Considering all the hype around the cloud, it’s easy to forget that we live in a world of many clouds. Organizations can’t simply tap into a single all-powerful entity located everywhere and nowhere, all at once. In reality, they must dip in and out of a complex and often challenging array of public, private, and hybrid clouds.

But what is the future of cloud? The Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving an unprecedented explosion in connectivity — and transformation — and cloud is the key delivery system that makes it all possible. In the enterprise, cloud has already upended traditional IT consumption models, transitioning IT departments into brokers of services that are increasingly available through third-party vendors — and accessed through a variety of clouds. Facing an increasingly cloudy future, service providers are focused on moving beyond their traditional roles as telecom providers, while new players continue to enter the core markets of traditional service providers.

But how will enterprises and service providers meet the security and operational challenges of an ever-expanding and increasingly complicated cloud universe? Part of the answer lies in the industry’s evolution toward an ecosystem of cloud providers. Incorporating a cloud “brokerage” and a cloud “federation,” this ecosystem will give customers a choice of cloud solutions that meet their specific needs.

I’m happy to report that Cisco, along with some of our key partners, is helping to smooth the cloud transformation journey both on the demand (enterprise) and supply (service provider) sides.

This week we announced at Cisco Live Milan  a breakthrough hybrid-cloud solution called Cisco InterCloud, which paves the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Cisco InterCloud enables enterprises and providers to create flexible and agile hybrid clouds by allowing the seamless movement of workloads — such as storage, compute, and applications — across different clouds, as needed. The maintenance of security and network policies across these disparate clouds is a given, and Cisco’s open-standards approach is core to its success.  Cisco InterCloud is expected to move workloads among participating Cisco Powered cloud providers, such as BT, CSC/Service Mesh, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, and Virtustream, as well as multiple public clouds, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Moving forward, the InterCloud Provider Enablement Platform promises users even greater flexibility and choice.

By rapidly increasing agility, transparency, and speed of deployment, Cisco InterCloud will drive innovation and success in the rapidly evolving Internet of Everything economy, where access to multiple clouds is a prerequisite to success.

No matter what kind of cloud environment providers create — public, private, or hybrid — they will need proven and innovative go-to-market (GTM) strategies to accelerate the delivery of profitable and differentiated cloud services. Fortunately, cloud providers can tap into a proven approach and methodology with cloud ecosystems such as the OneCloud Partner Program. Developed through collaboration between Dimension Data and Cisco, this innovative business model enables local service providers to address the rapid disruptions in the cloud market. By leveraging the pre-engineered cloud infrastructures of these two global cloud leaders — along with their sales and marketing expertise — local service providers will be able to create unique and new offerings far beyond their traditional telecom services. And with access to such proven cloud solutions, participants will greatly reduce their time to market.

A core tenet of the OneCloud Partner program is the “federation” model, which makes it possible to deliver a consistent experience across the whole OneCloud. Participants will comply with in-country data privacy laws while also serving customers outside their home markets. For example, if a customer in Indonesia wishes to extend its cloud services to a subsidiary in Hong Kong, it can connect with a OneCloud Global Exchange member in China. Together, they can then serve the multinational customer.

Another key building block is Domain Ten 2.0, the latest iteration of Cisco Services’ Domain Ten framework, a proven methodology we use to identify the main areas in an organization that are impacted by cloud and IT transformation. These include infrastructure, applications, platform, organization/governance, and financials.

Finally, Cisco Services is announcing Cloud Consumption Services. As part of Cisco’s end-to-end services for helping customers define and implement their cloud strategies, it is an extremely valuable analytical tool for gaining insights into current cloud usage.

I believe that these latest solutions go a long way toward extending Cisco’s cloud technology leadership. And as the cloud market transition continues to advance rapidly in both mature and emerging markets, we will continue to leverage our strengths in technology and go-to-market-expertise to create even better cloud solutions and business models.

What do you think?

For more information, read also

Cisco Announces Open and Secure Hybrid Cloud with the Collaboration of Cloud Providers and Technology Partners
It’s New Role in Strategic Cloud Services

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Manjula Talreja

Vice President, Global Cloud Practice

Cisco Consulting Services