Cisco ramps up Intercloud efforts, adds 30 global partners

The Cisco Intercloud is the networking giant's effort to connect disparate cloud platforms with secure private access to essentially bridge the gap between cloud service providers.

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Cisco announced Monday that it is significantly expanding its Intercloud ecosystem with the addition of 30 global partners and a $1 billion investment from Cisco Capital to accelerate adoption of Cisco-powered clouds.

The Cisco Intercloud is the networking giant's effort to connect disparate cloud platforms with secure private access to essentially bridge the gap between cloud service providers.

British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DATA and Equinix are among the crop of new partners within the swelling Intercloud ecosystem, which Cisco said will give customers a globally distributed hybrid platform that offers "near infinite" scalability but with local hosting and data sovereignty. Tech Data, Comstor and Ingram Micro will become aggregators of Intercloud services.

Cisco President Rob Lloyd said the significance of today's Intercloud news mirrors that of Cisco's inception 30 years ago.

"As we look ahead to the next 30 years at Cisco, we'll look back on today as a milestone almost as significant as that day in 1984 when our founders helped two network islands talk to each other," Lloyd wrote in a blog post. "Perhaps more importantly, I think we’ll look back on today as the day we enabled customers to achieve the vision of hybrid IT and created the IT platform truly ready for the Internet of Everything."

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Cisco said rapid growth of the hybrid cloud model was the impetus for the latest Intercloud effort, as more and more companies are building services that rely on multiple private and public clouds.

Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi used the transportation startup Uber as an example of such a company, describing in a blog post how Uber's credit card processing, analytics on passenger/driver data, and data services to access live traffic and event schedule data are hosted in multiple clouds that vary greatly.

The credit card processing could be done in a private cloud whose infrastructure is being managed by Cisco Metacloud OpenStack distribution, while the analytics processing could be occurring in a public cloud, such as AWS. That creates a need to stitch the disparate underlying infrastructures into a seamless whole that can satisfy the performance and availability service level agreements (SLAs) and security and compliance policies of the applications. 

Cisco also began rolling out Cisco Hybrid Cloud bundles, packages of technology and services that the company said will allow customers already using a private cloud to extend that infrastructure to Cisco's IaaS offering. For customers not yet using a private cloud, the bundles will allow them to gain that capability via a complete hybrid cloud and multinational IaaS solution

Today's news expands the OpenStack-based Intercloud by 250 additional datacenters in 50 countries. As for the $1 billion earmarked by Cisco Capital, the San Jose-based networking giant said the financing will help fund cloud providers as the company continues to work out the Internet-of-Everything cloud the strategy it unveiled earlier this year. Intercloud partners announced at that time included Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, Sungard Availability Services, Telstra, NetApp, Red Hat and VCE.

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