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In The Cloud Wars Against Amazon, Google And Cisco Team Up

In The Cloud Wars Against Amazon, Google And Cisco Team Up
Cisco’s technology was in danger of losing relevance when Chuck Robbins was promoted to CEO of Cisco in 2015.
In the same year, Diane Greene’s unit was desperate to close the gap with Amazon Web Services when Google named her as head of its cloud division.
And now, to develop and sell cloud technology and services in a whole new way and to take on AWS, Robbins and Greene are teaming up just two years later.
Now Cisco's global salesforce, customer support and security and will be combined in a partnership as announced on Wednesday by Cisco and Google.
Amazon dominates the market of cloud infrastructure, which has become a huge and fast growing market, and this is the technology that allows businesses to offload their computing and storage needs and access their data from anywhere. The company's AWS business become a huge and fast growing market after it got started in 2006.
According to Synergy Research Group, AWS controls 34 percent of the market. Behind AWS, Microsoft and IBM, Google is a distant fourth with around 5 percent of the market.
But by creating new openings for competitors, the cloud is maturing.
In particular, all of their data into AWS is not being dumped by big companies with thousands of employees and legacy servers. Instead, they let developers test and build apps there, while leaving core data in their own data centers and often do new projects in the cloud.
And the kinds of businesses an enterprise upstart like Google wants to reach are complicated and heavily regulated businesses like hospitals and banks and this trend is being seen in those businesses.
"This whole cloud phenomenon is gaining steam pretty rapidly, and it's really become a strategic imperative for people," Greene said.
"But it just can't happen that fast. It's a lot to take all your on-premise data centers to the cloud and not everything will necessarily move."
For enterprises that aren't ready to go all-in on the cloud, some of Google's tools for working with cloud services will be brought, which Google and Cisco are co-developing a hybrid offering as part of the agreement. In addition to computer networking, security and support will be proviced by Cisco.
And critical for Cisco is a winning cloud strategy. Cisco’s software products for communications and collaboration operate in highly competitive markets and there's not much growth left in selling hardware like routers and switches, which have generated the bulk of Cisco's revenue.
But the largest enterprises and governments around the world are the ones that Cisco has relationships with. And Cisco's ability to offer Google's services may be a way to keep them from fleeing because those customers demand modern tools for application development and for running machine learning workloads.
"We've listened to our customers," Robbins told CNBC. "They're looking for cloud speed and scale and agility, but they want the flexibility of running applications in private data centers as well as in public clouds."
The Google-Cisco offering will hit the broader market in the second half of the year and will be available for early customers in the first half of 2018.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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