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Pondering Automation: A Revolution is Coming

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Cisco Employee

Howdy out there in Automation Land!!!! It has been too long since our last blog but so much has been going on, I have just not found the time to sit down and write about it.... but today. Today is the day we give you a sneak peek into the Next Generation of Cisco software. The Next Generation of what you have been watching/following my blogs for now for many years. The Next Generation of Cisco Process Orchestrator.... named Action Orchestrator (AO) under the CloudCenter Suite(CCS) of applications. So to celebrate and since it is revolutionary I will go with this movie poster...

 

revolutionMoviePoster.jpg

 

 

Not too bad right? So of course, I will have a video demo (see below) and a quick walk though but let's talk about all the goodies you will see in the next gen product. And for anyone hitting up a Cisco Live... you can see these products there as well!  But wait... first let me remove any bad thoughts you might have... so

  1. This product is still the premiere in Workflow automation and Visual coding applications
  2. Current customers will be able to use it
  3. New customers will love it and begin to adopt it
  4. Cisco is working tirelessly to make sure the experience and components you had in CPO are ported and if you've never used CPO before... then you can start with AO from scratch, no worries!

Good... that is out of the way :)

 

So first off, let us start with some of the major shifts/additions you will see coming from CPO. If you have not used CPO then just know these are great things! I will break each of these down a little bit as well. These are the things I find revolutionary with the product. They were features and functionality that people have asked for years and have finally come around. There are a multitude of other features and functions that make AO great, however I wanted to highlight a few here as they make a dramatic shift in the product and its architecture when compared to CPO. in future blogs we will talk more about other features, etc that would be of valid nature to know.

  • No longer Windows dependent in any way. AO will run on any cloud, any platform, any OS... because it runs in Kubernetes!

    We now run the application as a bunch of micro-services inside of Kubernetes. This make the product much more agile and allows us to run on any platform. Windows, sure! CentOS/Insert Linux Flavor here --- you got it! Want to run it in the public cloud??? Well sure. AWS, GCP, AZURE, etc. It is fully up to you. Worried about Kubernetes? Do not be! The installer supports setting up Kubernetes from scratch for you! But it can also install to an existing Kubernetes setup if you have one.

     pondering_automation_k8sAO.JPG

     

  • A fully functional HTML based web client! You can now access your workflow editing and operational GUI via the web. It is exposed to you via a micro-service and is usable across multiple browser platforms. No need for a thick/fat client anymore.aoWebUI.JPG

     

  • The ability to develop your *OWN* adapters and plug them right into Action Orchestrator. You will be able to write your own adapters in the following languages: Python, GO, Java. All you will have to do is "teach" AO how to understand your adapter and then you can plug it right into the system and spin up your own adapter POD and you will be off and running. Dragging and dropping your OWN  custom made activities... really exciting stuff. This stuff is pretty complex of course and I will do a multi-part blog series on it. Lots to learn!!! In the below screenshot you can see the custom MySQL adapter I wrote running inside of the AO cluster.
      aoMySqlAdatper.JPG

     


    Using this customer adapter I can drag and drop activities I create, targets I create, all under an adapter I own and create.

 

  • Upgrades are a breeze!!! Because Cisco will release updates to our container/docker repo, you will always have access to the latest and the greatest updates! And getting those updates is a cinch. You login to your administration dashboard, you see an update and you click the drop down to deploy it. The containers are downloaded and the services and pods relaunched on the fly for you. Minimal downtime for the latest code base. If you are fully on-prem... do not worry, we have the option for an on-prem repository as well to download from us and store for you. I do not plan to dive to deep into Cisco CloudCenter Suite Admin which houses AO, but we will in future blogs.
      aoSuiteAdmin.JPG

     

     

Well... that is about it for the text, which I know you like, but really LOVE the videos... so onto the video!!! Please post questions/comments below or feel free to email me. If you would like a personal demo, please email me.
 

Play recording (20 min 18 sec)

Recording password: Srw4PRns

 

Standard End-O-Blog Disclaimer:

 

Thanks as always to all my wonderful readers and those who continue to stick with and use CPO. Big things are on the horizon and I hope that you will continue to use CPO and find great uses for it! If you have a really exciting automation story, please email me it! (see below) I would love to compile some stories and feature customers or individual stories in an upcoming blog!!!

 

AUTOMATION BLOG DISCLAIMER: As always, this is a blog and my (Shaun Roberts) thoughts on CPO, AO and automation, my thoughts on best practices, and my experiences with the product and customers. The above views are in no way representative of Cisco or any of it's partners, etc. None of these views, etc are supported and this is not a place to find standard product support. If you need standard product support please do so via the current call in numbers on Cisco.com or email tac@cisco.com

 

Thanks and Happy Automating!!!

 

--Shaun Roberts

shaurobe@cisco.com

1 Comment
Cisco Employee

Nice post. 

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