Cloud computing has been a focus of Cisco Systems for much of this year. In January, the networking giant introduced the idea of a global "intercloud," a series of interconnected cloud environments linked by Cisco technology through which Cisco and others can deliver applications and services.
Two months later, Cisco officials announced the company will invest $1 billion over the next two years to build on the intercloud vision and make the vendor a significant player in the booming cloud space. Cisco's Intercloud, designed for the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT)—what Cisco refers to as the Internet of everything—relies on a wide network of partners and cloud providers as well as Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Intercloud Fabric technologies.
At the Cisco Live 2014 event May 20 in San Francisco, Cisco officials said the company is expanding its roster of partners and customers, and named new executives that will help lead the vendor's new cloud efforts. The partnerships, which will result in new infrastructure resources, services and integration with third-party products, are a key part of the Cisco's cloud strategy, according to Edison Peres, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco.
"Admittedly, this is a bold course and I believe this partner-centric approach differentiates Cisco and our partners," Peres wrote in a post on the company blog.
Industry observers expect cloud adoption among businesses to grow quickly. In September 2013, a Gartner study found that while only 38 percent of businesses used cloud services at the time, 80 percent of those surveyed planned to use such services in some way within 12 months. Cisco officials believe the IoT—which refers to the growing number of systems, sensors and devices that are connecting to the Internet and with each other—will help fuel that adoption. The company believes the Internet of everything will be worth $19 trillion to businesses by 2020, and IDC analysts have said the market will hit $7.3 trillion by 2017.
Included in the cloud news announced by Cisco was Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services, both cloud providers that are joining Telstra on the list of Intercloud partners which will align their public cloud infrastructures with Cisco's cloud architecture and deliver Cisco cloud services. In addition, VCE and NetApp, which work with Cisco in creating integrated data center infrastructures, will build Intercloud-ready converged solutions.
VCE will integrate Cisco's Intercloud Fabric into its Vblock systems, while NetApp and Cisco will put the Intercloud Fabric into their roadmap for the FlexPod integrated solution. In addition, NetApp will integrate its data management technology and Cisco's Intercloud technology.
Other new partners include Accenture, which is licensing Cisco's Intelligent Automation for Cloud software as part of its Accenture Cloud Platform; Johnson Controls, which is now the preferred global provider of modular data center solutions for the Cisco Cloud; and the University of British Columbia, which will use Cisco's EnergyWise cloud energy management services, which help automate how the school manages its energy usage.
The networking vendor also named three executives who will help lead Cisco's cloud efforts, which now include 3,700 employees, according to the company. Nick Earle will lead the Cloud and Managed Services unit, Gee Rittenhouse the Cloud and Virtualization Group and Faiyaz Shahpurwala the Cloud infrastructure and Managed Services business.