Although Cisco Systems (CSCO) may not exactly be a household name when it comes to the cloud, the networking giant has been building up its cloud practice and working to enable partners rather than compete with them. As a cloud player, Cisco's role has mostly been around providing infrastructure for its partners and customers to build clouds. And that seems to be working.

According to commentary from Cassandra Mooshian, an analyst at research firm Technology Business Research (TBR), Cisco's strength in the cloud services realm is coming from its network of alliances and partnerships.

Mooshian wrote in her note that one of the partnerships that is helping Cisco to foster success in the cloud services world is the one with Microsoft (MSFT). The companies expanded their alliance during Cisco's second quarter in an effort to accelerate the adoption of private and hybrid cloud infrastructures.

"TBR believes Cisco will leverage this alliance to expand its cloud market share, especially in the growing private cloud market. We believe this alliance will generate significant sales opportunities for both companies as their integrated offerings will be sold by better aligned sales and delivery teams," Mooshian wrote.

Another of Cisco's key strategic alliances is with Citrix (CTXS). The companies extended their alliance during the quarter so Cisco could integrate its Unified Fabric Cloud Network Services portfolio with NetScaler. This is being supported by Cisco's channel partner sales efforts.

According to Mooshian, "TBR believes this partnership bolsters Cisco's solutions-led cloud strategy as the company focuses on expanding its software and hardware partnerships with market leaders to enhance its portfolio and improve its position in the cloud market."

Channel partners aren't being left out, of course. Cisco unveiled its Cloud Services Reseller program in July, and according to Mooshian, the networking vendor is driving channel partners towards the cloud to "bolster its own cloud revenues as the company places big bets on the technology."