A recent Webinar hosted by Cisco Systems’ (Nasdaq: CSCO) vice-president and chief technology officer of cloud computing, Lew Tucker, revealed the company’s cloud strategy which is made up of three pillars around services and solutions offerings, partnerships and innovating to make it easier for users to access cloud services.
Tucker joined Cisco as its vice-president and CTO of cloud computing in June and reports to Padmasree Warrior, the company’s CTO. In this position, Tucker is responsible for overseeing the company’s enterprise and service provider groups to drive the company’s cloud vision. Prior to his post at Cisco, Tucker held the role of vice-president and CTO of Sun Microsystems’ cloud computing initiative.
“Cloud computing is changing the Web rapidly due to the amount of information and bandwidth being used on the Internet today,” he said. “In 2007, there were five exabytes of data per month and in 2013, that’s expected to reach 56 exabytes per month. Cloud computing is the next big step in the evolution of the Internet.”
Some of the common attributes with cloud services include being on-demand and highly scalable, Tucker said. These are just a couple of the reasons why many organizations are taking advantage of moving their data to public and private cloud environments.
At Cisco, Tucker said the company’s cloud computing strategy is based on three key pillars: 1) offering “building blocks” for the cloud, 2) working with software companies such as EMC and NetApp to provide fully-integrated and tested solutions so Cisco partners can offer these cloud solutions to their end-user customers and 3) continuing to innovate to make it easier for users to access cloud services to increase adoption rates.
“For channel partners, these three pillars are critical to building cloud offerings such as professional engineering services,” he said. “A partner’s role is to also help SMB customers figure out how they can use cloud services and they can also help with integration into the network.”
In addition to either having business data reside on-premise in a private cloud, or off-premise in the public cloud, Tucker said being able to provide quality of service and security remains a challenge on the network.
“Our approach is to put the user at the centre of this whole world by turning the network into a platform,” he said. “We’re bringing more networking services into the cloud with things like network management of virtual machines, virtual network services and security and intelligent routing.”
Cisco has an extensive cloud computing-oriented product portfolio which includes its Unified Computing System for data centre environments and communications and collaboration solutions such as the well-known Cisco WebEx and Cisco Telepresence offerings.
Some of the inhibitors that may prevent businesses from adopting a cloud-based architecture include compliance and regulatory reasons and a “natural fear” of what the cloud is and what it’s capable of. Tucker said service providers that wish to go after this market must adapt and work towards gaining the trust of their customers before they put any of their applications in the cloud.
Another opportunity that Tucker said partners can take advantage of is in the verticalization of clouds for different vertical markets. This would create opportunities for those partners who are focused on specific verticals, yet also want to play in the cloud.
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