Cisco CEO: ‘Cloud is not what customers want’

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Cisco CEO: ‘Cloud is not what customers want’
Chuck Robbins at 2016 Cisco Partner Summit

Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins has warned about the perils of pursuing technology for technology’s sake, with a provocative statement on what customers want from IT partners.

“Cloud is not what customers want,” Robbins told international media Wednesday morning Australian time at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego.

“The benefits of what they’re gaining from the cloud is what they want. No-one ever wanted SDN [software-defined networking] - they wanted automation simplicity, operational efficiency and lower cost of running their infrastructure. You have to stay focused on those things.”

Taking a shot at younger rival vendors, Robbins said that new players come along with much hype, but partners and customers must remain wary.

“Don’t get distracted by some technology that’s got a lot of buzz and excitement about it. Because that’s when companies get into trouble.”

When asked about the future of Intercloud, Robbins said that while provisioning cloud to the channel is on track, another facet of the plan - the internal work to transfer Cisco’s products to as-a-service - has fallen behind schedule.

Robbins added that the US$260 million acquisition of Cliqr, announced earlier in the day, has fast-tracked another lagging “pillar” of Intercloud - the ability to apply private policies onto the public cloud for a true hybrid experience.

He said that Cliqr is more “robust” than Intercloud fabric, which he now relegated as “an early way to give our customers what they wanted”.

Dimension Data Australia business unit operations director Pete Murray told CRN at San Diego that the Cliqr acquisition is a boon for his company.

“As a very large cloud provider - we’ve got 28 clouds around the world now, with three in Australia - being able to move workloads much more easily from traditional to cloud architecture is fantastic.”

The journalist travelled to San Diego courtesy of Cisco.

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