Cisco is kicking its Intercloud initiative into high gear, announcing a whole new suite of products to help channel partners make easy Cloud sales, both in hardware and software.
Cisco SVP of global Cloud and managed services, Nick Earle, told attendees at Cisco's Partner Summit 2015 in Montreal that the first year of Intercloud, which was launched one year prior has been a big success - with 65+ partners signed up, across 350 datacenters in 50 countries.
He used the stage to unveil a host of new Cloud products, but reiterated the importance of culture change, rather than a technology focus - and the inherent difficulties for partners making the sale to stubborn customers.
"When we do a survey and ask customers how many clouds they think they use, every single time we find between 10 and 15 times more clients being used than the IT department has authorised, and that’s because the users are doing it, often on their personal credit cards.Earle said he is now focusing Cisco beyond hybrid cloud, and to the edge of the network, to end use computing - hybrid IT.
"300,000 things an hour are being connected to the internet, that's 50 million things a week, all IP enabled. And what are they all doing? They're creating data. Data that is being consumed by applications also in the Cloud," he said.
"We now have this hyper-distribution that’s expanding outwards even faster, and we're not stopping there. The mobile devices, the billions of them that there are out there now, are becoming the primary way to access this world. That's not hybrid Cloud, that's hybrid IT."
So the value proposition for customers using Intercloud, Earle believes, is the value add surrounding network security policy extensions, application policy control across all Clouds, the development of Cloud native applications and the analytics that run across the whole network, including 'Hybrid IT' - namely smartphones.
As such, Cisco is launching four new products to help channel partners move their clients across to the Cloud.
Firstly, it is launching a suite of seven professional services available to resellers. Earle demonstrates one, Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service, a new program that partners can bring to customers as part of their pitch - which gives an overlay of exactly how much Cloud is being consumed by a customer.
It searches through the network, logs all the Clouds available, analyses the traffic by category, utilizes Cisco's security analytics and performs a risk assessment analysis. As part of a user friendly UX, complete with graphs showing usage across categories (such as CRM, financial departments etc.), it also provides a benchmark against rivals, as well as spitting out dollar values for potential cost savings. All potentially useful information for any Cloud salesman.
The other six run the gamut from onboarding to security.Cisco ONE has already launched, and similar to AWS or Microsoft's Cloud storefronts assists customers building their own hybrid Cloud platform.
Launching in the (northern) summer 2015, is Cisco's Intercloud Marketplace, which is a UX friendly app store for customers looking to optimize their networks. Earle made no mention of the company's app development drive, but it will run into competition from Microsoft Azure and IBM's Bluemix app stores. Cisco's version will focus on its own apps, partner’s offerings and other ISVs offerings.
Cisco wants it to focus on IoE offerings, in tune with its line for the Summit, and the shopfront will also have full Cisco Commerce Workspace (CCW) compatibility.
Earle quickly showed off a few of Cisco's early offerings - and reiterated that it was not "a covert direct sales model by Cisco." A criticism that has also been levelled at rival app stores by the channel.
From day one Cisco's own Cisco Energy Management will be available, a Cloud native app, which finds what is connected to the network, the measures electricity consumption, and lets you model an automated electricity policy. It then spits out a dollar value attributable to the cost savings therein.
Another app he unveiled, Cisco Mobility IQ, tracks end user devices, such as mobile phones on the edge of the network and log where they are using a combination of RFID and other technologies. Earle said this is especially useful in retail, where customers can track their users around stores, such as supermarkets. It helps coordinate store layout, traffic and other VIP specials - such as logging parking spaces, and drawing maps on their phones to show where their favorite products are in a big box retailer.
Finally, Cisco is releasing its new Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud Bundle, which is a one stop integrated system which allows customers to provide a private "Cloud in a box" - similar to its partnerships with Netapp's Flexpod, IBM's Versastack, and Nimble's Smartstack - only the partner provides hardware.