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Published: April 6th, 2021

Cisco recently announced Cisco Plus, its as-a-service strategy for hardware, software and services.

During the company’s first virtual global Cisco Live! conference, Todd Nightingale, senior vice-president and general manager, enterprise networking and cloud, described Cisco Plus as a set of “flexible solutions as a service” that partners can quickly take advantage of.

“Cisco Plus is not just hardware as a service or software as a service. Cisco Plus is focused on outcomes and experiences,” he said. “It’s brought to you by Cisco and built from and backed by the technology teams and the promise of Cisco. Cisco Plus is cloud-native to provide seamless, agile service delivery, and it comes with a new observability experience that can help our users understand what’s really happening in their infrastructure. Cisco Plus delivers a partner program designed not just to enable but to empower and accelerate the transformation to the cloud.”

Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud

The first offering to come in mid-2021 will be Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud, which will include Cisco’s compute, storage and networking as well as third-party storage and software.

It will bridge on-premises, edge and public cloud, with a flexible consumption model and a full lifecycle suite of services from Cisco Customer Experience and partners. It will initially be available in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cisco said that its Gold Provider partners will play a key role in delivering the offerings, while other Cisco partners can also benefit from the sale and support of pre-integrated offerings. Cisco’s new Partner Managed Services team is currently working on an improved engagement model.

Cisco Plus Experience

Later this year, Cisco will launch the Cisco Plus Experience, a self-service portal for as-a-service customers built on the Cisco CX Cloud. It will enable customers and partners to learn about, consume, and track usage of the as-a-service products, and will include a marketplace encompassing both Cisco and partner services.

Bringing networking and security together

Next up for Cisco Plus will be networking as a service, focusing on cloud-based secure access service edge (SASE). Nightingale didn’t specify the timing for its launch, however, customers can purchase the new SASE offering today, with the option to switch to the subscription service when it becomes available.

Cisco SASE users get a unified way to define and manage network and security requirements for applications through a single interface. It brings together Cisco’s portfolio of networking and security applications, including Cisco AnyConnect and Duo remote access, Viptela and Meraki-powered SD-WAN, Umbrella cloud security (which is receiving new features such as data loss prevention), zero-trust network access from Duo, and observability via Thousand Eyes.

A new DevNet SASE Developer Centre provides resources to help build customized integrations. “I’m so excited about how we’re bringing networking and security together,” Nightingale said. “Because we know that only one unified, secure, agile WAN is going to be able to rise to the challenge of this new cloud-first hybrid working world.”  

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