Included on the list are Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), the Nexus line of switches, Intercloud, and the Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) — and, on Microsoft’s side, Cloud OS and Microsoft Azure. Cisco will also contribute technologies developed with other Cisco partners, such as the FlexPod compute/networking/storage aggregations created with NetApp.
ACI and Cisco’s Intercloud fabric won’t be part of that integration at first. Cisco’s release says they’ll be incorporated later. In the case of ACI, that makes sense, considering the complete technology — Cisco’s answer to software-defined networking (SDN) — won’t even be available until later this summer.
On the marketing and sales side, the partnership will concentrate on six countries during its first year — the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, and Australia — and will expand to others in the following two years. As part of the agreement, Cisco and Microsoft will also launch a program directed on the movement of Windows 2003 users to Windows 2012 R2 running on Cisco’s UCS.
Of course, Cisco and Microsoft have a long history of working together. As noted in a blog from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last fall (back when he was executive vice president of cloud and enterprise), Cisco and Microsoft had already moved to bring together Microsoft’s Cloud OS and Cisco’s ACI.
The use of Cisco’s foundational technologies is optimal for the Microsoft Windows Server workloads of SDL, SharePoint, Exchange, and cloud, writes Jim McHugh, a Cisco vice president of marketing, on Cisco’s corporate blog. Deeper technology integration between the two could set the stage for a larger portfolio of integrated products to keep data centers current and modernized, he writes.