilities

      Provides global visibility of infrastructure health and status along with advanced management and support capabilities

      Easy to upgrade to add workload optimization and Kubernetes services

Simplify operations and deploy infrastructure faster

Infrastructure Services Support the Entire Lifecycle

Figure 1.            

Infrastructure Services Support the Entire Lifecycle

Consistent and automated configuration and deployment

The first step in the Intersight management lifecycle is to claim your devices and configure your systems using the Intersight Secure Connector. You can connect to Cisco and third-party infrastructure targets anywhere form the Intersight platform. Cisco UCS servers and HyperFlex HCIcan be programmed ascodeto automate system configuration and resource allocation. The Intersight profiles specify a server’s identity, configuration, and connectivity, including the number and type of I/O devices. Once profiles are set, you can use the Server Profile wizard to provision servers and create policies to ensure smooth deployment across an entire set of hardware.

Intersight evaluates the compatibility of your Cisco UCS® and HyperFlex configurations to determine if the hardware and software have been tested and validated by Cisco. Next the Intersight recommendation engine displays the compliance status with the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and identifies any validation issues. UCS Tools is a host utility vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) that collects information about the operating system and drivers, and routes it to Intersight to help evaluate compliance with the HCL.

If you engage in DevOps practices, you can configure and manage your infrastructure as code through the API — you are not merely configuring an abstraction layer. Your teams can use a variety of DevOps management tools and align your ITinfrastructurewith applications. Cisco DevNet provides Ansible playbooks, Microsoft PowerShell scripts, or Python code to automate the deployment of settings and software for both physical and virtual layers right down to the servers, fabric, and clusters. Using the API, you can simplify infrastructure lifecycle operations and increase the speed of continuous application delivery.

Execute complex workflows with Intersight Orchestrator

The Cisco Intersight Premier edition offers private-cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) orchestration across Cisco UCS, HyperFlex, and third-party endpoints including VMWare vCenter, Pure Storage, and Hitachi storage. This feature, called Cisco Intersight Orchestrator, enables you to create and execute workflows in Cisco Intersight. For example, provisioning a Pure Storage FlashArray or deploying a new virtual machine from a template could involve multiple tasks, but with Cisco Intersight Orchestrator, the administrator has a workflow designer to visualize a workflow definition and monitor the execution of that workflow on any infrastructure element. Learn more.

Streamline and speed deployments

Because we built our servers to be fully programmable, you can bring up infrastructure from the moment it is powered on. This is especially important because you can deploy systems from anywhere you are connected to the Internet, and you don’t need specialized technicians to configure your infrastructure. You can place your systems in logical groupings that might identify a location, a function, or a cluster to make them easier to manage. With your inventory consolidated in Cisco Intersight, you never lose track or control of infrastructure.

The Cisco HyperFlex SD-WAN solution integrates edge computing, hyperconverged infrastructure, automation, and SD-WAN technologies. Cisco SD-WAN vEdge Routers are routing components of the architecture that deliver the essential WAN, security, and multicloud capabilities of the Cisco SD-WAN solution. Cisco HyperFlex Edge brings the simplicity of hyperconvergence to Remote and Branch Office (ROBO) and edge environments. Powered by Cisco Intersight, the solution provides fully automated, zero-touch provisioning of the compute, storage, LAN, and WAN networking for “lights out” branch deployment at massive scale. It dramatically simplifies the management of WAN networking using software-defined WAN and enables new types of connectivity models beyond traditional VPNs.

Global monitoring, proactive security alerts and infrastructure maintenance

The Cisco Intersight dashboard provides a global perspective of your infrastructure and its status, helping you proactively recognize situations that might otherwise develop into real problems. You don’t just see the components; you view the logical configuration and details. Cisco Intersight enables you to claim VMware vCenter devices, so you can monitor them and run workflows on the virtualization objects. Cisco Intersight also provides the capability to launch tunneled virtual Keyboard, Video, and Mouse (KVM) sessions for Cisco UCS C-Series standalone servers.

Intersight provides advisories and notifications about any of your endpoint devices which may be impacted by supported security advisories or field notices. Cisco Security Advisories enable you to ensure compliance and stay on top of important hardware and software information. The Cisco Security Advisory feature identifies, monitors, and updates the status of advisories to provide the latest information on the severity of the advisory, impacted products, and any available workarounds. If there are no known workarounds, you can open a support case with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) directly from Intersight for quick assistance in resolution. A select list of the security advisories is shown in Intersight under the resources section on our help center. Cisco Intersight field notices are alerts, such as recalls on certain components or new code releases.

