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Time to buy a new hat, cloud bods: Microsoft, Cisco stroll down the aisle again

Azure plus ACI equals 'One Cloud to Rule Them All'

Like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, except dressed as 900-pound gorillas, Cisco and Microsoft have tied the knot again to expand their cloud partnership.

Faced with the question “how can we get more clouds to run exactly the same infrastructure?”, the two have riveted OS platforms with network and computing platforms to wrap cloud operators into their warm embrace.

The freshly-minted Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform wraps Microsoft Azure Pack with Cisco's Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) for a cloud-provider-friendly pre-pack hybrid cloud offering.

With a pre-integrated offering, the giants reckon, cloud providers will be able to shift focus away from the effort that goes into systems and, as the Cisco canned announcement puts it, “deliver services … at DevOps speed”.

The combined platform will include prefab policy management libraries. Operational control comes from integration between Redmond's System Center 2012 R2 and The Borg's Unified Computing System Manager.

Cisco's Kit Beall blogs that the arrangement is about “simplicity, choice and value” for cloud providers, who will be able to offer “IaaS/PaaS and SaaS in a single platform with a life-cycle approach to service delivery and policy management”.

The Microsoft/Cisco combo will also make it easier for cloud providers to offer platforms that support legacy applications – the stuff people are actually using today – while waiting for the world to start adopting future “cloud native” applications.

Vulture South will be interested to see just how the “single platform” approach will pan out, noting for example that Australia's Telstra already operates four clouds. Will it kill any of them? Or will the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform merely become the carrier's fifth?

Our bet is on the latter being the template that's repeated all over the world, at least for now. ®

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