Cisco Foresees 'World Of Many Clouds'

And at Cloud Connect in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Cisco's Cloud CTO Lew Tucker shared insight into Cisco's vision of where the cloud is going and what Cisco is doing to help its partners and customers leverage cloud environments.

According to Tucker, the massive growth of cloud computing has created an environment where "the network is the computer, once again" and that cloud computing starts with a secure infrastructure.

But, Tucker said, there is an even larger cloud on the horizon. And as the market progresses, it will determine whether there will be two or three huge provider clouds or a handful of vertical- and industry-specific clouds.

And as that larger cloud begins to form workloads move out of the data center and the number of connected devices continues to grow.

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Tucker said in the next decade or so, the cloud will evolve beyond PCs, smartphones and traditional devices. He said homes and appliances will become connected via clouds to communicate and process data. He predicted a time when automobiles, which already contain roughly 200 computerized devices and components, have their own clouds where they can communicate with each-other as to whether there is traffic or an accident up ahead. And it will be up to IT providers to ensure that those clouds work, but more importantly that they are secure, meaning the ability to obtain traffic updates won't open a hole where an attacker can alter an automobile's brakes.

Tucker said cloud computing has arrived just in time, and very soon there will be "a world of many clouds."

Tucker warned, however, that the traditional data center approach doesn't scale to support these cloud environments. It's too complex and that complexity increases as more applications are added. To reduce the complexity, applications must be decoupled from the infrastructure itself.

"The intent here is to create a service out of the infrastructure," he said.

For its part, Cisco is digging its heels into the cloud. Tucker said the company is helping customers and partners architect, build, deploy and use clouds with its UCS fabric capacity that leverages its Nexus and Catalyst switches. Cisco is also offering tools to deploy infrastructure-as-a-service and hosted collaboration.

According to Tucker, Cisco is also pushing for open source standards in the cloud and that the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant has joined the Rackspace-led OpenStack open source cloud community.

And Cisco's years' old mantra of the "network as the platform," rings truer than ever in a cloud computing environment, Tucker said. He said APIs are required to manage the network as a system and Cisco is working toward new approaches for virtualized, multi-tenant clouds on shared infrastructure with security baked in.

"We need to have networks to connect these and those networks have to be secure," Tucker said.