Cisco and Google Create Powerful Hybrid Cloud Partnership

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Cisco and Google announced an interesting partnership this week.

On paper, it seems like Google should be the most powerful cloud services provider. It doesn’t really care about margins, it has massive centralized data centers, it has hired people from a variety of older IT-focused companies, and it does understand technology. However, IT shops want to buy hybrid cloud, and Google doesn’t understand or do on-premise.

It desperately needed a powerful partner to bring a hybrid solution to market that could overcome the perceptions and limitations that surround the Google brand.

This is where Cisco comes in. The partnership announced this week should address these shortcomings because Cisco is, for the most part, doing the heavy lifting (and needs to).

Technology Partnerships

Technology partnerships are often more marketing hype than reality, largely because both parties expect the other to do much of the work and nothing really happens as a result.

What you need in a partnership is a clear common goal and commitment, or a clear representation from one of the firms that they are willing to step up and carry most of the weight.

During my discussion with Cisco representatives, it was clear they knew they were going to be carrying much of the weight for this partnership and were good with that. Cisco was, for the most part, going to own the critical parts of sales and support while Google was only going to be providing some of the core technology. This is important because the IT buyer really needs that one throat to choke, and Cisco has stepped up.

Cisco has a reputation for delivering in the IT space that goes back decades. It also has a sales and service force that is skilled in the market, so its capabilities go beyond just intent and into ability to execute.

Be aware that this solution won’t be cooked until 2018, but that allows for Cisco customers interested in it to lobby for early access and help define the result, which in turn, could become far closer to what they’ll need.


At the heart of this eventual solution is an offering called Istio. This is a new hybrid cloud service management platform that has several key attributes. It is designed to discover and define complex service relationships, so they can be assured. It provides new developers and operators with the necessary education to build and deliver applications from the top down. It provides administrators with tools to define and manage related impacts on service, as well as a bird’s-eye view of service behavior so that they hit the ground running when they need to triage.

Underneath this management layer will be the existing services like Google’s Apigee, Cisco’s private cloud infrastructure, Google’s public cloud infrastructure and Google’s Kubernetes engine.

A Potentially Powerful Hybrid Cloud Solution

This seems like a very powerful offering. The part I was most interested in with this phase was who was going to do the heavy lifting (I have doubts about Google). Cisco indicated it would step up (I don’t have doubts about Cisco), and the result is something that could be very powerful when it shows up next year.

This partnership and the resulting hybrid cloud solution will revolve around Cisco’s ability to execute. That ability is near legendary and suggests a positive outcome for this offering.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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