Cisco CTO: Containers will ride to private cloud's rescue. Oh yes!

Translation: We're touting services but please don't forget to buy our on-prem kit

Cisco Partner Summit The emergence of containers will spark a renaissance for on-premises data centers, thus luring many businesses away from public cloud services, Cisco CTO Zorawar Biri Singh reckons.

Speaking at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego, Singh said he believes as much as 30 per cent of public cloud workloads will be going offline in the next five years as customers opt instead for local data centers based on container stacks.

Singh predicted that, as companies become more comfortable developing and deploying data centers with containers, larger deployments with public clouds will make less sense financially for many.

"It is very expensive at that scale, as IT practitioners see simpler container-based infrastructure come out, they will build more smaller container-based data centers," he said.

Singh notes that Cisco would, well, obviously stand to profit from such a trend, though he argues that, with its focus on networking and UCS, Switchzilla has less to lose from public cloud growth than other server vendors.

"There is a misperception that we are super exposed," he said.

"Overall port count decreases over time, but it is not as hard hit as compute and storage."

Singh's comments come as Cisco is embarking on its own efforts to transition itself toward a greater focus on providing broad enterprise IT services. Cisco, with some help from partners, has set its sights on selling customers everything from security to storage and analytics.

That transition, Singh argues, may not be the drastic makeover for Cisco that some pundits believe. He said that, instead, the shift is part of a natural growth for Cisco from its core networking business of shifting data from point to point to securing and analyzing that data as well.

Cisco pointed toward that shift this week with a crop of new product and service announcements focused on its HyperFlex and DNA lines.

"We know exactly where our revenue base is, we are investing more in software because it is a natural balance," he said. "There is nothing here that is a crazy leap." ®

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