Multicloud Management Shines with Cisco's CliQr Acquisition
Cisco’s plan to spend $260 million to acquire San Jose-based CliQr Technologies could signal the dawn of a new service set for the cloud—the option to centralize the deployment and management of applications across multiple environments.
IT shops in the future are likely to rely on multiple public clouds and approaches, with a mix that could include bare metal, virtual machines and containers. That’s because enterprises are running more and more mission-critical applications in the cloud, and they require additional security, automation and consistent policy enforcement as part of their operations.
But the large vendors in the space typically aren’t interested in providing management beyond their own proprietary platform. CliQr fulfills a multivendor orchestration role, partnering with all major public cloud players, like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and IBM. It also works with VMware private cloud environments and multiple OpenStack providers.
Cisco said it plans to incorporate the technology as part of its Insieme business unit. CliQr already integrates with a number of Cisco services, including Application Centric Infrastructure and Unified Computing System.
There are other companies that do this in the startup space, such as RightScale, but traditional vendors have been slow to pivot to the public cloud since Dell's acquisition of Enstratius in 2013. Cisco’s acquisition adds momentum to a now-growing trend, including a couple of deals that give hardware vendors ancillary cloud management capabilities. Those include IBM's acquisition of cloud brokerage company Gravitant last November, and Oracle’s buy of nesting provider Ravello in February.
"Traditional infrastructure vendors are now recognizing the public cloud is really happening, and in order for them to remain viable and competitive, they're going to have to embrace the cloud, and drive some innovation and differentiation," Mindy Cancila, research director at Gartner, said in a recent interview.
That’s easier said than done for companies that are used to slower development and release schedules, and for which agility is a moving target given the reams of legacy infrastructure that they have deployed.
"The way organizations consume the public cloud is different than how they manage [infrastructure]," Cancila said. "I don't know that those traditional vendors have made that paradigm shift yet."
Some companies want a platform-neutral approach to managed and brokered cloud services; but many more of them, especially medium-sized and large enterprises, already have considerable investments in existing systems from a legacy vendor. It’s likely that the option to extend that existing relationship into management for cloud would appeal.
"The fact that this is someone you already know is good," said Paul Miller, senior analyst at Forrester Research, speaking to TechTarget. "Trusting them will be important, as will the belief that they have a set of capabilities that can work with you on the journey you're going on."
Edited by Rory J. Thompson