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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.

also announced new products within each of the three cloud foundational

“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.”

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.

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.

larger announcement included several smaller product announcements.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.