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New Cisco cloud computing framework pushes management, collaboration

Cisco CloudVerse addresses public, private and hybrid cloud computing

By , Network World
December 06, 2011 11:37 AM ET

Network World - Cisco this week unveiled products and packaging options for customers looking to implement public, private and hybrid cloud computing.

Cisco's new CloudVerse framework is designed to enable organizations to build, manage and connect public, private and hybrid clouds. It includes some existing Cisco products, such as Unified Computing System servers, Nexus switches and network management applications, as well as new software for collaboration, improved management and enhanced connectivity, and services to help customers design and deploy their environments.

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According to Cisco, more than 50% of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014. Also, global cloud traffic will grow more than twelvefold by 2015, to 1.6 Zettabytes per year -- the equivalent of more than four days of business class video for every person on Earth, the company says.

This expected growth creates the need for tighter interaction between data centers and networks to support end-to-end cloud application and service delivery in a dynamic, on-demand model, Cisco says.

Analysts say CloudVerse will face competition from Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand and from other cloud IT vendors that are expected to soon announce their own comprehensive cloud enablement offerings.

"CloudVerse, and Alcatel-Lucent's recent CloudBand strategy, are the most comprehensive and focused cloud enablement offerings aimed at service providers," says Dana Cooperson of Ovum. "Both have the typical IT elements that are part of any cloud story, but the new part for both Alcatel-Lucent -- which partners with HP for the IT bits -- and Cisco is the emphasis on combining the IT/data center piece with the network/communication piece."

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Others see CloudVerse as a way to overcome barriers to cloud adoption -- but only if customers adopt a Cisco-only solution.

"How do you solve some of the barriers out there that keep people from adopting cloud?" asks Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research in assessing the rationale for CloudVerse. "It's solving the management and interoperability problems with the cloud. This shows that Cisco is thinking about cloud service and adoption. But multivendor [interoperability], you'd think that would come sometime down the road."

The new software Cisco's rolling out for CloudVerse includes cloud-specific management applications for the UCS servers and Nexus switches; for ASR edge routers; and for Cisco's hosted collaboration platform.

For management, Cisco unveiled Intelligent Automation for the Cloud, which provides automated provisioning and control of data center resources so IT services can be delivered within and between data centers. Cisco also rolled out Network Services Manager, which is designed to automatically create, deploy and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.

For the ASR edge routers, Cisco has added its Network Provisioning System (NPS) software to the ASR 1000 and 9000 models. NPS debuted with the CRS-3 carrier core router last year -- it acts as a GPS for the network by steering traffic toward the most reachable source of compute and storage resources, or content.

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