Cisco Extends InterCloud Vision with ACI

The Cisco InterCloud effort is growing today. It’s no longer just about cloud mobility. It’s now also integrated with ACI for policy, too.

Cisco has been talking about its InterCloud effort effort since the beginning of 2014. In March, Cisco upped the ante with the claim that it intends to invest $1 billion into an InterCloud services effort over the next two years.

During a keynote at the Cisco Live conference, Cisco President Rob Lloyd provided more depth and detail into InterCloud than ever before.

“The goal is to build a network-centric view of cloud,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd noted that InterCloud is one of two key building blocks in Cisco’s portfolio for enabling a new world of “Fast IT.” The other key building block is the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) that was first announced in June of 2013 as part of Cisco’s Insieme effort. Insieme was folded into Cisco in November of 2013, with the Application Policy Controller (APIC) technology as a core initiative.

Lloyd explained that by combining ACI with InterCloud, Cisco will be able to demonstrate what Software Defined Networking (SDN) can do at scale. He said during his keynote that it’s time to stop talking about SDN and is now time to deploy it globally.

Rob Lloyd

As part of his keynote, Lloyd announced the InterCloud Fabric, which he explained as somewhat like roaming in the mobile cellular world. For example, with the InterCloud Fabric, a cloud workload deployed with a VMware vSphere hypervisor host can move seamlessly to a cloud host running the Xen hypervisor.

The open-source OpenStack cloud platform is at the core of the InterCloud technology effort.

“We will be building this on OpenStack,” Lloyd said. “This is what OpenStack was meant to do.”

Layering ACI and its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) alongside the InterCloud is core part of Cisco’s overall strategy. Lloyd said that the goal is to have a common policy through the cloud, data center and the WAN.

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

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