Cisco Brings Developers into the Intercloud Fabric

The networking giant is working with 35 ISVs to create cloud services that can be offered through an Intercloud marketplace.


Cisco Systems is putting developer muscle behind its Intercloud initiative.

On June 10, at the company's Cisco Live 2015 show in San Diego, the vendor said it is working with almost three dozen ISVs to help create cloud services for the Intercloud. Introduced early last year, Intercloud aims to create a global connected network of clouds. Over the past 12-plus months, Cisco has brought together a broad array of partners—from providers and resellers to builders—to help pull together the Intercloud.

The addition of the initial 35 software developers is the final piece, according to Cisco.

Cisco said it also is adding more security and manageability capabilities to the Intercloud effort, and growing the number of hypervisors the Intercloud Fabric will support.

Cisco envisions the Intercloud will encompass enterprise private, hybrid and public clouds as well as Intercloud service providers and services to essentially create a connected network of hybrid clouds. Cisco intends to build the infrastructure that the Intercloud runs on and help accelerate the development of the services that run on top of it. Cisco is spending as much as $2 billion on the effort.

Most recently Cisco announced it is buying Piston Cloud Computing, which offers its own OpenStack distribution for the cloud, to bulk up its Intercloud efforts. Last September, Cisco bought Metacloud, a 3-year-old company whose technology enabled businesses to run private clouds based on OpenStack

It is about creating cloud platforms "that are tightly connected rather than loosely coupled," Peder Ulander, vice president of cloud services at Cisco, told eWEEK.

There is momentum behind the Intercloud Fabric, Ulander said. Cisco has more than 100 customers and 65 partners across the globe. Ten partners at the show, including Cirrity, Datalink, Peak 10 and Virtustream, are building hybrid cloud services for the fabric.

The Intercloud comes as enterprises rapidly adopt cloud services, Ulander said. That not only has created a cloud "sprawl" effect, but also a "shadow IT" problem, with employees using cloud services without their IT departments being involved. In addition, the Internet of Everything (IoE)—which company officials say encompasses the Internet of Things (IoT)—is driving up the number of network connections. About 300,000 things an hour—or 50 million a week—connect to the Internet, and by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connections, from mobile devices and home appliances to cars, industrial systems and sensors.

The Intercloud will be the foundation for the IoE, and services for these devices will be a crucial part of it, which is what is fueling Cisco's aggressive push to bring developers aboard. At the Cisco Live show, the company announced the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace, a virtual store set to open in the fall. It will offer Intercloud-based applications and cloud services from both Cisco and its partners.

Among the software developers and services partners that will offer the first applications in the marketplace are Citrix Systems, CliQr, Cloudera, F5 Networks, Hortonworks, Informatica, MapR, Pegasystems, Skytree and Zenoss.

The ISVs will focus their efforts on three broad areas: developer platforms, big data and analytics, and the IoE. For the developer, Cisco is working with commercial application development vendors, including Apprenda, Active State and Docker to bring their cloud development platforms to the Intercloud. At the same time, Cisco is growing its presence in open-source development efforts like Cloud Foundry and OpenShift.

For big data and analytics, Cisco is partnering with vendors that include MapR, Hortronworks, Cloudera and the Apache Hadoop community. Bringing them onto the Intercloud will give users the same policy, control, security and resiliency across their big data environments, regardless of the implementation, Cisco said. For IoE services, Cisco will expose APIs that app developers can leverage to ensure network control, performance and security that extends from the data center to the device.

The latest release of the Intercloud Fabric comes with improvements in several areas, including security, where Cisco is introducing its Virtual Security Gateway. The technology is designed to enable customers using it with the Nexus 1000V Series switch to secure traffic between virtual machines (VMs) without having to redirect the traffic to the edge firewall first.

Cisco also is extending its VM onboarding capabilities to Amazon's virtual private cloud. The onboarding technology makes it easier for organizations to embrace hybrid clouds by bringing Intercloud Fabric management to VMs already in the Amazon public cloud. Cisco also is expanding its hypervisor support to OpenStack KVM and Microsoft's Hyper-V, adding to the existing support for VMware's vSphere technology.