A loaded question? Perhaps. But in today’s digital landscape it is one that many companies are trying to answer.

Regardless of industry, brands that wish to remain competitive and offer optimized services and more engaging customer experiences are seeking digital flexibility. Many have turned to cloud computing to achieve these goals and more, including reduced operability costs and streamlined efficiency.

We’re all more than familiar with the “big three” when it comes to cloud deployment – public, private and hybrid. However, while the cloud-obsessed among us can jump headfirst into the flurry of discussion around cloud, the changing nature of cloud services, exposures that are out there and the fear of being “locked-in” with one provider, often leave business leaders left to ponder if there is a way they can enjoy the best that all of these options have to offer. In other words, how can they have all of the cloud, without being “locked in?”

Providers Are Feeling the Push

In many ways, it’s up to providers to assist customers in answering this question. In an effort to avoid rapid commoditization, cloud providers have rapidly moved “up the stack”, providing higher level services on top of their IaaS. That means brands are in a mad race to separate themselves from the pack, presenting to customers a plethora of cloud features that will both attract workloads to their cloud but also create “stickiness” once there, making the tension between portability and provider lock-in seem less significant.

The Case for Agility, Flexibility and Portability

With technology in general, today’s latest and greatest development is tomorrow’s “remember when” tech segment, making the case for agility, flexibility and portability within cloud networks that much stronger. This means a greater adoption of hybrid cloud strategies by businesses that want (and need) these benefits to mitigate cost complexities, support today’s (and future) innovation ambitions and enhanced security.

Recently, IDC found that 73 percent of enterprises are pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy and that 68 percent are running more than one or two apps in both public and private cloud environments. What’s behind these surges? Various use-cases – higher availability in disaster recovery, keeping operations on pace with developers and dynamic capacity expansion – are just a few driving hybrid cloud adoption.

So How Can Cloud Customers Have It All?

Now on to our answer.

I honestly feel cloud customers can have it all by simply choosing a cloud management platform that lets one optimize portability, remaining cloud agnostic for core primitives such as compute, storage and network, and that also allows one to easily model unique services offered by the cloud provider as a part of an application profile and model. They can use one management platform to be portable or make a conscious choice to get sticky with one cloud. But the key is that the choice remains theirs and that they get to choose. As they weigh their options, customers should see if they value unique services provided by any one cloud and determine if these unique features are portable or if other providers have equivalent services.

The cloud landscape, in many ways, is still relatively very young. The terrain is always changing, which leaves a lot of room for innovation. However, the outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 proves that malicious agents are out there.

All of us at Cisco have a unique vision for cloud to reach its full potential. Hybrid cloud is very important to this vision because having one environment is not as effective. We know our customers need a new approach to move their applications to environments of their choosing. In spite of skepticism around hybrid cloud, we stuck to our principles and beliefs to create Cisco CloudCenter’s scalable architecture, “deploy on demand” infrastructure and a cloud-agnostic blueprint, enabling cloud customers to modernize their data center as they see fit. So they can yes – have it all.


David Cope

Senior Director, Cisco CloudCenter

Insieme Business Unit (INSBU)