Cisco CTO: Big Changes On The Cloud Horizon

For solution providers, the kicker will be what Warrior described as Cloud Connectors, a way for partners to build applications using Cisco's cloud software platform and further customize the experience. Cisco will firm up the announcements at a launch event on May 22, Warrior said, and at June's Cisco Live event in San Diego.

During her keynote on the second day of Cisco Partner Summit, Warrior's major focus was on Cisco's cloud road map. While other vendors such as Amazon, Google and Hewlett-Packard attack parts of the cloud, only Cisco is offering cloud infrastructure, cloud networking and cloud applications, Warrior said.

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Cloud Connect will be the latest piece of an evolving Cisco cloud strategy that includes the cloud partner program Cisco launched a year ago and the CloudVerse framework it debuted in December to organize its unified data center, intelligent network and cloud application platforms into a strategy supported by new products and services.

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Cisco, said Warrior, sees a world of "many clouds" with enterprise and service customers wanting to leverage public, private and hybrid models. The goal is to support all of those customers and prepare to go beyond trends du jour such as bring-your-own-device.

Cisco offerings such as Hosted Collaboration Solution, its Jabber platform for embedding UC tools on business devices, and the growth of its Unified Computing System (UCS) are all examples of how Cisco is attacking cloud-based opportunities across its portfolio.

Its unified data center approach is more cost-effective than competitive converged systems, Warrior said, and offers the broadest range of storage, virtualization, application and management partners. Cisco's UCS now has more than 11,000 unique customers, 3,000 repeat customers, 2,000 channel partners and 44 ISVs writing to the UCS API, she said.

Warrior cited research stating that more than 50 percent of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based within two years. Cisco is finding that what most enterprises want is to build private clouds for capacity and then "burst" into public clouds if they need more, she said.

"This type of technology doesn't exist today," Warrior said, but Cisco is working to build it into its Nexus 1000v virtual intelligence switches and tie it together with cloud routing gateways, unified management and other products.

Cisco will launch several tools this year to make networks more "programmable," Warrior added. The flexibility and intelligence of being able to leverage the software is where a lot of the cloud networking battles will be won and lost, she said.