Having made its name building the backbone of the Internet twenty years ago, Cisco turned its attention to the backbone of the cloud on the opening day of its 2014 Partner Summit in Las Vegas, launching Cisco Cloud Services and pledging a billion dollar investment over two years to construct the world’s largest global Intercloud, or cloud network, with partners at the heart of its plans.
Architected with the Internet of Things in mind, the Intercloud will provide a distributed network and security architecture designed for high-value app workloads, real-time analytics, ‘near infinite’ scalability and in a post-Snowden world, compliance with data sovereignty laws.
Cisco claims its open Intercloud will deliver a “new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services for business, service providers and resellers,” and vastly enhance the services it can offer through the channel.
The Intercloud will span a swathe of services, which include platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service, SAP HANA, collaboration, security, infrastructure management, VDI, collaboration, video, virtualised mobile internet, virtualised managed services, remote management services, compliance and configuration management, IT services management, and energy management.
“The message we have received from the channel,” said Cisco’s Rob Lloyd, “is that they can’t deliver all of this themselves.”
The Intercloud services package will be delivered with and through the channel through a number of models, including straight-up resale, co-branding and white-labelling, and although Cisco was candid that there would be some direct sales, Nick Earle, SVP of cloud sales, insisted there was no “covert direct model”.
At launch, Cisco will at first go hunting for provider partners – no more than 10 to 20 globally – who will form the so-called nodes of the Intercloud.
Australian player Telstra was announced as the first such node at Cisco Partner Summit, and speaking to MicroScope, Earle said the rollout into other markets was already well advanced.
“Job number one is to identify, qualify and sign up the Intercloud providers, the big service providers that will power this cloud. In the UK we need to pick one, and we’ve got some criteria, to what extent will they align with the Cisco stack, and so on,” he said.
Following that, Earle explained, it will build out channels with large cloud builder partners, and then resellers.
“Right now, what do channel partners need to do to prepare? Nothing, because we need to find the next Telstra. Once we’ve identified those guys we look at the second wave, the builders, the system integrators, the big resellers, then the partners, who will bring the demand to them. We are already in conversation with more than one UK service provider on Intercloud,” said Earle.
With Telstra expecting to move into alpha testing in the next couple of months, beta testing by the summer and full availability to the channel by the end of the year, availability in other theatres should run to a similar schedule. Pricing details will be revealed in the run-up to the next Cisco Live event in San Francisco.
Erez Yarkoni, executive director of Cloud, Global Enterprise and Services at Telstra, said: “Our customers will now have access to cloud infrastructure from a global leader, allowing them to select the cloud service to meet their requirements and scale network and cloud resources to deliver service agility, security and performance.”
“As our customers continue to transition to the cloud they are demanding reliable, highly secure, open and flexible cloud platforms, layered with services and applications on top that transform their access to and use of a growing range of business transformation applications,” said Chris Gabriel, CTO at Logicalis.
“They then want cloud to provide scale and consistency of service wherever their organisation might be, anywhere in the world. In launching their own Cloud Services, Cisco has made a significant undertaking to our customers to make cloud reliable, highly secure, flexible and scalable, and this is truly credible because these services are backed by one of the world’s strongest technology brands and IT service innovators,” said Gabriel.