Checking in with Cisco’s Metacloud

Last year Cisco bought Metacloud to create an OpenStack Private Cloud division

Cisco OpenStack private cloud Metacloud

Like almost every technology vendor out there, Cisco is looking to build up its cloud story.

A key part of that strategy last year was the acquisition of Metacloud, a company that specializes in offering OpenStack-based private clouds. I sat down with Metacloud’s chief strategy officer, Scott Sanchez recently to catch up on how the effort is going.

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There’s a big difference between Metacloud and many other private cloud offerings on the market: Cisco will manage your private cloud for you. The controller hardware – which is made up of a couple Cisco UCS Servers, an ASR router and a Nexus 9000 switch – sits in customer data centers, but is managed remotely by the Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud Team. In fact, Cisco centrally manages all of the Metacloud private clouds.

The idea is to give an experience like Amazon Web Services’ public cloud, where the company manages all of the software required for the cloud. But the hardware sits on customers’ premises. Beyond the controller hardware, customers can use their existing infrastructure for the scale-out capacity of the private cloud, or they can use additional Cisco UCS servers, or white-boxes. When developers need a virtual machine or extra storage, they spin it up from Metacloud. The Cisco team is constantly rolling out updates to the cloud software, which is based on OpenStack, to add new features.

It’s not an entirely unique approach in the market: IBM recently bought OpenStack vendor BlueBox which has a similar model that it dubs private cloud as a service. Newcomer to the market Platform9 has a similar remote-management private cloud offering. It’s in stark comparison to a private cloud offering from VMware, which provides management tools for customers to spin up and manage their own private clouds.

The eventual goal is for Cisco to connect these Metaclouds with other cloud offerings on the Cisco Intercloud – the company’s effort to build up a series of connected public cloud offerings on the market. There are integrations for customers to link Metacloud with AWS or Microsoft Azure too.

Expect to see more advances from Metacloud and Intercloud moving forward – it seems to be an area Cisco is committed to under the new leadership of CEO Chuck Robbins.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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