The future of the cloud, as seen by Cisco

Lew Tucker - VP and CTO, Cloud Computing, Cisco - Structure 2011

Lew Tucker - VP and CTO, Cloud Computing, Cisco - Structure 2011The future of the cloud is a programmable network with applications that are smarter about using resources, said Lew Tucker, VP and CTO of Cloud Computing for Cisco at Structure 2011 in San Francisco on Wednesday. The industry needs to be able to provide more access to applications and be able to “program the network how we’d like to,” said Tucker, noting that this was one of the driving factors for why Cisco has embraced OpenStack, an open source cloud project pushing an open cloud computing platform.

This isn’t the first time that Tucker has rallied for the importance of developers, even when it comes to cloud network architecture (in contrast to the more obvious developer fodder like mobile apps). Cisco’s latest move to work with developers and the open source cloud is its Network as a Service (NaaS) project, which would give OpenStack developers the ability to easily create and manage virtual networks using simple APIs.

Take that a step further and Tucker envisions a world in the future (what interviewer Joe Weinman called his “crazy town idea”) where cloud applications are “self aware,” when it comes to the resources they are using, like enterprise resources and power utilization. Elasticity — being able to scale up and down resource use — will be an important function to moving the network to the cloud (as well as a way to make the cloud more energy efficient). Eventually “applications will become more intelligent about using resources.”

Tucker also noted that the future of the cloud will be “dominated by data.” It’s going to be easier to move applications around than large data sets, like in industries like genomics. Finally, Tucker thinks that the whole debate about public clouds versus private clouds will eventually go away.

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