Nick Earle is Cisco's senior vice-president of global Cloud sales and go to market, and is overseeing the InterCloud project. With nearly 30 years of experience, Earle has held a number of senior positions in the industry, including CEO at StreamServe and president of EMEA Operations at Ariba. He spent 18 years at HP, where he was Chief Marketing Officer for HP's enterprise computing business. He also served as President of HP's Internet business.
Earle stopped by ARN's offices in Sydney to give us a Channel update on Cisco's next big project, InterCloud, which is Cisco's attempt to build an international hybrid Cloud service that will rival Azure, AWS and Google. Cisco has announced that it will invest $1bn across the next two years on the project, and signed Telstra as its world first partner. It is expected to come online near the end of 2014.
Cisco wants MSPs and SIs to have a unified, international Cloud platform they can resell, and rebadge, but still offer tailored solutions geographically — keeping mission critical (or legislatively bound) data in-country.
It also gives the company the opportunity to sell through its 'SDN-by-another-name' hardware to the market, which if successful, could flow through with sales benefits to the Channel.
Let's start with why Cisco has finally come to the Cloud table, and why you have chosen a hybrid model?
We started by putting some software on our customers' networks that managed where workloads were going. We used to say to customers, 'do you actually know how much you're spending on public Cloud?' Most said, 'We don't use public Cloud much.' So we tested them.
It turns out there was actually a massive underestimation of how much public Cloud is used, by a factor of ten. That's from a workload perspective. And probably a factor of five in terms of the number of Clouds.
We had crazy situations where we found pharmaceutical companies where the R&D engineers were so frustrated with ITs failure to deliver to them the same tools that they'd had on their personal devices, that they were all using Dropbox, Amazon and Skype.
We found that its eight years of product R&D pipeline — which for a drug company is the entire business - was in a public Cloud, completely unencrypted.
That's a common story we hear in the channel, we call it Credit Card Cloud.
Correct, it is credit card Cloud. It's that transactional pricing, it never goes through the company's finance system, and it doesn't go through the IT department. And these transactions are happening everywhere.
The IT industry over the past 30 years has been selling products of increasing complexity to users, and users have problems of managing it. It's why you now have such massive IT departments.
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