How Cisco Plans to Win the Cloud Computing Industry

Learn how Cisco plans to win the competitive cloud-computing market using OpenStack.

Apr 1, 2014 at 3:00PM

The cloud is poised for rapid growth in the the business world. A growing number of companies are swapping traditional IT systems for affordable cloud-computing services to improve efficiency. Aware of the cloud market's huge potential, tech giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) is looking forward to offering a new cloud service. The networking company plans to spend $1 billion on this project over the next two years, called Cisco Cloud Services.

At first glance, Cisco's new venture could be regarded as yet another cloud service. However, the service that Cisco plans to provide is well-differentiated. The company plans to use OpenStack technology -- an open-source cloud-computing platform for private and public clouds -- to create a global intercloud, which is a network of clouds designed for high-value application workloads. Cisco will likely employ an infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, model. The company has already partnered with Telstra, Australia's largest telecom, and other organizations. However, Cisco could face strong competition from (NASDAQ:AMZN), which started offering online services through its cloud platform -- Amazon Web Services -- in 2006. How does Cisco plan to win the cloud computing industry?

It's all about differentiation
The key benefit to Cisco Cloud Services is that it would allow customers to hold and manage a variety of clouds in a single platform. This would be especially useful for companies with large, fast-paced, growing needs for data processing and storage, which might experience difficulties relying on just one cloud. As fellow Fool contributor Joseph Gacinga recently pointed out, several Internet giants such as Best Buy and PayPal have used the OpenStack technology before, and have gotten quite positive results. By using OpenStack, Cisco could successfully enter the market by targeting needs that leading cloud companies currently overlook.

A way to cross-sell the Internet of Things
Cisco plans to sell its cloud service to other companies that will later resell it through a bigger package. The company will likely use its new cloud service to move forward with its Internet of Things project, which aims to bring together data, processes, and people to enhance an organization's efficiency and performance.

Growth potential
In its most recent quarter, Cisco's revenue came in at $11.2 billion, down 8% year-over-year, enough to surpass the Street's revenue expectations. Moreover, its cash dividend increased to $0.19 per common share, up by $0.02 from the former quarter.

Regarding the future, the company's new cloud service has great growth potential. According to a forecast by research firm Gartner, cloud computing will take the majority of IT spending by 2016. Another research firm, IDC, estimated that worldwide spending on public IT cloud services might exceed $107 billion by 2017, with IaaS becoming one of the fastest growing categories, experiencing a compounded average growth rate of 27.2%. Certainly, there is a bright future ahead, yet Cisco will have to face competition from another great tech company,

Amazon is a serious competitor is a pioneer in cloud services, and it is already a well-established, respectable brand in the industry. Amazon Web Services is distinguished by its S3 (data storage) and EC2 (resizable compute capacity) services in the cloud. Note that, after several years of losses, the company has recently performed well, in financial terms. In 2013, revenue came in at $74.5 billion, representing a 22% annual increase. Moreover, its net income was $274 million, reversing its 2012 net loss of $39 million.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, estimates show that Amazon Web Services could be generating $3 billion or more in annual revenue. Simply put, the cloud service is a strong asset for the company. Even if Cisco offers a different service, it might face a difficult time entering the cloud service market due to the aggressive price strategies that uses to market its cloud server farm.

Final Foolish takeaway
Cisco plans to offer a differentiated cloud service. Using OpenStack technology, Cisco Cloud Service will allow customers to access data and run their businesses through different clouds. The move seems to be part of the company's Internet of Things project, which aims to connect data, processes, and people to improve efficiency and performance in any business. Note that there is a strong competitor in the market; Amazon is a cloud computing pioneer, able to put pressure on competitors through aggressive price reductions. That being said, Cisco could use OpenStack and its strong brand to enter the market successfully.

Are you ready to profit from this $14.4 trillion revolution?
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Adrian Campos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information