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October 1, 2014

10 things you need to know about Cisco’s Intercloud ecosystem

Where the networking firm is investing its $1bn over the next two years.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Cisco is planning to invest $1bn over the next two years and add 30 partners to expand the reach of its Intecloud ecosystem globally.

CBR tells you 10 things you need to know about it.

What is Intercloud

Intercloud was first introduced in January when Cisco discussed the concept of the Intercloud router as a gateway to enable cloud interoperability. In March, the firm broadened the concept into a partner effort, welcoming numerous global partners including Allstream, Wipro, Canopy and Telstra.

From a technology perspective, Intercloud combines Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) enabled hardware, which provides a Software Defined Data Centre approach, with the open-source OpenStack cloud platform.

The network allows clients to combine and move workloads, including data and applications, across different public or private clouds as needed, all while helping them to comply with networking and security regulations.

30 global partners

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As of this week’s announcement, Cisco is adding 30 cloud service providers, including Deutsche Telekom, British Telecom, NTT DATA and Equinix, to the ecosystem. The partnerships add 250 data centre locations across 50 countries to the Cisco Intercloud.

By aligning with these companies, Cisco’s aim is for customers to move work done on their own private clouds to any of the 250 data centre facilities, and be able to switch between any of its Intercloud partners.

For example, Equinix is working with Cisco to develop a hosted private cloud system that would integrate with the Equinix Cloud Exchange across 16 markets. .

"The credit card processing could be done in a private cloud whose infrastructure is being managed by Cisco Metacloud OpenStack distribution, while the analytics processing could be occurring in a public cloud, such as AWS," said Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi.

"That creates a need to stitch the disparate underlying infrastructures into a seamless whole that can satisfy the performance and availability service level agreements (SLAs) and security and compliance policies of the applications."

Other new Intercloud partners include Adapt, ANS Group, CGI Group, Cirrity, CTI, Ethan Group, Infront Systems, LightEdge Solutions, LG CNS, Logicalis, Long View, Netelligent, NWN, OneNeck IT Solutions, OnX Managed Services, Peak 10, Presidio, Proxios, PT Portugal/Oi, Quest Media and Supplies, Steria, and Wipro.

$1bn funding

Cisco Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco, is providing $1bn in the hope that Cisco customers and partners can more quickly adopt the Cisco technologies required to transition to Cisco-enabled clouds.

Data protection regulations

The Intercloud is also meant to help companies comply with the regulations of countries regarding the information that moves within their borders.

Already, Deutsche Telekom is deploying Intercloud nodes into its data centres in Germany, which will be operated by the T-Systems division, to meet that country’s strict data protection standards.

BT is also leveraging the infrastructure to develop hybrid cloud services that connect with the Cisco Cloud. In a release, it said it allows customers "to meet national compliance and assurance requirements and to communicate and contract under the jurisdiction of the local law."

Cisco Hybrid Cloud bundles

To support new customers, Cisco has made available Hybrid Cloud bundles, which are packages of Cisco technologies including the Intercloud Fabric, ACI and other services designed to help end users. They will also help customers who are not yet using a private cloud get one.

Evolved Services Platform (ESP)

ESP is virtualisation and orchestration software that creates and automates services in real time across compute, storage and network functions. Cisco announced that the service now enables cloud providers to deliver security and cloud VPN business services to enterprises and small-to-midsize businesses.


Cisco has also teamed up with Linux vendor Red Hat to use software-defined networking (SDN) to make Docker and Linux containers a part of the Intercloud strategy.

2,000 employees

In August, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers said he had assigned 2,000 employees to the Intercloud scheme.

Internet of Things

Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of development and sales, said the Intercloud will add scale and security to the Internet of Things and other trends, such as big data and mobile computing.


The announcement comes as the cloud space becomes increasingly competitive. Research from IDC shows that the cloud services market is expected to reach $107bn in 2017. Over 2013 to 2017 period, the sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5%.

Earlier this week, Oracle introduced cloud computing products that claim to provide greater security and Microsoft recently added features to its cloud infrastructure. IBM also has its SmartCloud initiative, while VMware has its vCloud programme.

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