Cisco and Google have elaborated on plans to create a multi-cloud world for customers, placing future market success on the shoulders of partners.
As the dust settles on a potentially industry-defining deal, the onus is now on the channel to help customers maximise investments through hybrid cloud solutions.
Representing a bridge of two technological worlds, terms of the alliance will see the creation of an offering that enables applications and services to be deployed, managed and secured across on-premises environments and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Consequently, partners are well placed to capitalise through application development, multi-cloud offerings and consultancy services, backed up by flexible packaging and consumption models.
“We are counting on the channel,” said Diane Greene, CEO, Google Cloud, when addressing partners during the opening keynote of Cisco Partner Summit 2017 in Dallas. “Customers need help modernising their applications, and there’s a role for partners to provide solutions and help businesses navigate through this change.
“We will be providing training and extra materials but the partners are in the driving seat. If you’re doing something great for customers then as a partner, you’re going to win. Our success is completely tied to the success of the channel.”
Since announcing the alliance in late October, Greene said early market feedback has been encouraging from partners, as the channel attempts to answer key customer questions in the context of cloud.
“How do you think about moving to the cloud?” Greene asked. “How do you do it at your own pace? How do you think about modernising your applications?
“It’s so simple and powerful what we are doing. We’re allowing businesses to participate in network platforms where they can develop modern apps and have it run anywhere and automatically receive scaling, performance and security.
“It’s a simple solution to a very complex problem.”
In short, the offering provides enterprise customers with a way to run, secure and monitor workloads, alongside a platform to develop new applications in the cloud or on-premises.
The project - internally labelled Goodzilla - will be joined together by Kubernetes and Istio technologies, and follows a year of discussions between the tech giants.
“Cisco is an iconic technology company and this represents a natural fit for us in the market,” Greene added. “We’re operating in a complex world but we can’t do it alone.
“Partnering with Cisco offers the whole breadth of management and security, and feedback from our engineering teams has been positive.
“Our engineers are really connecting and that’s when you know you have real substance and a real solution for the customer. It’s open source which is what engineers like because everyone has access to the code.”
Designed to lead partners to profitability in the cloud, the hybrid cloud play represents new opportunities for a channel in a market where over 90 per cent of enterprise-scale organisations plan to make use of multiple clouds in the next several years.
“Partners will be able to use Cisco’s four multi-cloud offers to lead customers down their multi-cloud journey, according to their speed and individual needs,” Cisco vice president of worldwide channels Ken Trombetta explained.
Specific to packaging and consumption models, Trombetta said partners will be able to “mix-and-match” a number of Cisco and Google assets encompassing software, hardware and services to sell to customers.
Furthermore, the Cisco software components will be licensed on an annual subscription basis, including one-, three- and five-year terms, with Google cloud services to be offered on a consumption basis.
Through utilising the vendor’s developer platform, the channel will also have access to an open, secure toolset for building and managing modern containerised applications in a multi-cloud environment.
“Your customers can leverage Kubernetes on both the Cisco private cloud deployment and Google Container Engine, Istio for micro-services management and security, and Google’s Apigee API gateway to access, design, secure and monitor legacy services and data on the private cloud,” Trombetta added.
From a software-defined perspective, the hybrid cloud solution is designed to extend network and security policies, alongside configurations and application monitoring on-premises and in cloud environments.
In addition, Trombetta said Cisco’s HyperFlex will provide a cloud-ready hyper-converged platform optimised for Kubernetes and container platform deployments.
“Cisco CloudCenter (formerly CliQr) allows customers to securely deploy and manage applications in the data centre, private clouds and public clouds,” Trombetta added.
“And our leading security portfolio, which includes Stealthwatch for advanced threat detection, provides the highest level of security available.
“This enables our customers to achieve faster time to value and gain the benefits of cloud in a secure, policy-enabled environment.”
Consequently, partners can now offer consulting services to help customers optimise application development, transformation and deployment as businesses adopt hybrid cloud.
In terms of enablement, Cisco is opening up support across the entire solution, while also working with Google to provide enablement on behalf of the customer.
“The benefit to our customers is joint support and ultimately peace of mind,” Trombetta said. “Cisco’s extensive ecosystem of partners like you will help customers on their cloud journey, wherever they are.”
James Henderson attended Cisco Partner Summit 2017 as a guest of Cisco.