Lew Tucker delivered a keynote at the OpenStack Summit yesterday. Which isn’t actually all that unusual. He’s been up to his neck in OpenStack for quite some time, leading cloud efforts at Cisco, and serving as Vice Chairman of the OpenStack Foundation.
Lew spoke yesterday, and for me, the two most interesting ideas he shared were these: One—that humans are designed to cooperate. Or rather that our ability to cooperate on a large scale around abstract ideas (religion, government, the concept of nations) is what’s allowed us to rise above the other creatures competing for dominance on this small blue planet. That idea didn’t come from Lew—it came from an Israeli history professor who studies early humans—but Lew shared it to illustrate the notion that cooperation is a winning strategy, and that we’re absolutely heading in the right direction when we work on open source projects. We’re employing an approach that has been tremendously successful in the past, and although we have often gotten away from it and embraced more proprietary models in the service of individual profit, we may have been sacrificing some of the significant advantages we gain when we work together.
I liked that. Great point.
The other message he wanted to get across was that when it comes to open source in general, and OpenStack in particular, Cisco is all-in.
I think that sometimes, because we’ve made such a name for ourselves in the networking hardware business, people assume that Cisco is not really a committed player in the open source software space. That we’re dabbling, or we’re latecomers.
But the truth is quite the opposite.
Yes, we are a networking giant, and hardware continues to be our bread and butter. But we figured out long ago that a shift was afoot. That software was going to reshape our industry and all the industries we serve. So we got involved early. We were part of the Diablo design summit in 2011, and were part of the original group of sponsors that supported the formation of the OpenStack Foundation in 2012.
Today, cloud is absolutely central to our long-term strategy at Cisco. We’re acquiring solutions externally (Metapod, Piston, CliQr), building new technologies internally (Mantl, Shipped, Contiv), and partnering with software innovators (Pivotal, Apprenda) to make private cloud easier than ever to deploy, manage, and use.
Want the full story? The recording of Lew’s keynote:
Also, information about each of the products and partnerships I’ve mentioned can be found at the links above. Better yet though—stop by the Cisco booth C11 sometime over the next two days and ask any of the Cisco engineers on hand for a demo. We’re all really excited about the direction this company is headed, and these guys in particular will be happy to talk to you about our newest innovations all day long.
So pick their brains. Wear them out. Squeeze them until you’ve extracted every ounce of cloud knowledge they have to offer. And debate them on points where you disagree. The more we exchange information about these abstract ideas–like all those that came before–the better off we’ll be.