Cisco has unveiled a Cloud Connected Solution designed to securely link users to cloud services. Components include Cloud Connectors, or new software embedded into the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2 platform that supposedly improves the security and availability of cloud applications. That’s in addition to the Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR), a virtual router that allows organizations and individuals to place virtual private networks (VPNs) in a cloud environment. The company has also integrated new, cloud-centric capacities into products such as the Cisco ISR and ASR platforms, as well as the Cisco UCS E-Series Server Modules on the ISR G2. In the lattermost case, those new capabilities include Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC) technology (available on the ISR and ASR platforms) for delivering and troubleshooting cloud applications on a network, as well as Cisco AppNav technology, designed to intelligently cluster Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) physical and virtual appliances into a single resource pool overseen by a central controller. Among other aspects of the portfolio, Cisco is also touting Cloud Connectors for Cisco Hosted Collaboration Services (HCS) survivability, Cisco ScanSafe Web security service, and the third-party CTERA Cloud Storage Connector on the Cisco Unified Computing System E-Series. That’s a lot of products and acronyms for anyone to wrap their head around; the broader point is that Cisco sees a significant future in cloud-ready networks. That’s a view likely backed up by any IT administrator or CTO whose employees are clamoring for secure and available cloud infrastructure and applications. Analysts also see upgrading infrastructure as a top priority for the enterprise. “Network infrastructure must rapidly adapt to fully support future enterprise communications systems, which will be highly virtualized, intelligent and application-aware,” Bjarne Munch, an analyst for Gartner, wrote in a June 12 statement tethered to the Cisco release. “The impact of new infrastructure and application strategies on the network cannot be overstated.” At least in theory, that means modernizing enterprise networks to take advantage of cloud computing and other next-generation applications. Cisco has been making some significant moves in storage, virtualization and networking, especially with regard to its Unified Computing and Servers platform. It also faces substantial competition in the datacenter: IBM has been pushing infrastructure offerings for converged networking, for example, while Hewlett-Packard’s BladeSystem, Matrix Operating Environment and Cloud Service Automation for Matrix are targeted at companies who need both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. Dell’s announcements earlier this week at its annual storage conference in Boston, which included the company’s Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Arrays (those merge Dell 11th and 12th generation PowerEdge blade servers with Dell Force10 or PowerConnect networking switches), underlines Cisco’s evolving challenges in keeping ahead of its competition when it comes to business infrastructure. Cisco evidently hopes the cloud will give it an additional boost.   Image: .shock/