Cisco, HP Expand Cloud Computing Efforts

Cisco is preparing to unveil new cloud solutions a week after HP rolled out a host of new cloud-based services.

Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard continue to push their cloud computing agendas with new offerings and services.

Cisco executives, including Lew Tucker, CTO of cloud computing at the vendor, and Padmasree Warrior, senior vice president of engineering and CTO of Cisco, are expected to discuss the company's cloud strategy and unveil a host of new technologies aimed at cloud service providers during a Webinar scheduled for Dec. 6. A number of Cisco cloud partners and customers also will join the discussion.

Details for the online event can be found on Cisco's Website.

Tucker came to Cisco in 2010 after heading up Sun Microsystems' cloud computing efforts. Cisco executives see networks as the key foundation for cloud computing, which fits in well with Cisco's market-leading strength in that market. In an interview with eWEEK in December 2010, Tucker spoke about the need for cloud computing capabilities in a world where the number of data-generating data is growing exponentially.

"The explosion in applications that we're seeing now for platforms like the iPhone and iPad, and for our Cius tablet PC ... and others, are needed to handle all this new content-perhaps a billion new terabytes (over the next few years)," Tucker said. "This will all involve how we will move that all around, how we will handle rights and access permissions, and more. This will be the background for all our product roadmaps."

Cisco since has aggressively pursued its cloud strategy through both internal development and outside acquisitions, such as its buy in March of cloud portal software maker newScale. Now the company is preparing to lay out the next steps in that strategy.

The news will come almost a week after rival HP on Nov. 30 unveiled a number of new cloud- and data center-based offerings, including partnerships with Alcatel-Lucent on a couple of new cloud computing solutions for both enterprises and service providers.

At the HP Discover 2011 event in Austria, HP officials announced the Data Center Network (DCNC) solution and the CloudSystem services offering, both with long-time partner Alcatel-Lucent.

Both are designed to help businesses and service providers to get a better handle on the rapidly evolving data center infrastructures and growing cloud computing environments. With the DCNC, HP and Alcatel-Lucent are offering an integrated architecture that combines HP's data center expertise and Alcatel-Lucent's networking prowess to give businesses enhanced capabilities for moving large amounts of data between data centers and the cloud.

At the same time, the CloudSystem integration offering from HP and Alcatel-Lucent is designed to enable service providers to better deliver public cloud offerings to businesses.

"Clients are creating vast amounts of information that need to be resourced, distributed and shared without compromising the quality of data or the speed at which it's delivered," Arthur Filip, vice president and general manager of HP's Technology Consulting group, said in a statement. "HP and Alcatel-Lucent provide clients a way to securely share extremely high volumes of data between data center sites when and where it's needed in an instant."

DCNC will rely not only on HP's data center technology and services, but also parts of Alcatel-Lucent's High Leverage Network architecture and recently announced CloudBand management software, which will be used in conjunction with HP's CloudSystem tools to give large enterprises and governments to leverage clouds for everything from disaster recovery to data backup to virtual machine mobility.

By integrating CloudSystem with Alcatel-Lucent technology, the two companies are enabling communications service providers to offer cloud services on carrier-level networks and IT infrastructure, the vendors said. It also allows them to better automate and provision cloud services.

"Clients want to understand, plan, build and source for cloud computing in a way that allows them to gain agility, reduce risk, maintain control and ensure security," Steve Dietch, vice president of marketing for cloud solutions and infrastructure at HP, said in a statement.

The announcements with Alcatel-Lucent came as part of a larger cloud push by HP, which is aggressively expanding their offerings as executives look to make HP a significant all-in-one cloud services vendor. It's an effort that HP will spent $2 billion to fund, under a plan announced this year by then-CEO Leo Apotheker.

Those other announcements touch on an expanded service provider program from HP, an enhanced CloudSystem Matrix operating environment for CloudSystem, and a Cloud Protection Program for greater security.

HP also introduced its Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute, enabling service providers to automatically distribute workloads across multiple servers, and a development solution for SAP software in HP cloud environments.