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SUMMARY: As Cisco Intercloud Turns One, Two of its Architects Reflect On How The Strategy Was Born

“One year ago this week, Cisco announced a plan and a billion dollar investment to build the world’s largest Intercloud – a globally connected network of clouds from Cisco and our partners. As we arrive at the one-year anniversary, I took a few minutes to chat with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud SVP Nick Earle – two of the ‘architects of the Intercloud’ – about how the idea came about, and what they have learned in the year since the vision was unveiled.”

Click here to read the full post by David McCulloch
A Q&A with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud Senior Vice President Nick Earle

 

Intercloud Birthday

Happy Birthday, Intercloud!

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As Cisco Intercloud Turns One, Two of its Architects Reflect On How The Strategy Was Born

A Q&A with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud Senior Vice President Nick Earle

Rob Lloyd Nick Earle Cisco

 

 

 

 

 

One year ago this week, Cisco announced a plan and a billion dollar investment to build the world’s largest Intercloud – a globally connected network of clouds from Cisco and our partners. As we arrive at the one-year anniversary, I took a few minutes to chat with Cisco President Rob Lloyd and Cloud SVP Nick Earle – two of the ‘architects of the Intercloud’ – about how the idea came about, and what they have learned in the year since the vision was unveiled.

David McCulloch: Can you take us back to early 2014 and remind us why Cisco needed to evolve its cloud strategy?

Rob Lloyd: In late 2013, even as sales of Cisco’s SaaS and cloud enabling technologies continued to rise, we started to see demand for a new cloud model: a hybrid cloud model that took into account our customers’ current IT investments and augmented those with a choice of cloud providers, and access to local and national cloud options to more easily comply with data privacy and industry regulations. We realized that if we could deliver all of that with one holistic hybrid cloud strategy that gave customers a high degree of control over security, policy and application performance, we had a huge opportunity on our hands.

DM:  Enter Cisco Intercloud! How did the idea come about?

Rob: A few weeks before Cisco’s annual executive leadership team meeting, Nick Earle, Edzard Overbeek (head of Cisco Services), Jim Sherriff (chief of staff) and I met to brainstorm what it would take to deliver the hybrid cloud strategy our customers wanted.  We knew we had some valuable assets already: Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) was capable of enabling consistent security and policy across clouds. Intercloud Fabric enabled portability of workloads between clouds. And our Integrated Architecture offers in the Data Center were already market leading.  But we realized we could go further still if we fully embraced our extensive global ecosystem of partners. If we could combine Cisco’s strengths together with those of our partners, and move quickly, we knew we could disrupt current cloud models and become the market leader in hybrid cloud solutions.

DM: Whiteboard, notebooks or napkin?

Nick Earle: White board! The four of us began drawing the current partner/technology/services ecosystem on a whiteboard in the ‘Bat Cave’, a meeting room that is full of mementos Rob has collected on his business travels. The first sketch centered on applications running in Cisco data centers with remote access provided to our partners and customers, but that posed serious scalability challenges. We realized no company – not even Cisco – could deliver the global reach and local scale our customers were asking for to meet the massive challenges and opportunities presented by the Internet of Everything.

DM: So what was plan B?

Nick: We restarted the design from scratch, this time taking ourselves temporarily out of the picture and drawing everything from the perspective of the customer. We asked: what would it take to deliver the seamless hybrid cloud experience they wanted – irrespective of vendor or cloud provider? This was the key breakthrough. We redrew the global cloud network diagram with a green dot inside each element in the ecosystem – the green dot representing a technology capability that was at once secure and open – that would enable cloud federation.  A pattern of green dots began to emerge and the lights went on – this was it! We had no name for the idea at the time so we began referring to it as the ‘Green Dot Strategy’.

The original 'Green Dot Strategy' sketch on the 'Bat Cave' whiteboard

The original ‘Green Dot Strategy’ sketch on the ‘Bat Cave’ whiteboard

DM: So how did the ‘Green Dot Strategy’ become the Cisco Intercloud strategy?

Rob: We wanted to make this strategy real for our customers as quickly as possible. So we compiled an inventory of all the capabilities we would need to pull it off: Secure hypervisor agnostic distribution of applications? Intercloud Fabric. Check! Application policy extensibility into other clouds? ACI. Check. Real time data analytics to billions of new devices and data at the edge of the network? Cisco Data Virtualization. Check!  An extensive partner ecosystem that could put data centers in every country to provide global data sovereignty and provide a huge go to market advantage? Check again. We realized we had a winning strategy on our hands and we needed to move quickly to launch the strategy – at ‘Dev Ops’ speed.

DM: And we did move quickly. Cisco unveiled its Intercloud strategy fifty-six days later at our Partner Summit in Las Vegas. But that was really just the beginning, wasn’t it?

Rob:  It all began with Telstra, our first Intercloud alliance partner, but once our ecosystem of partners had a chance to digest the concept, the feedback and uptake was off the charts! Now, one year after the unveiling, we’ve filled in a lot of the ‘green dots’ that we sketched on that whiteboard. We have amassed 60 Intercloud alliance, ecosystem and cloud provider partners with a footprint of 400 data centers across 50 countries, and the momentum continues.

Last week, I announced new Intercloud services together with DT at CeBit in Germany. This week I reviewed the revenues being generated by SunGard Availability Services that leverage their domain expertise in cloud recovery services, SAP and public cloud, and witnessed the faster time-to-market enabled by Intercloud.

When I see those advances, it’s clear to me that we have a created a big idea with the potential to truly be a game changer.  Consider this: within nine months we’ll have a service availability capability that matches what the best known player in this category has taken nine years to build.

