Is Cisco Changing Its Tune on Cloud Computing Strategy?
In an article dated December 20, 2010, Jim Duffy of Network World/Computer World reported on Cisco’s so-called “cloud computing strategy.” Here’s an excerpt:
"Cisco’s motto is to be the arms supplier," says Lew Tucker, Cisco’s Cloud CTO, who joined the company about six months ago from Sun. "Cisco, right now, has no intention of being a cloud provider. Cisco’s strategy is based on three pillars: supplying infrastructure to cloud providers and enterprises; lining up partnerships to help customers deploy cloud services; and developing platforms and technologies to accelerate cloud adoption, through secure and collaborative access from tablets, TelePresence systems and IP phones.”
However, in a CRN article from yesterday, Steven Burke reported on his interview with Cisco’s Senior Vice President, U.S. and Canada Partners, Jim Sherriff in which they discussed Cisco’s channel strategy for the cloud:
Sherriff said partners will see a Cisco "deep dive around cloud" with new programs aimed at giving partners multiple cloud computing opportunities that range from building clouds to operating clouds to reselling clouds. "We’ll put out a comprehensive plan at the Partner Summit (Feb. 28- March 3 in New Orleans)," he said.
So is Sheriff saying that Cisco really does intend to become a cloud provider by launching these new channel programs, despite Tucker’s decisive claim to the contrary just two months ago?
Does Cisco’s right hand not know what its left is doing?
Has the plan over at Cisco really changed so quickly?
Or are we just caught in a game of semantics here?
What’s the real difference between Cisco being an “arms supplier” “aimed at giving partners multiple cloud computing opportunities…” and their being a “cloud provider” “aimed at giving partners multiple cloud computing opportunities?”
I’d guess it has to do with the level of involvement Cisco chooses to take with the resellers and end users of the cloud. From what I understand the world of arms dealers, they don’t typically join the troops in battle, and I can’t help but think that Cisco announcing a cloud channel program could constitute their joining the fight. (Hopefully my weak military analogy is working for you…)
At this point, much remains unknown, and the details of the actual channel programs will likely shed much light on these questions. We’ll keep watching, and we’ll bring you the clarifications and answers that Sherriff promises to unveil at the Cisco Partner Summit coming up later this month.