New Cisco professional services aimed at hybrid clouds

The latest Cisco professional services are aimed at helping companies build and manage hybrid clouds. The offering reflects a shift in Cisco's cloud strategy.

Cisco has introduced software and professional services aimed at assisting companies in managing workloads deployed on private and public clouds. The latest offering reflects a shift away from an earlier strategy more focused on providing customers with cloud-based infrastructure as a service, or IaaS.

The latest Cisco professional services and enhancements to the company's CloudCenter software were launched this week, along with a study that found nearly 78% of organizations were using or planned to use cloud services. The Cisco-sponsored survey of 6,100 organizations also found almost seven in 10 of them did not have sound cloud strategies.

The latest offering shows Cisco becoming more focused on helping customers manage workloads spread across multiple clouds, as opposed to building a pool of IaaS capacity through deals with partners. The latter is behind Cisco's Intercloud product and services, launched in 2014.

Intercloud remains part of Cisco's cloud portfolio. But market demand for management tools have forced the company to change its focus. "Cisco has evolved its cloud strategy from federating clouds to helping customers build and manage hybrid clouds," the company said in a statement.

Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC, said he has seen a "pronounced shift" in what Cisco offers to customers that use cloud services from multiple providers. "Cisco's focus has turned toward management and orchestration of multicloud environments and away from the infrastructure focus of Intercloud." 

The Cisco professional services include multicloud management and orchestration, which Cisco has added to CloudCenter. The new features dropped into the cloud management platform stem from Cisco's $260 million acquisition in March of CliQr Technologies Inc.

CliQr software lets companies deploy and manage applications across cloud environments comprised of bare-metal servers, virtual machines and containers. The CliQr technology fills a void in the market for software integration and moving workloads between public and private clouds.

Along with the CloudCenter enhancements, Cisco introduced services to help companies design cloud computing systems and deploy cloud-native infrastructure technology, such as OpenStack. The latter is an open source modular architecture comprised of a dozen components. Its purpose is to create interoperability between public and private cloud services.

Finally, the Cisco professional services look to assist companies in launching DevOps initiatives. DevOps is a movement within IT organizations to blend application development with network systems operations. The trend stems from the need to have network services in the cloud defined in software, rather than the hardware used in traditional data centers.

Companies prefer hybrid clouds

The latest Cisco professional services are aimed at hybrid clouds because they are what interest organizations the most. The survey, which was conducted by research firm IDC, found 73% of the participants chose hybrid clouds as their preferred operational model.

Also, organizations plan to spend more money on hybrid cloud technology and services. Over the next two years, IDC expects to see a 30% increase in the number of cloud users planning to allocate funds to more than one cloud deployment.

The additional spending on the cloud will mean less money for traditional, in-house IT projects, IDC said.

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