Live from the Summit: PaaS and DevOps, Red Hat and Cisco


Hicham Tout, senior technical leader at Cisco, and Red Hat’s Dan Juengst partnered to teach attendees how to quantify the financial benefits of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to build business cases within their IT teams. They talked about Cisco’s OpenShift deployment and its benefits, and weighed in on where PaaS fits within DevOps.

Tout began the discussion with the application development challenges IT teams are facing with regards to scripts:

  • It often takes too long to build scripts and build and deploy apps.
  • Because all development environments are different, the same scripts can’t be used for different languages.
  • Developers prefer different languages but choice can be costly when more scripts are required.

“The number of apps skyrocketed at Cisco,” said Tout. “Not just for products but because users wanted to prototype apps to demonstrate to their own business owners that it could be done.” Cisco saw a massive migration of applications to the cloud, which created multiple copies of data.

Struggles like these are what drove the company to look at OpenShift and its capabilities. “Usually when you provision an infrastructure, you put a package app on top of it, you build your own, or use a hybrid between the two,” said Tout. “You need a platform to build on top of. We looked at the platform aspect of it.”

The IT team wanted an environment and the business needed a platform with more diverse languages. “This is why we started looking at OpenShift—this is what drove us there,” said Tout.

The other driver is prototyping. “There’s significant hunger within IT—especially from those who work on the developer side—to show what can be done within an application,” said Tout. “We wanted to give them an environment where they could do this quickly… and provide them with the ability to control the life cycle of demos and applications.”

OpenShift Enterprise by Red Hat provided Cisco with life cycle improvements. It made it easier to create new apps and retire old ones. “We wanted to manage the environment rather than be involved in it app-by-app or environment-by-environment,” said Tout. “The density piece was interesting to us too. With OpenShift, I can squeeze 10 to 15 apps in the same virtual machine… a much smaller footprint.”

Tout highlighted the the total cost of ownership (TCO) trend from its legacy, bare-metal datacenter in 2009 to a fully self-provisioned datacenter in 2014.

Juengst elaborated on Tout’s life cycle improvements and connected them to DevOps. “Developers want the latest tools—the latest PHP, Ruby, whatever—and it’s problematic to support all those different languages,” he said. “The business wants more speed, greater social presence, and more apps—demanding more from the organization. What can IT do? Take this world of siloed developers and operations of the past, and turn them into DevOps.”

DevOps helps developers get immediate feedback about their apps—creating opportunities for continued experimentation. “There’s tremendous value from being able to experiment a lot,” said Juengst. DevOps and PaaS give IT teams the abilities to automate code check-in, testing, and delivery, so teams can use code to push successful apps to production and reject bad applications, creating continuous delivery. DevOps provides accelerated app delivery, self-service access to the latest tools for developers, and standardized and controlled environments for operations.

“OpenShift can be a key enabler for DevOps, providing tooling that enables you to do that automation,” said Juengst. It provides auto scaling, security, and gives developers choice of language without the costs associated with new scripts.

How do you map all of this back to ROI? You use the OpenShift ROI calculator, which Juengst used to walk attendees through a company’s application development, system configuration and management, and IT capital cost savings. He also revealed the cost savings and business value associated to accelerating your application development.


More information


Event: Red Hat Summit 2014
Date: Tues, April 15, 2014
Type: Session
Track: Business & IT strategy alignment
Title: Quantifying the financial benefits of PaaS: Build your business case
Speaker: Hicham Tout (Cisco), Dan Juengst (Red Hat)