Cisco Systems has announced a $1 billion investment in what it calls its Intercloud, a linked chain of datacenters providing services designed to capitalize on the Internet of Things. Cisco has no intention of competing with Amazon Web Services, Google, or Rackspace in supplying general-purpose infrastructure as a set of cloud services. Instead, it has assembled a set of partners to offer a global chain of datacenters linked by a Cisco network to serve as a backbone for the Internet of Things.

"This is not about five public cloud datacenters worldwide," said Favio Gori, director of Cisco cloud marketing, in a description that sounded suspiciously like VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service. Rather, Cisco announced nine partners that will help it build out a set of services on top of OpenStack software to serve as worldwide data-collection points for device data, analytics, and data warehousing.