Cisco, Red Hat Partner on OpenStack Cloud Platform

The vendors released an integrated infrastructure offering that features Red Hat's OpenStack distribution running on Cisco's products.


NEW YORK CITY—Cisco Systems and Red Hat are partnering on an integrated infrastructure solution that will leverage Cisco's data center offerings and Red Hat's expertise in OpenStack to support enterprises and midmarket businesses as they continue moving into the cloud.

With the UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (UCSO), announced Sept. 4 during an event here, the two companies are creating a platform with Red Hat's OpenStack distribution running atop Cisco's infrastructure. The offering will combine Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) converged infrastructure and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) solutions with Red Hat's OpenStack platform. The new offering is a key part of Cisco's Intercloud effort for creating interconnected private, public and hybrid clouds of which Cisco's data center resources will be the primary foundation.

Officials said Cisco's UCS solution—which brings together UCS servers, Cisco's Nexus networking technology, storage, virtualization and UCS Director management software in a highly integrated package—is a solid underpinning for cloud environments.

The OpenStack offering is part of a larger initiative by Cisco to expand the reach of its UCS converged platform, which was released in 2009 and until now has focused on workloads running in the core of the data center. During the event here, Cisco officials announced new UCS solutions that bring the integrated architecture to cloud-scale environments and to the enterprise edge, such as remote offices and branch sites.

During the event, Padmasree Warrior, Cisco's chief technology and strategy officer, said leveraging partnerships like the one with Red Hat will be important as the company builds out its data center solutions. In July, Cisco announced a partnership with Microsoft to integrate such technologies as UCS and Nexus networking products with the software maker's cloud OS offerings, including Windows Server, SQL Server, Hyper-V virtualization and Azure cloud.

Warrior, speaking with a group of journalists, said the announcement with Red Hat "really extends the relationship [between the two companies] into the OpenStack world."

The companies will offer three versions of the UCSO solution, including a Starter Edition—which will be available in November—aimed at enterprise private clouds. The Advanced Edition will also come with the Cisco and Red Hat technology, and will add such capabilities as being able to scale to thousands of virtual machines and to use portals and catalogs for infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service deployments. It will let organizations quickly deploy and more easily run large-scale private clouds.

The Advanced ACI Edition will bring in Cisco's ACI solutions for more policy-driven deployments.

Jim McHugh, vice president of products and solutions marketing for Cisco's UCS business, said the other solutions from the Red Hat partnership will roll out in 2015.

ACI, introduced last year, was the fruit of the work done by Cisco's Insieme "spin in" business, which was charged with developing technology to help Cisco address customer demand for more automated, flexible and scalable infrastructure technology that can be optimized for particular workloads. Insieme's offerings also give Cisco an answer to the growing software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) trends that call for putting the networking control plane and tasks—such as load balancing and firewalls—traditionally housed on complex and expensive hardware into software that runs on commodity servers.