Cisco will sell cloud services using Dimension Data’s Managed Cloud Platform, including IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) and SaaS (software-as-a-service) offerings of Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint.
The services are available now through 10 Dimension data centres worldwide, which will expand to 13 by the end of September, according to Cisco.
The services coming through Dimension Data will be aimed at medium-sized enterprises and at smaller service providers that want to resell cloud services, especially in the developing world.
Intercloud is Cisco’s architecture for linking private and public infrastructure around the world into a single cloud. It will let enterprises and service providers host workloads anywhere and move them around based on regional needs and compliance requirements. Cisco is using Intercloud to offer its own services, backing away from earlier pledges not to compete with its service-provider customers, but is still counting on partners to bring their infrastructure to the party.
Australian carrier Telstra, a longtime Cisco customer, was the company’s first announced Intercloud partner. Dimension Data, a Cisco partner for 23 years, and parent NTT have now joined in.
Cisco’s platform for building hybrid clouds, and the foundation of Intercloud, is ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure).
This platform, Cisco’s entry into the SDN (software-defined networking) sweepstakes, is designed to simplify network provisioning, management and teardown, and make infrastructure more secure. It works in conjunction with Cisco-designed silicon on the recently introduced Nexus 9000 switch, but its benefits have also been extended to much of the older Cisco gear, including the Catalyst 6000 series and Integrated Services Routers, the company says.
Cisco has a lot riding on ACI, which was announced less than a year ago, and it may take a while to get its customers on board. Two IT engineers attending Cisco Live, both from large U.S. retailers, said they were just learning about ACI for the first time. The technologies they’re now looking to adopt – converged network-computing-storage platforms for one, and VoIP for the other – are far from the cutting edge of Cisco’s agenda. Cisco says it has 1,000 customers in the pipeline to adopt the Nexus 9000 and ACI.