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Cisco Dumps $1 Billion into the Cloud, but Still Might Miss the Mark

by on26 March 2014 1496 times

Cisco has made the decision to dive even deeper into the cloud with a $1 Billion investment in cloud services. The money will be spent over the course of the next two years and is earmarked to build infrastructure services similar to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. Over the past few years Cisco has been investing more heavily into cloud services and even bought a cloud networking company (Meraki) with the intent of integrating some of their cloud management technologies into future Cisco products. In the long run this is a financially smart move as cloud services can represent a sustainable revenue stream and also allow Cisco (or another business) to reach new markets and customers they might not have access to. It also gives existing customers an option to utilize a “trusted” partner for something they might be considering, but not willing to move on due to not having a vendor they like.

 

Sadly, there is a fly in the ointment for Cisco’s cloud and service aspirations. It is one that anyone who has worked with Cisco will know as soon as I mention it; support. Now this is not to say that Cisco does not support their products. They have some great warranties (lifetime on much of the hardware), but the way they maintain support, licensing and also respond to issues is a little less than stellar. Cisco puts the responsibility to maintaining all of this on the customer or the vendor (Cisco does not sell direct). This puts the end user in an odd situation when it comes to licensing and support (especially if the reseller is not on their game).

With most other companies you know when things are going to expire or run out. You get emails and even phone calls asking if you want to renew. This is not the case with Cisco, it is up to you to make sure that everything is all good. Many companies actually hire a third party to maintain these support contracts and licenses for them simply because the information can get convoluted. Now to Cisco’s credit they have said that support of cloud services for enterprise customers should be handled differently, but considering the current state of affairs we will reserve judgment until we see just how they plan to implement support for this new venture. They simply cannot do this the same way they deal with products now. Clients that want to utilize cloud services are often looking for someone else to support their systems, they want to know that support is there and responsive if they need it.

Cisco’s $1 Billion investment in an enterprise cloud operation is certainly noteworthy, but in the end it is not the system they build that will make or break them. It will be all about how they chose to support the customers that use this server and if they will take ownership of maintaining the support systems (contract) that must be in place for them to succeed. We suppose that time will tell if Cisco is really ready for this level of commitment.

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Last modified on 26 March 2014
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