Cisco to Follow the Open Road in Building Out its Intercloud

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 31, 2014

In late March, Cisco Systems announced that it plans to invest more than $1 billion to expand its cloud business in the next two years, including building an OpenStack-based Intercloud, described as a "network of clouds," with several partners. The Cisco global Intercloud is being built for the Internet of Everything, with real-time analytics, “near infinite” scalability and full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, according to the company.

While the issue didn't immediately draw attention, some observers are now taking note of the fact that Cisco has chosen to build its Intercloud around OpenStack instead of VMware, with which it already has a joint venture. It's actually one of the biggest endorsements of OpenStack yet.

As noted by Virtualization Review, Cisco is trying to build a truly open Intercloud, and VMware already has its own competing effort:

"Asked how Cisco's effort is different from that of VMware, which is also building a public cloud and enhancing it with local partners, [Fabio] Gori pointed out that Cisco's service supports any hypervisor. Gori emphasized Intercloud will be based on OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure platform that many cloud providers, including Rackspace, IBM, HP and numerous others, support. But there are key players like Microsoft, Amazon and Google that don't support it. Gori said Cisco can work around that by using the respective providers' APIs and offering its own programming interfaces for partners to deliver application-specific offerings."

 Also, Cisco has a very notable group of partners on the project, including Telstra, Allstream, Canopy, Ingram Micro, Logicalis Group, OnX, MicroStrategy, SunGard Availability Services and Wipro.

According to Cisco's announcement:

"The networked connection of people, data, processes and things, dubbed the Internet of Everything, is expected to be a $19 trillion economic opportunity in the coming decade.  The Internet of Everything movement, which is creating an entirely new set of requirements for globally distributed and highly secure clouds, has empowered Cisco and its partners to initiate the development of a massively scalable, flexible and highly secure Intercloud to deliver the mobile, collaborative and rich video cloud services that enable today’s new connected experiences."

OpenStack is the right platform for the Intercloud, and as Cisco builds it out, OpenStack itself is likely to get lots of meaningful contributions and enhancements. Cisco has made very clear that its existin arrangement with VMware only extends so far.