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SoftServe Helps Cisco Systems Showcase Products to Clients

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Overview

Cisco Systems, Inc., a multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California, is a recognized worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and sale of Information Technology, Internet Protocol-based networking products and services, and cybersecurity solutions.

The corporation operates a demonstration facility located in Bedfont Lakes, Feltham, United Kingdom, where Cisco Data Center (DC) and cloud solutions are shown to current clients, prospective customers, and Cisco sales team members. Cisco Bedfont Lakes is seen as crucial in developing the sales team’s ability to clearly present Cisco’s full technical stack rather than demonstrating individual products.

Cisco Demo Platform Technology Stack

CISCO products

Cisco Products

Cisco Bedfont Lakes also fosters a broader conversation with clients and potential customers regarding Cisco solution benefits and DevOps practices adoption. This Demo platform includes the necessary infrastructure and DevOps tools, and provides the capabilities needed by IT teams. It also incorporates automation components for engineering teams.

The ultimate Cisco Bedfont Lakes demo goal is to present Cisco’s solutions to clients, potential customers, and sales team members within the DevOps pipeline implementation.

Challenge

Cisco identified two challenges in meeting the goals for their Cisco Bedfont Lakes demos. The first was a business challenge in identifying the key personas interested in the demo platform presentations, while the second was to choose the best scenarios to demonstrate.

As Cisco began to implement its demonstrations, technical issues arose within the heterogeneous environment infrastructure, included on-prem DC as well as Public Cloud components. It became clear that platform architecture needed to be defined as well as identifying the best technology stack, in addition to determining the best scenarios and tools.

Other implementation issues included the creation of Infrastructure as a Code (IAAC) scripts, defining truly immutable infrastructure components, and overall, making this environment reliable and repeatable.

Infrastructure Operations Modernization Platform

Modernization Platform

Facing these challenges, SoftServe was asked to create a holistic DevOps platform by integrating and optimizing Cisco’s and third-party tools that used modern DevOps practices for Cisco’s DC environment. SoftServe was chosen by Cisco to implement the project based on its initial demo platform vision and was part of ongoing implementation.

Cisco’s expectations included:

  • An assessment for proposed use cases, their validations, and suggested improvements based on current engineering best practices.
  • Implementing defined scenarios in a demo platform that would be available for frequent demonstrations.
  • Expanding the monitoring and maintenance of the implemented demo platform.

Overall, Cisco’s goal was a demo platform that would allow their sales team to showcase existing products to different stakeholders in their customer’s organizations. A successful implementation of versatile scenarios would allow the demo to be expanded and target not only IT specialists, but also engineering and applications team members.

Solution

When the project began in the spring of 2021, SoftServe team members started by splitting the project into three separate sub-projects. Each sub-project was planned separately, with incremental improvements to the process applied as the sub-project proceeded:

  • Demo platform assessment
  • Implementation
  • Adoption and expansion

The Demo Platform Assessment phase began with an examination of how robust the initial use cases would be when serving as Cisco Research and Development demo platform and determined how applicable Use Case 1 would be in meeting Cisco’s real-world needs. This assessment also provided Cisco an understanding of Use Case 1’s architecture alignment and included a top-down and bottom-up assessment to reveal the demo platform’s final architecture.

Cisco Demo Platform: Infrastructure High-Level View

Cisco Demo Platform

The SoftServe team also recommended a sample modern application to proof the demo platform capabilities. SoftServe also worked with a small team from Cisco to design a hybrid cloud use case.

The Implementation phase focused on the demo platform implementation, with the technical demo flow being divided into separate sub-phases:

  • Infrastructure provisioning
  • Continuous integration and continuous delivery
  • Continuous delivery (CD) process monitoring and compliance

Cisco Demo Platform: Application Awareness View

Awareness View

The Adoption and Expansion phase included further use case development, such as the introduction and implementation of automated war room and integration of modern Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) systems.

When the project was completed, SoftServe’s team implemented a demo platform that demonstrated readiness to support a real-world DevOps life cycle for both containerized and legacy applications using Cisco’s DC technologies. The platform also demonstrated Cisco solutions integration possibilities with the popular Automation and Orchestration Infrastructure as Code (IAC) tools, along with infrastructure and application awareness set-up. SoftServe also shared hybrid cloud development models with Cisco.

Conclusion

With the successful creation of the Cisco Demo Platform at Cisco Bedfont Lakes and the completion of the project in early June 2022, Cisco can now demonstrate their ability to support cloud-native workloads, application modernization customer journeys, and hybrid cloud deployment models. Cisco can also demonstrate the ability to separate technical flow into infrastructure provisioning, continuous integration and delivery, and CD process monitoring and compliance.

This success also meets Cisco’s desire to provide and expand demos for its varied customer stakeholders, including IT teams, engineering, and application teams.

Said one Cisco team member who was engaged in the project, “As Cisco’s Customers and Partners embrace the Hybrid Cloud as their platform for modern digital business, the importance of how applications and infrastructure interact has never been more critical. The ability to provide business observability and insight into these infrastructures and rapidly deploy and adapt resources is now considered an essential part of a Cloud Operating Model.

“However, this can only be achieved by bringing all these elements together in a unified operating approach. Softserve has helped Cisco establish a set of demonstration capabilities that can showcase these modern developments and operating practices, enabling our joint customers and partners to envisage the art of the possible and how the Hybrid Cloud and the power of automation can be brought together to deliver what our customers need.”

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