Cisco Launches Intercloud Platform for IoT Applications

Michael Vizard
Mar. 25 2014, 08:00AM EDT

The trouble with the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it is more a concept than an actual platform on which to a developer can build applications. Cisco is looking to change that. Cisco, in partnership with nine other companies, this week announced a plan to build Intercloud, a global cloud computing platform that will present developers with a standard set of APIs for building IoT applications.

The goal is to create a hybrid cloud computing platform based on OpenStack technologies that would expose APIs that developers can invoke to rapidly build applications, says Fabio Gori, director of cloud marketing for Cisco. As an example of Cisco’s Internet of Everything initiative, the company also intends to expose an implementation of the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform as a core Intercloud service.

Rather than focusing solely on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technologies, Intercloud is being designed from the ground up as a framework that allows services to be federated across multiple cloud service providers that will share common identity, presence and mobility APIs. That approach not only addresses any potential latency issues associated with deploying applications in the cloud; it also means that organizations can preserve data sovereignty anywhere in the world they choose, Gori says.

The nine companies participating with Cisco in the Intercloud initiative are Telstra; Allstream; Canopy, an Atos company; Ingram Micro; Logicalis Group; MicroStrategy; OnX Managed Services; SunGard Availability Services; and Wipro Ltd.

Cisco is pledging to spend more than $1 billion on cloud services that will be software-defined via the company’s support for OpenStack, which provides the ability to turn IT infrastructure into programmable resources in the cloud via a proposed set of industry standard APIs. Those platforms would not only provide the scale required to support them, but also the new security models required to protect them, says Gori.

Cisco envisions instances of IoT applications, such as Connected Real Estate, that would in essence create communities around instances of IoT applications running across a cloud. Although it may take a while for that vision to fully form, Cisco sees the Internet of Everything as a superset of IoT that the company claims will be valued in excess of $19 trillion.

The degree to which developers can monetize that opportunity remains to be seen. But developers have to be in a position to actually take advantage of such opportunities once something approaching an actual global cloud platform such as Intercloud starts to manifest itself.

Michael Vizard

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