Cisco is teaming with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer software tools that would make it easier for the vendor’s customers to use the cloud provider’s data centres to run their business applications.
The move is part of a push at Cisco to derive more revenue from software and stay current with longtime business customers that are seeking to do more work with cloud computing companies like AWS, Google Cloud unit or Microsoft Azure.
Cisco began making that push under CEO Chuck Robbins after sales declines in its core network hardware business - declines that were largely driven by big businesses' deciding not to build out their own data centres in favour of moving to public computing clouds like AWS.
But now those clouds are part of Cisco's growth plans, Kip Compton, Cisco's senior vice president of cloud platform, told Reuters.
Cisco is offering new software tools, based on a technology called containers, that let developers slice up applications to run them either in their own data centres, where they might use a lot of Cisco gear, or a cloud data centre like the ones offered by AWS. Developers can also use a mix of both.
Cisco's new tools use the technology to let businesses move their software applications back and forth between Amazon and their own data centre without interruptions.
Compton said the tools will work for companies that do not currently use any Cisco hardware in their data centres, though extra security features will be available to those that do.
"The way we like to think about it at Cisco is, we're growing and adding a software business to a very important hardware business," Compton said in an interview.
Cisco last year inked a similar deal with Google's cloud offering. The strategy of using a mix of a business's own data centres and the cloud, sometimes called "hybrid cloud," has become a prominent piece of the growth plans at companies such as Microsoft and IBM.
IBM's US$34 billion acquisition of software maker Red Hat Inc also centres on making it easier to move software applications around among clouds more easily.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Leslie Adler)