Vendors of both Converged Infrastructure (CI) and Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions are now positioning their offerings for consumption as hybrid clouds. IBM’s March 6, 2017 announcement of a version of the VersaStack CI platform as a turnkey Hybrid Cloud “in a box” follows this trend. It integrates Cisco’s Enterprise Cloud Suite with IBM’s Spectrum Copy Data Management technologies to create a hybrid cloud application development, deployment and management environment. Use cases include:
VersaStack integrates the following Cisco and IBM hardware and software elements into a converged infrastructure offering:
VersaStack includes single-source support and maintenance from Cisco and IBM channel partners.
VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud layers additional software components on to VersaStack for the deployment and management of applications across private and public cloud computing environments using the following components:
As a Cloud Management Platform (CMP), Cisco ONE allows administrators to deploy and manage applications across the hybrid cloud environment. Features capabilities include provisioning of multi-tiered applications using blueprints and deployment scripts and migrate applications to the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). IBM Spectrum Data Copy Management (CDM) deploys in a virtual machine and automates data copy processes across the hybrid cloud environment. It also delivers API-level access for integration with development tools. IBM CDM augments the solution’s data protection, disaster recovery and test/dev capabilities. IBM Softlayer, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Microsoft Azure and other public cloud service providers are supported as hybrid cloud end points.
VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud is available only through Cisco or IBM channel partners. These partners also provide support and problem resolution.
VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud offers a foundational hybrid cloud environment that includes pre-integrated computing, networking, and storage infrastructure with the addition of a cloud management software layer (Cisco CloudCenter) and data copy automation tool (IBM Spectrum Copy Data management). Partners of the two vendors selling VersaStack will likely also layer other software components to deliver a complete turnkey hybrid cloud appliance. We expect to see additional adaptations of VersaStack for other applications as well as a broadening of the storage capabilities later in 2017.
IBM’s major contribution to the VersaStack Hybrid Cloud solution is the storage layer. Cisco provides the computing and networking infrastructure plus the cloud management software—essentially everything else. However, VersaStack is an IBM-branded solution. As a result, IBM tends to feature the storage aspect of VersaStack while soft-pedaling the significant value added by Cisco in the form of Cisco CloudCenter—the cloud management portal administrators will rely on. If IBM continues to market VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud in this way, it will get lost in the shuffle between Microsoft’s Azure Stack, VMware’s Cloud for AWS, and others that feature the value of the entire solution as a hybrid cloud applications platform.