Cisco's New Cloud Project, Code-Named 'Cloud Fusion,' Could Thwart The NSA

John ChambersDaniel Berehulak/Getty ImagesCisco CEO John Chambers

Like all the big enterprise tech vendors these days, Cisco’s got plans to grab a share of the expanding cloud computing market.

For the most part, Cisco isn’t selling cloud services directly to enterprise customers (with the exception of WebEx, its Internet web conferencing service).

Instead, it sells the pieces and parts to build a cloud, and it does a brisk business with that. By one account, it sells more cloud computing infrastructure tech than competitors like IBM, HP, Dell, EMC and VMware, according to market research firm Synergy.

Now the company is starting to talk about a new product, code-named Cloud Fusion, that it says will protect companies from NSA spying, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Hickins.

Cloud Fusion is form of cloud computing known as the “hybrid cloud.”

Essentially, there are three flavours of cloud computing: public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. With a public cloud, like Amazon’s Web Services, a business rents software and computers from Amazon and accesses them over the Internet.

With Amazon, lots of companies share the same computers and equipment and they pay only for what they use. This lowers costs for everyone. But a company has to give up some control and trust that its cloud provider is keeping its data secure.

Private clouds are when companies use cloud tech in their own data centres. Cloud technology helps them use their own computers more efficiently and they don’t share anything with others. But they don’t get big cost savings.

A hybrid cloud is a marriage between the two, where a company uses some public cloud services and uses its own data centres, too.

Public clouds have been growing more popular because cloud companies are making them more reliable and more secure.

But the NSA spying scandal, in which the NSA has been accused of tapping into the networks and data centres run by Google, Microsoft and others, has thrown a shadow over cloud computing.

Enter Cloud Fusion. This technology will allow them to use cloud software from one cloud provider while storing their data in another spot, like their own data center, under lock and key. As Hickins explains:

Since Cisco doesn’t have access to the corporate data, it would be unable to comply with any U.S. government demands to share its customers’ data.

If Cisco can come up with a NSA-proof way to connect clouds and private data centres, it could be onto something.

We reached out to Cisco for comment.

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