This week, in keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day, I decided to dedicate the entire 5 days to promoting Vendor Love. This means that I will showcase 5 companies that I think have some really great solutions for Cloud, Virtualization and Security. Today I want to talk about Cisco and their addition to the cloud platform, CloudVerse. If you aren’t aware, Cisco has tried to stay vendor neutral when it comes to cloud platforms, with the exception of their participation in VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company which was formed by EMC and Cisco with backing from Vmware and Intel. Their key product is the Vblock platform which allows customers to build cloud infrastructures with reduced IT complexity.
But the Cisco CloudVerse is meant to layer functionality to the cloud platform. It does thisby bringing 3 key areas of innovation to their hardware and technology solutions by adding datacentre functionality including storage, IT resources and networking which act as both the connectors to the cloud and the applications which run in the environment. These are appropriately referred to as the Cisco Unified Data Center and Cloud Intelligent Network.
So how does this fit into the cloud model? Well, essentially the idea is to almost act as an inhouse cloud broker or aggregator. It allows you to use the Cisco infrastructure to connect multiple services from different providers. The advantage of having a certified platform (in this case, Cisco) is that you limit the number of variables in your environment so that you can reduce the risk of service failure when introducing new services. In addition, this type of model ensures a constant interface as new services and management utilities are added. It also simplifies IT’s workload when they need to grow their IT services and cloud infrastructure beyond the single datacentre environemnt.
For Cisco, this is a great move because it allows for the integration of many different services from networking to unified communications. As more and more of these services become virtualized, it will be important to simplify the integration and reduce the complexity of maintaining these services. Until now, adding new technology has really been difficult because there are so many different vendors and platforms, and if there is a end of life of an integral part, the entire system can fail. There is also an increased risk of point of failure due to incompatible services, and an increased difficulty in troubleshooting the more individual systems are added. This ties back to the risk that abstraction caused by the layering of cloud services will make it very hard to manage individual cloud and virtualized services because the visibility of individual services is greatly reduced. By building services from the platform up, Cisco is helping to ensure that all layers of the cloud infrastructure is visible through specifically designed management tools that scale as new services are added.
As cloud services become increasingly complex, organizations are going to look towards solutions that utilize standardized platforms that are certified for use with new services to help reduce the risk of points of failure. That is why we see the creation of entities such as VCE, the simpler we can make the adoption and management of cloud services, the sooner we will see the increased usage of cloud services.