Category Archives: Telco Cloud

BCN cloud coverage moves to

Erfolg Richtung PfeilAs the cloud and telecoms sectors move ever closer together, thanks to the growing influence of virtualisation in managing networks and the emergence of IoT, the decision has been made to consolidate the coverage of both under one brand –

It is already clear that the telecoms business for the foreseeable future will be dominated by three major themes: 5G, IoT and cloud. The eventual 5G standard will lean heavily on the cloud via technologies such as NFV and SDN, while IoT will be entirely dependent on the cloud to assimilate the massive amounts of data generated by billions of IoT devices and then turn it into useful actions.

Business Cloud News has been excellently led by first Jonathan Brandon and more recently Jamie Davies. Jamie is continuing his great work on as Deputy Editor and cloud specialist. On top of that we will be working closely with our sister title Light Reading, which has also established cloud and virtualisation as a cornerstone  of its coverage.

We would like to thank BCN’s thousands of readers for their loyalty and support over the past few years and hope you continue to enjoy the cloud coverage on BCN newsletter subscribers will be transferred to the mailing list but you are, of course, free to unsubscribe at any time, much as we hope you don’t.

The whole ICT sector is on the cusp of a uniquely exciting era and we aim to ensure will remain your one-stop-shop for all the latest developments.

What does business transformation mean to you – view from EMC, Etisalat and Partner’s Healthcare

Business Transformation Pic

EMC’s President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell (Right), was joined by EMC customers John Grieco, VP of Information Technology at Partner’s Healthcare (Middle) and Etisalat Egypt CIO Khalid Almasouri (Left)

Speaking at EMC World, EMC’s President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell, was joined by EMC customers John Grieco, VP of Information Technology at Partner’s Healthcare and Etisalat Egypt CIO Khalid Almasouri to discuss the role of business transformation in the digital era.

Business transformation as a term has been used by the vast majority of the industry, though the wide variety of definitions of the buzzword has created some complications. What is generally accepted is there are few companies who would be able to compete with the digitally enabled, cloud-orientated new breed of organizations who have shaken the industry in recent years. Business transformation is a necessity for those organizations who do not want to head the same direction as Blockbuster.

“IT needs to be a business enabler not an obstacle to our employees,” said Grieco. “We need to make sure our people are able to do what they do best, and our IT systems do not hinder what they want to on a day-to-day basis.”

For Grieco and Partner’s Healthcare, business transformation is the process to ensure they are serving their customers as effectively as possible. Partner’s Healthcare is a Boston-based non-profit hospital and physicians network, the largest private employer and the biggest healthcare provider in the Boston metropolitan area, serving more than a third of the population. Grieco’s belief is business transformation will enable the team to create an organization which can serve its customers faster and safer.

“We want to be agile, we want to be nimble and we want to move,” said Grieco. “We want an enterprise look and feel, but the ability to perform like an SME. We want data to be accessible, and we want that accessibility to be fast. We want to drive down the cost of IT, and put that money back into the business. We want to reduce the complexity of the network, and improve its accessibility to the rest of the business. This is what business transformation means to us.”

While cloud and the digital era for Partner’s Healthcare presents an opportunity to better serve customers, it is very much a different story for Etisalat. The digital era has created a new environment which has challenged the telecommunications industry, and created a new level of competition for telcos.

The newly-empowered OTT brands are now stealing market share from the telco’s, offering services which are gradually eroding the profit margins of these companies. Business transformation for the telcos is not so much an opportunity to be better, but more a necessity to survive and more readily compete with technologies such as WhatsApp.

Business Transformation Pic 2

EMC’s President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell

“Business transformation is a change in business mentality,” said Khalid Almansouri, CIO at Etisalat Egypt. “IT used to be the backbone of the company, it used to be about keeping the lights on, but now the CIO has to be outside the IT department. The new breed of CIO needs to be throughout the business to create new opportunities by having a conversation with other departments to understand how technology can answer the challenges which are thrown out by the digital era.”

