Today, Cisco and Equinix announce that Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) will now form part of the foundational infrastructure of the Equinix Cloud Exchange. Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) enhances the Equinix Cloud Exchange by delivering multi-vendor orchestration functionality in addition to the automation of networking solutions. As such, TCS empowers customers to rapidly provision multi-cloud environments and thereby optimize the selection of different cloud platforms for a multitude of use cases. By facilitating the rapid deployment of multi-cloud environments, Cisco Tail-f NCS further empowers customers to leverage a myriad of cloud platforms for redundancy and failover purposes in addition to empowering them to avoid vendor lock-in. Because NCS complies with the YANG and NETCONF protocols, it can manage use cases requiring the configuration and orchestration of multiple cloud platforms in real-time. The innovation of Cisco Tail-f Network Control System (NCS) consists in its ability to facilitate agile multi-cloud development and orchestration by integrating with the Equinix Cloud Exchange SDN’s Equinix Programmable Network (EPN). Built on a modular architecture and a “proven set of APIs that allow customers to self-provision multiple new connections instantaneously,” the Equinix Cloud Exchange delivers an infrastructure that mitigates against vendor lock-in and gives customers more choices with respect to their deployments and long-term cloud strategy. Equinix’s partnership with Cisco and its NCS technology represents a breakthrough in multi-cloud management and underscores the degree to which the industry can now support operational agility with respect to the management of multiple cloud vendors as represented by the ability to provision and configure multiple cloud deployments in real-time.
On Thursday, Cisco announced plans to acquire Metacloud, the provider of OpenStack-based on premise private clouds hosted either at a customer’s datacenter, or at one of Metacloud’s five global datacenters. Metacloud also offers hybrid cloud options based on a combination of its hosted and private cloud offerings. Cisco’s acquisition of Metacloud’s private cloud as a service strengthens its ability to execute its Intercloud strategy of building one of the world’s largest networks of cloud platforms. As noted in Cisco’s press release announcing the acquisition, given an IaaS landscape with “OpenStack gaining global acceptance through its ability to handle any workload on any hypervisor on any public or private cloud,” OpenStack constitutes a key component of Cisco’s Intercloud strategy. Cisco’s acquisition of Metacloud builds on its promise from March 2013 to invest $1B in the cloud and illustrates a growing trend whereby large technology companies are starting to acquire nimble cloud startups as evinced by HP’s recent acquisition of Eucalyptus. The bottom line here is that private and hybrid cloud services are increasingly indispensable for any technology company and that the allure of OpenStack as an interoperable IaaS technology platform is gradually achieving fruition. The acquisition of a commercial OpenStack vendor represents the safest bet for a large tech or telco interested in augmenting its portfolio of cloud products and services in contrast to the huge capital investment required to build a proprietary IaaS platform. All this means that OpenStack startups can expect their valuations to soar as large tech companies seek to cash in on cloud products and services before the market becomes saturated with an embarrassment of IaaS riches. As a result of the acquisition, Metacloud employees will become part of Faiyaz Shahpurwala’s team as Cisco’s SVP of Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services. The acquisition is intended to close in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2015.
Cisco will be acquiring San Francisco-based Meraki Inc. Meraki, a 330 employee startup, provides customers with cloud-based software for managing networking solutions such as Wi-Fi, security devices and mobile devices. Meraki’s acquisition enables Cisco to expand its market penetration in the midmarket segment with respect to cloud-based management of networking as well as security and mobile devices. The acquisition empowers Cisco to offer its midmarket customers the cloud-based networking management infrastructure they require even though those same customers lack the resources to implement more complex networking management solutions.
The move is widely regarded by analysts as an acquisition not only of cloud-based networking software, but also of cloud-based infrastructure management software more generally. Gartner’s Mark Fabbi, for example, remarked:
It’s pretty clear Cisco bought Meraki because of their ability to manage cloud infrastructure and Meraki has proven that the model works and is robust. I would expect that it will become the platform for Cisco to offer different delivery and management models to a much broader product and customer set.
Meraki will become of the “Cloud Networking Group” at Cisco, which strongly suggests a grander vision for its future than cloud-based Wi-FI management alone. Cisco will acquire Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash and employee-retention incentives. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
Puppet Labs Secures $8.5 Million in Series C Funding With New Investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware
Puppet Labs announced the closure of a Series C funding round valued at $8.5 million. As a result of the funding raise, new investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware join existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures, and Radar Partners. Since its formation in 2005, the company has now raised a total of $15.75 million. The new round of funding is intended to support a market in which “demand for our products is outstripping our ability to satisfy it through organic growth alone,” according to Puppet’s CEO Luke Kanies. Kanies further noted that VMware, Google and Cisco represented ideal partners to accelerate the adoption of its IT automation and management software because of their deep relationships in the virtualization, cloud computing and IT vendor landscape.
Puppet Labs provides software that enables system administrators to effectively manage increasingly heterogeneous IT environments featuring legacy systems, private clouds, virtual machines and public clouds, all of which collectively serve the needs of multiple constituencies with varying application needs and role-based access privileges. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 delivers a visually intuitive graphical interface that enables system administrators to discover existing resources, benchmark resource utilization against a desired baseline, configure and deploy new resources to increase scale, and launch critical updates, all within a matter of seconds, without adding headcount. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 also features provisioning capability for Amazon EC2 and VMware instances as well as unauthorized access and change of setting tracking for compliance purposes.
The Series C funding raise marks the culmination of a momentous year for the company. Puppet Labs outgrew its open source roots in January with the launch of the first commercial edition of its product, Puppet Enterprise. In September, the company launched Puppet Enterprise 2.0 and now claims over 250 customers including Twitter, Zynga, Oracle/Sun, Match.com and Constant Contact.
Karim Faris, partner at Google Ventures, remarked on the promise of Puppet Labs and its recent investment as follows:
“Global companies need efficient solutions to manage their on-premise and cloud infrastructures. The Puppet Labs team has demonstrated the market traction and leadership to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow the business.”
The widespread commercial interest in Puppet Labs underscores the need for technology to manage increasingly complex IT environments that feature a combination of traditional and cloud based applications. The success of Puppet Labs over the past year suggests that, alongside cloud security and mobile device management, Puppet’s specialization in technology orchestration and management increasingly ranks as one of the auxiliary technologies likely to mushroom alongside the proliferation of virtualization and cloud computing in contemporary enterprise IT environments.