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Local partners primed as Cisco and Google take hybrid cloud to market

Local partners primed as Cisco and Google take hybrid cloud to market

Local channel already building strategies designed to help customers maximise hybrid cloud investments

Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017

Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017

Partners across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) are preparing to capitalise on increased demand for hybrid cloud solutions, leveraging an alliance agreement between Cisco and Google Cloud.

Revealed by ARN in October 2017, terms of the deal will see the creation of an offering capable of enabling applications and services to be deployed, managed and secured across on-premises environments and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

With such an offering now in the final stages of deployment, the local channel is already building strategies designed to help customers maximise investments through hybrid cloud solutions.

“We are currently working on creating proof of concepts for customers looking to harness the power of both Cisco and Google Cloud technologies,” Oreta managing director, Sachin Verma, told ARN.

“We are actively working with both vendors in one capacity to ensure we are ready to take advantage of this offering locally.”

Speaking to ARN on the ground at Cisco Live in Melbourne, Verma said that while the offering is still in the early stages of deployment, conversations are already underway technically, among vendors, partners and customers.

“We’re already looking at reference architecture but it’s one thing to announce this solution on stage, the key is how this offering will play out on the ground,” he added. “We are currently exploring the how part of the equation now, to ensure our customers can leverage this technology sooner than later.”

Following a large-scale engineering effort by both vendors, the project - internally labelled Goodzilla - will be joined together by Kubernetes and Istio technologies.

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.

“We see this as a very forward-thinking partnership between Cisco and Google Cloud,” Verma added. “The combined offering provides scale from an enterprise perspective, backed up by a brand such as Google, who are leading-edge players in terms of containerisation.

“Customers can now be as hybrid as they want to be, removing pressure for businesses as a result. Whether you are 20 per cent cloud native or 60 per cent cloud native, it’s irrelevant. There’s no need to have that conversation any more.”

Channel value

From a partner perspective, Verma said the combination of two titans of industry represents the coming together of two contrasting sets of capabilities, creating a solid go-to-market strategy for the channel in the process.

Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017
Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017

“The Cisco brand is very strong within the enterprise space, alongside networking and private cloud markets,” Verma added. “Through joining hands with Google Cloud, this represents a true hybrid cloud play in that both are coming with open arms to create open platforms. This provides a real hybrid choice for customers.

“Hybrid is an over-used word in the market but for us, the true definition is when a physical giant such as Cisco joins forces with the founder of Kubernetes in Google. Google’s container expertise is a country mile ahead of the closest competitor in the market.”

Oreta - which signed up as a Google Cloud partner in August 2017 - joined the new-look network in two forms, as a GCP partner and also a reseller.

The move places pressure on market incumbents Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, as the tech giant acts on local market momentum following the launch of GCP in June 2017.

“Google Cloud is the third horse in the race from a cloud perspective,” Verma acknowledged. “We all know that because that’s where the market is at today. But they are not fighting the same fight as AWS or Azure, they are focusing on the cloud native opportunities available.

“Where Google Cloud is coming from represents an even bigger ecosystem and the potential to capitalise is strong. They might be a third horse in the race but the pace and the track this horse is running on is very different.”

Google Cloud

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 are critical to drive customer success,” Google Cloud country head of A/NZ, Colin Timm, told ARN. “I’m excited to collaborate with Cisco to help our customers move to the cloud, at their own pace and on their own terms.

“We’re working with Cisco to give their customers a simplified and defined journey to the cloud while reducing the risk.”

Specifically, Timm - who assumed the leadership role locally in September 2017 - said the combined solution will offer an “open and extensible” architecture based on Google Container Engine (GKE), backed up by Cisco networking and data centre technologies within a hybrid environment.

“This partnership enables developers to maintain agility and take advantage of GCP tools and advanced services, like machine learning and scalable databases, for building modern applications in an open, secure hybrid environment,” Timm explained.

From a technology perspective, the combined solution is further enhanced by open source capabilities through Kubernetes and Istio, designed to bridge existing investments through cloud services.

Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017
Google Cloud and Cisco unveiled hybrid cloud alliance in late 2017

Delving deeper, Timm said Google’s Apigee enterprise-class API management enables legacy workloads running on premises to connect to the cloud through APIs.

Read more: Software investment increases as NZ tech spend nudges $12B

“This collaboration offers an option beyond ‘lift and shift’, allowing customers to leverage their existing investments,” Timm added. “It’s open, secure and driven by our leadership in cloud infrastructure, networking and security.

“It allows us to meet customers where they are now and giving them a path to the cloud by enabling them to build modern, container-based apps. Customers want to control where and how their workloads run, and the way forward is preserving customer choice through open source solutions.”

Cisco

In support of the partnership, DevNet – Cisco's Developer Network – will also offer a set of tools for enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) developers to explore open source technologies, build hybrid cloud solutions, and further develop IoT opportunities.

The Cisco DevNet Sandbox provides access to hardware and software developer environments at no cost.

“We have customers in early beta stages currently,” Cisco director of data centre and cloud A/NZ, Rodney Hamill, told ARN. “There’s an engineering effort underway locally, as well as increased activity on the go-to-market side.

“It’s still early days but interest is ramping up as customers begin to assess which direction they are going to pursue. The concept of multi-cloud continues to spark interest and discussions with CIO, with the Kubernetes aspect a real differentiator in the market.”

From a Cisco standpoint, the partnership comes as the tech giant continues to pivot away from traditional markets, in an attempt to reinvent itself as a software and cloud vendor.

“As a channel-only business, we only transact through our partners,” Hamill added. “If we’re taking any offering to market built on joint technologies, that offering goes through the channel.

“This ensures partners receive access to new technologies and rapid joint development plans between alliance vendors, removing the need to piece together solutions themselves.

“Google Cloud continues to build out a very strong channel locally with a number of experienced hires, and we believe this agreement will help drive greater coverage across the enterprise.

“There’s genuine excitement about this partnership in the channel. We’re active in other clouds and marketplaces but this agreement represents a joint engineering effort and a deep focus on HyperFlex.

"The channel is starting to see the architectural approach that Cisco has always been strong at starting to resonate among customers.”

James Henderson attended Cisco Live as a guest of Cisco.


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