Cisco Systems (CSCO) today launched a Cisco ONE Software initiative that promises to make it simpler for partners and their customers to consume suites of software that span networking and server products and services.
Cisco also announced it is extending the reach of the Meraki management service for wireless networks that it delivers via the cloud to the rest of its networking, mobile computing and security portfolio, while at the same launching a Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite that makes it simpler to manage both private and hybrid cloud computing scenarios using the Cisco InterCloud platform. Taken together, the two platforms considerably expand the types of managed services that Cisco partners now can deliver.
Announced at the Cisco Live! 2015 Event in Milan, the goal of the initiative is to simplify greatly the ability of customers to license Cisco software across the full range of switches, routers, wireless devices and Unified Computing Servers (UCS) the company offers, said John Brigden, senior vice president for Software Strategy and Operations at Cisco.
Under the terms and conditions specified in the Cisco ONE program, software licenses are now portable. Customers no longer have to repurchase new software whenever they upgrade hardware. Customers also have the option of purchasing perpetual licenses or opt for a subscription license option Cisco plans to roll out formally later this year. In addition, customers still have the option of signing an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) to provide enterprise-wide access to Cisco software.
Brigden noted Cisco is trying to give customers multiple options through which they can acquire software regardless of whether that software ultimately gets deployed—in the cloud or on premise.
Clearly, Cisco is trying to create a competitive edge by combining cloud services with an extended portfolio of products that now span every aspect of the data center.
Naturally, it remains to be seen how well Cisco and its channel partners can exploit their newfound heft in the data center to gain market share across multiple product categories. There’s no doubt that in each of those product segments Cisco faces fierce competition. But when all the pieces of the Cisco empire are combined in a way that, at least from a software-licensing perspective, makes them easier to consume as either an operating or capital expense, the total addressable market for Cisco and its partners expands considerably.
Of course, the degree to which customers want to treat IT as a capital vs. operating expense varies widely. From a channel partner perspective, however, Cisco has pretty much taken that issue off the table by providing the flexibility to consume its software any way customers want.