Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | September 30, 2014 |


Cisco Stays One Step Ahead In The Cloud Race

Cisco Stays One Step Ahead In The Cloud Race Cisco has significantly expanded its partner ecosystem, added new offerings and put some money up to help with the adoption of the services.

Cisco has significantly expanded its partner ecosystem, added new offerings and put some money up to help with the adoption of the services.

If you're a regular reader of my blogs, you'll know I'm a huge fan of 80s music. One of my favorite bands of that era was Split Enz, who performed a song called "One Step Ahead". While the song was written in the 80s, it was very forward looking, as the song was about keeping ahead in the cloud race. In fact, if you listen carefully, there's an alternate track that goes something like:

"One step ahead of you
Stay in motion, keep an open platform
Cloud is a race won by a multitude
Your service, my fabric"

To say cloud is hot is as gross an understatement as saying that Bears QB Jay Cutler is overpaid. The red hot cloud market has created a race, as every major IT vendor, systems integrator, network operator and cloud pure-play has been bolstering their cloud services and looking to get a leg up on the competition.

However, despite the rising interest, many customers have been slow to pull the trigger on shifting to the cloud. Sure, the majority of companies might be using a SaaS service here and a back up service there, but the strategy remains somewhat a "here a cloud, there a cloud," without having a holistic cloud strategy. In other words, most organizations have augmented their current IT strategy with cloud, but have yet to make cloud the primary compute platform.

What holds businesses back? Well, security remains a huge barrier, and that's where most of the media has focused, but there's an equally big issue around finding a way to develop a hybrid cloud strategy. Every cloud service out there addresses public or private, but the majority of organizations want to leverage a hybrid cloud. In a survey I ran earlier this year, I asked whether customers preferred public, private or hybrid clouds. Over 60% chose hybrid; the majority of "public only" are small companies, and the proponents of "private only" are large organizations.

Six months ago, Cisco launched its Intercloud strategy as a way of solving many of the challenges associated with hybrid cloud. For those not familiar with Intercloud, think of it is a network of connected clouds. The cloud provider can be any company that wants to invest in the infrastructure to build a cloud service--not just network operators or pure play cloud providers.

Cisco launched Intercloud with a wide variety of services, including HCS-based collaboration; video; WebEx services; Meraki WiFi; security; analytics; SAP's HANA as a service; desktop as a service; energy management and more--so there's literally a cloud service for any type of partner. Intercloud enables the secure movement of data and workloads between cloud providers and between enterprise private clouds and Intercloud providers, enabling businesses to build out a scalable hybrid cloud. At time of launch, Cisco announced a handful of Intercloud partners including Telstra, Allstream, Logicalis, and WiPro.

Cisco recently held a web-based media event and provided an update as to how Intercloud has been progressing. Highlights of the event included:

• Cisco announced a number of new Intercloud partners, bringing the total to 40. There was a wide variety of partners, including network operators (BT, DT, PT); enterprise IT vendors (NetApp, RedHat, VCE); systems integrators (Accenture, Dimension Data, Presidio); an energy management company (Johnson Controls). There are also a few distributers such as TechData, Ingram Micro and Comstor that will be "Intercloud Aggregators" and offer consolidated billing for Intercloud services.

• Availability of the Intercloud fabric for workload portability. The fabric enables businesses to migrate workloads between a private cloud and a number of public cloud services including Amazon, Azure, and other Intercloud partners. Today the fabric supports only vSphere workloads, but Cisco plans to add Hyper-V, KVM and CloudStack (Citrix) support.

• Two new virtualized managed services specifically for SMBs: Cloud providers can offer either a cloud managed VPN or a managed security service specifically designed for SMBs. The services leverage Meraki management, and orchestrator from the recently acquired Tail-f.

• Cisco is committing $1 billion in financing towards cloud adoption through Cisco Capital. This is in addition to the initial $1 billion Cisco said it would devote to Intercloud. The new $1 billion is for financing to help Cisco customers and partners accelerate the migration to the cloud. The company has used Cisco Capital previously as a way of helping customers deploy technology without having to fork over a significant amount of money up front. This is a good move by Cisco, as my research has shown that customers that leverage financing options typically buy up to 20% more than they would have had they not financed the solution.

• An OpenStack-based private cloud service leveraging Metacloud. On the webcast, Cisco's President of Development and Sales mentioned the company had officially closed on the acquisition of Metacloud. The addition of Metacloud enables Intercloud partners to offer OpenStack-based clouds. Over the past year, I've seen a significant rise in enterprise interest in OpenStack, so the service offering is well timed.

The update from Cisco showed good momentum for Intercloud. The company has significantly expanded its partner ecosystem, added new offerings and put some money up to help with the adoption of the services. In this battle for the cloud, Cisco's Intercloud keeps the company a step ahead of much of its competition.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.