Cisco Looks To Boost Intercloud Efforts With Metacloud Acquisition

Cisco Systems is set to acquire Metacloud, a provider of OpenStack-based private clouds, in a move designed to fuel the networking giant's global Intercloud push.

Financial terms of the deal, revealed Wednesday by both companies, were not disclosed.

Pasadena, Calif.-based Metacloud is a provider of OpenStack-based private clouds-as-a-service. The company, founded in 2011, says it provides users with the full public cloud experience -- complete with self-service capabilities, OpenStack APIs and integrated developer tools -- but with the security and control of a private environment.

Related: Cisco On The Intercloud Opportunity: 'We Have Created A Tornado'

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Metacloud operates its private clouds in either its own hosting facilities or customers' data centers. The company is an active member of the OpenStack community and is considered one of the top 20 contributors to the open-source cloud project, according to the OpenStack website.

Cisco's plans to acquire Metacloud come just days after rival Hewlett-Packard revealed its own plans to acquire Eucalyptus, a provider of open-source software for building private clouds.

Cisco said it will use the Metacloud technology to create hybrid cloud environments, combining service provider public cloud deployments with remotely managed OpenStack private clouds, as part of its Intercloud strategy. Metacloud's private clouds, Cisco said, also will arm customers with a more seamless "on-ramp" to Intercloud.

"Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers -- right now," wrote Hilton Romanski, senior vice president and head of business development at Cisco, in a blog post Wednesday. "Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud."

Unveiled in March, Cisco's vision for Intercloud is to create a global network of connected public, private and hybrid clouds. Cisco itself is building a network of data centers to host cloud services including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and will also host these services in partner-owned data centers -- or what it calls InterCloud "nodes" -- that use Cisco gear.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company already has signed on Intercloud hosting partners Telstra and systems integration giant Dimension Data.

Cisco has also created a new cloud business unit dedicated to its Intercloud efforts, which is headed up by Nick Earle, Cisco's senior vice president, Cloud Sales and Go To Market.

Cisco's longtime channel chief, Edison Peres, also has transitioned into the new cloud unit. Heading up Cisco's Cloud and Managed Services Organization and reporting into Earle, Peres is responsible for Intercloud channel enablement and recruitment.

Peres' move was largely welcomed by solution providers, who took the change as a sign of Cisco's commitment to making Intercloud a channel-friendly play. Still, some Cisco partners say that, while the vision for Intercloud seems sound, the timing and execution of Cisco's Intercloud strategy are still not entirely clear.

"What we feel is that Cisco, to some degree, is asking us to stand at the roulette wheel and watch the marble keep landing on AWS [Amazon Web Services] over and over again, and not make that bet," said an executive from one Cisco Gold partner, who asked not to be named. "So we are putting bets out there and, eventually, when Intercloud comes to market, we will put bets on that, too. But we can't sit here holding our chips waiting for Intercloud to come."

Cisco said the Metacloud team will become part of its cloud services portfolio, falling under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president of Cisco's Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services Organization.

The deal is expected to close by the end of Cisco's first fiscal quarter.