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Straight Talk About Cloud: 20 Providers and What They Think You Want

There’s a lot of talk about cloud, and for good reason.  According to a new white paper from IDC, 68% of companies with more than 1,000 employees are using some form of cloud or plan to implement cloud within the next 12 months.  In addition, these companies adopting cloud expect to spend 54% of their IT budgets on cloud in two years.

For the white paper, IDC contacted 20 providers from among the more than 200 cloud providers offering Cisco Powered services.  What makes the white paper unique is that these providers were asked to share their perspective on how their customers perceive value.  These are the companies who are investing substantial resources into building out their infrastructure to be able to offer your organization cloud services as you need them.  They make their investments based on what they believe are your primary needs and key concerns.

Specifically, the white paper explores which perceived factors are the most important to cloud providers in reaching you, their customer.  It also reveals how these providers seek to differentiate themselves and where they see the best value in their cloud infrastructure investments.

You can watch the video and read the full IDC white paper for yourself.  The white paper was also reported on by Computerworld.

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The Future of Cloud, Part 7: The Fabric Between the Clouds

(This is part 7 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

During CiscoLive!, I had the chance to talk with Andy Bird, Executive Director, Product Management and Development at eLoyalty, a Cisco partner for more than 15 years.  “We’ve chosen to partner up with Cisco and have a Cisco Powered cloud that allows us to offer stable and scalable solutions.  We’ve built a front end around them that offers the simplicity that customers expect from a cloud-based service.”

To verify that eLoyalty would be able to deliver on the promises of Cisco Powered services, they had to achieve certifications and pass a third-party audit.  “It’s important that we’re enterprise-grade. That audit allowed us to get to that point.”

Bird described several of the complications involved in the integration of technology: multi-tenancy, permissions-based clouds, security, self-administration.  “These things become a big deal,” he said.  “Having Cisco on the back end enables us to not have to worry about the core.”

Bird also talked about the value of the Cisco Intercloud to eLoyalty.  “There are a lot of disparate clouds out there.  But imagine trying to take your data from one cloud and move it to the next.  It’s very difficult to do, because when you look at clouds, you end up getting hooked into them, just like if you were to buy premise gear.

“What Cisco has been starting to enable to happen is the idea of creating a fabric between the clouds that allows me to migrate data.  When somebody gets on my platform, they have the ability to go and leverage Cisco in other places.  So they have a different level of confidence.”

Cisco’s partner ecosystem also plays an important role to eLoyalty.  “Even though I’ve got Cisco at the core, I still have all of these peripheral, secondary, tertiary applications to make seamless and ubiquitous.  But I’m not going to build my own WFN and QM.  I’m not going to develop my own CTI integration.  I’m using that entire ecosystem that Cisco has paved the way for.

“My value is that I bring them all together.”

You can learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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The Future of Cloud, Part 6: It Takes an Ecosystem

(This is part 6 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

“It’s been invigorating for us to hear all of the different messages around cloud because we really think that’s where the future is.”  This is what Steve Harris, Senior Vice President, National Alliances at Peak 10 had to say to me when we took a break together at Cisco Live!

Peak 10 was founded as a commercial collocation organization focused on providing maximum uptime and reliability for its clients.  “When we went into the cloud business,” said Harris, “we wanted to make sure that we could provide the same type of service that we’ve always given our clients.  For example, our enterprise cloud is essentially public cloud.  The differentiator, though, is that it isn’t an oversubscribed cloud; it’s production-grade.  It is multi-tenant, but you’re getting dedicated resources.”

Offering enterprise-class cloud services that maximize uptime and reliability, however, is not something that a single company can offer by itself.  “Today it takes an ecosystem to deliver the business outcome that clients are looking for.  We’ve gone beyond the point where clients are just interested in the technology.  They want the technology to provide a business outcome for them.  Being able to provide that seamless solution with the Cisco ecosystem of partners is incredibly important.

“The other thing that really differentiates Peak 10, and we’ve heard a lot about hybrid cloud, is the opportunity to mix and match with that environment.  So if you have a private cloud and want to leverage applications in the public cloud, we’re absolutely able to do that.”  This follows the vision of Cisco’s Intercloud, the ability to have mobility of workloads between clouds.

“Which excites us at Peak 10 because we created that environment within our world.”

You can also learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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The Future of Cloud, Part 5: The Value of Integration to Cloud Services

(This is part 5 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

“A lot of things go into building out a cloud practice that most people don’t realize until they get into it.  Because we have been a systems integrator, we know the on-premises environment very well.  That gives us an advantage over some cloud providers who may be more like service providers.  They just don’t understand the integration piece. ”

This was just one of the insights Chris Ludwig, SVP GTM Cloud and Hosted Solutions from NWN Corporation, shared with me at Cisco Live!  NWN is a provider of Cisco Powered cloud and managed services.  Their first service offering, hosted collaboration, has created substantial pull-through for the later IaaS services they have added.

Integration is an important part of a successful migration to cloud, according to Ludwig. Cisco has a whole ecosystem that has built applications to integrate with on-premises equipment.  When moving to cloud, all of these integrations still have to work.  “That was something we did a lot of research on, to make sure that all of the third party companies that we work with on-premises are going to work in the cloud.”

For NWN, the value of the Cisco partner ecosystem cannot be underestimated.  Regarding which partners to work with, Ludwig said, “We certainly look to Cisco for guidance.  We don’t want to pick a partner and then find out something doesn’t work right.

“It’s very helpful knowing that if they’re part of the ecosystem, we know that they are going to be a good partner.  That they are going to be around.  That they know how to work with the Cisco team and technology.”

You can also learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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The Future of Cloud, Part 4: Building a Resilient Cloud for the Future

(This is part 4 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

At Cisco Live!, Derek Siler, Director, Solution Engineering – Channel Sales at Sungard Availability Services, shared his company’s vision of the cloud and how they bring value to the market.  “Our real unique differentiation is our focus on availability and our ability to give a very resilient hosted environment for production instances,” said Siler.  “We have Cisco Powered cloud services for both hosting and instances of a client’s production environment.  We can do that with our managed cloud, which has all the benefits of a multi-tenant cloud environment but a full managed service layer all the way up to the operating system.  We also have a true public cloud offering which has that elastic spin up/ spin down capability.”

Building a resilient cloud that can carry businesses into the future requires a resilient foundation.  “We’ve been with a Cisco partner from a technology perspective for years,” said Siler.  “We’ve also been in the Cisco partner network for multiple years now too.  We’ve even won a Cisco Cloud partner of the year award.  We were very honored to receive that recognition.”

“Not only do we work extensively with Cisco, we work with many of the top Cisco partners in the Cisco partner ecosystem.  We’re building our cloud future around Cisco and around enterprise-grade architectures.”

“For us, Cisco is absolutely vital.”

You can also learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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