Cisco’s Ken Owens and Ben Schumacher: Trim the Glue Code

28 Apr 2016 1:20pm, by

Ken Owens
Ken Owens is Chief Technical Officer, Cloud Infrastructure Services at Cisco Systems. Ken is responsible for creating and communicating technical/scientific vision and strategy for Cloud Infrastructure Services (CIS) technical vision/strategy. Before joining Cisco in 2014, Ken spent over seven years at Savvis as the Chief Scientist, CTO, and VP Security and Virtualization Technologies. Prior assignments include 5 years as a network security architect at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., and Edward Jones brokerage firms in St. Louis, Mo, and 10 years in the design and architecture of communications systems and components for Erlang Technologies, Tellabs, and Wiltel.

Cisco has spent a lot of time focusing on trust, user validation, and granularity in its cluster management. By utilizing a granular approach and defining the priorities in which a system interacts with containers, an organization can allow its users to avoid having to take down their entire application if there is a problem on one specific host, according to the company.

In this episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, New Stack founder Alex Williams interviews Ben Schumacher, an innovation architect in the Cisco Intercloud Services Office of the chief technology officer, as well as Ken Owens, Cisco chief technology officer for cloud engineering and strategy, to hear more about how Cisco is approaching orchestration with Apache Mesos, Cisco’s Mantl platform, and working with containers in the enterprise. The interview was conducted for the newly-posted TNS eBook on container orchestration.

Mantl is Cisco’s approach to running a container stack, based off of minimizing what Cisco architects call ‘glue code.’ Though Mantl currently only supports Docker, in the future, it will add Kubernetes support, Owens noted. By bringing together platforms such as Mesos Marathon, service discovery tools from HashiCorp, and the ELK stack, Mantl offers developers a solid jumping-off point for getting started with containers.

“We like to say it’s a ‘batteries included but optional’ way to get very quickly from having a whole bunch of boxes to being able to actually start putting containerized workloads on there.”

Listen to the podcast here:

The podcast is also available on YouTube.

Ben Schumacher
Ben Schumacher is an Innovation Architect, Cisco Intercloud Services' Office of the CTO. He is an expert C/C++ developer with over 12 years of experience working with highly threaded network software. He is a curious technologist with broad range of interests, from web application development in Node.js, Flask, Ruby on Rails, etc., to DevOps tooling, using Puppet, Bash, Zookeeper, etc.

“The main way that we’ve been thinking about it is making sure that there’s a user space, that you can actually define these parameters. If we don’t have the parameters around defining this, it makes it a lot harder in the industry to actually ensure that you can do these priorities,” Owens said.

Owens went on to discuss how improvements can and should be made to orchestration and infrastructure management today, with Cisco also contributing to the community to help make these much-needed changes a reality.

“That’s something that Cisco’s working on. […] How do we contribute to the upstream community and these different open source projects to provide the right level of visibility for what’s happening inside those processes that get kicked off? So we can do a better job of identifying where the orchestration is failing, and what part of that orchestration is failing,” Owens said.

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Feature image via Pixabay.

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