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Cisco and Service Providers – Transformation for the Internet of Everything

Just a few years ago, I’d go out for an occasional weekend drive to take in the splendor of Northern California, and leave my mobile phone and various gadgets behind.

Those days are long gone.

Over time, smart devices and connectivity have transformed my life – as I’m sure they have yours – and become essential to function in today’s modern world.

By 2020, there will be an estimated 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. Organizations and even individuals that effectively use these connections will achieve significant advantages, including more efficient and enjoyable experiences.

And service providers are in an enviable position, sitting at the center of the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. IoE is turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.

The stakes are high.

From smart grid and smart buildings to environmental sensors and mobile consumer experiences, Cisco predicts that between now and 2022, $19 trillion in value is at stake for organizations willing to take advantage of the immense IoE opportunity.

 

Today, Cisco made announcements that demonstrate our commitment to partnering closely with service providers and enabling them to capture more of this opportunity, as hundreds of them already have. Their businesses can thrive by increasing revenue, decreasing operating expenses, and enhancing agility.

First, we announced Read More »

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The Role of Connectivity in Powering the Intercloud: Equinix

Today’s announcement expands the reach of the Intercloud by 250 additional data centers in 50 countries, and advances Cisco’s OpenStack based cloud strategy to address customer requirements for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform capable of meeting the robust demands of the Internet of Everything.  Cisco’s open approach to the Intercloud is designed for high-value application workloads, with real-time analytics and “near infinite” scalability and allows local hosting and local provider options that enable data sovereignty around the world.

Essentially, there are three components to this Intercloud strategy that set us apart from other companies. It starts with Cisco’s cloud architectural solutions including UCS, our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and a networks functions virtualization (NFV) driven policy. The second component is network connectivity and providing the user with the right quality of service (QoS) experience for their application workloads. And the third component is our partners, who play a critical role in building out this network of clouds from a data center, network, application acceleration and compliance/data sovereignty perspective. In this blog I’d like to delve further into network connectivity and the role that our newest hosting partner, Equinix, plays in powering our Intercloud vision.

Importance of Network Connectivity in Hybrid Cloud

The role of the CIO has to move from a builder of services for the enterprise to an orchestrator of services across private clouds and various public clouds. This hybrid cloud orchestration has to be secure, hypervisor independent, manageable and compliant with all the enterprise’s IT policies across the full IT stack and across all the clouds. Cisco’s Intercloud capabilities are designed to do exactly this and will be enhanced by enabling the orchestration to be carried out in a private hosted environment where these cloud providers will be virtually located within the same exchange. This will facilitate workload interconnections between cloud providers in true hybrid cloud fashion with the lowest application latency and secure workload management for customers.

Where better to do this than in Equinix’s data centers and through the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX)? As the world’s largest IBX data center and colocation provider, the company offers fast application performance and low latency routes across all continents. The company provides a global interconnection platform called Equinix Cloud Exchange that hosts private clouds for enterprise customers and facilitates over 135,000 connections among more than 4,500 customers. Cisco will enable the Equinix Cloud Exchange to deliver secure private cloud access to the rich ecosystem of cloud service providers in Equinix data centers globally and to deploy Cisco Intercloud capabilities in 16 Equinix markets across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Equinix also plans to deploy key Cisco technologies and services across its Cloud Exchange, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switch, Cisco APIC, and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform.

For Equinix this announcement significantly enhances their value proposition to the CIO. Their Equinix Cloud Exchange solution will now be able to guarantee full bi-directional workload portability across any hypervisor and full extensible application policy compliance across all services and clouds. This will enhance their already unique interconnect capabilities, lowest latency capabilities and extensive global footprint.

Beginning and Ending with Network Connectivity

So it is all about the connectivity, but this is not a new proposition. It’s one that has been proven consistently over the last 30 years. When networks first emerged they were proprietary, did not interoperate and as a result customers had to choose which one to use.  Cisco and our partners played a major role in seamlessly connecting them together to create the Internet.  As a result, business processes were transformed, billions of dollars of value was created and a large successful partner ecosystem emerged. As we look at the cloud landscape today we see several similarities – many independent closed and proprietary clouds which were designed to maximize vendor revenue rather than enable interoperability, security and compliance. The combined value of Cisco and Equinix will provide fast, open, secure connectivity and will unleash the value of hybrid cloud for enterprises globally.

Together with our partners we will connect the clouds to create the Intercloud.

 

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Partners Take Center Stage with Intercloud

Today’s Cisco announcements illustrate the momentum we’ve seen thus far for Cisco’s approach to cloud. Partners across the globe are very eager to engage and understand what roles they can play to help them meet their customer’s needs for choice, flexibility, security, and compliance. As more clouds connect, opportunities for our partners to extend value and become more relevant with their customers increase.

Cisco’s approach has always been partner-centric. And with Intercloud, partners have even more opportunities to be cloud builders, providers, resellers, consultants, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and more. The foundation for Cisco’s Intercloud is built on:

  • A hybrid cloud model to place and move Virtual Machine (VM) workloads on any cloud
  • Application-centric policy control for Chief Information Officers across all IT components and clouds at scale
  • Data virtualization at scale, to address the Internet of Everything (IoE) explosion, and
  • A network-centric partner ecosystem that provides the most choice and data sovereignty over a vendor direct model

While partner business models vary, I always emphasize that there are many opportunities and multiple roles for Intercloud partners. Intercloud partners will bring important value to the ecosystem with professional services, new offers, Service Level Agreements (SLA), consumption pricing, consolidated billing and much more. They can also enhance their roles and monetize in other ways. For example, Intercloud partners can build and operate private clouds with professional services, which opens up opportunities to create a profitable hybrid IT business model. Read More »

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Intercloud, The Next Internet Starts Here

Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.

Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.

Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)

The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.

But cloud is presenting as many challenges for IT departments and cloud service providers as it is opportunities.

Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.

IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.

Read More »

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Metacloud

Today, Cisco takes another important step towards realizing our plans to create the world’s largest global Intercloud – a worldwide network of interconnected clouds and cloud service providers.

Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers—right now. Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud. By catalyzing the creation of the Intercloud, Cisco can fundamentally transform how IT and cloud services are bought, sold, aggregated and consumed.

Cisco’s vision is for an OpenStack-based Intercloud that allows organizations and users to combine and move high-value workloads – including data and applications – across different public or private clouds as needed. Doing so easily and securely, while maintaining essential network and security policies as well as full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, is critical.

Metacloud deploys, operates and manages OpenStack-based production-ready private clouds in any customer data center. Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds. Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money.

Our customers and partners see the value proposition clearly and have rallied around Cisco’s Intercloud vision and strategy over the last year. Many leading companies are working with us in the adoption of the Intercloud. Among them, key service providers and cloud providers, as well as important technology partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, NetApp, Red Hat, Sungard, Telstra, and VCE.

Metacloud will become a critical part of our Cloud Services portfolio under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

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