Cisco, Microsoft target cloud vendors in expanded partnership

The companies launched a new platform that combines the Microsoft Azure Pack with networking devices and servers from Cisco's ACI.

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Microsoft and Cisco announced Wednesday an expansion of their cloud and datacenter partnership.

While the two tech giants kicked off go-to-market partnership last July, the latest extension is aimed at jointly marketing their hybrid cloud architectures to telecommunications carriers and other cloud providers.

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The combined technology platform, officially named the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud, will enable other cloud providers to reduce costs and simplify operations, according to the two companies. It combines the Microsoft Azure Pack with networking devices and servers from Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI).

The benefit of the combination, the companies said, is that it allows cloud vendors to deliver services like big data and disaster recovery at DevOps speed, while also shifting the focus away from systems integration.

Cisco's SVP of cloud and managed services Nick Earle called the partnership "phase two of cloud computing," because it's pulling together different clouds through the use of open, interoperable software to create a hybrid model that can scale across clouds.

"Just as we connected disparate islands of LANs into the Internet in the 1990s, now Cisco is connecting islands of clouds into the Intercloud," Earle said.

Cisco also says it has increased its Intercloud partner ecosystem with the addition of 14 cloud providers, bringing the number to more than 60 with a footprint of more than 350 data centers across 50 countries.

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