Cisco is teaming up with enterprise powerhouse Google in a wide-ranging deal that provides the networking giant with a seamless bridge to next-generation public cloud technologies.
At the centre of the partnership is the open-source platforms Kubernetes and Istio.
Cisco and Google aim to deliver a consistent Kubernetes environment for both on-premises Cisco private cloud infrastructure and Google's managed Kubernetes service, Google Container Engine.
The Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid cloud offering, which will become available in the second half of 2018, opens the door for developers to combine emerging Google Cloud services with Cisco on-premises networking, hyperconverged, and security offerings.
The hybrid solution will extend network policy and configurations to multiple on-premises and cloud environments, including orchestration and lifecycle management of resources, applications, and services.
Speaking to CRN USA, Faisal Bhutto of Computex Technology Solutions – a top Cisco partner – said the deal "allowed the CIO the ability to have a Cisco hardware stack running capabilities that are available on Google Cloud, on-premise, which is essentially a bridge to the Google Cloud".
Open and flexible
Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's Cloud Platform and Solutions Group, said the combined platform would be open and flexible leveraging Google Container Engine with Cisco's broad portfolio of networking, security, hyperconverged and infrastructure solutions.
"From the Cisco side, our HyperFlex hyperconverged platform, we'll be adding Kubernetes to support this solution. But we're really bringing our entire portfolio to play," said Compton, in an interview with CRN USA.
"We're going to be enable customers to define policy on the networking side that span the on-premise and Google public cloud environment. Likewise on security."
The solution's hyperconverged platform supports existing application and cloud-native Kubernetes environments. It also leverages Google's Apigee enterprise-class API management, which enables legacy workloads running on premises to connect to the cloud through APIs.
Enterprise app developers can securely access cloud APIs, and cloud developers can securely access enterprise APIs and on-premises resources.
Compton said Cisco was planning a "full set" of partner enablement and incentives around the solutions when it becomes available in 2018.
"As we transition to more and more software revenue, and more and more software systems sales, it opens up an opportunity for our partners to leverage the APIs and the extensibility of software to create unique solutions and add a lot more value to our customers," said Compton.
"I expect a lot of partners will build solutions around this and will use the extensibility to add value and bring their own unique value proposition to their customers on top of and around the Cisco technologies."
The Cisco and Google Cloud solution is available to a limited number of customers during the first part of 2018, with general availability in the second half of the year.
"Our partnership with Google gives our customers the very best cloud has to offer – cloud speed and scale, coupled with enterprise-class security and support," said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, in a statement.
"We share a common vision for a hybrid cloud world that delivers the speed of innovation in an open and secure environment to bring the right solutions to our customers."
Cisco has been aggressively pushing partners to sell more cloud. Last month, the network leader unveiled a new go-to-market strategy, Cisco's Hybrid Cloud Sales Play, aimed at clarifying how the channel should approach and sell hybrid cloud.
The networking giant already has strategic partnerships with AWS and Microsoft Azure, including an Azure Stack offering as well as being sold the AWS Marketplace.
In August, the networking giant announced that it was beginning field trials to integrate ACI with the three public cloud infrastructure leaders – AWS, Azure and Google – to make it easy to manage hybrid networks.
"It's pretty clear that's it's a multi-cloud world. So you'll see us meeting our customer needs across a variety of clouds," said Compton.
"That said, we're pretty excited about this Google solution – it is open, it's flexible… Every enterprise is looking for hybrid cloud capability, and we think this will be the most flexible and open solution on the market. That's very strong for partners."