Cisco CloudVerse to Simplify Hybrid Clouds

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Cisco Systems CloudVerse is a unified framework designed to simplify building, managing and connecting public, private and hybrid clouds.

Looking to make it easier for IT solution providers and end-user companies to unify hybrid cloud environments, Cisco Systems  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.

Cisco also announced new products within each of the three cloud foundational elements.

"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."

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.

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.

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.

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.