Cisco announces Data Centre Anywhere, introduces ACI expansion into AWS and Azure

As global connectivity grows, so does the amount of generated data, and to help organizations prepare for a not-too-distant future where 30 per cent of the world’s data will need real-time processing, Cisco Systems Inc. is launching a new strategy called “Data Center Anywhere.”

The strategy, announced yesterday, came with a series of innovations that Cisco says will remove today’s data centre boundaries. Cisco introduced support for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) virtualized networking in Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Microsoft Azure clouds. Additionally, it launched new HyperFlex hyperconverged compute and storage options for remote and branch locations, as well as the CloudCenter suite software, now available as a managed service to simplify multicloud management.

Public and private clouds are now equally as important as centralized data centres, Dan McGinnis, Cisco’s head of product marketing for networking, told CDN, and that’s what the latest innovations focus on.

“Traditionally, networks were not built to handle a distributive model, they were built from a centralized standpoint,” he said. “There’s nothing centred about data anymore.”

Data Center Anywhere will remove data centre boundaries, according to Cisco.

This momentous shift is challenging for IT teams who have to decide between sticking with their on-premises data centres and a familiar set of tools for automation and security, or move to the cloud, which has its advantages, but makes consistent data compliance a challenge. Network managers will soon be able to use ACI tools to manage virtualized networks on AWS and Azure, which goes beyond simply connecting to those environments, explained McGinnis. Cisco has also strongly hinted that support for Google Cloud Platform will be available down the road.

“When we look at the multicloud side of things, we’ve always had connectivity between AWS and Azure, that’s pretty much a necessity, but the one thing that hasn’t happened when we talk about hybrid IT and multicloud, is how do I extend not just the connectivity but the operating model? So things like automation, orchestration…end the end-to-end security policy,” he said. “This is where our focus lies, extending what’s been done in the core data centre and then extending that to remote locations and the edge.”


  • Virtual ACI and Cloud ACI will be available in Q2CY19
  • HyperFlex 4.0 with Cisco Insight will be available in Q2CY19
  • Cisco CloudCenter Suite subscription on-premises will be available in Q1CY19; SaaS version is planned for availability in Q1CY19 in North America, and Q2CY19 in Europe
  • New Cisco enterprise agreements will be orderable mid-March

Since its release in 2016, Cisco has been working hard to ensure a wide variety of workloads, such as SAP Hana, for example, play well with the company’s hyperconverged solution, HyperFlex, said Todd Brannon, senior director of data centre marketing at Cisco.

“We’ve got customers that range up into the thousands of remote sites, particularly in retail and energy, and we’ve created an ultralight version of this edge solution that pivots off of our core unique differentiator for HyperFlex, which is that it’s cloud managed, and this is very unique in the industry,” he said.

CloudCenter suite, Brannon added, is packaged into containers to make it easier for organizations to deploy the software. It also provides real-time cost optimization to help organizations manage cloud workloads on the fly and between multiple cloud providers. This is a huge boost for channel partners, Nirav Sheth told CDN, and provides them with flexible consumption options.

“It allows partners to be more aggressive,” explained Cisco’s vice-president of worldwide sales and systems engineering. Cisco customers still on the fence about a refresh will likely find a lot of value in these integrated set of software tools, he added. “Data Center Anywhere is now achievable at scale for your mid-sized customers to large global enterprises.”

Customers can take advantage of a single standardized three-or five-year licensing agreement across seven suites, including ACI, HyperFlex, Intersight and Tetration.

Kent MacDonald, senior vice-president of strategic alliances for Long View Systems, a Cisco partner, said he’s been pleased with Cisco’s latest announcements and what it means for customers.

“Customers are looking for more control and simplicity over their workloads and applications, regardless of where their data resides. And I think [Cisco] is living up to their marketing when it comes to being the bridge between legacy environments and the cloud,” he said.

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Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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