Cisco grows cloud menu, brings Microsoft Azure Stack into UCS

Cisco integrates Microsoft Azure Stack into its Unified Computing System.

Cisco today said it would expand its hybrid cloud offerings by integrating Microsoft Azure Stack into its Unified Computing System.

The turnkey package, officially known as the Cisco Integrated Solution for Microsoft Azure Stack, grows Cisco’s Microsoft portfolio and let application developers and IT managers more easily deploy, manage and grow enterprise applications.

Azure Stack expands Cisco’s hybrid cloud offerings for customers who want the advantages of a single API for private and public cloud applications.

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“We can now offer customers a spectrum of choices, which includes Cisco Metapod and Cisco One Enterprise cloud suite for their hybrid cloud initiatives. Our Business Cloud Advisor will assist customers who have questions about the appropriate cloud strategy and we will add Azure Stack as one of these options when [the product is available in later this year],” Cisco stated.

Cisco currently offers its Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform package which is used to set up infrastructure, platform and software services. The package combines Microsoft's Windows Azure Pack, which is software for setting up cloud services, with Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure, a set of switches and supporting software.

Microsoft and Cisco have had a partnership since 2014 to develop products and services designed to “modernize data centers.”

Cisco says the new offering is targeted at customers who want the ability to develop applications using the same API’s locally as they would in Microsoft Azure will want to invest in this solution. Also, those who want to run Azure within their own datacenter should strongly consider Azure Stack. “We think customers that desire a complete Microsoft software stack from the operating system up to applications will select Azure Stack as their hybrid cloud of choice,” Cisco stated.

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So why would a customer run a cloud service offering in their own datacenter? Cisco stated: “Service Providers and hosting providers want to enable Azure Stack to host the workloads of end user clients and offer Azure Services to assist with Application development and deployment. Enterprise customers want to re-architect applications, taking advantage of Azure Services, to lower the time and cost to update and maintain them. They also want to be able to deploy these applications to geographies and industries where the customer is prohibited from placing data into a public cloud. It is this ability to deliver these new services that is most appealing.”

Rolled out in 2009, Cisco’s UCS is at its heart an (x86) architecture data center server platform composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric and management software.

The basic building block of the Cisco Azure package includes is the C240 M4L rack server and will be orderable in a 4-node or 12 node cluster. Cisco says it will also offer a 1-node additional node configuration that will enable a customer who may start with a 4-node cluster to scale in one node increments up to 12 total nodes in a cluster. A pair of Gen 3 Fabric Interconnects would complete the initial cluster configuration.

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Azure Stack is Microsoft’s Azure cloud package for data center development an includes Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Windows and storage support.

Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack is planned to be available in Q3 2017. The cost varies monthly depending on the number of server nodes and the number of Azure services that the customer uses, Cisco stated.

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