Microsoft and Cisco cloud partnership yields app deployment platform

Microsoft and Cisco claim new cloud platform will allow service providers to take advantage of DevOps-style app deployment speeds

Microsoft and Cisco have jointly unveiled a technology platform designed to make it easier for service providers to tap into Cisco's global network of interconnected clouds.

The Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform merges the Redmond firm’s Windows Azure Pack with the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to enable service providers to roll out combined infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service offerings to users.

Its launch is the result of the enterprise-focused, three-year datacentre and cloud collaboration the two firms announced at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in July 2014.

During a webcast announcing the two firms’ latest technology tie-up, Nick Earle, senior vice-president of the cloud and managed services organisation at Cisco, said the platform will help service providers take advantage of DevOps-style production values.

“We know how the DevOps model works: put [the app] out there, get feedback, improve it and put it out there again and [the process] is much quicker,” he said.

“The reason why [service providers] couldn’t do that previously was because they were [acting like] systems integrators and previous solutions required integrating a lot of components together to create and deploy an app.”

Read more about Cisco's cloud plans

This is made possible through the use of pre-packaged policy management libraries, and the inclusion of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 coupled with Cisco’s Unified Computing System Manager, Earle added.

Overall, this setup should also mean service providers are able to bring their apps and services to market quicker, said Aziz Benmalek, hosting service providers general manager at Microsoft.

“The work we’ve done to integrate Cisco ACI with Windows Azure Pack will allow cloud providers to dramatically accelerate time-to-market, while decreasing costs,” he said.

“Together, Cisco and Microsoft are helping our partners evolve with current market demand and rapidly shifting customer needs.”

Enter the Intercloud

The platform should also make life easier, according to Cisco, for users that want to embrace the hybrid cloud model by allowing them to move workloads between Microsoft’s Azure public cloud and Cisco’s Intercloud.

The latter is the name given to Cisco’s worldwide network of interconnected, compatible and open clouds that it hopes will one day be used to deliver a marketplace of hybrid-ready cloud services to customers.

Intercloud was first announced by Cisco in May 2014. Since then the firm has managed to sign up 60 partners, spanning 50 countries and 350 datacentres, to help it deliver on its vision.

“These numbers are going to continue to increase as more and more people get pulled into this ecosystem because we believe it’s the best value proposition for everyone by everyone acting together rather than in individual proprietary worlds,” Earle added.

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