Cloud application performance needs drive channel opportunities

Cisco_WAAS_4.0_SeriesCisco Systems announced at Cisco Live 2011 enhancements to its Unified Computing System (UCS), Nexus switches, Wide Area Application Service (WAAS) and IronPort Email Security that will improve the performance and security across the products on which Cisco partners build cloud platforms, but outside of the speeds and feeds, the real message here is that there’s a huge partner opportunity on the horizon.

There were two themes that came out of the vendor’s day two announcements.

“One theme is that as enterprises and SMBs migrate to cloud, there’s a greater need for security and application performance guarantees and enhanced management, just because of the diversity of end devices and the different ways that applications have to jump off prem and go to the cloud and back to the end-users,” said Dave Frampton, vice president and general manager of the application delivery business unit at Cisco Systems. “The network can play a really important role because we sit in between all the end-devices and the applications hosted in the cloud.”

With these enhancements, Cisco is offering a robust, managed ecosystem that partners can take to their customers as a key differentiator from competing solutions in the market.

As businesses move to the cloud, they’re most concerned about security, availability and performance. Frampton’s business unit is focused on performance with WAAS. Businesses expect to have the same performance out of cloud applications that they get from on-premise software. Without that guarantee, the cloud is going to be a frustrating place for businesses to work within.

“I think scale and flexibility is the other big meta-theme. Network adds value by understanding context is first. Second is scale and flexibility within the data center,” Frampton said. That’s where the enhancements to the UCS platform come in.

How far along are businesses when it comes to being able to monitor their cloud applications’ performance? A large number of companies are building the foundation that will eventually support cloud applications performance monitoring and management. For partners, they’ll be able to differentiate themselves when talking to customers with more robust security and application performance monitoring capabilities.

“I think it’s a terrific opportunity for partners to add value because the more contextually aware your network needs to be, the more sophisticated the deployment needs to be, and that creates an opportunity to add value, and that’s an opportunity for the partner,” Frampton said.

Partners that are able to create links between the technology and business problems will be in a good position and can create stickiness with the end-customer, he said.