Cisco has announced plans to expand its cloud computing business with a $1bn investment to help it try and compete with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware.
The firm, best known for its network infrastructure products, announced that what it calls the "Cisco global Intercloud" will be hosted across a global network of Cisco and partner-operated data centres. It will offer a suite of value-added applications and network-centric cloud services designed for high-value workloads, real-time analytics, and "near infinite" scalability, according to Cisco.
The offering will be called Cisco Cloud Services and will be delivered via global partners including systems integrators and telecoms providers to meet the requirements of enterprise customers by offering compliance with local data sovereignty laws.
Cisco said it expects to invest over $1bn over the next two years to build out its global Intercloud initiative. This should help Cisco make up some of the ground it has lost to other companies in the cloud services arena, notably AWS, but also VMware, which is similarly working with channel partners to offer a hybrid cloud that enterprise customers can expand out to from their on-premise infrastructure.
Cisco president of development and sales Robert Lloyd said providers and channel partners are looking to Cisco to deliver a highly secure hybrid cloud environment to provide enterprise-class cloud experiences for key customers, all while mitigating the risk of capital investment.
"The timing is right for Cisco and its partners to invest in a groundbreaking, application-centric global Intercloud to provide broader reach and faster time to market" he said.
"Together, we have the capability to enable a seamless world of many clouds in which our customers have the choice to enable the right, highly secure cloud for the right workload, while creating strategic advantages for rapid innovation, and ultimately, business growth."
Cisco describes its cloud service as "OpenStack-enabled", but it is not entirely clear if this means its global Intercloud will be based on the OpenStack cloud framework. The firm had not responded to requests from V3 for clarification at the time of writing.
If it is based on OpenStack this will raise questions as to why Cisco has gone down this route, when enterprise customers are more likely to be operating internal infrastructure using either VMware or Microsoft's Hyper-V.
However, Cisco said its platform is designed to allow organizations and users to move workloads across different public or private clouds as needed, while maintaining associated network and security policies. It will also utilise Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to optimise application performance and to make rolling out new services much faster, the firm said.
Partners that are either planning to deliver Cisco Cloud Services or have endorsed Cisco's global Intercloud initiative include Telstra in Australia, Canopy, an Atos company, Ingram Micro, Logicalis, MicroStrategy, SunGard, Wipro and OnX Managed Services.
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