Cisco Cloud Architecture - Validated Services

By Walt Blomquist, VP, Converged Infrastructure, NetApp


As the cloud market continues to mature, we’re seeing some shifts in the ways that Service Providers (SPs) are trying to address hosted cloud offerings for your enterprise customers.


Over the last several years, SPs have seen their margins continue to shrink as pricing pressures have bumped up against an ever increasing set of feature requirements demanded by tenants that are becoming smarter with their purchasing decisions in a cut-throat market.  Also, with the first generation of cloud offerings, many SPs ended up taking on all of the risk of making everything work.  And in some cases, the lack of tight integration between the various components of the cloud may have even led to system downtime damaging market reputation. This ended up costing significantly more than originally intended, and in many cases caused lengthy timelines for bringing services to market.


Cisco, Microsoft, and NetApp Team on Leading Scale-Up Architecture
Cisco and Microsoft have partnered to create the next-generation ready-to-deploy architecture for cloud providers. Called the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform, it’s going to make capturing the cloud opportunity a whole lot easier for you and your customers.


This jointly developed, tested and validated solution integrates Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Microsoft Windows Azure Pack (WAP) through the Cisco Cloud Network Automation Provisioner (CNAP). CNAP sits at the heart of this solution, automating the deployment of network elements and network services, while WAP, together with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), deploys and configures servers and application services. Integrating the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) into WAP through Cisco CNAP creates a structural link between Cisco infrastructure and the Microsoft cloud platform.


Because the application and infrastructure policies are preconfigured and delivered in a WAP application policy library, you can deploy new applications and services at DevOps speed, with lifecycle support from the partners you trust.


The Microsoft Cloud Platform leverages interfaces from Microsoft Azure which enable you to create an Azure-like experience for enterprise tenants.  Microsoft Cloud Platform is a combination of out-of-the-box IaaS/SaaS solutions based on the core Microsoft data center products:  Windows Server, Hyper-V, Systems Center, and Windows Azure Pack.  This combination enables you to offer higher value services in the SaaS/PaaS space which tend to represent more profit than traditional IaaS-only offerings.

And now, NetApp will join Cisco and Microsoft to deliver a completely validated, comprehensive solution that adds critical storage services via the NetApp Resource Provider for Windows Azure Pack.  We think that by having all three companies partner together, we can significantly reduce the time and risk for you to bring these services to market.


NetApp Delivers First and Only Storage Integration
This jointly engineered custom integration between NetApp and Microsoft, exposes key NetApp functionality all the way through the tenant facing portal. It consists of the NetApp Resource Provider software plus a prescriptive reference architecture implemented with the help of NetApp Professional Services.  The NetApp integration adds three key values that are service catalog additions to the overall solution.  The three key services areas are:

  1. Application aligned storage
  2. Integrated data protection
  3. Storage accelerated on-/off-boarding

Increase Efficiency by Aligning Storage with Application Needs
First, the NetApp integration enables you to match your applications to the right storage. Through performance tiering, you can give your customers the ability to choose the storage performance level that best suits their applications’ needs.  This includes QoS capabilities to make sure that one tenant can’t consume all the resources of the tier, affecting other tenants.  It gives you the ability to build out various tiers of storage to meet all the various performance requirements you face with your customers.  It also gives tenants the best bang for the buck by allowing them the ability to only select the performance level they need without having to pay for more expensive storage.  By enabling this degree of assured flexibility, Service Providers can provision the right set of storage tiers to match the market demand.


Assure Business Continuity through Integrated Data Protection
Next, we are targeting business continuity.  As we are doing with storage itself, the goal here is to offer various differentiated tiers of data protection that will enable the tenant to address their business requirements more precisely than a “one size fits all” approach.  Whether the tenant needs snapshot capability (with a range of different Recovery Point Objectives), full streaming backup options, remote replication, or long term archiving, we’d like to give you the ability to offer a service that can be matched to those needs.  We will start with our Snapshot capabilities and the in-cloud backup use cases and then move to other features in later releases.


Lower Risk, Improve Velocity with Storage Accelerated On/Off-Boarding
Finally, we will address one of the biggest pain-points for Service Providers – namely the ability to enable the quickest and easiest methods of on- (and off-) boarding your tenants.  For this service, we will leverage some of our SnapMirror and OnCommand Shift products to make it easy for tenants to move their data from their premises to providers, and to be able to rapidly convert between VM formats, from VMware to Hyper-V.
In the end, our overall goal is to extend the full Data ONTAP functionality through the tenant facing services as desired by you, the SP, without constraint of hypervisor.


Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform has been implemented by many Service Providers like TELUS, that are now interested in extending the capabilities with the NetApp integration.
“We’re very excited that NetApp is integrating with the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform,” said Tom Jolly, vice president, Managed IT and Cloud Services at TELUS. “A pre-architected and pre-tested solution like this would enable us to further enhance our hybrid cloud services with the ability to offer our customers advanced storage and data management capabilities including performance-based storage efficiency, increased business continuity and stronger data protection.”


What You Gain with NetApp Powered Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform
It is important to remember that NetApp is the only storage vendor who is making this investment to build the integration required for value added storage services.  You get the following benefits with the NetApp integration.

  • Reduced Risk and Faster Time to Market: Reduce risk and speed deployment through a completely validated solution, implemented with the help of NetApp Professional Services
  • High Value Offerings for Your Tenants: Storage aligned with their application needs, integrated backup protection, and a great story around on/off-boarding
  • Dramatically Lower TCO: Deep technical integration between Cisco, Microsoft and NetApp stacks to automate delivery of cloud services and common IT tasks
  • Deeper Insights: Gain extreme visibility into your storage environment with integrated reporting and analytics capabilities for accurate billing of the entire stack
  • Market Differentiation: Advanced storage and data management features layered fully integrated into the CCA solution and extending to tenant facing services – only storage vendor able to do this
  • More Profitable for the Service Provider: A solution jointly developed and built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which can offer significant savings over alternative hypervisor choices
  • Strategic Partnership: Development and go-to-market support as you create service offerings using the NetApp with CCA architecture

And with our complementary go-to-market services in our Service Provider Program, you can bring new cloud services to market with lower upfront investment and less risk.


If you’re planning on attending Cisco Live EMEA, you can see the NetApp integration demonstrated at the NetApp booth #P4.  If you want to learn more, you can email us at


NetApp Staff