Cisco Allies with Google on Kubernetes

Google and Cisco Systems today announced a strategic alliance in which the two companies will work closely to extend the reach of Google cloud services based on Kubernetes and other container technologies to on-premises environments based on Cisco infrastructure.

Fabio Gori, senior director of cloud solutions marketing for Cisco, says the first fruits of that alliance will show up in the early part of 2018 with general availability of solutions starting to appear in the second half of 2018. The goal is to eliminate all the friction that now exists between on-premises IT environments and public clouds, says Gori.

Under the terms of the agreement Cisco not only plans to deploy Kubernetes on Cisco converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), but it will also add support for Istio, a service mesh for networking containers that has been jointly developed by Google, IBM and Lyft, and Apigee, the application programming interface (API) management platform that Google acquired last year.

In addition, Gori says Cisco will extend its Cisco Cloud Center management software to add support for both Kubernetes and Istio. That platform is based on the hybrid cloud management software the company gained via the acquisition of CliQr last year; Cisco is now in the process of integrating Cloud Center with each of the management planes it developed for Cisco servers, switches and routers.

Gori says Cisco will make available instances of Kubernetes that run standalone on its servers and appliances in addition to implementations that will run in conjunction with VMware and Microsoft Windows stacks of software. Cisco, says Gori, is working toward a model in which it becomes easier for developers to create applications on a public cloud and deploy them on-premises. At the same time, IT organizations should be able to take advantage of Kubernetes running locally to lift and shift applications whenever necessary.

There still may be a need to refactor legacy applications when lifting and shifting them to the cloud. But over time it will become apparent that Kubernetes running on not only Google Cloud Platform but also Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will eliminate the artificial boundaries that exist today between on-premises IT environments and public clouds, says Gori.

As those boundaries dissipate, Gori says many IT organizations will need to re-evaluate their DevOps processes as microservices increasingly span both on-premises and public clouds. Today many IT organizations are managing multiple clouds in isolation; Kubernetes should enable IT organizations to start centralizing the management of multiple clouds via a single common management plane that Gori says Cisco expects to provide.

Rival Kubernetes platforms that span everything from Mesosphere and Docker Swarm to VMware and OpenStack have similar ambitions. In many cases, cloud service providers are supporting multiple platforms to generate as many workloads as possible. As such, IT organizations shouldn’t expect DevOps to become less complex anytime soon. But the availability of Kubernetes on multiple platforms does afford the opportunity to forge a path forward that allows many backend services to ultimately be rationalized.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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