Cisco to Build Cloud Portfolio With Metacloud Deal

Cisco is buying Metacloud, a 3-year-old company that offers organizations an OpenStack-based private cloud platform that is managed remotely.


Cisco Systems is boosting its broad cloud computing strategy with the planned acquisition of Metacloud, a private company whose offerings enable businesses run private clouds based on the OpenStack platform.

The deal, announced Sept. 17 and expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, will add to Cisco's Intercloud initiative, which was announced in March. Cisco officials envision a network of OpenStack-based clouds that uses Cisco's Cloud Services architecture as the foundation and enables organizations to securely move workloads—including data and applications—across disparate private and public clouds.

Cisco already has brought on a growing number of partners, including VCE, Red Hat, NetApp and SunGard, and Metacloud also will play a key role in the development of the Intercloud, company officials said. With OpenStack's ability to handle any workload in any virtualized environment on any private or public cloud, it will be important to Cisco's effort to be able to manage large OpenStack installations, they said.

Metacloud's technology offers businesses a remotely managed private cloud-as-a-service platform that, combined with Cisco's capabilities, will give organizations the ability to leverage the operational benefits of public clouds with the security and control inherent in private clouds. In addition, service providers will be able to bring together their public cloud deployments and remotely managed OpenStack-based private clouds to offer Intercloud customers hybrid cloud solutions.

"Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds," Hilton Romanski, senior vice president and head of Cisco Corporate Development, said in a post on the company blog. "Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money."

For Metacloud, the opportunity is being able to merge its OpenStack cloud platform with broad infrastructure from an established IT vendor to address the ongoing transformation in the data center away from hardware and to a more software- and application-centric environment, according to Sean Lynch, CEO of the 3-year-old company.

"The power of cloud has been a major driver of the ability to deliver this new software-defined, application-focused world," Lynch wrote in a post on the company blog. "Metacloud customers are part of a shift from primarily on-premise to hybrid IT– a mix of private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise applications that enable greater business agility and lower costs. … Companies embracing the new model are looking to blend world-class infrastructure and policy management with an amazing private cloud developer experience that rivals the best public clouds. Metacloud OpenStack provides the developer experience, and we were looking to partner with infrastructure companies that had both a broad portfolio of proven products and a complimentary application-driven approach to infrastructure to help bring a more seamless end-to-end solution to our customers."

Cisco made the most sense, and the conversation quickly moved from one of partnering to one of Metacloud becoming part of Cisco, he wrote.

"Cisco has been an important contributor and supporter of the OpenStack community," Lynch wrote. "As a top contributor, Metacloud’s talent and expertise in OpenStack will add to Cisco’s support and investment to make OpenStack a leading platform for the Intercloud."

Once the deal closes, Metacloud employees will become part of Cisco’s Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services organization led by Senior Vice President Saiyaz Shahpurwala. No financial details were disclosed.

The cloud has become a key focus for Cisco. Not only has the company rolled out its Intercloud vision, but also has promised to invest $1 billion over the next two years to push that strategy forward. In addition, the company has announced a series of partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and Red Hat.