Cisco recently promoted Kip Compton, formerly VP of the company’s cloud platform and solutions business, to SVP and general manager. And while this promotion doesn’t really alter Compton’s duties much, it does signal the company’s larger commitment to cloud.
In an interview with SDxCentral, Compton noted that he’s been overseeing the company’s cloud business for the past 18 months or so. During that time there has been a big shift in the networking business to a multi-cloud strategy. “Multi-cloud is a big trend in the industry. The vast majority of companies are moving to multiple cloud providers,” he noted.
Compton said this trend makes Cisco well positioned to work with enterprises because the company is not a public cloud provider. “We don’t have our own horse in the race. We can advise them on where to put their workloads.”
But the migration to multi-cloud is not just about managing costs and saving money. Instead, Compton said that most companies are realizing that they need to use multiple clouds so that they can take advantage of different capabilities or innovations that are exclusive to certain cloud providers.
Last year Cisco joined forces with Google on a hybrid cloud offering that, among other things, allows enterprises to deploy Kubernetes-based containers on premises and in Google Cloud Platform. The deal gives Google a foothold in the enterprise data center as it struggles to pull market share from cloud services leader Amazon Web Services (AWS). And it gives Cisco a public cloud partner as its customers increasingly adopt multi-cloud computing environments.
However, straddling multiple clouds can be a challenge. That’s where Cisco comes in. Compton said the company’s line of cloud services routers can run in different cloud providers but offer the consistency of experience that enterprises need. “Enterprises can use our cloud services router in different cloud providers but get consistency,” Compton said.
And for Cisco that means that the company’s cloud efforts have to work closely with all its other divisions. Because when customers want to talk about the cloud, they often also want to talk about security, analytics, and even the Internet of Things (IoT).
“We tend to put technologies into a business group,” Compton said. “But the cloud is different because it spans all our groups.”
Because of that Compton and his group need to work closely with Cisco’s security business, which is now headed by SVP and GM Gee Rittenhouse and with the company’s IoT group being led by Liz Centoni who previously oversaw the firm’s data center business.
Simplifying, Not Restructuring
Although Compton said that Cisco isn’t restructuring its leadership team or its business groups, the company has been moving people around lately. Gee Rittenhouse is now heading up the company’s security business, replacing David Ulevitch, who is taking on an advisory role within Cisco working closely with David Goeckeler, EVP and GM of Cisco’s networking and security business on special projects.
And Compton said that Liz Centoni, who previously oversaw the company’s data center business, will now lead the IoT group. Centoni replaces Rowan Trollope, previously the SVP and GM of the company’s application division, which included both the IoT Group and the Collaboration Group. Trollope left the company early this month to become CEO of cloud software startup 59. Amy Chang, the former CEO and founder of Accompany, an artificial intelligence company that Cisco is acquiring, will become SVP of the Collaboration Group.