“Cisco is truly the best kept secret in the cloud market,” said Fabio Gori, Director of Cloud Marketing, Cisco, who added that the networking giant has been ranked as number one for cloud infrastructure sales for three quarters in a row by Synergy Research. That set the stage for a number of cloud announcements, including the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) Enterprise Module for its Open Network Environment (ONE) platform, and InterCloud, a hybrid cloud solution intended to pave the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds.
With cloud spending outgrowing overall IT spending fivefold (25% versus 5%), it’s no surprise that Cisco wants to make sure it gets as much of that money as possible. Getting as much control of the exploding cloud universe at it could would be another – and probably primary – objective.
Cloud spending will surge by 25% this year to over $100B, according to IDC, with Gartner predicting that cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016, as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. “We are seeing CIOs increasingly reconsidering data center build-out and instead planning faster-than-expected moves to cloud computing,” said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner.
What may come as a surprise is Cisco’s intention to be the glue that holds the emerging everything-cloud universe, aka World of Many Clouds, together, with InterCloud designed to move workloads to and from multiple public clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The company said it is expected to be able to move workloads to and from participating cloud providers with Cisco Powered services, such as BT, CSC/ServiceMesh, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, and Virtustream. In addition, it will integrate with cloud management solutions such as CSC/ServiceMesh’s Agility Platform, and Red Hat CloudForms as well as its own IAC. Finally, other InterCloud technology supporters include EMC, Citrix, Denali Advanced Integration, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, VCE and Zerto.
Gori said InterCloud expands Cisco’s reach beyond its network stronghold (stranglehold?). “This is truly a very big step in the marketplace.”
The key to InterCloud is to offer an alternative approach, open and flexible, across a variety of providers, so customers don’t get locked into proprietary solutions, he said. “We’re freeing up the market… making sure this is bidirectional…” so customers can claim their work back and not be left scrambling i.e. Nirvanix).
“What is the magic glue around all this? The network.”
As for the APIC Enterprise Module, that’s an extension of the Insieme-inspired Application Centric Infrastructure announcement made last Fall, said Inbar Lasser-Raab, VP of Product Management, Enterprise Networking Group, Cisco. “It’s all about network complexity.
Customers are spending about 80-90% of their time on network operations working in separate silos and performing manual device-by-device operational work, she said. “When they spend so much time on that, they don’t have time to spend on innovation.”
The answer to that is more agility, which is the concept behind SDN, said Lasser-Raab. “We call that flat IT.”
Cisco is offering customers more agility, and… wait for it… choice. “It’s customer choice and that’s the beauty of it. It’s up to them how they’re going to use it… take advantage of it,” she said.
The module, to be available as both software and an appliance, will ship in April.
Under The Hood
The Cisco APIC Enterprise Module provides the ability to see the entire network as a single entity, instead of individual network elements, resulting in reduced network complexity, accelerated application rollout across wired and wireless infrastructure, and more efficient network management and troubleshooting. It automates many IT functions enabling configuration and policy changes to be pushed out to the individual components of the network instead of requiring IT to update each one manually. Additionally, it supports both new and existing network infrastructures, supporting a selection of network Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), including OpenFlow, onePK and Command Line Interface (CLI), as well as both new SDN-ready devices as well as older Cisco network equipment, enabling IT automation for a large existing installed base that eliminates the need to rip and replace existing networking equipment to take advantage of this new functionality.
The module is constructed of three elements: a consolidated network information database, policy infrastructure and automation. Combined, that can substantially increase network automation and agility, lowering the time that IT spends on operational activities by up to 36%.
To address security concerns, the module automates network-wide rapid threat detection and mitigation by integrating and automating Cisco Sourcefire security solutions. For compliance management across branches and headquarters, the it also automates Quality of Service (QoS) and intelligent WAN (IWAN) deployments.
-Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for Cisco/Red Hat integrated Cloud Management and Provisioning
The Cisco APIC Enterprise Module will be available at the end of the first half of 2014 and at no additional cost for existing and new Cisco SMARTnet customers.