“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design” by Clare Muscutt.
FlexPod is an industry leading converged infrastructure solution from Cisco and NetApp. FlexPod is always at the forefront of Data Center innovations, to provide a trusted and versatile platform that supports businesses and enable service providers. To overcome challenges with constant technology changes, NetApp and Cisco are partnering to provide a single pane view of the FlexPod Ecosystem. This integration simplifies and allows unified management platform for all components in FlexPod Infrastructure and FlexPod solution.
Cisco Intersight and NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager
Let me introduce you to the two new major innovations, Cisco Intersight from Cisco and Active IQ Unified Manager from NetApp. Integrating these two components will enable a premium user experience for you.
Cisco Intersight is a cloud-based, subscription service that streamlines infrastructure management and enables IT organizations to analyze, simplify, and automate their environments in ways that were not possible with prior generation of tools. This capability will empower organizations to achieve significant savings in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and deliver applications faster in support of new business initiatives. Cisco Intersight Assist virtual appliance is deployed on-premise, to allow datacenter devices to securely connect to Cisco Intersight. Once the devices are joined to the Cisco Intersight, functions like monitoring the inventory health, and workflow orchestration can be performed.
Figure 1: Cisco Intersight integration with NetApp ONTAP Integration
NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager (AIQ UM) device is claimed from the Cisco Intersight Assist.AIQ UM acts as a management gateway to manage and orchestrate NetApp ONTAP Storage resources. AIQ UM performs active management, intelligent provisioning and monitoring of capacity and health in ONTAP systems across the data center. One Instance of AIQ UM can manage up to 190 ONTAP Clusters. AIQ UM administers the ONTAP storage clusters from GUI or automate it using Unified Manager’s Rest API services. These APIs services are broadly classified as datacenter, administration, gateway, and security APIs.
Figure 2: NetApp AIQ UM Architecture Overview
NetApp Device Connector
Cisco Intersight and NetApp AIQ UM integrate to deliver the best in-class user experience for FlexPod Datacenter. This integration is possible because of the NetApp Device Connector support in Cisco Intersight Assist virtual Appliance.
Let’s look at these components in more detail.
Device Connector is a hosting element that resides in the firmware of Cisco devices and connects the devices to Cisco Intersight. Cisco Intersight sends commands to infrastructure devices through the device connector. It offers a secure and encrypted link to Intersight.
Cisco Intersight Assist virtual Appliance provides the connection mechanism to Cisco Intersight , and helps you add datacenter devices into it. With the Integration of NetApp Device connector into Cisco Intersight Assist, Cisco Intersight now supports connection to the NetApp ONTAP systems. NetApp device connector provides a proxy connection between Cisco Intersight and NetApp storage via NetApp AIQ UM. The Rest APIs provided by NetApp AIQ UM are used to streamline monitoring and management of ONTAP storage systems.
Figure 3: NetApp ONTAP Device Connector Integration with Cisco Intersight Assist using Active IQ UM
Management of FlexPod DataCenter from Cisco Intersight
The Cisco Intersight Assist Virtual Appliance is installed on the FlexPod DataCenter. It claims on-premise VMware Hypervisor, Cisco UCS devices and NetApp AIQ UM device. Now we can manage, monitor and orchestrate storage services across the ONTAP clusters connected to the AIQ UM from the Cisco Intersight.
The Storage tab in the Cisco Intersight enables the user to audit and monitor NetApp ONTAP Storage clusters. The Storage inventory is classified into Logical and Hardware, to represent Logical and Physical resources. Users can click on any object and drill down to review its properties.
Figure 4: NetApp Storage Cluster view from Cisco Intersight
Figure 5: NetApp Storage Inventory view from Cisco Intersight
Orchestration of NetApp ONTAP storage workflows from Cisco Intersight
NetApp implemented storage tasks libraries into Cisco Intersight. These tasks can combine with VMware hypervisor tasks in the Cisco Intersight to orchestrate workflows for SAN and NAS infrastructure provisioning in a FlexPod DataCenter.
Figure 6: List of NetApp ONTAP Storage Tasks Library
Figure 7: List of VMware Virtualization Task Library
Example Orchestration workflows
Figure 8: Expanding a SAN(FC) Datastore on FlexPod Datacenter
Figure 9: Provisioning a NAS Datastore on FlexPod Datacenter
NetApp Storage API Integration with Cisco Intersight for Automation
NetApp storage APIs for Intersight are integrated with the Cisco Intersight REST APIs. This means that NetApp storage in Intersight can be configured and managed as a code. The APIs and SDK are available for Python, PowerShell, Postman or Ansible. You can leverage the APIs to
Automate workflows for deployment and management tasks
Audit and report on storage resources in the inventory
Integrate with 3rd party applications (for reporting, ticket management, etc.)
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Sree is a Senior Solutions Architect at NetApp. She has more than 12 years of experience in data center infrastructure solutions, both in traditional and in hybrid/public cloud space. She collaborates with Marketing, Product management and engineering teams to develop and deliver technical marketing product material, which includes Reference Architectures, technical Report, presentations, blogs, demo videos and white papers. This material is aimed at educating customers, partners or sales team. She has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an artist in the field of Kuchipudi dance, an Indian classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh. She enjoys organic gardening, hiking and running.