Cisco: Here's How Our Intercloud Will Make Life Easier For Customers

Cisco Systems came late to the cloud party, but it wants people to know that its Intercloud offering is already generating revenue and making life simpler for customers.

Cisco's history is filled with examples of converging technologies into packages that are easily consumed by customers, and Intercloud has been designed in the same mold, according to a series of top Cisco executives who spoke at the vendor's Global Editors Conference in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday.

Cisco, which pioneered the idea of connecting enterprise networks to the Internet, is aiming to duplicate that feat by making Intercloud a sort of network for many different public and private clouds. The linchpin is Intercloud Fabric, which connects the clouds so that workloads can be moved back and forth.

[Related: Cisco Exec: All Kinds Of Partners Jumping On Board The Intercloud Express]

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"We have converged public clouds and private clouds into hybrid, and that speeds workflows between those environments. This gives customers choice when moving workloads between public and private," Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of worldwide field operations at Cisco, told attendees.

Intercloud Fabric is built on a policy-based architecture, which Cisco uses to deliver app services, data services and communications services between clouds to bring value to users, said Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby.

"This is a very real value-added business case we're delivering today, and we can add new services to it over time," she said at the event.

Intercloud is more than just technology; it's also an alliance and partnership with a set of global service providers who see the benefits of providing a common way for customers to access cloud services, said Rob Soderbery, Cisco's senior vice president of enterprise products and solutions.

Just as the Star Alliance lets air travelers save money and get other benefits through dealing with member partners, Cisco's Intercloud has a unique set of advantages for customers, Soderbery said.

With Cisco Intercloud, customers get a common set of services, common billing and a set of technologies that enable the hybrid cloud use case of moving workloads from private to public, according to Soderbery.

"Enterprise IT vendors can't afford to bet it all on a single public cloud provider. Intercloud is the best way for them to do hybrid cloud," he said.

Intercloud -- along with Application Centric Infrastructure and the Internet Of Things -- is one of the big bets Cisco is making in order to maintain its competitive edge against a flood of new competitors.

It's also a necessary move because competitors are no longer challenging Cisco by "trying to build a better box," but by finding ways to eliminate inefficiency and offer faster business value, Robbins said.

Cisco is focused not just on cutting-edge technologies, but on showing customers how its products can solve pain points and help them boost business, according to Robbins.

"We should be using IT to strategically enable our business or gain competitive advantage, or someone might do it for [us]," said Robbins.