Cisco CloudVerse, codenamed Hurricane, a framework that combines unified data center, cloud intelligent networks and cloud applications, is Cisco’s cloud coming-out party.
Looking to make it easier for IT solution providers and end-user companies to unify hybrid cloud environments, Cisco has created a unified framework called CloudVerse, designed to simplify the process of building, managing and connecting public, private and hybrid clouds. The framework relies on Cisco’s unified data center, cloud intelligent network and cloud applications and services. The CloudVerse initiative focuses on preparing companies for a “world of many clouds” in which computing workloads may move between clouds and data centers. Last week Cisco released its Cloud Index offering data on growth projections for cloud computing and data storage. As you might expect, a key focus for Cisco is the network, and how data moves back and forth between the physical environments that store and process all this data.
Multiple Components to CloudVerse Strategy
The Unified Data Center solution provides a fabric-based platform automating the “as-a-service” model across physical and virtual environments, and is designed to scale with business demands by flexibly allocating resources within and between data centers.
Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud provides automated provisioning and management of data center resources for the delivery of cloud services within and between data centers. Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud is designed to provide automated provisioning and management of data center resources for the delivery of cloud services within and between data centers. The Network Services Manager will automatically create, deploy and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.
Cloud to Cloud—What Experts Said About Cisco CloudVerse to Various Organizations?
Under the “cloud intelligent network” moniker, Cisco announced Cloud-to-Cloud Connect on its ASR 1000 and 9000 Series routers (to launch in 2012), which is intended to enable dynamic resource identification, allocation and optimization between data centers and the cloud. Several new features have been added to Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), including private cloud HCS, Mobile HCS and customer collaboration offerings.
“Until now cloud technology resided in silos, making it harder to build and manage clouds, and to interconnect multiple clouds, posing critical challenges for many organizations,” said Padmasree Warrior, senior vice president of engineering and CTO at Cisco. “Cisco uniquely enables the world of many clouds – connecting people, communities and organizations with a business-class cloud user experience for the next-generation Internet. We are very pleased that many of the world’s leading businesses and service providers are adopting CloudVerse as the foundation of their cloud strategies, and we look forward to partnering closely with them on their journey to a world of many clouds.”
“We’re moving to a world where our business customers want to experience services anywhere, anytime on any device,” said Kerry Bailey, president of Terremark, a Verizon Company. ”Cisco CloudVerse is architected to help deliver on the promise of cloud by unifying compute, storage and network resources that can be securely and rapidly repurposed and managed on-demand to meet the needs of different customers or applications. These capabilities are fundamental to the cloud and the Cisco Cloud Intelligent Network is purpose-built to help deliver the security, scalability and flexibility we need.”
The big question is how this will affect Cisco’s channel community. According to MW Research and Consulting President Michelle Warren, the CloudVerse products are relatively straightforward for IT managers, but Cisco channel partners can provide their expertise to simplify things. Additionally, since many businesses don’t have a dedicated network management team, there will be opportunities for the channel to provide those services.
“Channel partners will be pivotal to the success of CloudVerse because they will be in the best position to help customers determine which elements of the framework and solution portfolio best fit their particular needs,” said Jeffrey M. Kaplan, founder and managing director of THINKstrategies.
Charles King of Pund-IT also agreed that CloudVerse could be very positive for Cisco’s channel partners, particularly for those that currently play in the enterprise, service provider and SaaS outsourcer segments – the three areas for which CloudVerse was designed.
“In the most extreme cases, it offers network-centric partners entirely new solution/sales channels to explore. But if partners are already working with vendors that offer competing cloud platforms, Cisco’s solution should provide competitive advantages both by increasing the number of options they can offer end customers and in the kind of margins/benefits they can squeeze out of vendors,” King said.
Cisco’s larger announcement included several smaller product announcements. Within the data center element, Cisco announced Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud to provide automated provisioning and management of data center resources for delivery of cloud services, as well as Cisco Network Services Manager, designed to automatically create, deploy and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.
CloudVerse offers new capabilities, but the focus of the announcement is in providing a unified framework to support its portfolio of cloud solutions for businesses and service providers, said Kaplan.
“This new framework not only brings together many of Cisco’s existing capabilities, but is augmented by an assortment of third-party solutions from many of Cisco’s strategic technology partners,” Kaplan said.
How significant CloudVerse will be in the market is unknown at this point, but it positions Cisco’s cloud strategy against some of its biggest rivals in the market, according to King.
“It’ll take time to sort out how real the effort is, let alone how it resonates with possible end customers. On the upside, though, it should allow Cisco to compete head-to-head with vendors pursuing similar cloud strategies/market opportunities,” said King.
With the strong rivalry between the two companies, it likely comes as little surprise that CloudVerse can be compared most directly to HP’s CloudSystem Matrix strategy. According to King, the key differentiators for Cisco are its UCS servers and cloud management software, as well as its up-front partnership with third-party vendors (CloudSystem is a pure HP play, although HP executives have noted it can support third-party servers and storage).
For IT administrators and managers, CloudVerse offers the ability to more easily manage the various on-premise and private and public cloud assets they have to deal with on a daily basis, said Warren of MW Research and Consulting. With assets in both public and private clouds, most businesses have adopted a hybrid cloud strategy, but that creates plenty of headaches for IT departments and for solution providers. IT is becoming more about managing resources, she said, and when they’re spread around the country or the world, management can become quite complex. Cisco CloudVerse should help alleviate some of that pain.
To enable “as-a-service” delivery of Cisco and third-party applications, Cisco announced three new capabilities for its Hosted Collaboration Solution. Private Cloud HCS was designed to help enterprises build their own collaboration clouds. Mobile HCS was designed to be an easy and cost-effective solution for mobile service providers to offer collaboration from the cloud to mobile devices. Customer Collaboration, which will launch in 2012, was designed to make contact center capabilities more affordable and accessible.
Cisco’s Cloud Index predicts that more than 50 percent of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014, and that global cloud traffic will grow over 12 times by 2015, to 1.6 zettabytes per year. Cisco’s CloudVerse framework is architected to give an integrated management approach and to deliver a business-class cloud experience within the cloud, between clouds, and beyond the cloud to the end user.