10 Things You Need To Know About Cisco's New Google Cloud Partnership

A Cisco Enterprise Public Cloud Game Changer

Cisco Wednesday teamed up with enterprise powerhouse Google in a wide-ranging deal that provides the networking giant with a seamless bridge to next-generation public cloud technologies including the coveted Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

"This is a solution that brings the best of cloud technologies into the enterprise context, making it easier for enterprises to consume those technologies and giving them a seamless environment between their on-premise private cloud environment and Google Cloud platform," said Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's Cloud Platform and Solutions Group, in an interview with CRN.

Here are ten things that you need to know about the partnership, technology and licensing strategy.

Why Now?

Cisco has been aggressively pushing partners to sell more cloud this year. Last month, the network leader unveiled a new go-to-market strategy, Cisco's Hybrid Cloud Sales Play, aimed at clarifying how the channel should approach and sell hybrid cloud.

The Google partnership announcement comes the same week the networking giant unveiled its plans to acquire unified communications specialist BroadSoft for $1.9 billion as part of its continued software blitz, as well as the purchase of machine learning startup Perspica. These three massive Cisco announcements come just one week before Cisco Partner Summit 2017 in Dallas, Texas, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

CEO's Weigh-in

Regarding the partnership, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said, "Google gives our customers the very best cloud has to offer – cloud speed and scale, coupled with enterprise-class security and support. We share a common vision for a hybrid cloud world that delivers the speed of innovation in an open and secure environment to bring the right solutions to our customers."

Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud said the deal, "enables developers and IT departments to seamlessly take advantage of the most open, secure tools for building modern applications in a hybrid environment."


The joint Cisco-Google solution will include a number of components including hardware, software and cloud-based services that can be purchase together or separately. Cisco software components will be licensed on an annual subscription basis that include one, three and five-year terms, according to the Cisco.

For Google Cloud services, customers can purchase them directly through Google or via partners, said Google. The solution will be available in several pay-as-you-go models for services. Developer kits will be available for the solution next year.


The massive Cisco Google enterprise cloud integration will not be made widely available until the second half of 2018.

Cisco's Compton, however, told CRN that the two companies are already working with a very limited number of customers.

The long road to product integration is not unusual for Cisco. When Cisco its announced blockbuster deal with Apple two years ago to integrate Apple iPhones and iPads with Cisco enterprise collaboration products the companies provided no time frame on product integration.

The Solution

The Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid cloud offering opens the door for developers to combine emerging Google Cloud services with Cisco on-premises networking, hyper-converged, and security offerings. The two powerhouses are working on a complete solution to develop, run, secure and monitor workloads that enable customers to optimize their existing investments, plan their cloud migration at their own pace and avoid lock-in, said Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud, in a blog post on Wednesday.

"What Cisco is doing is they're saying, 'With this Google Cloud partnership, what if we allowed the CIO the ability to have a Cisco hardware stack running capabilities that are available on Google Cloud, on-premise, which is essentially a bridge to the Google Cloud,' said Faisal Bhutto, vice president of enterprise networking, cloud and cybersecurity for Computex Technology Solutions, a top Cisco partner.

Kubernetes And Istio

At the center of the new solution is the open-source platforms Kubernetes and Istio. Cisco and Google aim to deliver a consistent Kubernetes environment for both on-premises Cisco private cloud infrastructure and Google's managed Kubernetes service Google Container Engine.

Customers will be able to accelerate on-premises app modernization using this Kubernetes-based container strategy that's consistent with cloud-native technology. "This way, you can write once, deploy anywhere and avoid cloud lock-in, with your choice of management, software, hypervisor and operating system," said Google's Boden.

Kubernetes is the widely accepted Google open source standard for container orchestration and management stemming from Google's internal Borg container scheduling system.

Istio is an open source, container and microservice technology where developers can use policy-driven controls to connect, secure, discover and manage services.


Cisco's hyper-converged infrastructure platform HyperFlex Systems will provide a cloud-ready solution for Kubernetes and containers as well as management tools to enforce security and consumption policies. Hyperflex supports existing and cloud-native Kubernetes environments.

"From the Cisco side with our HyperFlex hyper-converged platform we'll be adding Kubernetes to support this solution. said Cisco's Compton

The network leader unveiled Hyperflex in March 2016, pitching it as a more economical and better-performing alternative to Nutanix and other hyper-converged startups. Cisco revamped the solution a year later with the launch of HyperFlex 2.5. In September, Cisco acquired hyper-converged software developer Springpath for $320 million in a move to bring the entire platform in-house.

Defining Network Policy In Public-Private Clouds

One of the biggest benefits of the wide ranging deal will be the ability to provide seamless real time networking and application monitoring from Cisco's legacy on premise networking and applications to the Google Enterprise public cloud.

"We're going to be enable customers to define policy on the networking side that span the on-premise and Google public cloud environment," said Compton. "Likewise on security."

The hybrid solution will extend network policy and configurations to multiple on-premises and cloud environments, including orchestration and lifecycle management of resources, applications, and services.

Cisco will also its extend security policy and monitor applications in the solution. Using Cisco's multi-cloud management platform CloudCenter, partners will be able to deploy workloads across the hybrid environment.

API Management

The partnership leverages Google's Apigee enterprise-class API management, which enables legacy workloads running on premises to connect to the cloud through APIs. Enterprise app developers can securely access cloud APIs, and cloud developers can securely access enterprise APIs and on-premises resources.

"The solution will extend the reach of existing on-premises systems with services running on Google Cloud that communicate using modern APIs," said Google's Boden. "This approach helps enterprises get up and running in the cloud at their own pace while preserving the value in their existing on-premises investments."

Partner Enablement Ahead

Before diving into the details of the deal, Cisco told CRN that partner enablement and channel incentives for the solution are being built. Compton said Cisco is planning a "full set of partner enablement and incentives" around the partnership.

"I expect a lot of partners will build solutions around this and will use the extensibility to add value and bring their own unique value proposition to their customers on top of and around the Cisco technologies," said Compton. "As we transition to more and more software revenue, and more and more software systems sales, it opens up an opportunity for our partners to leverage the APIs and the extensibility of software to create unique solutions and add a lot more value to our customers."