Cisco and Google joined forces on a hybrid cloud offering that, among other things, allows enterprises to deploy Kubernetes-based containers on premises and in Google Cloud Platform.
The two companies announced the partnership today, which gives Google a foothold in the enterprise data center as it struggles to pull market share from cloud services leader Amazon Web Services (AWS). The deal also gives Cisco a public cloud partner as its customers increasingly adopt multi-cloud computing environments.
Fabio Gori, director of worldwide cloud marketing at Cisco, said the new Cisco-Google hyrbrid cloud takes a “pretty different approach than what we’ve seen so far in hybrid cloud. What we’re doing is taking the best of the cloud world and making it available on premises.”
This includes Cisco’s networking and security, its private-cloud infrastructure and multi-cloud management, along with its enterprise sales and support. “Google brings exceptional leadership in cloud services, containers, development and methodology, and a very interesting API gateway called Apigee to fundamentally make existing solutions on-premises part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Gori said. “We’re going beyond lift and shift.”
But the Cisco-Google hybrid cloud will face tough competition from the likes of VMware and AWS, which earlier this year started giving customers the option of running their workloads in the public cloud using their VMware software stack. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger described this as the “ultimate hybrid solution” during his keynote at VMworld 2017.
Cisco-Google Hybrid Cloud Components
The Cisco-Google hybrid cloud is based on Kubernetes and Istio, another open source platform co-developed by Google that allows companies to manage and monitor microservices across public and private clouds.
On premises, Kubernetes will run on Cisco’s hyperconverged infrastructure, HyperFlex. The partners promise a “consistent Kubernetes environment” in both private data centers and Google’s managed Kubernetes service, Google Container Engine.
“This way, you can write once, deploy anywhere and avoid cloud lock-in, with your choice of management, software, hypervisor, and operating system,” wrote Nan Boden, head of global technology partners at Google Cloud in a blog post. “We’ll also provide a cloud service broker to connect on-premises workloads to Google Cloud Platform services for machine learning, scalable databases, and data warehousing.”
The hybrid cloud uses Cisco’s Stealthwatch product to monitor and secure public and private cloud workloads. CloudCenter, technology that Cisco acquired when it purchased CliQr in April 2016, provides cloud management and orchestration.
And Apigee, the application programming interface (API) management startup Google acquired in September 2016, will allow legacy workloads running on premises to connect to the cloud through APIs.
Gori said Cisco’s investments over the past 18 months, in both in-house technology and acquisitions, have made possible a “clear role for Cisco to be the enabler of this multi-cloud world. [Customers] want to connect to the cloud, they want to protect the cloud, and they want to consume the services efficiently.”
He admitted that cloud has been “a sort of a problem” for Cisco, but added “remember, it was the same with SDN [software-defined networking]. We can absolutely profit from the shift to the public cloud because we have incredible assets and software, and there’s a big software play in this. For us, it’s a complimentary motion and good synergy with our data center business. Customers can go to the cloud through their existing data center but also through cloud first.”
A limited number of customers will trial the hybrid cloud in early 2018. It’s planned for general availability in the second half of next year.