Gee Rittenhouse answers the top 5 questions about #CloudAccording to GigaOM, the use of cloud-based resources will be what’s “next” for IT in preparation for an in-depth look at the infrastructure that will drive the next decade of application development.

At the recent Structure event, GigaOM tapped into the minds of cloud-technology industry leaders, seeking insight into the “Top 5 Questions for the Titans of Cloud.”

In this post, Gee Rittenhouse, Vice President/General Manager, Cloud and Virtualization Group at Cisco, provides answers and insight on cloud infrastructure, exchange, data security and more.


Top Cloud Question #1: “When will all the major clouds support the same set of APIs?”


Today, there is a three-horse race between two proprietary APIs (Amazon Web Services and VMware’s vCloud API) and one open API (OpenStack). For now, the two proprietary APIs will continue to be the dominant players, leveraging their large public cloud (in the case of AWS) and private cloud (in the case of VMware) deployments.

But, as an increasing number of service providers and enterprises adopt and deploy OpenStack cloud solutions across both public and private models, the balance will shift, more than likely over the next two to four years.

Cisco’s approach is different from other, more infrastructure-centric public cloud offers. We believe that the open API model OpenStack will eventually be the dominant cloud API model and will ultimately become the de-facto standard.

Looking to the future beyond just a hybrid cloud conversation toward the Intercloud, an interconnected global cloud of clouds, built with a commitment to open standards and based on OpenStack, will feature APIs to connect any cloud or hypervisor to any other cloud or hypervisor.


Top Cloud Question #2: “When will they support migration of data/workloads from one cloud to another natively?”


Cisco is uniquely positioned to facilitate portability of workloads because of our ability to connect multiple clouds through an integrated, simple and secure network via Cisco Intercloud Fabric. 

One of the key friction points related to workload portability is the sheer variety of networking and security models that need to be understood, learned and navigated across clouds today.

Each cloud has its own approach and set of capabilities in this domain. Cisco Intercloud Fabric for Businesses simplifies processes by enabling end-customers to push a single, simple, and secure network from their data center to public clouds (such as AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure) as well as Cisco partners as part of our Intercloud ecosystem

Intercloud partners are required to use Cisco Intercloud Fabric for Providers to help facilitate workload portability across multiple clouds, be ACI-enabled, and have a clear roadmap to OpenStack.

And while the move toward containerization of apps (i.e. Docker) will facilitate mobility of apps, real and complex issues still need to be solved in the areas of network, data and security and that is where we are focused. We are focusing specifically in this area.


Top Cloud Question #3: “What comes after the race to the bottom in cloud storage prices plays out?”


The race to the bottom will result in commodity clouds for storage, as well as compute.  Once that happens, the real value conversation for cloud providers will shift to value-added applications and services sitting on, or in, those clouds. This includes Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Hosted Collaboration Solutions and more.

The Cisco Intercloud ecosystem actively enables our partners to provide services in these areas to their customers. This is an IaaS, Paas, and SaaS offering that enables customers to rapidly deploy hybrid clouds; and Service Provider Apps such as DRaaS, EnergyWise, and others to deliver business continuity.


Top Cloud Question #4: “When will we see a true cloud exchange?”


If they are to emerge, exchanges will be driven at the PaaS layer. What RedHat OpenShift and Pivotal CloudFoundry are doing is beginning to look a bit like an exchange; an exchange of “micro-services.”

The integration of Red Hat’s OpenShift and the Cisco Prime Service Catalog (PSC) creates a solution to both configure and manage IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and other IT services through a unified portal and catalog for XaaS (anything-as-a-Service).


Top Cloud Question #5: “How can we be sure our data is safe in your cloud from prying eyes?”


There will always be a case for private cloud as a solution for a variety of reasons, including data security. And the cost of deploying long running applications is usually less expensive in many cases on private clouds.

Cisco’s Cloud portfolio has the most comprehensive private cloud management platform with ACI, UCS, USCD, the Prime Service Catalog, (plus Cisco Intercloud Fabric) to support the real and valid reasons to go to a secure public cloud.

Our data center solutions deliver a full set of proven security features that do not impact business-critical services or applications. We’ve also expanded our cloud partnerships, working with a rich network of regional providers that an enterprise can trust to ensure the security of their data, especially in light of recent NSA overreaching.

These new vendor partnerships will create new infrastructure resources and services.

Be sure to join the conversation, #CiscoCloud to ask us your own questions about cloud!  You can also follow the #CloudQuestions conversation on Twitter.


Additional Resources

Intercloud and The Internet of Everything

See how Intercloud Fabric can move workloads and applications from cloud to cloud. Dr. Gee Rittenhouse, VP/GM Cloud & Virtualization Group, Faiyaz Shahpurwala, SVP Cloud Infrastructure & Managed Services, and Sean Curtis (@ciscodemoguy) demonstrate the simplicity of Cisco Intercloud Fabric at Cisco Live.





Dr. Gee Rittenhouse

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Security Business Group