Cisco has demonstrated in recent months that it really and truly does have a cloud strategy, and the networking giant unveiled today its broad-reaching cloud framework dubbed CloudVerse, designed to help organizations build, manage, and connect public, private, and hybrid clouds. Also in the CloudVerse bucket: An array of hosted collaboration and security applications, along with new capabilities for delivering those services to mobile users.
CloudVerse isn't a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure or Hadoop. Rather, Cisco's clear intent remains to apply its network expertise to provide a framework with which companies can roll out cloud-based services to customers or seamlessly stitch together disparate cloud platforms and services for their own use. The ability to combine clouds is increasingly important for organizations that, for any number of reasons, want to extend certain services to the public while keeping other processes and data protected under lock and key.
CloudVerse's primary components are Cisco's Unified Data Center, Cloud Intelligent Network, and Cloud Applications and Services. These components constitute a mix of technologies previously unveiled by Cisco alongside new offerings announced today.
Cisco's Unified Data Center serves as the underlying open architecture on which organizations can build and connect their cloud systems. Three elements comprise the offering: Cisco's Unified Fabric, Unified Computing, and Unified Management.
Cisco has talked up its fabric in the past. In essence, it's designed to flatten the network such that organizations can view and manage disparate SAN and NAS systems as virtualized pools, between which virtual assets can easily be moved and reprovisioned.
Cisco's Unified Computing offering should also be familiar to anyone following the company's recent (and not-so-recent) endeavors: The company rolled out its UCS (Unified Computing System) back in 2009. UCS is composed of a blade server, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single rackable system, and it's designed to provide IT shops with a single, open, programmable management interface that can scale to hundreds of blades and thousands of VMs. It used model-based service templates to automate the service-configuration process, meaning organizations can configure upward of hundreds of services with ease.
Finally, the Unified Management component provides admins with the tools for managing all the data center resources from a single platform, including computing, applications, network services, security, storage, and cloud computing.
New to the Unified Management component is Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud, designed to provide automated provisioning and management of data center resources for delivery as cloud services, both within and between data centers. Additionally, Cisco unveiled its Network Services Manager, designed to automatically create, deploy, and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.
Cisco's Cloud Intelligent Network integrated with the Unified Data Center to provide an end-to-end delivery platform for cloud services. It lets admins interconnect capabilities among data centers, enabling the flexible integration of various services, whether for entertainment, information exchange, or communication. The system uses MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) to keep the connections secure.
Cloud Intelligent Networks' underlying technologies include Cisco Cloud Customer Connect, designed to ensure that services reach users securely while meeting QoS requirements and business-oriented polic controls. The new Cloud-to-Cloud Connect capability, featuring the Cisco Network Positioning System on the ASR 1000 and 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, enables dynamic resource identification, allocation, and optimization between data centers and clouds.
Finally, Cisco CloudVerse has a Cloud Applications and Services element, designed for delivering both Cisco and third-party services via the cloud. The company offers its TelePresence Callway and its HCS (Hosted Collaboration Solution) for delivering voice, telepresence, and collaboration apps via the cloud. Cisco also offers its hosted Collaboration Cloud portfolio, with applications for unified communications, customer contact, meetings, and instant messaging.
Cisco has added several new capabilities to HCS, including Private Cloud HCS, aimed at letting companies build their own collaboration clouds on top of Cisco's cloud platform, with full management capabilities.
Tapping into the ever-growing mobile space, Mobile HCS is designed to help service providers extend cloud-based collaboration services to mobile devices. For example, providers could virtually connect a company's fleet of mobile with single-number reach, or they could enable customers to move a call in progress from a desk phone to a mobile phone.
Additionally, Cisco offers cloud-based security such as Cisco Cloud Security solutions, which provides always-on Web and email security. Cisco ScanSafe Cloud Web Security analyzes Web requests for malicious or inappropriate content. Cisco IronPort Cloud Email Security helps protect organizations from spam, viruses, and blended threats.
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