DM: What’s next?

Nick: Ha! You ain’t seen nothing yet!  We’re really still at phase one of our strategy. In time, we’ll add hundreds of cloud service providers with thousands of services into the mix. That will arm our customers and crucially our partners with the industry’s best cloud service portfolio. The next phases are all about scaling out the availability of those services globally with alliance partners like Telstra, Deutsche Telekom, and others to be announced. Ultimately, we plan to create the world’s most compelling global cloud service exchange for business, where orchestration and management of services on Cisco and non-Cisco environments comes with world-class security, visibility, control and analytics. You can expect to hear more about that this summer!

How did your big idea come about? We’re curious to hear your innovation story! Post #innovativeideas.

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Do You Want to Help Shape the Future of Cloud?

Please take 3 minutes to take the 17-question 2014 Survey to weigh in on key issues to be discussed by North Bridge, Gigaom, and industry colleagues over the next year. Hear the issues debated first hand during the Gigaom Structure “Future of Cloud Computing Survey” panel on June 18th!

Please take 3 minutes to take the 17-question 2014 Survey to weigh in on key issues to be discussed by North Bridge, Gigaom, and industry colleagues over the next year.

The 4th annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey is underway! Cisco, along with North Bridge and Gigaom Research, and over 60 industry collaborators aim to explore the types of cloud computing technologies being used today and in the future.

Please take 3 minutes to take the 17-question 2014 Survey to weigh in on key issues to be discussed by North Bridge, Gigaom, and industry colleagues over the next year. You can also hear the issues debated first hand during the Gigaom Structure “Future of Cloud Computing Survey” panel on June 18th!

Your participation in the survey is instrumental for our industry to understand how cloud computing resources are being applied. This survey will help shed light on the requirements and needs of the cloud computing market so that vendors can deliver the best solutions.  Accordingly, your answers in this survey will help shape future solutions.

As more and more emphasis is put on shifting workloads across the Intercloud, understanding the drivers and inhibitors will help define accurate cloud strategies across organizations.

Re-cap of the 2013 Survey Findings:

  • Business is driving cloud adoption:   Organizations average 52% current use of applications that advance business priorities, compared with an average 36% that use applications that advance IT priorities – underscoring the increasing value placed by organizations on facilitating the delivery of services beyond IT via the cloud
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) leads but fastest growth is in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which will give way to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in five years.
  • Agility and scalability are the primary drivers for cloud adoption. However, the need for cloud services to support mobility and the ability for continuous innovation to drive competitive advantage through more integrated business processes are all key drivers for the future.
  • Security is starting to lose its label as the primary inhibitor to cloud adoption as other significant adoption issues arise

The survey closes May 30th, get your responses in now!

2013 Future of Cloud Computing – 3rd Annual Survey Results from Michael J Skok

 

Addition Resources:

Did you miss CiscoLive? Read the “Moving at #Cloud Speed” recap by Didier Rombaut.  This blogs includes links to many new cloud assets.

Gigaom: Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results, June 18-19 2014 (San Francisco, CA)

Read Nick Earle's bio

Read Nick Earle’s bio

Cloud World Forum:  Nick Earle, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Services Sales and Channels at Cisco will be giving a keynote at Cloud World Forum (London, UK) on June 17th at 16:30.  His masterclass address will discuss how you can align your strategy and business for success using cloud.

 

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Cisco Executives Share Key Takeaways from Partner Summit 2012

Networking. Learning. Fun. Our 16th annual Partner Summit in San Diego, California had it all, creating an energizing and forward-thinking environment for our global partners.

Our executives also had a lot to say in between keynotes and networking sessions with much of the focus on Cisco’s vision for the future and our strategy for getting there. The most important topic of conversation, however, was how much we value partners.

During the event, we captured some of Cisco executives’ top takeaways. Want to hear what’s top of mind for Rob Lloyd, EVP, Worldwide Operations; Keith Goodwin, SVP, Worldwide Partner Organization; and Nick, Earle, SVP, Worldwide Partner Organization? Then watch our video.

Keep reading for a full recap of what executives shared in the video.  Read More »

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Partner Summit 2012 Day Two Recap: Cisco and Partners are ‘In It to Win It’

What a way to open an event! Cisco’s 16th Partner Summit began with partners filing into a packed auditorium to the Olympics theme song holding flags from their home countries—with more than 90 countries represented here this week. This year’s theme, “In It to Win It,” was especially apt given the news announced at today’s event.

Senior VP of the Worldwide Partner Organization Keith Goodwin welcomed live and virtual attendees, and then took everyone on a trip down memory lane, sharing recollections of the first time he presented at Cisco Partner Summit on the very same stage six years prior.

In addition to Keith, CEO John Chambers, EVP/COO Gary Moore, SVP Wendy Bahr, VP Andrew Sage, SVP Edison Peres, and SVP Nick Earle all addressed the audience, talking about Cisco’s accomplishments over the past year, and goals and priorities for the year ahead.

There was also plenty of news to share, with announcements about the Cisco Services Partner Program (our biggest Services announcement in 15 years, according to CRN, Enabling Architectures Sales Excellence, the Master Cloud Builder Specialization, the Partner Plus Incentive program, and much more. In addition, Edison shared his vision around the value that partners derive from their relationship with Cisco.

After today’s keynote, we caught up with a few partners to get their thoughts on the value they see in being a Cisco partner.

Our Partner Ambassador Bloggers have also been busy sharing their thoughts about this year’s Partner Summit. Be sure to check out their blogs:

Today there were a number of big announcements, as well as key information shared around Return on Cisco and the value of partnership. Keep reading to find out what was announced today. Read More »

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