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“There is a 270% expansion rate out of Cloud Services”
Alexander Braumann is Technical Solutions Architect at Cisco for EMEAR Central. Read his expert's insights on the current cloud development in DACH, Cisco's IoE plans and his predictions for the future.
Tags: Frink  CISCO  Business Factors  Tech Factors  collaboration  business relevance  optimization  business impact  Cisco Partner  opex  capex  24/7 accessability   need based storage   low cost  flexibility  security  webex  data loss  data theft  intercloud fabric  Internet of everything  Internet of things 
Within your role you 'pitch' cloud services to clients almost on a daily basis. How do you explain it to them?
It's important to understand that the cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. This means that for example networks, servers, storage, applications, and services can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

What are the advantages of the cloud?
I would say:
* Business agility
* New business models
* Less operational issues
* Better use of resources
* Less capital expense

And what are the disadvantages?
There is definitely space for improvement in security and downtime. And of course, there is a dependency on network connection and cloud computing platforms (vendor lock-in) as well as a limited control and still a vulnerability to attack.

Cisco is a big representative of cloud computing. Is it really the only way to go?
Cisco believes in the Internet of Everything. IoE is our vision, but currently still 99% of things on earth are not connected to the internet or connected with each other. So for our vision to come true we have to set up the preconditions. And one of this precondition is cloud computing. That's why we are building the intercloud with our partners and are convinced it's the right way to go.

So what steps have been made so far?
Within the architectures of Cisco you see invests in this direction like Cloud Networking with Meraki or Advanced Malware Protection based on Cisco´s in security. And of course collaboration is already running one of the biggest business cloud services in the world: Cisco WebEx.

Many of Frink's clients are based in DACH. How important is the cloud for this region?
Very important. DACH companies start to benchmark their own IT costs for running a service instead of just get it as a service subscription per month. And also shadow-IT puts pressure on IT departments because if not an adequate service can be delivered, they just use something else on the market which is not IT controlled. For those issues, the Hybrid Cloud concept for collaboration can solve the problem. Many companies in DACH are already using cloud services and we see great potential. Only in Austria, there is a total addressable market of around 150 million dollars in 2015.
* By achieving economies of scale – and increasing volume output
* By reducing spending on technology infrastructure. Easy access with minimal upfront spending. Options: 'Pay as you go' based on demand weekly, quarterly or yearly.
* By globalizing their workforce on the cheap. People worldwide can access the cloud if an internet connection is provided.
* By streamlining processes to save time and HR efforts.
* By reducing capital costs on hardware, software or licensing fees.
* By improving accessibility. Accessible anytime and anywhere
* By monitoring projects more effectively. To stay within budget and ahead of completion cycle times.
* By reducing need of personnel training. Less HR efforts but higher outcome with a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues.
* By minimizing licensing new software. To avoid expenses for expensive software licenses or programs.
* By improving flexibility. Possibility of changing direction without “people” or “financial” issues at stake.
How is the “cloud adoption” doing in DACH?
DACH and the Central region were at least one year behind the other European countries. Global players headquartered in DACH do better but especially in SMB & Midmarket segment the “cloud adoption” lacks behind.

How would you describe the tendency of the cloud in general?
This still depends on the segment but there is the current expansion rate of more than 270% of generated revenue out of cloud services. This is due to new applications, easier handling (Intercloud Fabric) and more offers like Meraki, Collaboration Meeting Rooms.

Still, a lot of people fear the disadvantages of the cloud such as hacking, a lack of security, data theft. Is their fear justified?
There is a lot of progress to clear the possible dangers of cloud computing and to find new approaches and technologies e.g. Inter Cloud Fabric or New Security Models. But there are also great developments from a standardisation perspective (e.g. ISO 27018).

Are there reasons to be a detractor of the cloud?
No not really. But I don't think we'll ever see 100% cloud-only everywhere as there is always something you want or need to keep to in-house.

What are your future predictions?
In the near future the Hybrid IT approach will be the most common one. And I would bet that in the next 2-3 years, especially in SMB/Midmarket segment we will see a bigger ramp-up then anybody currently predicts.
Alexander Braumann joined Cisco in 2000. As Technical Solutions Architect for EMEAR Central Region the Austrian is covering Collaboration Cloud Technologies and focuses on Workspace Transformation in 17 countries. During his career at Cisco, he worked in different systems engineering roles in the fields of IP Telephony, unified communication and collaboration. Braumann is happily married and lives in Vienna. He is a lover of cats, tennis and mountain biking.
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Editorial Team: Alexander Braumann, Christina Forster