Cisco Wants to Be Foundation for Cloud Environments

Cisco's InterCloud offering will enable hybrid clouds that facilitate the movement of workloads between private and public clouds.

Cisco Systems is looking to offer the technology that connects the growing range of cloud platforms, enabling workloads to more easily migrate between public and private cloud environments.

The Cisco InterCloud, which is part of the company's larger Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) strategy, is software that will enable businesses to move workloads and their associated network and security policies between private and public clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Windows Azure.

InterCloud was one of several announcements Cisco officials made Jan. 28 at their Cisco Live conference in Milan, Italy. Also at the show, the company unveiled an enhanced controller module that extends Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) initiative—which was introduced in November 2013—beyond the data center and into WAN and access networks and expands software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities through an organization's networks, according to officials.

Both the cloud and SDN efforts play into Cisco's strategy around the burgeoning Internet of everything (IoE), the company's vision of increasingly intelligent and connected systems that demand greater automation, openness and connectivity in their infrastructures. Cisco views the IoE as the largest transition in the tech industry since the Internet, and an opportunity that could be worth $19 trillion to public and private organizations by 2020, according to Jeff Reed, vice president of SDN and manageability in Cisco's Enterprise Networking Group.

"It's a huge effort in the industry and in Cisco," Reed told eWEEK.

The InterCloud software is designed to help organizations with hybrid cloud environments move their data and applications easily between private and public clouds without losing their network and security policies. There are some hybrid cloud solutions already on the market, but they don't enable the wide range of connections that InterCloud offers, according to Fabio Gori, senior director of cloud marketing at Cisco.

InterCloud "allows companies to manage workloads in both directions [between private and public clouds]," Gori told eWEEK. "This gives a tremendous amount of confidence to cloud customers."

A range of cloud providers will adopt the InterCloud technology, including BT, CSC/ServiceMesh, CenturyLink Technology Solutions and Virtustream. The software also will integrate with cloud management solutions, including Cisco's Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC), CSC/ServiceMesh's Agility Platform and Red Hat CloudForms. Other vendors supporting InterCloud include EMC, Citrix Systems, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace and VCE.

Cisco also made a number of other cloud-related announcements, including a partnership with Red Hat to extend the OpenStack cloud orchestration solution and develop infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings that will enable customers to manage both legacy and Web-scale cloud environments. The vendor also is growing the portfolio of its Cisco Services for Cloud Strategy, Management and Operations, and is rolling out its IAC 4.0, with an enhanced service catalog and new integration between IAC and Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) Director to help quickly provision both virtual and physical infrastructures for cloud environments.