Cisco announced several initiatives focused on cloud application development, including a new marketplace and APIs for cloud services.
The company’s Intercloud focus has been connecting enterprises with cloud service providers. Now, it’s adding an applications and development focus into the mix, connecting all three groups (service providers, app providers, and consumers) with one another, all atop Intercloud. The marketplace lists best-of-breed applications that work within the Intercloud vision, while the new APIs help developers build apps for what Cisco calls the hyper-distributed IT world.
The company has built out a partner network of cloud service providers and is now building a network of cloud application service providers that work on the same Cisco fabric. The marketplace will act as the front end of this ecosystem.
The aim is to give enterprise consumers a list of best of vetted apps that can freely move across Cisco's Intercloud network, bringing their individual security policies along. The marketplace launches with 40 application partners, two examples being enterprise Hadoop players MapR and Hortonworks.
“This is a curated marketplace,” said Michael Riegel, Cisco’s vice president of Internet of Everything. “It consists of key apps that they need for problems they need to solve.”
To stimulate application development within Intercloud, the APIs are there to help developers build around hyper-distributed IT and Big Data, in other words, APIs to make applications good candidates for Cisco's larger vision. Cisco is also developing unique APIs, such as its cloud services router or CSR.
"Not only will we have APIs for network and control, we’ll also make our own cloud services,” said Riegel.
The idea of siloed enterprises is going away as we enter the age of hyper-distributed IT. As end-user businesses tap into an increasing amount of cloud services and data, most customers think they use five to 10 cloud services, when the reality is closer to 675, according to Cisco.
Sprawl is what the company is really trying to solve, said Riegel. All the cloud services coming in and out of the enterprise are growing by 17 percent annually. Shadow IT isn’t something that’s going to happen in the future, it’s something that is already happening. The average CIO has a better handle on what’s occurring, with the average CIO stating their business uses approximately 40 cloud services rather than the 5-10 estimated by other executives. However, 40 is still very much off from 675.
Coupled with the explosion of connected devices, Cisco is seeing a hyper explosion of applications, data, and things at the edge of the network. It's Intercloud strategy is around connecting this distributed world. The initial focus was connecting cloud service providers and becoming a cloud of clouds. Now, Cisco is delving deeper into applications.
Cisco owned the network in the early days of the internet, and its strategy with cloud is to play a similar role. As enterprises become hyper-distributed, the network will need to support enterprise policies in a different way.
“IT today is filled with disparate islands of clouds," said Riegel. "A-tightly knit ecosystem of trusted partners – as Cisco has engaged – provides far greater infrastructure and application choice, greater industry expertise and better geographic coverage than any single vendor could."
In the backdrop, connectivity is skyrocketing, said Riegel, from 300,000 things an hour to 50 billion by 2020, with 2 billion more connected people. The growth of connectivity is creating a world about hyper-distribution, he said.
Cisco has 350 data centers in 50 countries, according to Riegel, and it will continue to add resellers and cloud builders as a big focus. Across those 350 data centers, different partners like Telstra are building data center capabilities for cloud to have seamless interconnectivity to cloud. By solving connectivity issues in the hyper-distributed IT world, Cisco is essentially connecting all clouds in its fold.
Cisco this week also announced it has upgraded the operating system used across its data center switches to enhance software-defined networking capabilities. Ahead of Cisco live, the company announced its acquisition of Piston Cloud Computing to boost its capabilities around private OpenStack clouds.