Cisco Systems, in an effort to centralize access to its cloud-system-provisioning business in an escalating battle for telco customers with its competitors, on Dec. 6 revealed a new initiative it calls CloudVerse that will serve as the first door on which potential cloud-system buyers can knock.
The company describes CloudVerse, a term that refers to the universe of cloud options, as a "framework that combines the foundational elements-unified data center, cloud intelligent network and cloud applications-needed to enable organizations to build, manage and connect public, private and hybrid clouds."
Others might call it marketing spin or vaporware, since there were no new products or services introduced. However, the fact is that Cisco does have a lot of disparate products and services-not to mention a large number of third-party partners-that were unconnected in the minds of potential enterprise customers who might be shopping around for private or hybrid cloud-computing systems.
IBM and Hewlett-Packard confronted this same issue a few years ago, and both have since initiated separate cloud departments. Like Oracle (databases and enterprise software), EMC (storage and security) and Dell (PCs), Cisco is becoming a full-blown IT systems company and is coming at cloud computing from its own corner of the world. Networking certainly is an appropriate corner to own.
Integrating Many Products, Services Into One Offering
"CloudVerse is about integrating all of the cloud-related technologies that Cisco offers," Cisco Cloud CTO Lew Tucker (pictured) told eWEEK. "Over the last quarter, we've really focused in on a small set of priorities as a company, such as leadership in core routing/switching, collaboration, data center virtualization, video and architecture for business transformation.
"Those are the overall goals of the company going forward, and they all touch cloud in some way. Today's announcement about CloudVerse is all about data centers, virtualization and clouds."
Specifically-at least at the outset-it's about approaching telecommunications companies that want to get into the cloud-services business. They are the so-called low-hanging fruit of the market right now.
"Every telco on the planet is working to get a public cloud offering out there, and with Cisco's infrastructure and our cloud management solution, we can enable them to get those services to market more quickly," Scott Fulton, vice-president and general manager of BMC Service Operations and Cloud Management, told eWEEK.
CloudVerse will use Cisco's Unified Data Center, which consists of Cisco networking and application servers, EMC storage, VMware virtualization and BMC management software as a base platform. As its contribution to CloudVerse, BMC is working with Cisco to provide integration into the branded Cisco Network Service Manager 5.0-a new application programming interface (API).
Later, as part of its deal with Cisco, BMC will further integrate its cloud management software package into Cisco's Network Services Manager to be launched in mid-2012, Fulton said.
CloudVerse's fabric-type layout is designed to automate the "as-a-service" model across all physical and virtual environments and to scale for business demands by flexibly allocating IT resources within and between data centers using unified computing and unified fabric, Tucker said.
This is right up the alleys of telcos, most of whom have extra space and bandwidth they weren't using that they want to put to work on cloud services-the upside of which is huge. Several analytics firms have projected this market to be worth dozens of billions of dollars in the next few years.