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Cisco Throws Down Multi-Cloud Gauntlet With Kubernetes Support For CloudCenter, AppDynamics

Solution providers have a huge opportunity to cash in on services as container adoption accelerates, Cisco executives say.

Recognizing that Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for container management, Cisco Systems has put together a cohesive offering it said will make customers more confident about adopting containers.

The company has brought Kubernetes support to the latest iteration of its CloudCenter and AppDynamics offerings. The San Jose, Calif.-based company said the arrangement means enterprise customers can easily deploy, monitor and optimize containerized applications in both private and public clouds.

Solution providers, Cisco executives said, have a huge opportunity to cash in on services as container adoption accelerates. Cisco is also taking the opportunity to position itself as the industry's largest cloud-agnostic vendor, they added.

[Related: 5 Things You Should Know About Cisco's Decision To Fold Spark Into Webex ]

"Everyone is looking for the 'Easy Button' solution," said Ryan Marsyla, strategic director of architecture at Irvine, Calif., solution provider Trace3. "Rather than learn how to build and orchestrate a container-based or Kubernetes-based environment to all clouds, it's much easier for them to take advantage of what the industry is providing, what partners are providing. Cisco has a platform for [the customer] to do this. Why would I want to build and discover all of this myself? They're doing the work for me."

"Partners are champing at the bit to work with us more," said Matt Chotin, senior director of technical evangelism at AppDynamics. "Partners can ensure the success of migrations. Are we achieving the results we expected to? Are we helping you as a business meet your goals? It's extra value not just to the end customers, but to the partner. You're able to be a neutral, goal-oriented partner."

The aim of Cisco CloudCenter 4.9 and AppDynamics for Kubernetes is to move enterprises closer to adopting containers in production, said Dave Cope, senior director of market development for CloudCenter. "CloudCenter and AppDynamics allows adoption Kubernetes with confidence," Cope said.

Enterprise customers, Marsyla said, are beginning to view containers as mainstream technology, and a Cisco offering is likely to bolster their confidence as containers are brought into production.

"They say, 'Well the industry seems settled, who's the partner who's going to take us that way and allow us to leverage this not just in a solution suite, but give us a more agnostic, multi-cloud or multi-provider way to run and maintain our container workloads?'" Marsyla said. "I see that with Cisco. This is a big deal for customers."

"Having a ready solution from somebody like Cisco means a lot of confidence," Marsyla said. "It's going to do what a lot of IT administrators have been asking, or C-levels from IT, have been asking: Get us into containers. It's not just about, 'Hey, I made an application on a container,' it's how do you run it in production and Cisco is bringing something that's going to be very attractive to help people get to running containers in production."

By bringing Kubernetes support to CloudCenter and AppDynamics, Cisco is attempting to bring seamless deployment, monitoring and modernization to containerized applications regardless of what combination of public and private clouds customers use.

It's "magical" how well CloudCenter and AppDynamics work together, Cope said, noting that they often worked together before each was acquired by Cisco. CloudCenter is the result of Cisco's 2016 acquisition of Cliqr. Cisco acquired AppDynamics the following year.

Now, Cisco is in an advantageous position regarding containers, especially considering its commitment to the multi-cloud environment, Cope said.

Bringing CloudCenter and AppDynamics to containers follows Cisco's introduction early this year of the Cisco Container Platform, a turnkey system designed to allow for the deployment and management of containerized applications across public and private clouds.

That system is intended to give Cisco partners a clear path to lucrative application life-cycle management and other services sold on a recurring revenue basis.

"Cisco is the largest IT vendor that doesn't have its own cloud," Cope said. "You can go with a private cloud, you can go to the public cloud. You can be a public cloud and stretch to execute on private cloud. Most other vendors have a vested interest in where your workloads go. That's not the way to do cloud. It's really about optimizing the logical placement of workloads based on business criteria and being able to place them where they belong," he said.

"We think Cisco has a unique opportunity to not only provide those capabilities, but tell that story, and it does resonate very well with customers. Whether you want to go to Azure, or VMware or IBM, we make that easy to do. We make it easy to manage and monitor on an ongoing basis," Cope said.

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