Cisco 'Completes' Intercloud Ecosystem With New Application Developers Program

Cisco's Intercloud strategy just got a shot in the arm with the introduction of a new program for application developers.

At Cisco Live on Wednesday, executives revealed that 35 independent software vendors (ISVs) had been "hand-picked" to join the Intercloud partner ecosystem alongside cloud builders, resellers and providers with the addition of a new Intercloud Application Developers Program.

"So far it's been about the resellers, the service providers, the Intercloud builders, but we've not said anything about independent third-party application developers," said Nick Earle, senior vice president of global cloud and managed services sales, in an interview with CRN. "We're opening up our APIs on the network as part of our [software-defined networking] strategy, so we're basically making the underlying network programmable."

[Related: Cisco Blankets Security Across Entire Network]

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The first wave of ISVs will build cloud services for Intercloud to help customers capture the opportunities created by the emerging Internet-of-Everything (IoE) market -- Cisco's version of the Internet of Things.

Some notable, new Intercloud ISV partners include Apprenda, Citrix, Cloudify, Chef, Cloudera, MongoDB and F5 Networks. The ISVs are focusing on three key areas: "next generation" developer platforms, big data and analytics, and IoE cloud services.

For developer platforms, Cisco unveiled on Wednesday partnerships with commercial application development companies such as Docker and Apprenda, who will have access to the latest APIs and tools through Cisco's developer program DevNet. On the big data and analytics front, the networking giant is teaming with companies like MapR, HortonWorks, Cloudera and the Apache Hadoop community to provide a hybrid implementation of enterprise big data solutions, according to Earle.

The services will be available on the Intercloud Marketplace opening this fall. The online marketplace is a partner-centric global storefront for application consumption that brings customers and the channel together. Everything that runs on OpenStack will be available through the marketplace, said Earle.

"The marketplace is a shop window, so if you're an application provider you can sell more things," said Earle. "Partners need applications ... The 62,000 resellers that we have will see this as a huge opportunity because they can now either resell the components and retain margins, and/or work with end users to build solutions to take advantage of this business opportunity."

The introduction of application developers places the final piece of the puzzle down for Cisco's Intercloud Ecosystem, said Edison Peres, senior vice president of Cisco's Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization, in a blog post today.

"The No. 1 reason ISVs want to partner with Cisco? The partner ecosystem," wrote Peres. "As ISVs accelerate and drive cloud innovation, they want access to the Cisco partner channel ... We've deliberately built an ecosystem with partners that will work effectively together."

Other ISV partners include ActiveState, Basho, Cliqr, Cloud Enabled, CloudBerry Lab, CloudLink, Couchbase, Ctera, Datadog, Davra Networks, desktopsites Inc, Druva, Egnyte, ElasticBox, Hortonworks, Informatica, MapR, Moonwalk, Nirmata, Panzura, Pega, Platfora, ScaleArc, SkyTree, StoAmigo, Talisen and Zenoss.

In addition to the application developer news, Cisco unveiled its revamped Intercloud Fabric with new security capabilities, increased control across clouds and support for additional hypervisors.

Earle said Cisco is "simplifying" the hybrid cloud by taking the complexity out of environments with separate infrastructures, security requirements and hypervisors.

"The thing we're really trying to differentiate Intercloud Fabric on is the ability to have constant security and network policies as a single control plane so you can move applications between private clouds and public clouds or between different public clouds, therefore have a single operational model across all the clouds," said Earle. "To manage all cloud usage as if it was one big private cloud, that's what we're trying to do."

Dante Orsini, vice president of business development at iLand, said Cisco has been educating its customer base about Intercloud, but organizations haven't had the opportunity to embrace a Cisco-powered cloud through Intercloud until recently.

"The timing for all this news coming out is perfect because we're seeing the interest pick up and we're seeing the adoption start," said Orsini. "We've been talking about hybrid cloud for years. I think Cisco is looking to obviously stay ahead of the market because it's clearly on the minds of the customers in that upper midmarket, lower enterprise space where they got challenges, and realizing the world for them is not going to be a single cloud environment. One thing is paramount, is that these organizations need to maintain control and security over these environments, but also have flexibility to change their mind, so working with Cisco is giving them the ability to do that."

Earle said the company's Intercloud strategy is gaining traction in the market as more customers start to feel comfortable adopting and transitioning to the cloud.

"A partner can say, 'I use Intercloud Fabric, which means that as I build you this hybrid cloud environment, your security is going to be protected, your control, policy is going to be protected', so it allows partners to win business ... by solving the issues around security, policy and control and that is a really big fear for customers where they see this fragmentation of clouds, because they think, 'I'm not in control, I've lost control over my data, lost control over my security.' That's holding back cloud adoption," said Earle. "There's a tremendous amount of opportunity for our channel partners here."