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DAY 2: Cisco global partner summit

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 2 March 2011

Day two of Cisco’s global partner summit kicked off with a fast-paced presentation from Michael Capellas, CEO of Acadia – a joint venture of Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel. Probably best known for his stint as chairman and CEO at Compaq before its merger with HP, Capellas’ current role at Acadia sees him helping companies deploy technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware to accelerate adoption of virtualised cloud infrastructures.

Rather than launching into a complex technical presentation, Capellas chose instead to highlight to the thousands of delegates that the cloud is now, the cloud is real and partners need to position themselves to seize the business opportunities presented.

“The cloud is not something that just came out as marketing hype,” declared Capellas. “We have been building towards this for six or seven years and it is foundationally important to where partners’ businesses are going.”

Cloud is not a buzzword was Capellas’ mantra. He claimed that the technology would become the dominant future architecture and the probability of this happening was 100%. Where the consumer leads, the business segments follow and Capellas highlighted some compelling statistics to back up his claim that consumers have already made their choice.

Capellas pointed out that some 200 million users are already accessing Facebook on mobile devices and that a massive 60 billion instant messages were sent each day, with 40% of this total business-related. He also added that Skype could boast 25 million concurrent users, showing that public cloud technologies were already becoming pervasive.

Moving on to the business implications, Capellas said: “Cisco, EMC, Intel and VMware are offering best-of-breed virtualisation solutions. The private cloud will lead enterprise and public sector opportunities and there is a flight to quality for virtual infrastructure.”

The emergence of cloud standards was also touched on by Capellas as he pointed out to thousands of Cisco partners that the market for converged infrastructure solutions could be worth US$50 billion per annum in three years.

Capellas’ closing shot to Cisco partners was simplicity itself: “Go sell something, because this stuff is hot.”

Padmarsee Warrior, chief technology officer and senior VP and general manager of enterprise, commercial and small business at Cisco, then took to the stage to drill home some key messages about the potential for the vendor’s solutions and the drive towards an architecture-led approach. Warrior pointed out the incredible growth of connected devices, claiming that 40 mobile devices were sold each and every second around the world.

Warrior said: “By 2015, 125 million people worldwide will have mobile phones but not electricity. As human beings we attach huge value to communication technology.”

“In future we will not go to work, we will simply do work,” she added. “Work simply becomes a thing, not a place.”

Warrior went on to explain Cisco’s architecture-led approach. “Technology architecture is simply a framework with guidelines and considerations for systems,” she noted.

Warrior reiterated Capellas’ message that the time for cloud was now as convergence between the internet, IT and communications infrastructure accelerated. For those countries with limited existing infrastructure – including emerging markets - the percentage of IT spend on cloud-based solutions could be even higher that developed markets as they leapfrogged to cutting edge technologies.

Warrior expanded further on her keynote in a press session during the afternoon. She commented: "We’re surprised at how quickly cloud adoption is moving."

She also explained why Cisco is working through its partner base to drive its growth in the cloud solutions arena. "If Cisco itself had become a cloud provider, we would have started to compete with some of the service provider and partner communities we currently work with."

In the afternoon, Cisco also turned its attention to the small and mid-sized business market, launching new unified communications systems aimed at these markets. Cisco also announced a new global sales initiative aimed at deepening its relationship with 24,000 select and registered partners by giving them access to dedicated service and support agents.

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