Cisco continues expanding its cloud universe

Cisco unites old and new cloud offerings under CloudVerse moniker to help businesses build, manage, and connect clouds

Cisco has demonstrated in recent months that it really and truly does have a cloud strategy, and the networking giant unveiled today its broad-reaching cloud framework dubbed CloudVerse, designed to help organizations build, manage, and connect public, private, and hybrid clouds. Also in the CloudVerse bucket: An array of hosted collaboration and security applications, along with new capabilities for delivering those services to mobile users.

CloudVerse isn't a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure or Hadoop. Rather, Cisco's clear intent remains to apply its network expertise to provide a framework with which companies can roll out cloud-based services to customers or seamlessly stitch together disparate cloud platforms and services for their own use. The ability to combine clouds is increasingly important for organizations that, for any number of reasons, want to extend certain services to the public while keeping other processes and data protected under lock and key.

CloudVerse's primary components are Cisco's Unified Data Center, Cloud Intelligent Network, and Cloud Applications and Services. These components constitute a mix of technologies previously unveiled by Cisco alongside new offerings announced today.

Cisco's Unified Data Center serves as the underlying open architecture on which organizations can build and connect their cloud systems. Three elements comprise the offering: Cisco's Unified Fabric, Unified Computing, and Unified Management.

Cisco has talked up its fabric in the past. In essence, it's designed to flatten the network such that organizations can view and manage disparate SAN and NAS systems as virtualized pools, between which virtual assets can easily be moved and reprovisioned.

Cisco's Unified Computing offering should also be familiar to anyone following the company's recent (and not-so-recent) endeavors: The company rolled out its UCS (Unified Computing System) back in 2009. UCS is composed of a blade server, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single rackable system, and it's designed to provide IT shops with a single, open, programmable management interface that can scale to hundreds of blades and thousands of VMs. It used model-based service templates to automate the service-configuration process, meaning organizations can configure upward of hundreds of services with ease.

Finally, the Unified Management component provides admins with the tools for managing all the data center resources from a single platform, including computing, applications, network services, security, storage, and cloud computing.

New to the Unified Management component is Cisco Intelligent Automation for the Cloud, designed to provide automated provisioning and management of data center resources for delivery as cloud services, both within and between data centers. Additionally, Cisco unveiled its Network Services Manager, designed to automatically create, deploy, and modify physical and virtual networking resources on demand.

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