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Cisco Reaches for Stars Through Open IaaS Cloud

Continues to Embrace OpenStack with Rackspace, NASA, Others

Cisco is in the news about its announcement at CES in Las Vegas to produce a combined TV/Web set-top box. Maybe it could use Java to make it work; has anyone thought of this?

Also, it was nice touch to see the announcement made at a "closed press conference," in the company's words. I'm sure the Chinese government would approve.

Ironically, the real news involving Cisco has to do with openness, with the company's ongoing efforts to integrate OpenStack into its IaaS Cloud Computing vision. Company management says it believes the open-source software is driving a lot of what's happening in Cloud.

OpenStack is among the more prominent efforts; launched by Rackspace and NASA (at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley) under the Apache 2.0 license, it now counts 40 technology vendors among its global community members.

OpenStack was announced in July 2010, and issued its first release in October (codenamed Austin). Cisco says it hasn't contributed code to the effort, but has been involved with Red Hat in thsi projec; Red Hat Linux and virtualization software has also been part of Cisco's UCS Cloud offering since 2009. Citrix has contributed code for the project's Xen virtualization hypervisor.

The idea here is to develop a Cloud operating environment; perhaps operating mesh is better terminology. NASA is contributing a compute engine from its Nebula cloud research (a quantum leap in abstract conception from the normal cumulus-nimbus-etc. conception of the Cloud).

Nebula addresses not only the enormous amounts of data this agency handles, but also its "unique privacy and access requirements," as dryly noted on an agency website. OpenStack developers worked with it not only to master Xen, and has committed to support hypervisor software from other companies (including VMWare).

Once the bright lights of CES have faded, it seems that the integrated set-top box market still has potential and always will. But Cloud Computing is here and now, and doing nothing but growing.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.