Should Cisco Offer a SaaS Cloud?

cisco1Cisco yesterday announced the WebEx Collaboration Cloud, a new SaaS architecture specifically built to enhance the collaborative capabilities of its WebEx solution. The architecture consists of eight global data centers and provides intelligent routing, load balancing and seamless data backup. All of this ensures WebEx users have secure, reliable and real-time collaborative sessions. What if Cisco decided to expand this architecture’s scope beyond WebEx, making it an industry-wide SaaS platform, and making Cisco a cloud computing provider in the process?

Whereas some SaaS platform providers are teaming with content delivery specialists like Akamai to optimize app delivery, Cisco has both the computing and the networking pieces in place already. Thanks to WebEx, it also has experience offering services. The fact that Cisco already has a functioning SaaS delivery platform would put it a step ahead of other big-time vendors, like Microsoft, who have announced cloud offerings that are works in progress. Cisco’s entry into the SaaS delivery market would not only add immediate legitimacy to the market, it also would deliver immediate results.

By limiting its offering to delivering SaaS applications, Cisco would officially enter the cloud provider market in a focused manner that spares it the criticism received by overarching, nebulous offerings like Microsoft’s Azure or IBM’s Blue Cloud.

Of course, this is all speculation, as Cisco has announced no such plans. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior is in the midst of a five-part blog series on collaboration, though, so maybe we can glean some insights into Cisco’s long-term collaboration plans from her comments.

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