NFD16 day two - Cisco Project Starship a.k.a. Intersight

Day two of NFD16 with Cisco. The presentation was split in two parts. First part for Intersight, second part for Tetration.

I’ll post here just a few thoughts about Intersight.

Merakify all the servers!

What’s Cisco Intersight? If you’re familiar with cloud-managed devices like Meraki the concept is quite similar.

A Cisco server runs the Device Connector client that links to a central management portal that runs on Cisco DC SaaS. Once the server is claimed by the portal many management and monitoring features are available through the dashboard aka the Starship portal.

Cisco Intersight works with Cisco UCS B-Series servers, C-Series servers, and HyperFlex.

More details on video:

What I like

I think Intersight (if properly developed) can be a dream come true for many MSP or system integrator.

Let’s made up a possible scenario: a hundred server rooms, small/medium customers with just a few pizza boxes (UCS C-Series). Usually this kind of customer don’t buy any of the management platforms available to keep costs low; quite often they don’t have trained personnel on-site anyway to manage them.

What happens is the servers are upgraded or checked only when a problem arises: no proactivity, no security or compliance checks are performed after initial deploy.

If all 100 customers want to buy a couple of consultancy days per year to check the health state of their server, that means 200 FTE just to provide this basic service, or two full time System Engineers. For a small MSP this could be a hell to manage and it’s not easy to find trained engineers.

With Intersight the very same service, with continuous checks, can be performed via dashboard with no need of manual work for the MSP. This allows to get on board more customers and provide to all of them the same high quality service that a big customer with dedicated personnel would have (reads: scaling).

Licensing

Intersight has a Base licensing level that is free and a premium paid license with more features:

licensing

Why a free license? I can imagine Cisco is trying to collect big data from customers to feed some machine learning algorithm that runs on their SaaS to use the data to improve the service. Sounds like a fair trade off to me, better that any other Social Network.

Wrap up Cisco Intersight

I manage hundreds of sites via Meraki dashboard, a task that would be impossible to do with traditional networking products. Having similar tools to manage servers looks just the right direction

A SaaS has all the advantages of a Micro Services architecture where new features and bug fixes don’t follow the usual cycle of NMS (who said Cisco Prime?).

Thumbs up for Intersight!

DISCLAIMER

Tech Field Day (TFD) is a commercial activity for TFD and the presenting companies. When I attend TFD events my travel and accommodation expenses are usually paid for by TFD. At the events, most of my meals are provided by TFD. In addition, the companies that present at TFD usually give the delegates gifts. At TFD the presenting companies engage with delegates to educate us about their products and services. The smart companies also want to learn from delegates (a few are very smart about this). The aim of the event is to help the presenting companies connect with delegates. Ultimately get the company’s message spread by delegates. Usually, delegates will write about some or all of the presenting companies.

Neither the TFD staff nor the presenting companies get to review what the delegates write. There is no obligation on delegates to write about any or all presenters. Nor is there an obligation to write nice things about presenters. In fact, the greatest expectation is that delegates will be honest in any writing that they do.

This (ifconfig.it) is my personal blog. Everything I write here is my thoughts and opinions. None of it is reviewed by the organizations I write about before publication. I could get corrections from the companies I write about and may incorporate the parts I agree with into my posts here.

 
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