As service providers strive to provide choices to their customers, we have made great progress in providing them with new ways to deliver cloud services. We’re helping them intelligently address all cloud opportunities with a portfolio of cloud solutions that meet customer requirements – for all types of cloud delivery models. That is why we are bringing the next level of simplicity, choice and value to our service provider cloud partners by partnering with Microsoft to deliver a next generation cloud architecture – the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform.

This new cloud architecture for scale-up enterprise workloads and applications is designed to enable service providers to easily offer IaaS/PaaS and SaaS in a single platform with a life-cycle approach to service delivery and policy management. Most importantly, it allows service providers to lower the cost of delivering the traditional applications and services that comprise the bulk of their cloud business today, while they also invest in cloud native capability for the future.

There are three key areas where service providers will benefit most from next-generation cloud architecture: a lifecycle approach to policy management, operational simplicity, and joint go-to-market:

Lifecycle approach to policy management

Cisco and Microsoft are also taking the concept of jointly engineered secure cloud to the next level by integrating the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) directly into Windows Azure Pack (WAP). This new concept is designed to enable service providers to deploy new services and applications with much greater speed, because the application and infrastructure policies will be pre-configured and in an application policy library in WAP. We will also be working closely with Microsoft and the ISV community to add apps and services to this library, and to maintain these policies as elements evolve, delivering lifecycle application to infrastructure integration to the partners who invest in this new architecture.

MSFT & Intercloud

Fundamentally, Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a multi-vendor software defined networking (SDN) capability that dramatically simplifies provisioning, configuration and management of applications in a new operating model. It also unifies the physical and virtual infrastructure and dynamically implements security and policy across all elements on a workload basis. By implementing this capability in the platform tool, we will give service providers the ability to deploy new apps and services at DevOps speed, with lifecycle support from Cisco, Microsoft and other ISVs that participate with us.

Operational simplicity

The Cisco Cloud Architecture is based on deep joint engineering between Cisco and Microsoft. We started by writing hooks between our industry-leading Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform and Microsoft’s System Center 2012 RS unified management platform, enabling programmatic control of the server and network infrastructure through System Center. Microsoft’s PowerShell tools also enable rapid data center deployment, tenant set up, visibility, recovery and backup capabilities for partners that want to use Cisco and Microsoft together to deliver cloud solutions. The result of our joint engineering work enables operational simplicity and control via streamlined integration between Microsoft System Center and our Cisco UCS server platform.

Joint go-to-market

Service providers that build their networks with the reference architectures will be eligible to participate in the Cisco Powered and Microsoft Cloud OS Network programs and will be able to leverage comprehensive go-to-market support from both companies. Cisco Powered cloud providers are also an integral element of our Intercloud strategy, providing the local cloud capability necessary to meet government and industry certification requirements, while addressing data sovereignty and residency needs.

One of the most exciting aspects of this joint initiative with Microsoft is the initial response from our mutual customers. For instance, US-based cloud hosting provider Concerto Cloud Services is utilizing the new cloud architecture to accelerate their journey to hybrid cloud. Greg Pierce, Vice President at Concerto explains how the company is using the integrated solution: “The Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud platform was instrumental in helping us be first to market with a hybrid cloud that features seamless integration between our virtual private cloud and Microsoft Azure. Cisco’s rock solid infrastructure enables us to effectively offer customers near real-time redundancy, a wide array of compliance and superior performance.”

In summary, Cisco and Microsoft are delivering a truly unique solution to market. The deep engineering integration between Cisco and Microsoft – together with consumption-based licensing – will enable our mutual service provider partners to broker and deliver a wider array of services faster and manage them all from a single pane of glass. Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform delivers the economics, security, and performance required in the competitive cloud market today.

For more information, explore our press release and Nick Earle’s blog.

Please tweet us @CiscoSP360 for questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.


Kit Beall

Vice President

Cloud and Business Services