Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.

Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.

Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)

The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.

But cloud is presenting as many challenges for IT departments and cloud service providers as it is opportunities.

Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.

IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.

And, customers want the ability to buy cloud and managed services wherever they do business, anywhere in the world, from a trusted service provider. However, the exorbitant cost to scale services across continents presents a massive obstacle in globalizing services.

In essence, our customers and partners face a similar problem our founders solved back in 1984: they want to unify islands of connectivity and scale that unified infrastructure globally and securely.

Cisco has another opportunity to lead a significant industry transformation.

In March of this year, Cisco announced a bold cloud strategy to meet this challenge head-on. We stated that together with partners, we would create a global Intercloud, a network of clouds that could meet customers’ requirements for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform capable of meeting the robust demands of the Internet of Everything.

We’ve moved quickly since then.

We put in place a set of integrated infrastructure partnerships with VCE, NetApp, and Red Hat, and a broad data center partnership with Microsoft , to help IT departments prepare their data centers for the Intercloud. Think of these converged infrastructure partnerships as ‘on-ramps’ to the Intercloud.

We unveiled a technology called Cisco Intercloud Fabric that forms a connective tissue between public and private clouds, enabling hybrid cloud management.

We brought to market Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, which enables customers to define the optimal IT requirements of an application, and leverages these profiles to dynamically provision networking, application services, security policies and subnets, no matter where the application resides. All of which enables workload portability between private cloud and public clouds when leveraged together with Intercloud Fabric.

We invited Telstra, Australia’s leading service provider, to join us in helping scale the Cisco Cloud and the services we will offer via the Intercloud. That partnership has already expanded beyond Australia to Hong Kong and Singapore.

And a dozen more partners including Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services pledged to bring their applications and services to the Intercloud.

But we didn’t stop there.

Today Cisco has taken its biggest steps yet towards achieving our Intercloud vision with the announcements of more than 30 new Intercloud partners, including Deutsche Telekom, British Telecom, NTT DATA and Equinix. Together these partners bring more than 250 data centers across 50 countries to the Intercloud. We also announced expanded partnerships with Tech Data, Comstor and Ingram Micro, who will become aggregators of Intercloud services. And we introduced additional technologies and services that will help enterprises, service providers and partners join, utilize and monetize the Intercloud.

And if that wasn’t enough, Cisco Capital has earmarked $1 billion to provide financial solutions that help Cisco customers and partners accelerate the adoption of Cisco technologies needed to transition to Cisco Powered clouds.

As we look ahead to the next 30 years at Cisco, we’ll look back on today as a milestone almost as significant as that day in 1984 when our founders helped two network islands talk to each other.

Perhaps more importantly, I think we’ll look back on today as the day we enabled customers to achieve the vision of hybrid IT and created the IT platform truly ready for the Internet of Everything.

(UPDATED 9/30/14) Cisco hosted an online news conference from 7:30am-8:45am PT on Monday, September 29th, 2014 to discuss all of the news mentioned in this blog post.

The news conference featured the following speakers:

  • Rob Lloyd, President, Development and Sales, Cisco
  • Dr. Marcus Hacke, SVP, Telecommunications Services and Solutions, Deutsche Telekom
  • Neil Lock, Director, BT Compute
  • Ihab Tarazi, Chief Technology Officer, Equinix
  • Nick Earle, SVP, Cloud and Managed Services, Cisco

Click here to watch a replay of the Cisco Intercloud news conference (Registration required)


Rob Lloyd

President, Development and Sales