Wow! Last week was a big week for Cloud news. Whilst Amazon Web Service, Microsoft and Google started a price war or ‘race to the bottom’ for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services, Cisco came out with a potentially industry-shaping announcement around Cloud Services.
On March 24th Cisco announced plans to build the world’s largest global Intercloud together with a set of partners to create a network of clouds. This is not a trivial investment, Cisco expects to invest more than $1 billion in its cloud business over the next two years. This ‘Intercloud’ will feature APIs for rapid application development and will deliver a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.
Cisco’s overall strategy for the cloud is based on the premise that there will be a “world of many clouds.” My colleague Fabio Gori wrote a great blog describing how Intercloud is the critical enabler to capture the immense value of the Internet of Everything (IoE). In this post, Fabio provides a clear summary of how we see Intercloud impacting the next phase of cloud computing, the IoE and ultimately how we all collaborate.
Intercloud and Collaboration
Gartner consistently places Cisco in the Leaders Quadrant for Unified Communications, and we think the Intercloud can help us further extend our leadership by enabling our partners to offer even better experiences, on multiple devices, and across multiple platforms by connecting the world of many collaboration clouds.
Our customers have told us that they want to use multiple applications and services together across hybrid deployments. To help, we have expanded our cloud collaboration strategy to enable customers to fuse clouds together across on-premises infrastructure, private clouds and public clouds. Our goal is to ensure that our customers can efficiently connect clouds; making sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Cloud Fusion: Cisco’s Unique Approach to Intercloud enabled Collaboration
We live in a world with a history of on-premise collaboration solutions, private clouds, and an increasingly broad array of public cloud services offering on-demand applications and services via third-party clouds. This ‘world of many collaboration clouds’ will get bigger, bringing about many new and exciting services we will all want to use. At Cisco we’re expanding our cloud strategy so that everyone can benefit from better-connected clouds and hybrid environments all enabled by the Cisco Intercloud, our expanded suite of cloud services, Cloud Fusion and the Cisco Collaboration Edge Architecture.
Clouds That Work Better Together
Once connected, clouds need to be able to work together. A very important part of our cloud strategy is to enable open and extensible environments. We are focused on two key aspects that help people better connect and collaborate, regardless of the device or platform they are on:
- Standards-based interoperability to ensure applications and services connect in a seamless and predictable way
- APIs and SDKs that enable multiple applications and services leverage common application services and ‘communicate’ seamlessly across platforms
Cloud Fusion Today
Today you have the opportunity to maximize your existing investment while we build the Cisco Intercloud and extend our cloud services. We currently offer a broad range of Cloud Collaboration solutions through our partners that customers can benefit from immediately, such as services that fuse together existing Cisco collaboration services with the Cisco WebEx Cloud. For example:
- Cloud Connected Audio -- fuses on-premises Cisco Unified Communications (UC) solutions with the Cisco WebEx Cloud to enhance the user experience as well as reduce overall conferencing costs
- WebEx Enabled TelePresence -- fuses on-premises Cisco TelePresence services with the Cisco WebEx Cloud to extend video more broadly across an organization
Many of our partners also offer integration services to ‘collaboration enable’ applications and bring them together with collaboratin solutions. These include ESNA and Cloudlink 5.0 for Cisco and offerings from industry leaders like Google, Salesforce.com, Microsoft and others.
Cloud Preparation Checklist
We recommend that you and your organization start preparing your collaboration architecture for the ‘world of many collaboration clouds’ by working through the following checklist:
- Identify the collaboration experience you want to enable?
- Continue investing in collaboration software to evolve your collaboration capabilities and keep ahead of competitors
- Take a fresh look at some of the high-fidelity collaboration hardware that complements the user experience and applications people use. Our new Red Dot award-winning Telepresence endpoints are a great place to start
- Invest in your Collaboration architecture and network infrastructure -- Both are foundational to ensure a pervasive collaboration experience.
- Investigate what we are doing with SDK and APIs.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts and best practices you would like to share…