Microsoft, Cisco Broaden Cloud Partnership

A new platform combines Microsoft's Azure Pack with devices from Cisco's ACI to target telecom carriers and cloud providers.
Windows At 30: Microsoft's OS Keeps Evolving
Windows At 30: Microsoft's OS Keeps Evolving
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Microsoft and Cisco are expanding their collaboration efforts that are focused on cloud computing and data centers, which will now include a new technology platform to accelerate service delivery and simplify the transition to Intercloud for cloud providers.

The two tech giants began a joint initiative in July 2014 to market their technologies to corporate data centers. In an extension of that partnership, they will jointly market their hybrid cloud offerings to telecom carriers, as well as other cloud providers.

Modern next-generation cloud services typically require compatibility among software, network, hardware, storage, and computing power. Cloud providers face the task of managing complex infrastructure integration and application layers when bringing new services to market.

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Microsoft and Cisco aim to address these concerns with a new joint technology platform, officially named the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform. It combines Microsoft's Windows Azure Pack with networking devices and servers from Cisco ACI to help cloud providers accelerate delivery of hybrid cloud services while cutting costs and simplifying operations.

According to the March 11 Cisco announcement, this initiative is intended to help cloud providers deliver offerings, such as disaster recovery and enterprise application services, at DevOps speed. Pre-packaged policy management libraries will help vendors focus less on implementation and more on growing their business.

Nick Earle, Cisco's senior vice president of cloud and managed services, calls the solution "a tightly integrated, application-centric cloud architecture" created in an effort to help partners offer higher-end cloud services. In combining different clouds and creating a hybrid model that can scale across clouds, Earle notes that Cisco and Microsoft are entering "phase two of cloud computing," reports ZDNet.

Ecosystem partners will be supported with a lifecycle go-to-market approach that will provide services such as service ideation and demand generation. Added support will help reduce up-front costs and lessen the risk associated with going to market, Cisco claims.

The news of its expanded agreement with Microsoft arrives at the same time that Cisco announces that 14 cloud providers are joining its Intercloud network, which aims to build the world's largest globally connected cloud network and create a marketplace of hybrid-ready cloud services. It now has a total of 60 participants and a footprint of more than 350 data centers in 50 countries.

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