Microsoft and Cisco offer a cloud-in-a-box

PCWorld News

Cisco and Microsoft have jointly created a software and hardware package designed to help cloud providers spin up new services more quickly.

The Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform was designed to streamline the process of setting up a cloud service by integrating Cisco hardware and software with Microsoft’s cloud and system software.

The package could be used to set up infrastructure, platform and software services. It has been designed to support enterprise applications in particular.

Cloud systems can be difficult and expensive to set up properly because they involve coordinating operations among all the different elements, including servers, networking equipment, and operating systems. A set of integrated offerings could cut deployment and maintenance times significantly.

The release combines Microsoft’s Windows Azure Pack, which is software for setting up cloud services, with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure, a set of switches and supporting software.

Azure-based cloud services can be built on Cisco’s Intercloud architecture, designed to facilitate the movement of workloads across different cloud services.

The package includes a set of libraries for enforcing polices across the stack, so cloud services can be enabled with the appropriate access restrictions. The two companies have also integrated their two software programs for managing IT resources, Microsoft System Center 2012 and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) Manager.

The work is the result of a partnership the two companies made last year to jointly develop and market integrated systems to modernize data centers.

Thus far, more than 60 cloud providers have pledged to support Cisco’s Intercloud, which would give the architecture a footprint of 350 data centers across 50 countries. Cisco plans to introduce its first Intercloud reference architecture in April.

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