Cisco Unveils Container Platform for Multi-Cloud Environments

Cisco has announced its Container Platform, a “turnkey, open, and production-grade” software container platform to address customers’ “growing” need to have applications seamlessly run the same way on-premises and in public cloud environments.

The Cisco Container Platform would simplify and accelerate how application development and information technology (IT) operations teams configure, deploy, and manage container clusters based on 100 percent upstream Kubernetes.

The Cisco Container Platform would enable an open, multi-cloud environment with consistent application deployment and management on multiple deployment platforms, including Cisco HyperFlex, virtual machines (VMs), and bare metal servers, both on-premises and in the cloud. With this range of deployment options, the Cisco Container Platform helps protect customers’ existing infrastructure investments and enables IT to run applications where they are most effective, seamlessly transitioning between private and public cloud environments.

“In the multi-cloud era, enterprise IT executives are looking to modernize traditional applications, and manage containerized applications in a consistent way across public and private clouds,” said Stephen Elliott, Program Vice President, IDC. “Container deployment, management, and monitoring are key requirements to drive speed and quality improvements for the business and enable scale for IT operations teams. In addition, operations teams also require multiplatform support, including Kubernetes, while helping customers address the end-to-end lifecycle management of container clusters.”

Management Container Clusters

The Cisco Container Platform provides an extensible platform for container management based on industry standards with an open architecture and open-source components. The solution addresses the end-to-end management of container clusters including setup, orchestration, authentication, monitoring, networking, load balancing, and optimization. The Cisco Container Platform is also extensible to other open deployment environments and to networking (Contiv), security, analytics, and management tools.

As a single solution that automates repetitive tasks, the Cisco Container Platform would help increase operational efficiencies and drive faster time to value by eliminating the need for IT teams to source, configure, and support multiple disparate solutions. This would simplify deployment and management of “production-grade” container environments. Cisco will also introduce new services to help customers modernize traditional applications, and optimize containers for scale and performance.

Cisco HyperFlex 3.0

The Cisco Container Platform will initially be released on, and be optimized for Cisco HyperFlex 3.0 and can be licensed separately or as an integrated solution. The Cisco Container Platform also includes Contiv for container networking, which can be further integrated with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) – enabling customers to deploy containers and build ACI network policy definitions through Kubernetes.

Cisco and Google Cloud have worked closely to extend and optimize the Kubernetes platform for on-premises production environments, providing customers with a consistent environment to move workloads between private and public clouds. The Cisco Container Platform is a key element of the open, hybrid cloud offering from Cisco and Google, announced in October and planned for availability in 2018. Customers would be able to run “enterprise-ready” containers on any infrastructure through the combination of the Cisco Container Platform and the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), part of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

“As the adoption of Kubernetes has exploded, container orchestration and management have become of paramount importance to customers because they enable application portability and consistency across on-premises and cloud-based environments,” said Eyal Manor, Vice President, Engineering, Google. “Cisco Container Platform is optimized in collaboration with Google Cloud to deliver a next-generation open hybrid cloud architecture, and represents an important milestone for our integrated Google and Cisco hybrid cloud solution coming later this year.”

Packaging and availability

The Cisco Container Platform will be available as:

  • Software optimized with Cisco HyperFlex 3.0; available in April 2018.
  • Software supported on VM infrastructure, bare metal, public cloud; available in summer 2018.

Pricing will be subscription-based on number of cluster nodes deployed, with volume-based discounts.