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Cisco introduces Cisco Intercloud Provider role, revamps program

Cisco's revised Cloud and Managed Services Program offers partner opportunities around Cisco Intercloud Fabric and Application Centric Infrastructure.

MONTREAL -- At Cisco Partner Summit 2015 this week, Cisco announced version 2.0 of its Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP), formalized in late 2012.

The next-generation CMSP plugs into the vendor's expanding software and services strategy and offers partners some lead time to meet the new program requirements.

The CMSP 2.0 program structure is "offer-based," meaning that cloud provider roles depend on the offer that they bring to market and the inclusion of Cisco Intercloud technologies, according to Steve Benvenuto, vice president, worldwide partners and alliances, at Cisco.

"That real change in the program is around cloud provider," he said.

Cisco partner roles

Cisco partners will have a choice to play one of two roles in the expanded CMSP: One role is as a Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Provider, and the other role is as a Cisco Intercloud Provider, a new Cisco partner designation.

Cloud and Managed Services Providers offer Cisco Powered cloud services over any Cisco Cloud Architecture and/or managed services over a Cisco reference architecture. Today, partners offer Cisco Powered services based on Cisco Virtual Multiservice Data Center (VMDC) reference architecture, but that infrastructure is evolving to Cisco Cloud Architecture for OpenStack. A new opportunity available to partners is the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform.

Indeed, Benvenuto pointed out that the new CMSP program provides more choice of cloud architectures to support the two partner roles. The program also offers new connectivity with Cisco Intercloud technologies: Intercloud Fabric (ICF) and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

Cisco Intercloud Providers must implement either ICF or ACI on their infrastructure or Cisco's virtual Managed Services (vMS) architecture to deliver Cisco Powered services to customers, according to Cisco. Cisco vMS is a new platform for delivering network and network security services that can be implemented in the cloud that will be launched in the fall of 2015.

The program offers three new cloud and Cisco Intercloud-related opportunities for CMSP partners, according to Benvenuto:

  • New ACI and ICF opportunities around Cloud Builder, which is mainstreamed as a specialization.
  • Services opportunities related to integration services and management services
  • New opportunities for resellers as more Cisco Powered cloud services are offered to enable hybrid IT, which according to Benvenuto will launch in the June/July timeframe.

"This will help the resellers monetize the hybrid IT opportunity," he said.

Changing requirements

With CMSP 2.0, Cisco has both simplified and eliminated program requirements. Cisco eliminated program levels -- Master, Advanced and Express -- as well as the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) requirement, which will be retired. Going forward, partners will be able to choose the Cisco Certified Architecture that fits their business and offer managed, cloud or Intercloud services.

Additionally, existing Cloud Services Reseller and Managed Services Reseller roles have been mainstreamed into Cisco Resale Certification as part of Hybrid IT requirements, and the Cloud Builder will continue as a specialization under the Resale Program.

Cisco will provide a 12 to 24 month window in which partners may transition into the new CSMP, with the timeframe depending on a partner firm's audit date. Master Service Providers will roll over into the Cisco Powered Services provider role and will be recognized as Cisco Intercloud Providers when they implement Intercloud technologies into their infrastructure, according to Cisco.

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