Technology & Tools

Cisco Readies SDN-Based Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Cisco Systems Inc. last month jumped into the market for hyper-converged infrastructure and software-defined store, which is emerging as a popular new way to deploy software-defined compute, storage, and networking with shared policy management and automation. The company made the move at the annual Cisco Partner Summit.

By launching its own hyper-converged infrastructure, Cisco is taking on a market now dominated by a number of startups such as GridStore Inc., Maxta Inc., Nutanix, Scale Computing and SimpliVity Corp. Until now, Cisco has used its partnership with SimpliVity to offer that capability. Cisco's new offering, called HyperFlex Systems, runs on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform. HyperPlex uses hyperconvergence software from Springpath Inc., which virtualizes servers into a single pool of compute and storage resources. The Springpath Data Platform that Cisco is using in its HyperFlex Systems eliminates the need for network storage, instead automatically tying to existing management software. It uses what Springpath calls "adaptive scaling capabilities," allowing organizations to scale their compute, caching or storage resources.

In addition to integrating with Cisco UCS servers, the HyperFlex solution uses the company's Nexus switches and Application-Centric Infrastructure. The latter is the Cisco fabric for providing monitoring, automation and policy management. HyperFlex is designed for both current apps and those based on microservices architectures and containers, according to Satinder Sethi, VP of Cisco Datacenter Solutions Engineering and UCS Product Management.

Parallels Improves Its Remote Application Server
Parallels IP Holdings GmbH has made some noteworthy improvements to its namesake remote desktop virtualization and application delivery software. The new Parallels Remote Application Server version 15 has a new UI, a number of new management capabilities and improved security.

The new UI is now HTML5-based and the company said it offers an improved UX with support for cutting and pasting between applications and allowing users to change their own passwords. The new setup provides Windows Server configuration, application publishing and client configuration, while offering live session management on the servers, according to the company.

Administrators can schedule the reboot of servers and its default settings are automatically assigned for setup of applications and servers. Moreover, administrators can create default configuration and change settings to multiple servers simultaneously. The security improvements give administrators more flexibility to prevent data loss and allow them to implement Windows, Mac and Linux client configuration policies. It adds support for a number of data encryption and authentication technologies.

Docker Releases Datacenter Suite for Containers as a Service
Docker has quickly emerged as a leading platform for building portable and secure microservices that can run on-premises and in modern cloud-based Software-as-a-Service environments. Now the company is putting it together into one offering called Docker Datacenter, which it describes as an integrated platform for agile app development and management.

The Docker Datacenter offering lets organizations build, deploy and manage the lifecycle, or what the company calls Containers as a Service (CaaS). The suite includes three components: the Docker Universal Control Plane 1.0 (UCP), Trusted Registry and the Docker Engine. The UCP provides management and orchestration of the Docker environment and includes the embedded Swarm, which provides native clustering to combine multiple Docker engines into one virtual Docker Engine. Trusted Registry (the latest release is 1.4.3) stores and manages Docker images in the datacenter or cloud environ­ments. It supports Active Directory and LDAP, and includes audit logging and management capabilities. The latest Docker Engine release, which runs on a variety of platforms, including Linux, VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), will be supported in the forthcoming Windows Server 2016, as well.

Among those Docker identified as early customers building these new CaaS environments with the Docker Datacenter bundle are payroll giant ADP, which is modernizing its business-critical apps to microservices, and South African mortgage finance company SA Homes, to run a microservices-based architecture for its key business applications.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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