The Truth about Cloud Computing: It’s (Mostly) Just Networking!
You might have seen Lew Tucker, Cisco’s new Cloud Computing CTO, in the press this week discussing Cisco’s Cloud computing strategy and offerings.
Lew has been telling a pretty simple story since he came to Cisco earlier this year: cloud computing may be the latest term describing how the Internet is enabling new IT and business models, but if there’s one company that already understands how the Internet changes business models, it’s Cisco.
Yes, Cloud computing is a little different to Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. The proliferation of smarter mobile devices, the explosion of rich media and social applications and the expectation of users to be able to access content anywhere and anytime are newer trends that weren’t around in previous eras, but they simply reinforce something that has been true for more than a decade: the network has become the most important technology in advancing new computing paradigms.
Okay, we’re a networking company and you might expect us to say that, but think of these everyday cloud examples:
If you’re a consumer who wants fast access anytime to your personal photos housed in a media cloud, isn’t your number one concern that you have a secure, reliable, broadband network (whether it’s to your mobile device or your PC) between you and your content?
And if you’re a business professional who wants Cloud-based apps like online meetings to perform beautifully for everyone in the meeting, you know you need an intelligent network that optimizes video and audio experiences for everyone, no matter whether they’re online from home, from a tablet PC or from a smart phone.
And if you’re an IT leader wanting to centralize applications and computing resources in a private cloud, you need a secure, virtualized network infrastructure that unifies and protects your whole system from the virtual desktop all the way to the virtual machine in the data center.
Those are the types of scenarios presenting significant opportunities for Cisco in cloud computing, a market that analysts are predicting will be worth 148 billion dollars by 2014. We’re pursuing those opportunities with a three-pronged strategy:
First, Cisco is providing cloud-enabling infrastructure for enterprises and service providers. Our Unified Computing System is a perfect example.
Second, we see an opportunity for Cisco to work with enterprise and service provider customers to deliver complete cloud service solutions to their customers. Our Cisco WebEx hosted messaging, meeting and collaboration solutions are great examples.
Third, we see the potential for Cisco to provide cloud computing network services such as provisioning, policy and security. This week’s announcement of Cisco’s intent to acquire LineSider, a company which provides software to provision individual network components more rapidly, is an example of how we’re building capabilities in this category. Our cloud-based Cisco ScanSafe web security solution is another.
And, naturally, we also see opportunity for our core routing and switching businesses to benefit from all that additional Cloud-based traffic flowing across the world’s networks.
All of that said, as Lew outlined in his video interview with TheStreet.com, we’re still very much at the beginning of the Cloud Computing era. If you’re getting a little weary of the hype, I’m afraid the truth is that there are more clouds in your future!