BMC Software and Cisco's December 6th announcement of a strategic alliance to develop and market new solutions for large-scale multi-tenant cloud-computing infrastructures is a significant deepening of a relationship that has been maturing since BMC partnered with Cisco to help launch the Cisco UCS. The partnership's newest offering marries BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management with Cisco's Unified Service Delivery solution to help service providers deploy and manage large scale cloud infrastructure service delivery environments more quickly and cost effectively than has previously been possible.
The joint solution, dubbed the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform, should enable BMC broader and more strategic access to service provider cloud organizations while enabling Cisco to position itself as a more sophisticated, full stack cloud infrastructure provider. BMC's contribution to the partnership is anchored by Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM), which was introduced in May 2010. The Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform includes:
- A policy-driven service catalog, which can support personalized lists of available service offerings and customizations, based on a user’s role or service agreement
- A self-service Web portal for requesting and controlling cloud resources which can be implemented based on pre-defined policies and service profiles
- Dynamic orchestrated provisioning of the entire service stack – compute, network, storage, and application -- across heterogeneous infrastructures using Bladelogic automation technology and the Atrium CMDB
- Secure network container technology to allow for different services to be provisioned independently accordingly to different SLAs and customer profiles.
- Out-of-the-box cloud management workflows to drive ongoing governance, performance, and compliance monitoring and reporting
BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is deeply integrated with Cisco’s Secure Network Container Architecture. Secure Network Container Architecture is a particularly critical element of the solution as it enables service providers to support multiple customers on the shared cloud infrastructure by automating the secure partitioning of physical and virtual resources. The Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform is designed to allow service providers to develop differentiated offerings by taking advantage of a range of customizable service level parameters and options such as time frame to deliver resources or thresholds to scale resources up and down.
Although the partnership is not exclusive, both firms have made significant investments to ensure deep integration. Specifically the two firms have closely aligned product development roadmaps, architectures, service, support, joint go to market and executive governance programs. IDC expects they will continue to jointly evolve the platform's capabilities over time. For example, the initial version of the platform stops short of trying to address service provider billing requirements, opting to provide utilization metering data to existing billing systems. This is a potential area of expansion for future releases.
BMC and Cisco report that a significant number of service providers such as Telefonica are already conducting proof of concept tests and planning to launch services based on the new solution. At least initially, IDC expects most service provider customers will leverage Cisco's technology strengths and focus on Infrastructure as a Service and cloud collaboration services as their earliest cloud services.
IDC sees this as a win-win partnership that targets service providers that are looking for ideas for new services as well as ways to improve operational efficiency. By working together to produce the Integrated Cloud Delivery Platform, Cisco and BMC are positioning for a key service provider focus: scalable, secure and systematized operations. Keeping operational cost and complexity to a minimum is critical to the long term success of service provider offerings.