The rise of OTT’s will not mean the end of telco’s, but should these organizations want to continue to report revenues which shareholders have become accustomed to, there is a requirement for the business to be more agile, to deliver a new experience and also deliver new, innovative products, as fast (if not faster) and cheaper than the OTT’s. Transforming the business for the digital era is critical to achieve these goals.

“We used to know who are competitors were,” said Almansouri. “They were Orange or Vodafone and they were based in the same region as us. They had the same infrastructure, they had the same billing system, so we could compete.

“But now we’re competing with OTT’s who are on the other side of the world. They are more agile and are taking our market share. Business transformation makes us an organization which can compete with these organizations.”

Irrelevant of what the reasoning for business transformation, it is an objective for a vast number of organizations around the world. The introduction of cloud computing has created a horde of cloud native organizations who are disrupting the ecosystem. To answer the call-to-arms traditional business has had to transform to a digital-enabled organization. For EMC, this begins with the modern data centre.

“The first step in building a hybrid cloud or native cloud infrastructure is having a modern data centre,” said Scannell. “To have a modern data centre, you have to have a modern infrastructure. And to have a modern infrastructure you have to have a modern architecture. Scalable infrastructure is important. All flash is important. Software defined everything and cloud-enabled are important. That is how you achieve the modern business and drive digital transformation.”

Cisco and Verizon team up to launch Cisco Spark

Cisco corporateCisco is expanding its partnership with Verizon Enterprise Solutions to offer its new cloud-based collaboration service, Cisco Spark, to Verizon’s customer base.

The announcement builds on continued efforts from Verizon to bolster its range next-generation collaboration solutions, which already includes offers such as Cisco WebEx Cloud Connected Audio, Collaboration Meeting Room and Verizon’s UCCaaS Mobile First service.

The new joint offer will deliver Spark Message and Spark Meet features integrated with Verizon’s business collaboration services. The ultimate goal of the partnership will be to develop a service delivered in such a manner that customers are unable to differentiate between the Cisco and Verizon components. While currently available in the US, the service will be available to enterprise and government customers worldwide towards the end of the year.

Cisco has also announced the allocation of $150 million to the Cisco Spark for Developers Fund to generate new ideas for the ecosystem. The fund will cover direct investments, joint development, additional enhancements and developer support.

Verizon has been making considerable efforts over the last 12 months to increase its cloud-based communications offerings, to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile and collaborative workforce. With enterprise increasingly searching for opportunities to create a more productive working environment, software- and cloud-based offerings which enable employees to work in the office, from home or on the road, are quickly becoming the norm.

“Verizon is a leader in delivering global, mobile-enabled unified communications solutions to our business and government clients,” said Bob Minai, Executive Director, Advanced Communications at Verizon. “By integrating Cisco Spark meeting and messaging capabilities into Verizon’s collaboration portfolio and global network, Verizon and Cisco will continue to help enterprise clients with digital transformation initiatives that drive better customer experiences and meaningful, measurable business outcomes.”

The partnership continues Verizon’s trend of collaborative business, following up on last month’s announcement that it would be teaming up HyperOffice. As part of the agreement, HyperOffice would distribute its communications suite from Verizon Cloud infrastructure. Primarily, the tool will enable employees to work alongside freelancers, customers and other stakeholders all using different collaboration tools that need to work together.

Amdocs combines NCSO with Red Hat OpenStack in telco cloud play

openstack logoCustomer experience specialist Amdocs claims it has created a system to convert mobile operators from physical network users into comms service providers in the cloud. It unveiled details of the new service at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

It has achieved this by blending its Network Cloud Service Orchestrator (NCSO) with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This, it says, creates an open catalogue driven system that works with any vendor’s equipment. Amdocs claimed it can help mobile operators transform from fixed infrastructure users into cloud friendly communications service providers (CSPs).

