Inside Cisco’s OpenStack Cloud Strategy

VIDEO: Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of Cloud Computing at Cisco, details his firm’s OpenStack platform efforts.

Cisco first got involved with the open-source OpenStack cloud platform in 2011 with the Bexar release and initially was focused mostly on networking. Over the last several years, Cisco’s OpenStack involvement and product portfolio have grown beyond just networking.
In a video interview with eWEEK, Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of Cloud Computing at Cisco, detailed his firm’s OpenStack platform efforts.
Tucker commented that Cisco has been expanding its OpenStack efforts a lot more outside of networking as the adoption of OpenStack within Cisco has grown. Cisco’s first OpenStack product was the OpenStack Cisco Edition, which was first released in October 2012. In 2013, Cisco announced accelerator packs for its UCS servers that were intended to accelerate adoption of OpenStack on Cisco server hardware. Those two efforts have now been rolled into Cisco’s broader OpenStack initiatives. Tucker explained that Cisco now has software partners, including Red Hat, to help enable go-to-market efforts for OpenStack on Cisco hardware.
Today, Cisco has three primary areas of focus for OpenStack. The company recently acquired OpenStack private cloud vendor Metacloud, which provides the ability for Cisco to now deliver OpenStack as a service onsite at a customer location.

“Metacloud can come in and deploy OpenStack on-premises, on the customer’s hardware and then operate it remotely,” Tucker said.

Another component of Cisco’s strategy is to build OpenStack solutions, which involves putting OpenStack on top of Cisco hardware for customers.
The final piece of the Cisco OpenStack cloud strategy is the global Intercloud initiative. With Intercloud, a global fabric of connected clouds is being organized together with Cisco partners.
“We very much think that just like the Internet became the Internet out a set of networks, that the next stage of cloud computing is really taking clouds, which are pretty much islands today, connecting them up and making an intercloud,” Tucker said.

Watch the full video interview with Lew Tucker below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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HP’s Flat Earnings Call Into Question Its Plan to Split in Two

Red flags in the report: Enterprise hardware/software and services, which came in with revenue slippage of 4 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Hewlett-Packard’s fourth-quarter and fiscal 2014 financials are casting some doubts on whether HP should break into two companies next year, as it announced in October.
Investors will be happy to note that the IT products and services giant met Wall Street expectations Nov. 25 in general when it reported quarterly earnings of $1.06 per share on revenue of $28.4 billion.
However, the stock price fell 1.2 percent to $37.17 percent in after-hours trading following the report, largely because two of the company’s major lines of business—enterprise hardware/software and services—lost ground.
HP is all about enterprise hardware/software and services, so this was a significant red flag for Wall Street. Those two divisions—which in the past have been identified by CEO and Chairman Meg Whitman as key growth drivers—came in with revenue slippage of 4 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Is the Split Still a Good Idea?

Asked on the conference call following the report as to whether, in the light of the generally flat performance of the company in Q4 and in 2014 overall, that HP should follow through with its intended split into HP Enterprise (hardware, software, services) and HP Inc. (personal computers, printers), Whitman didn’t hesitate with her answer.
“It clear to us that breaking into two companies is completely the right way to go,” Whitman said. “First of all, splitting into two makes us much more customer-centric. We can become a lot more efficient by running two more focused Fortune 50 companies than one large Fortune 100 company.”
For the fiscal year 2014, HP brought in $111 billion—down 1 percent from 2013—and profited $5.1 billion, down 2 percent. Quarterly profit declined 5.7 percent to $1.33 billion, or 70 cents a share, compared to 73 cents a share a year ago.

Storage, which in the past has been a beacon of light for HP enterprise hardware, came in at $878 million in Q4, down 8 percent year over year. Most of the decline, however, involves HP’s older storage lines; sales of the company’s frontline 3PAR brand was up a couple of percent points.
Networking equipment sales at $669 million was up 2 percent, thanks mostly to new switches the company is marketing. However, the networking services total, at $238 million, was down slightly.
Personal Systems Numbers Good
The overall rebound of the desktop and laptop computer showed in HP’s Personal Systems income, which was up 4 percent year over year following a 12 percent increase in the prior quarter.
Personal computer revenue totaled $8.95 billion, with notebook sales rising 8 percent and desktop revenue slipping by 2 percent. Commercial revenue in this division increased 7 percent.
Printing and ink revenue was down 5 percent year over year with an 18.1 percent operating margin. Total hardware units were down 1 percent with commercial hardware units up 5 percent and consumer hardware units down 4 percent.

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Dropbox Activates Mobile Office 365 Integration

Users can now access Dropbox files directly from Microsoft’s mobile Office apps. The two companies have been working together for some time.

As promised, Dropbox and Microsoft are knocking down the walls between their productivity and file collaboration offerings.
In a brief Nov. 25 blog post, Dropbox Product Manager Matthew Jaffe announced that his company’s mobile apps now supported Office file editing. “Now it’s easy to work on the Office files you’ve stored in Dropbox even when you’re on the go—you can edit them from the Dropbox app, and access them directly from the Office apps,” he stated. “The new features are available today for Android phone and iOS users.”
Jaffe advised users to “make sure your Dropbox app is up-to-date on your iPhone, iPad or Android phone, then open any Office doc, spreadsheet, or presentation in your Dropbox.” A tap of the new Edit icon—the familiar pencil-to-paper icon—allows users to edit files using Microsoft’s mobile Office apps.
“When you’re done, your changes will be saved back to Dropbox automatically,” Jaffe wrote.

The move follows last week’s release of an updated Office Mobile app for Android handsets. The latest version supports Dropbox as a cloud storage option and Dropbox file sharing, alongside Microsoft’s own OneDrive cloud file share and sync capabilities.

In an early sign of their eventual partnership, Dropbox announced in July that it was working on Office-centric features, including full-text search support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Months later, the companies would make it official.
Microsoft and Dropbox announced earlier this month that they were partnering to integrate their services. “In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate, regardless of their device or platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a Nov. 4 statement. “Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the center for the way they live and work today.”
Striking a similar note, Dropbox CEO and co-founder Drew Houston said in a statement that the partnership “will make it easier than ever to collaborate seamlessly across these platforms, giving people the freedom to get more done.”

It turns out that Microsoft Office looms large over Dropbox’s customer base, Ilya Fushman, head of Product, Business and Mobile at Dropbox, said in a Nov. 4 blog post.
“More than 80,000 organizations around the world use Dropbox for Business to get work done. Most of those businesses also rely on Microsoft Office, the world’s most widely used productivity suite. In fact, Dropbox is home to over 35 billion Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations,” he wrote.
After delivering the mobile integrations for iOS and Android, Fushman said his company is working on “Web integrations between the Dropbox Website and Office Online” for delivery during the first half of 2015. “We’ll also be releasing a Dropbox app for Windows phone and tablet users in the coming months.”

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