Cisco Expands InterCloud, ACI Efforts

There are lot of things changing at Cisco this year, with a new incoming CEO and a management shakeup of the upper ranks. When it comes to Cisco’s core switching, routing, and even cloud efforts, though, shakeups are not happening. Instead, Cisco is now expanding on initiatives that it has already been talking about it for over a year.

On the cloud front, Cisco is expanding its InterCloud effort, which was first announced as a simple gateway in January of 2014 but evolved by March to be the branded term for a $1 billion federated cloud effort. By September of 2014, Cisco was claiming that there were 26 providers all linked into the InterCloud effort providing federated cloud services.

Now Cisco is opening up the InterCloud further with the InterCloud Marketplace, which is somewhat akin to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) marketplace in some ways. The InterCloud Marketplace, however, is different in at least one critical way, according to Faiyaz Shahpurwala, SVP, Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services, Industry Solutions at Cisco Systems. Shahpurwala emphasized that there won’t be thousands of vendors in the InterCloud marketplace and that Cisco will be selective about the technologies available.

While Cisco itself is a strong backer and contributor to the open source OpenStack cloud platform, InterCloud now has support for Microsoft Azure and Amazon as well as OpenStack.

One of the primary criticisms leveled against the InterCloud approach is that traditional server virtualization forms of workload mobility are not enabled. For example, a VMware vMotion activity where a workload moves seamless from one virtual server to another is not something that works on the InterCloud fabric.

“We don’t need vMotion. In a scale-up VMware infrastructure where applications are reliant on the underlying hardware feature, then you’re screwed if you don’t have vMotion,” Shahpurwala said. “In the cloud-scale world that is disaggregated from the hardware layer, you don’t have to move the workload when you design for scale-out.”

On Cisco’s switching business, Cisco is adding new Nexus 3200 top-of-rack switches to the portfolio with the Nexus 3232C, which has 128 ports of 25Gb or 32 ports of 100Gb, and the new Nexus 3264Q, which provides 64 ports of 40Gb.

For the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) model that Cisco is promoting, there is now a stretch fabric support over DWDM that can enable ACI to run across the data center at up to 150 kilometers in distance. Cisco has been a leading proponent in the DWDM (Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) space for many years. Back in 2008, Cisco first enabled 40G optical transport running the OC-768 protocol to be transported up to 2,000 kilometers.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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