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Cisco Announces $1 Billion 'Intercloud' Effort

Cisco on Monday announced it will invest $1 billion over the next two years to develop what it says will be the world's largest cloud.

The company's "Intercloud" project will endeavor to join, figuratively, the major providers that offer public cloud services, including Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard,, VMware, Rackspace and IBM. The Intercloud will essentially be a cloud of clouds that is aimed at letting enterprise customers move workloads between private, hybrid and public cloud services.

Cisco is not the only provider with such a product. However, Fabio Gori, the company's director of cloud marketing, said Cisco is offering standards-based APIs that will help build applications that can move among clouds and virtual machines.

"This is going to be the largest Intercloud in the world," Gori said. Cisco is building out its own datacenters globally but is also tapping partners with cloud infrastructure dedicated to specific countries to support data sovereignty requirements. Gori said Cisco will help build out those partners' infrastructures to spec and those providers will be part of the Intercloud.

Asked how Cisco's effort is different from that of VMware, which is also building a public cloud and enhancing it with local partners, Gori pointed out that Cisco's service supports any hypervisor.

Gori emphasized Intercloud will be based on OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure platform that many cloud providers, including Rackspace, IBM, HP and numerous others, support. But there are key players like Microsoft, Amazon and Google that don't support it. Gori said Cisco can work around that by using the respective providers' APIs and offering its own programming interfaces for partners to deliver application-specific offerings.

Core to this is the Intercloud fabric management software, announced in late January at the Cisco Live! conference in Milan, Italy. The Intercloud fabric management software, now in trial and slated for release next quarter, is the latest component of the Cisco One cloud platform that's designed to securely tie together multiple hybrid clouds.

Among the cloud providers now on board are Telstra, Allstream, Canopy, Ingram Micro, Logicalis Group, OnX, MicroStrategy, SunGard Availability Services and Wipro.

Gori said Cisco is lining up many other partners, large and small, from around the world. The company expects to announce more partners and deliverables at its Cisco Live! conference in San Francisco in May. Whether Microsoft will be one of those partners remains to be seen, Gori said.

"Microsoft is a very big player and is going to part of this expanded Intercloud," he said. "We are going to do something specific around the portfolio."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/24/2014 at 1:42 PM


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