Cisco works with Amazon to help businesses run apps in the cloud

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(Reuters) - Networking gear maker Cisco Systems Inc said on Thursday it is teaming with Inc’s Amazon Web Services to offer software tools that would make it easier for Cisco’s customers to use Amazon’s data centers to run their business applications.

The move is part of a push at Cisco, one of the biggest suppliers of the routers and switches that send data across computer networks, to derive more revenue from software and stay current with longtime business customers that are seeking to do more work with cloud computing companies like Amazon, Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud unit or Microsoft Corp’s Azure.

Cisco began making that push under Chief Executive Chuck Robbins after sales declines in its core network hardware business - declines that were largely driven by big businesses’ deciding not to build out their own data centers in favor of moving to public computing clouds like AWS.

But now those clouds are part of Cisco’s growth plans, Kip Compton, Cisco’s senior vice president of cloud platform, told Reuters.

Cisco is offering new software tools, based on a technology called containers, that let developers slice up applications to run them either in their own data centers, where they might use a lot of Cisco gear, or a cloud data center like the ones offered by AWS. Developers can also use a mix of both.

Cisco’s new tools use the technology to let businesses move their software applications back and forth between Amazon and their own data center without interruptions. Compton said the tools will work for companies that do not currently use any Cisco hardware in their data centers, though extra security features will be available to those that do.

“The way we like to think about it at Cisco is, we’re growing and adding a software business to a very important hardware business,” Compton said in an interview.

Cisco last year inked a similar deal with Google’s cloud offering. The strategy of using a mix of a business’s own data centers and the cloud, sometimes called “hybrid cloud,” has become a prominent piece of the growth plans at companies such as Microsoft and International Business Machines.

IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of software maker Red Hat Inc also centers on making it easier to move software applications around among clouds more easily.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Leslie Adler