By Jennifer LeClaire / Data Storage Today. Updated March 24, 2014.
More than $1 billion over the next two years -- that's what Cisco Systems is planning to spend to build what it's dubbing the Intercloud, the world’s largest global network of clouds to enable the Internet of Everything.
In fact, Cisco is architecting the Intercloud with the Internet of Things in mind. This super network of connected clouds will have the capacity to handle high-value application workloads, real-time analytics, scalability that is nearly infinite, and regulatory compliance with local data laws in countries across the globe.
The Cisco OpenStack-enabled Intercloud aims to allow users to combine and move workloads -- including data and applications -- across different public or private clouds as needed without compromising associated network and security policies.
“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,” said Robert Lloyd, president of development and sales at Cisco. “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.”
A $19 Trillion Opportunity
Here’s the big picture: Cisco has pegged the networked connection of people, data, processes and things, which it calls the Internet of Everything, as a $19 trillion economic opportunity in the next 10 years.
We asked Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, for his take on the billion-dollar announcement. He told us some have said Cisco was a little late to the cloud party but this initiative proves that theory wrong. As he sees it, Cisco waited until it could roll out something different than the hundreds of cloud services already on the market.
“The Intercloud is extremely well-fitting because they are trying to create a world where you’ve got hundreds of interconnected clouds,” Kerravala said. “So it actually becomes an Internet of clouds, which is something Cisco has talked about for years.”
Setting the Bar in the Clouds
Kerravala sees tremendous value in the Intercloud because the current cloud environment doesn’t make it easy enough to move information from one cloud to another. He said the Cisco-powered Intercloud offers a federated set of interoperable clouds that customers can use to move data or applications from their private clouds to public cloud providers back to their private clouds, all while maintaining security and managing policies across different cloud domains.
“That’s powerful because the customer can deploy whatever service or application they want in whatever way they want in whatever part of the globe,” Kerravala said. “It certainly sets a high bar for what the cloud should be.”
Cisco is partnering with services providers like Telstra, communications providers like Allstream, cloud companies like Canopy, cloud services aggregators like Ingram Micro, and managed services providers like Logicalis and others. Network applications company MicroStrategy, enterprise data center IT solutions provider OnX Managed Services, information availability services provider SunGard Availability Services, and global IT outsourcing company Wipro are also on the partner list.