Cisco Systems and Verizon Business Leap Into Cloud Together

During the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit on June 7, a managed services provider (MSP) asked guest speakers why big telcos had yet to make cloud and managed services moves. My reply: Watch for major initiatives involving Cisco Systems and Verizon Business. Fast forward a few days, and the Cisco-Verizon cloud moves are coming into focus. Here are details.

During a webcast today, Cisco and Verizon Business pointed out:

  • Global managed services growth will outpace technology growth in 2010 by more than double.
  • The total global managed services opportunity will be $217 billion by 2014.
  • Both data points come from Forrester Consulting.
Of course, Cisco and Verizon are big companies. Do they really understand managed services, especially in the SMB space? In Cisco's case, I believe the answer is yes. Will Scott, Cisco's global director of managed solutions, has spent some time telling me about Cisco's various managed services moves over the past two years. And Cisco's MSP partner program, which received an overhaul in mid-2009, seems to be attracting more and more MSPs.

But what about Verizon Business? Generally speaking, I think Verizon remains focused mostly on the enterprise managed services market, where customers are seeking managed unified communications and perhaps even Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS), which converges servers, storage and networking. Moreover, Verizon is working with Novell on a cloud security strategy for large enterprises.

I haven't seen much evidence of Verizon making SMB moves. Nor do I think small businesses would necessarily embrace a big telco to run their day-to-day network and application services.

Still, at least one guest speaker at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit suggested that small businesses no longer have a need for on-premises servers. With that type of mindset, perhaps telcos do have a chance to take on more small business applications...

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