Cisco Systems is moving to one-up competing vendors in the burgeoning market for Kubernetes container technology with the introduction of a turnkey system designed to allow for deployment and management of containerized applications across public and private clouds.
Called the Cisco Container Platform, the system gives partners a clear path into lucrative application lifecycle management and other services sold on a recurring revenue basis, and as the platform expands, those opportunities will only grow, executives said.
"Partners love having choices of solutions so they can do real value-based selling," said Dave Cope, senior director, Cisco Cloud Platform and Solutions Group. "They don't have to walk in and try to shove any peg in a hole. They can listen to the customers, understand their needs and from Cisco provide a variety of solutions based on the maturity and needs of their customer."
"With this solution, you get an over-the-counter, enterprise-class solution with support from a single vendor on the corporate side to be able to provide a full-service solution for microservices and container management," said Scott Mohr, director data center and cloud for Cisco's global partner organization. "You're not getting that with any other vendor today. Some of our competitors have offerings with third-party cloud providers, but if you take a step back, the deep integration that Cisco brings to the table should really start to shine in an apples-to-apples comparison."
At the heart of the platform is its ability to stay with applications from birth through production in non-containerized functions like databases or other Platform-as-a-Service offerings.
"It's a new era, and it's all about choice," Cope said. "It's about the right placement for the right workload. Cisco's position is that we'll provide complete lifecycle management for existing apps and cloud-native apps across any combination of private or public clouds. This takes that to the next level, providing transparency and common experiences across different environments. Whatever your unique needs are relative to Kubernetes and containers, we have a solution for you. It's all about doing what's right for the business rationale, for the workload."
In that way, the platform gets Cisco and its partners into accounts with non-traditional IT buyers, where money is being spent on agile IT, application architecting and services while also helping traditional IT customers meet new requirements with a single solution, Mohr said.
For partners, that means expansion into larger professional services opportunities and the development of lifecycle services around containers, Mohr said, whether it's in pre-sales consulting, identifying applications that might be right for microservices, or container management.
Mohr said partners will get full proof-of-concept capabilities, training, mentoring, consulting and guidance around developing managed services practices around the Cisco Container Platform.
Ed Horley, vice president of engineering at Groupware Technology, a Campbell, Calif., solution provider that works with Cisco, said the Cisco Container Platform is both a good way for traditional VARs to get into next-generation technologies and for modern partners to capitalize on demand for containers.