Cisco: Internet of Everything Starts With the Cloud

The networking giant's plan to connect everything hinges on "Intercloud," its vision of interconnected clouds.

IoT starts with cloud

NEW YORK—Cloud companies can look forward to doing some heavy lifting in the coming years.

The Internet of everything—a "bigger view of the Internet of things"—will not only encompass billions of devices, but will also have a global financial impact measured in trillions of dollars, according to Kit Beall, vice president of Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco.

During a presentation at Saugatuck Technology's Cloud Business Summit here, Beall cited a forecast from the computer networking giant stating that, by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the Internet of everything, creating a $19 trillion market opportunity.

The Internet of everything, of which the Internet of things is a component, connects systems, people, data and applications, asserts the company. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), CEO John Chambers, predicted that the Internet of everything "will be bigger than anything that's ever been done in high tech."

Now, attention is turning to the cloud's role in this model.

"Cloud is the only way that the Internet of everything will happen," said Beall. "And I would argue that we are already using it today. If you're a Netflix subscriber, or a Facebook subscriber or a Google subscriber, you're already well down this path."

The Internet of everything is cloud-native, Beall said. The industry has already cleared the first steps in the cloud journey. "We're moving into Cloud 2.0," he said. "We're moving away from virtualizing traditional enterprise workloads and moving those to a much more Web-scale architecture," like what is used by Google or Facebook, he said.

The Internet of everything strategy hinges on laying the groundwork for the "Internet for clouds," or the "Intercloud," said Beall. "We can get away from the islands of functionality that existed—Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, a lot of the other public clouds—but including your own private clouds." Intercloud also describes Cisco's multibillion dollar initiative to help businesses easily move applications and workloads between public, private and hybrid clouds.

Establishing those connections between clouds is key. "We believe that the power is going to be able to link these together in a scalable, programmable way with Web-scale tools that give you the ability to really, dynamically take on new capabilities that are coming to market," he continued. "And ultimately, this becomes the platform for the Internet of everything."

Cisco is adapting to this new IT landscape by looking beyond hardware and "moving to being much more of a software and a services company," Beall said, offering Webex and Meraki as examples.

Keeping up with public cloud providers is also part of the plan. "We are virtualizing our routers and placing them on the Amazon Marketplace," he said. "So you'll be able to actually leverage Cisco technology as a service in the Amazon Marketplace now. In fact, we just launched this yesterday," he revealed.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...