Following upon VMWare and others, Cisco has announced a new cloud strategy focused on enablement of cloud hosting & service providers. The program called "Unified Service Delivery" focuses on service providers who want to offer cloud services publicly.
According to a press release the new Cisco Unified Service Delivery solution is optimized to enable virtualization within the data center, between data centers and across the Next-Generations Networks (NGN). Like VMWare, Cisco is trying to tap into their existing ecosystem of partners to build, run and deliver new cloud services acting as a kind of intermediary rather then a direct cloud provider. In a recent GigaOM post, Simon Aspinall, senior director of service provider marketing at Cisco described "an arms dealer role -– equipping its customers to fight that battle instead of offering a platform of its own" In my opinion a very smart place to be.
What is clear in this move is that the opportunities for cloud computing enablers such as Cisco, IBM, Sun, VMWare and smaller player like (warning blatant self promotion ahead) Enomaly is in that in the short term the "real money" will be made in converting the broad group of existing hosting providers into cloud computing providers. A proof point is recently VMWare has also turned it's focus to the so called cloud service provider market with their Vcloud initiative. The VMWare pitch rests on the idea of VMware specific interoperability. As the dominant virtualization platform, they don't have to worry if they're interoperability with anyone other then themselves and for this reason is a key part of their pitch. (We're interoperable with ourself.) According to the Vcloud site they claim that your application will work in the cloud as it did on-premise, and will remain portable between your data center and other vCloud Service Providers.
Similarly at Enomaly, we have also begun to roll out a cloud service provider specific version of our ECP platform and have seen a significant level of interest from web hosting providers around the globe. What has really surprised me is how much interest we're seeing from over seas. It has become clear to me the true opportunity for cloud hosting is in enabling a a hybrid cloud -- a cloud that allows hosting providers the ability to recapture revenue being lost to rival cloud providers. For these providers it's become very easy to monitor lost revenue, all that is required is you monitor traffic to and from Amazon Web Services.