Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Friday, November 16, 2018
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Cisco, Google Advance Hybrid Cloud Collaboration 

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Cisco Systems and Google have been collaborating over the past year to extend the Kubernetes container orchestrator to on-premises production platforms. Cisco's collaboration with Google Cloud was disclosed last fall as the partners sought to extend their hybrid cloud strategies.

This week, Cisco unveiled a container platform based on Google-developed Kubernetes that allows users to run applications in-house and in public clouds. The goal is to ease the deployment of container clusters based on native Kubernetes, Cisco said Wednesday (Jan. 31) during a company event in Barcelona, Spain.

The company (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the latest infrastructure vendor to embrace Google-developed Kubernetes, which has emerged as a de facto industry standard for managing container clusters. The collaboration with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) also illustrates how vendors like Cisco are focusing on the shift to multi-cloud infrastructure and the ability to run container-based applications in private and public clouds.

The new container offering runs on several deployment platforms, including Cisco's hyper-converged infrastructure released in 2016 as well as virtual machines and bare metal. Cisco also stressed that the ability to run container applications on-premises or in the cloud would help preserve existing IT infrastructure while extending tools to the cloud.

Among the goals is "simplifying the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters in a multi-cloud environment," said Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's cloud platform and solutions group.

"We have seen a natural distribution of existing applications, some that belong on-premises, and some that belong in public cloud," Compton added in a recent blog post. The challenge "is in getting those applications to all work together."

As more enterprises look for multi-platform support for emerging capabilities like Kubernetes along with lifecycle management of container clusters, Cisco said it turnkey platform addresses basic multi-cloud requirements. They include container orchestration, networking, load balancing and analytics. Meanwhile, it also emphasized persistent storage, a requirement that has overtaken container isolation as a security and governance feature.

The collaboration with Cisco also underscore how Google is using Kubernetes to attract new cloud partners as it seek to keep pace with public cloud leaders Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT). All three are keeping an eye on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which plans to spend as much as $10 billion over the next five years on new datacenter construction, a move that could shake up the public cloud market.

Eyal Manor, Google's vice president of engineering, stressed that Cisco's container platform "is optimized in collaboration with Google Cloud…." The partners also said they would unveil an integrated hybrid cloud platform later this year.

Cisco said its container platform would be available in April with software tailored to its HyperFlex 3.0 infrastructure. Meanwhile, container software supporting virtual machines, bare metal and public cloud deployments will be available by this summer.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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