Microsoft and Cisco have expanded on their cloud relationship to provide new services and hardware. Dubbed the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform (yes, that is a mouthful), it combines Windows Azure Pack and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) to help cloud providers deliver hybrid cloud services faster while simplifying operations and reducing costs.
The Platform will provide the foundation for cloud providers to move beyond traditional infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings to deliver infrastructure-, platform-, and software-as a-service with integrated management software.
The companies claim the combination of Windows Azure Pack and Cisco ACI will allow partners to deliver services at DevOps speed, reducing total cost of ownership and accelerating time-to-revenue. Cisco will offer pre-packaged policy management libraries so cloud providers can implement applications more quickly with consistent policy management.
In addition, Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 is integrated with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) Manager to provide the operational simplicity and control that cloud providers need to manage their growing business.
Finally, Cisco and Microsoft plan to support their ecosystem partners with a program designed to cover everything from service ideation and demand generation to customer retention. The program, Cisco Powered and Microsoft Cloud OS Network (COSN), is designed to help cloud providers deploying this new platform reduce up-front costs while minimizing the risk of going to market.
The new solution will support traditional enterprise applications as well as complement Cisco's OpenStack-based architectures for cloud-native workloads and provide seamless hybrid cloud capability for connecting to Intercloud and Azure. Cisco plans to publish the first reference architecture in April 2015.
Intercloud is Cisco's new cloud strategy for connecting enterprise systems to cloud IT services. It's designed for high-value workloads, real-time analytics, "near-infinite" scalability and compliance with local data sovereignty laws.
Along with the Microsoft news, Cisco announced 14 cloud providers today said they plan to join Cisco's Intercloud partner ecosystem, bringing the number of Intercloud providers to more than 60 providers with a footprint of more than 350 data centers across 50 countries.