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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Metacloud Adds Versatility and Strength to Cisco’s InterCloud

Among the best promises of the cloud are flexibility in workload deployment and efficient, scalable orchestration of deployments regardless of location or underlying infrastructure. 

Cisco’s acquisition of Metacloud for integration into its InterCloud portfolio is an important step toward the InterCloud realizing these promises. Metacloud adds versatility and strength to the InterCloud service offering in at least three ways:

1. Metacloud’s innovative OpenStack as a Service solution allows businesses to deploy private clouds using OpenStack software without needing to invest in developing in-house OpenStack expertise (because their cloud is managed by Metacloud as a service).  This is a very powerful way to open up use of OpenStack software in business private clouds for companies that have not been ready to make that commitment to date. Although OpenStack is very appealing as a service delivery environment because of its rich open source community of technical contributors, it is still relatively young in terms of delivery packaging and integration options for adopters who do not have the resources to develop that expertise. Making the OpenStack environment available on an efficiently managed basis by Metacloud as the manager takes the sting out of adopting OpenStack for many businesses and allows them to concentrate fully on implementing the applications they’re interested in on a powerful open software base.

2. OpenStack as a Service, now from the InterCloud, can be deployed on top of infrastructures other than Cisco’s, in addition to being deployable on Cisco infrastructure systems (such as UCS and Nexus). This opens up access to the InterCloud ecosystem for customers without having to meet the criterion of running on Cisco underlying hardware in every case. In its truest sense, that is a crucial criterion for a serious cloud computing framework to meet: by being able to instantiate virtual compute, network, storage, and related applications in a truly open software environment without regard to specific underlying hardware implementations (other than that they integrate successfully into the OpenStack software framework) the flexibility of adoption paths available to customers for engaging with the InterCloud ecosystem of operators and application suppliers is multiplied by an order of magnitude. It doesn’t prevent the use of parallel ACI-based Cisco infrastructure systems. Rather, it opens up the option of using additional infrastructure environments quickly and efficiently by introducing the managed OpenStack as a Service framework.

3. By bringing a managed OpenStack solution to its InterCloud portfolio in support of private clouds, Cisco is laying the groundwork for extending the InterCloud’s services based on OpenStack to include hybrid and public services leveraging the OpenStack technology base. Making this additional implementation option available to end customers significantly enhances the versatility and appeal of the ecosystem it is developing. 

Time will tell how seamless and robust the OpenStack additions to the InterCloud portfolio will be. Customers will decide. However, if one were looking for signs that the InterCloud fabric might have the versatility and flexibility in deployment options the cloud computing community so highly values, the Metacloud acquisition would appear to be a compelling signal heading in that direction.

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Paul Parker-Johnson

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