Cisco's Hybrid Solution For Kubernetes On AWS: 5 Things To Know

The new solution opens the door for Cisco customers to run production-grade Kubernetes in on-premises environments by combining Cisco networking management, security and monitoring to between on-premises environments and the AWS public cloud.


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The new Cisco Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on AWS is being billed as the first Kubernetes solution for AWS and a boon for Cisco partners.

The solution announced today and available next month, extends the Cisco Container Platform, an on-premises container stack to spin up Kubernetes workloads on AWS's Elastic Container Service [EKS]. At the solution's core is integration with AWS's identity and access management, which allows identity to be 'inherited' across environments, which is a big part of allowing the two environments to come together, according to David Cope, Cisco senior director of market development.

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The solution also opens the door for Cisco customers to run production-grade Kubernetes in on-premises environments by combining Cisco networking management, security and monitoring to between on-premises environments and the AWS public cloud.

The solution will be sold by Cisco directly, and through channel partners. It will be available next month at a starting price of $65,000 a year for entry-level configurations. Software licenses will be available in one, three and five-year subscriptions.

Cisco is also counting on partners to use the platform as an opportunity to sell the company's other high-value solutions, like Cisco CSRV, CloudCenter, StealthWatch Cloud security and AppDynamics application performance monitoring.

Here are five key points for partners to consider.

A Huge Opportunity For 'Solution Selling'

Cisco is counting on partners to bring existing Cisco solutions into the Kubernetes-on-AWS environment, Cope said. "How do I have a secure connection between my data center and AWS? Cisco CSRV. How do I do overall orchestration and policy management? Cisco Cloud Center. How do I provide security? StealthWatch Cloud. Deep level application performance monitoring for databases or Kubernetes: AppDynamics," Cope said. Partners can start as simple as Cisco Container Platform, then expand by adding these other offerings. The solution is also backed as a Cisco Validated Design, giving partners and customers increased confidence. "It allows Cisco and our partners to do true solution-based selling," Cope said. "We want partners and Cisco to stay relevant with our customer base as they move forward into these hybrid environments."

Capitalizing On Excitement Around Kubernetes

Developers have been excited about Kubernetes for a while now, but Cisco believes the AWS partnership will fire up traditional IT teams, as well. "As it moves into production, this solution meets the needs of other audiences within the enterprise, like IT operations knowing it has production-grade capabilities with all the management," Cope said, "and the security team, knowing they can – across environments that they control and don't control – maintain the same visibility and control they expect in their own data center operation."

Going Beyond The Box

The solution can be had as software only, or can be run on top of Cisco's HyperFlex hyper-converged infrastructure appliance. The solution is also expected to gain traction with Cisco partners that don't have an AWS practice today, said Scott Mohr, director of data center and cloud in Cisco's partner organization. "It really expands the opportunity for partners," Mohr said. Mohr added that the solution also offers a huge services opportunity to partners and gives partners another element in a large portfolio of cloud solutions to offer to customers. "Partners will be able to bring an outcome to the table for our customers that allows them to get out of the sandbox and into their production environment," Mohr said.

Thank You For Your Support

As enterprise customers adopt containers and bring Kubernetes into production, they place high value on Cisco's strong support offerings. Cope said Cisco will support the entire integrated Cisco/Kubernetes/AWS environment. And because the solution is available as software only, or on the HyperFlex system, support can be driven from the software all the way through the platform for a "one-stop shopping" type experience.

'Fluidity And Transparency'

One of the biggest challenges customers face is getting private, on-premises environments to "fluidly" work with public clouds, said Cope. Microservices and containers make that easier, but connecting, managing and securing those two environments is notoriously difficult. Cisco is promising to make it all easy and manageable, Cope said. The solution, he said, "creates fluidity and transparency between using Kubernetes on one's data center and AWS's EKS and coupling that with everything [customers] need to have it be secure and production-grade."