Cisco has decided to throw everything it has at containers by releasing its very own “Container Platform”.
At first blush the Platform isn’t much more than Kubernetes, and Cisco doesn’t claim that it can do much more than anyone else’s packaging of the Google-derived container-manager.
The important bit is the integration with Cisco management products, because Cisco has reached the conclusion that containers and Kubernetes are very useful but they need network management, persistent storage, load balancing and all the other things that other modes of application deployment rely on when they go into production at scale.
Cisco is therefore providing hooks into things like its Cloud Center management service to provide such services. Cisco will also ensure its Platform can link to other instrumentation and management tools it has developed over the years, such as AppDynamics' application monitoring services.
Cisco also wants existing enterprise apps to look and behave like Kubernetes, so that they can more easily participate in cloud-native apps. Google's Apigee tools that expose VMs as a service containers are a therefore part of the Platform, a concession to the reality that while cloud-native tools are where application development is headed, important data and services still live in a VM world. The Chocolate Factory-backed ISTIO, which helps with discovery and cataloguing of services across clouds, is also present.
Switchzilla believes its approach offers a lighter route to cloud adoption than working with a PaaS, and that removing the need for that layer will be appreciated.
The first release of the Platform, due in April 2018, will be tied to Cisco’s HyperFlex hyperconverged software, which will provide storage services.
By northern summer 2018 a second edition will add support for generic VMs, VMware, plus installation on bare metal and public clouds. That release will also permit operation across HyperFlex and Google’s cloud, deepening the hybrid cloud pact the two struck in 2017. ®