Cisco this week released new software and services for helping organizations migrate to cloud-based infrastructure, whether it be infrastructure they run themselves or resources from public cloud providers.
But as part of this effort Cisco is not pointing customers to one of its own public cloud platforms as it has wound down and pivoted away from its multi-year effort to develop its once-heralded Intercloud.
A few years ago Cisco was attempting to build Intercloud, a series of connected public clouds developed by Cisco and its partners that would be networked together. The idea was to create a pool of IaaS capacity all based on Cisco hardware components.
Fabio Gori, head of Cisco’s cloud marketing, says that was a “supply-side” strategy that focused on providing infrastructure capacity for customers.
There is already a crowded market where customers can buy public cloud infrastructure capacity though, so the company pivoted.
“Cisco has evolved its cloud strategy from focusing on federating clouds to helping customers build and manage hybrid cloud,” Gori said.
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A series of acquisitions (such as purchases this year of Cliqr, CloudLock and ContainerX) have shifted the company away from Intercloud and into focusing on three areas: Help customers turn next-generation on-premises infrastructure into a private cloud; integrate new application development technologies such as PaaS platforms, containers and microservices architectures; and manage a hybrid environment that will intelligently place certain workloads in the best fitting third-party public cloud platform.
This week Cisco is announcing new services for helping manage clouds. “Cloud orchestration is the brain of the hybrid cloud,” Gori says.
A first part of the new offerings will help customers plan for the non-technical aspects of adopting a cloud strategy, including identifying which applications should run in the cloud, what changes need to be made to company process and what new skills are needed. There’s a specific new IT Transformation Service around Devops.
Secondly, Cisco is announcing new partnerships with Apprenda and Pivotal Cloud Foundry that will help customers deploy application development PaaS platforms.
Finally, Cisco is enhancing the functionality of its CloudCenter software, which is technology it acquired from Cliqr. New features allow customers to deploy applications to multiple different public cloud endpoints. It also helps analyze applications to evaluate the most appropriate cloud platform and helps manage apps across multiple cloud platforms.
Intercloud was a partner-centric cloud strategy because it focused on Cisco partners building out public clouds. This new cloud management strategy is more about helping customers transform existing infrastructure into a cloud and use public cloud resources. So what’s the play for partners in this new strategy? Gori says there are multiple: Cisco partners can resell cloud infrastructure products to help customers build private clouds; partners will also resell Cisco infrastructure components and they’ll sell SaaS services such as Cisco’s Web Ex, Spark, CloudLock security and internet of things software.
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