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Cisco Debuts New Cloud Portfolio

Networking giant announces multi-cloud infrastructure software that will link with Windows Azure, System Center, and cloud wares and services from other partners to boost interoperability and security.

Cisco adds a major component to its Cisco One cloud platform, one that will allow its enterprise customers to build more reliable, secure cloud-based infrastructure. The best part, said Cisco when it introduced Cisco InterCloud at the Cisco Live! conference in Milan this week, is that it's designed to connect multiple clouds via key partnerships and industry standards.

Cisco InterCloud, as the name implies, will let enterprises build and securely tie together multiple private clouds, while ensuring their resiliency. Cisco claims that its latest addition to the Cisco One cloud platform will also reduce the cost of building public, private and public clouds. The software is in field trials now, with general availability planned for next quarter.

Microsoft is among several key Cisco One partners. Others include EMC, Citrix, Denali Advanced Integration, NetApp, Rackspace, Red Hat, VCE (the company formed by VMware, Cisco and EMC) and Zerto.

Cisco described InterCloud as a software-based tier that lets enterprises and service providers combine and move workloads, including data as well as applications, across various public or private clouds. Cisco InterCloud is designed to carry over security and network policies. Using InterCloud, Cisco said customers can move workloads between Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Windows Azure as well as services from BT, CSC/ServiceMesh, CenturyLink Technology Solutions and Virtustream.

Cisco InterCloud will plug into cloud management offerings including Cisco's own Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC), CSC/ServiceMesh's Agility Platform, Red Hat CloudForms, among others. Given integration with Cisco's Unified Computing Systems (UCS), Windows Server and System Center, all indications are that Microsoft will tie its own Cloud OS solution consisting of System Center and Windows Serve to Cisco InterCloud as well.

Microsoft corporate VP for cloud and enterprise noted in a blog post how InterCloud will let mutual customers extend Redmond's Windows Azure service. "Cisco InterCloud provides the necessary gateway and virtual networking infrastructure to enable customers to seamlessly move and run their applications and workloads on Windows Azure," Anderson said. "

While touching on Cisco's emphasis on interoperability, Anderson didn't mention Cisco IAC 4.0 management software, which Cisco also announced yesterday. IAC is a separate management offering from Cisco that provides orchestration among multiple cloud infrastructures including Amazon's EC2, VMware's Hybrid Cloud service and clouds based on OpenStack.

Since Cisco did say that its new InterCloud would link with IAC, at some point it's also a safe bet that it will tie to Microsoft's System Center, though neither company officially announced such plans.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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