Cisco Extreme Makeover: Meraki, Cloud & Software Licensing
Jan28

Cisco Extreme Makeover: Meraki, Cloud & Software Licensing

Towards the end of 2012 Cisco anted up $1.2 billion for Meraki, a developer of wired/wireless LAN and security products managed via the cloud, and primarily targeted at SMBs. While SMBs are at best an adjacent-market opportunity, “Meraki filled a hole in the company’s portfolio”, it has been wildly successful, and has been one of the “consistently strong performers at the company over the past few years”, said analyst Zeus Kerravala. Fast forward two years and Meraki (and Cisco) is getting an extreme makeover as the company looks to reinvent itself once again, ‘rewriting the rules of IT’. Meraki is being re-launched as an enterprise class, cloud-managed IT solution. The company also is announcing Cisco ONE Software, which offers a simplified solution to the most relevant, frequently-used customer scenarios in the data center, wide area network and local access networks, according to John Brigden, SVP of Software Strategy and Operations. “Cisco ONE is a big deal, and it’s an important piece of our larger software strategy in a world where value is increasingly delivered to customers through software.” In an editorial briefing prior to the announcements, executives said the latest developments help them change the conversation from selling systems to selling outcomes. We’re the fifth largest software company on revenues, and the third largest SaaS provider, said Brigden. Cisco’s Rob Soderbery, SVP of Enterprise Products and Solutions, said enterprises are dealing with three big ideas: digitization; simplification; and new models for IT. Businesses are being disrupted and at least 70% are prioritizing and accelerating IT, especially cloud-based, cloud-managed IT. To address this rapidly evolving market Cisco has embraced the cloud, and cloud-enabled network management, he said. The idea behind the new and improved Meraki is to make the network as  easy to operate as your iPhone, said Soderbery. The acquisition was never just about Wi-Fi or SMBs. It’s about making any network of any scale manageable via any browser. It’s about making the network so simple that customers can deploy and troubleshoot it from anywhere without sending IT people to set up new sites, he said. Meraki has added more than 50,000 customers since the acquisition, and grown 108% in the last 12 months, said Soderbery. Now they’re taking it upmarket to large enterprises. Cisco ONE software suites, currently 13, are broken into three categories (called domains): Data Center (covers both networking and compute [UCS]); WAN (Intelligent WAN [iWAN] to connect branches & campus); and Access (wired switching and wireless). The domains are broken into three solution layers: Foundation (includes core networking, security and systems software along with network and energy management); Advanced (advanced software capabilities that are specific...

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Cisco Wants To Be The Glue That Holds The Cloud Together
Jan29

Cisco Wants To Be The Glue That Holds The Cloud Together

“Cisco is truly the best kept secret in the cloud market,” said Fabio Gori, Director of Cloud Marketing, Cisco, who added that the networking giant has been ranked as number one for cloud infrastructure sales for three quarters in a row by Synergy Research. That set the stage for a number of cloud announcements, including the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) Enterprise Module for its Open Network Environment (ONE) platform, and InterCloud, a hybrid cloud solution intended to pave the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds. With cloud spending outgrowing overall IT spending fivefold (25% versus 5%), it’s no surprise that Cisco wants to make sure it gets as much of that money as possible. Getting as much control of the exploding cloud universe at it could would be another – and probably primary – objective. Cloud spending will surge by 25% this year to over $100B, according to IDC, with Gartner predicting that cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016, as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. “We are seeing CIOs increasingly reconsidering data center build-out and instead planning faster-than-expected moves to cloud computing,” said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner. What may come as a surprise is Cisco’s intention to be the glue that holds the emerging everything-cloud universe, aka World of Many Clouds, together, with InterCloud designed to move workloads to and from multiple public clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The company said it is expected to be able to move workloads to and from participating cloud providers with Cisco Powered services, such as BT, CSC/ServiceMesh, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, and Virtustream. In addition, it will integrate with cloud management solutions such as CSC/ServiceMesh’s Agility Platform, and Red Hat CloudForms as well as its own IAC. Finally, other InterCloud technology supporters include EMC, Citrix, Denali Advanced Integration, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, VCE and Zerto. Gori said InterCloud expands Cisco’s reach beyond its network stronghold (stranglehold?). “This is truly a very big step in the marketplace.” The key to InterCloud is to offer an alternative approach, open and flexible, across a variety of providers, so customers don’t get locked into proprietary solutions, he said. “We’re freeing up the market… making sure this is bidirectional…” so customers can claim their work back and not be left scrambling  i.e. Nirvanix). “What is the magic glue around all this? The network.” As for the APIC Enterprise Module, that’s an extension of the Insieme-inspired Application Centric Infrastructure announcement made...

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