The HyperFlex Performance chart displays the read-and-write performance of the storage clusters. Cisco Intersight enables you to predict the storage utilization for HyperFlex clusters. Using historical data and predicted storage utilization per HyperFlex cluster, you can proactively scale storage.

With Cisco Intersight, you are able to make changes rapidly across a large number of distributed devices. You can install operating systems using vMedia on the managed servers. Firmware upgrades in Cisco Intersight are performed using a non-interactive Cisco Host Upgrade Utility (HUU).

Conceptual overview of Cisco Intersight and supporting Cisco Services

Figure 2.            

Conceptual overview of Cisco Intersight and supporting Cisco Services

Proactive support and accelerated problem resolution

Cisco Intersight helps prevent problems by delivering new levels of proactive systems support. The information is synthesized and presented to you in an easily consumable, actionable format through the recommendation engine. By combining these insights and recommendations, you can significantly increase efficiency, reduce costs, and accelerate time to resolution. Monitoring alerts you to problems, and log files are shared with the Cisco® Technical Assistance Center (TAC), so that Cisco can respond to situations that may arise and provide recommended solutions.

Expertise and information flow seamlessly between Cisco Intersight and IT teams, providing global management and support of your Cisco infrastructure, on your schedule. Cisco Intersight also includes the ability to raise a Service Request SR and a RMA automatically. It authorizes the RMA proactively, thus reducing the time from failure to replacement significantly.

Additional services to simplify IT operations beyond infrastructure

The Cisco Intersight cloud operations platform is based on a modular design that can be expanded with add-on capabilities to support a wide variety of third-party infrastructure, workload balancing, public cloud, and container environments. You can seamlessly upgrade the platform to include Intersight Workload Optimizer and Intersight Kubernetes Services.

Intersight Workload Optimizer

Revolutionize how you manage application resources across any environment with real-time, full-stack visibility to ensure performance and improve cost control. Monitor physical servers, hypervisors, Kubernetes clusters, serverless and application components anywhere they are. Gain insights into all the connections to stay ahead of issues and avoid lengthy troubleshooting when problems arise. Intersight Workload Optimizer integrates with AppDynamics to combine real-time awareness of business outcomes and user experience with infrastructure automation. To learn more read the solution overview.

Intersight Kubernetes Services

You can reliably deploy and run containerized workloads across on premises and public clouds with one solution. The Intersight built with an open architecture using open source components, so you're not locked into any single vendor. You can automate Kubernetes lifecycle management and reduce risk by providing your developers with self-serve access to conformant Kubernetes clusters.

Deployment flexibility and licensing options

Cisco Intersight infrastructure services, and all Intersight cloud operations services, can be deployed in a traditional off premises SaaS model. Cisco also offers on premises options for added data security and compliance regulations.

Cisco Intersight Virtual Appliance and Private Virtual Appliance

In addition to the SaaS deployment model running on, on-premises options can be purchased separately. The Cisco® Intersight Virtual Appliance and Cisco Intersight Private Virtual Appliance are available for organizations that have additional data locality or security requirement for managing systems. Cisco Intersight Virtual Appliance delivers the management features of Intersight in an easy to deploy VMware OVA or Microsoft Hyper-V Server VM that allows you to control what system details leave your premises.

The Intersight Private Virtual Appliance is provided in a form factor specifically designed for users who operate in disconnected (air gap) environments. The Private Virtual Appliance requires no connection to public networks or back to Cisco to operate.

Licensing options for you

Available in a choice of four tiers, Intersight is licensed on a subscription basis with varying license durations.

The Cisco Intersight Base offering is included with the purchase of Cisco UCS and Cisco HyperFlex systems. Intersight Essentials, Advanced, and Premier license tiers build upon the functions of the Base tier.

Among other capabilities, Intersight Essentials includes policy-based configuration with service profiles, Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) compliance checks, firmware management, and other features. Cisco Intersight Advantage and Premier enable added functionality such as orchestration, central policy-based configuration for different user profiles, operating system installation for supported Cisco UCS platforms, and more.

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Get up and running quickly

Cisco Intersight infrastructure services are designed to get up and running quickly. Whether you are working with small or large configurations, getting started with Intersight infrastructure services can be completed in a few steps.

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