Cisco and The Cloud
It’s been an interesting ride, even from the sidelines. We’ve watched Cisco and The Cloud at first pretend to ignore each other, but eventually flirt, dance, play coy for a time then, finally, they’re beginning to come together into something we hope is starting to looks like a coherent strategy.
Back in December ‘10, we reported that, in the context of the newly-formed VCE Coalition, most expected Cisco to roll out a cloud or hosting solution. But Cisco was playing hard to get. Cisco’s Cloud CTO Lew Tucker says “Cisco’s motto is to be the arms supplier” in this cloud race. During the same month, they announced plans to acquire LineSider, a network administration software designed that helps business integrate and manage their cloud-based with their existing IT systems. Clearly a step toward cloudville, but a quiet one.
Fast forward to February ‘11. Cisco SVP, US and Canada Partners, Jim Sherriff discussed cloud strategy with CRN’s Steve Burke, but his message went a little deeper. His message included “new programs” that would give partners numerous cloud computing options, from building to operating to reselling Cisco’s cloud. We were left somewhat confused, because arms dealers as we understood them didn’t usually get so close to the battlefield. What the heck was going on over there?
Less than two weeks after that, the news broke that Cisco had decided to abandon its hosted email offering. After investing many years and many dollars, the giant “couldn’t dislodge customers” from market leading providers. It was an interesting move for a company that was professing its dedication to developing new programs around the cloud.
A week later, on March 1, Cisco officially announced the Cisco Cloud Partner Program in a keynote on the first day of their Partner Summit. Their comprehensive cloud programs are set to include the three elements that Sherriff hinted at back in early February. But nothing had been launched, and the specifics still were left fuzzy.
Just yesterday, Cisco announced its plans to acquire newScale, a web-storefront-type provisioning system for cloud computing services offered by a number of providers. No financial details were disclosed, but it’s clear that Cisco will leverage this portal to accelerate its deployment of the new Cloud Partner Program and expand the ways that it gets its offerings into customers’ hands. But what cloud services will they be deploying? Whose? And how? And when?
It’s all starting to come together now, little by little, but there are many more questions.