Cisco launches cloud suite under new software strategy

Cisco's Enterprise Cloud Suite is part of a strategy to decouple software from hardware.

Cisco on Wednesday rolled out an enterprise cloud management suite and made various application bundles publicly available.

The launch, delivered at Cisco Live in Milan, highlights how traditional hardware vendors need to decouple software from their systems. After all, when the data center is truly software defined hardware vendors that don't evolve will be on the outside looking in.

For Cisco, the application strategy revolves around selling enterprise licenses and subscriptions for software that would usually be bundled with hardware. Under Cisco's old model, a customer bought hardware that included software. That model will still exist, but Cisco is moving to one where application updates are delivered in a steadier cadence regardless of the hardware.

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"Most people don't think of Cisco as a software company per se, but we'd be the fifth largest software company in the world based on revenue," said Dan Lohmeyer, senior director, product management, Cisco ONE Software.

Lohmeyer, a former Microsoft executive, said Cisco is emulating his old employer in some ways by offering suites that can be sold under enterprise licensing agreements, perpetual licenses and subscriptions. Cisco will also move to a formalized release schedule that'll vary by hardware. For instance, the latest server update is easier to deliver on an ongoing basis relative to a router or switch. "Customers will have the choice to deploy updates when they want," said Lohmeyer.

John Brigden, senior vice president of software strategy and operations, outlined Cisco's core software themes in a blog post:

  • The company wants to develop with user experience in the forefront.
  • A cloud delivery model will be available for all applications.
  • Automation and simplicity leads for hybrid deployments.
  • Consumption models should be flexible.

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Cisco outlined its Cisco One strategy in October and now is rolling it out. The use cases for Cisco's suites revolve around enterprise clouds, converged data centers, next-gen branch offices, mobility, infrastructure and network automation, intelligent wide area networking and unified access.

Not surprisingly, Cisco is jumping in with the general availability of a cloud suite to manage what the network giant calls "interclouds." That term basically refers to a hybrid data center. The management suite can manage cloud and on-premise workloads as well as appeal to various users ranging from admins to app developers. One key feature is that the cloud suite has templates for multiple applications in Windows and Linux.

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