The NCSO can orchestrate the mapping of telecommunications services onto a software-led environment, claimed Amdocs. It does this by creating the conditions for continuous design, instantiation and the assurance of complex network services created from virtual network functions (VNFs).

By virtualising functions that were previously bound up with hardware, the NCSO creates a greater degree of fluidity and flexibility. This means CSPs can introduce new services and adapt to customer demand in a fraction of the time, claims Amdocs.

Amdocs chose Red Hat because its Enterprise Linux OpenStack system has emerged as a cloud platform for network function virtualisation, it said.

An Amdocs NCSO, which uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack, has been part of several NFV lab trials with tier one telco providers globally. In the beta trials the telco users have created a range of use cases with multiple vendors, including virtual CPE (customer premises equipment), virtual EPC (evolved packet core) and virtual IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem).

Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses the high-performance Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor as, it claims, this forms a more stable, secure and reliable operating system.

“OpenStack has become a de facto choice for NFV trials across the globe,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat

Hitachi launches customer-centric predictive analytics for telcos

AnalyticsMobile operators, telcos and service providers could soon stem the tide of subscriber defections thanks to a new cloud based predictive analytics service from Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). By forecasting customer behaviour, HDS aims to improve subscriber satisfaction and reduce churn for its clients.

The new offering, announced at the 2016 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, will run as the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) 6000 for Predictive Analytics system. It uses the latest analytics software to find the patterns characteristic of unhappy customers and predict customer attrition. The system uses predictive scoring – based on events such as constant use of the help desk and failures of the network – in order to give support staff the information needed for real-time decision making. Once identified, the churn-prone subscribers can be targeted with compensatory offers before they defect.

The Hitachi UCP 6000 for Predictive Analytics is built on SAP’s HANA converged infrastructure which can conduct in-memory data interrogations of big data. HDS claims its UCP 6000 for SAP HANA can simplify the deployment of SAP solutions for telcos, which in turn will help them minimise the IT infrastructure disruption and maximise application performance.

As part of the solution, SAP HANA and SAP Predictive Analytics will allow users to run predictive models on massive amounts of data from external data points. However, as a consequence of the crunching of data in flash memory, the clients will get their insights in seconds and can nip customer uprisings in the bud. SAP’s Predictive Analytics software will automatically handle the wide dataset and make predictive modelling more effective, according to HDS.

HDS described the churn-busting service as an ‘immense opportunity’ to translate data into tangible business outcomes.

HPE scoops two telco client wins for cloud service projects

HPE office logoHewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced partnerships with telcos Swisscom and Telecom Italia subsidiary Telecom Personal to share its cloud service expertise and boost its presence in the comms industry.

In the Swisscom project HPE’s brief is to impose a network function virtualization (NFV) discipline on the IT and telecoms infrastructure, using its OpenNFV systems. Swisscom claims it is one of the world’s first communication service providers (CSPs) to pioneer the use of NFV to offer virtual customer premise equipment (vCPE) to its business customers.

In January BCN reported that HPE has launched an initiative to simplify hybrid cloud management for telcos using a new Service Director offering. Among the productivity benefits mooted for HPE Service Director 1.0 was options for pre-configured systems to address specific use cases as extensions to the base product, starting with HPE Service Director for vCPE 1.0.

In the Swisscom project HPE will use its HPE Virtual Services Router and HPE Technology Services in tandem with Service Director to create Swisscom’s new vCPE model. The objective is to allow Swisscom to manage its customers’ network infrastructure from a centralised location and provide networking services on-demand. This will cut costs for the telco, speed up service provision and boost the availability of services. It could also, claims CPE, make it easier to create new services in future.

Argentina based Telecom Personal has asked HPE to modernise its network in order to use 4G/LTE technologies to cater for an increasing appetite for data services among subscribers. HPE has been appointed to re-engineer the infrastructure and expand and upgrade part its network core. The success of the project will be judged on whether HPE can give a measurable improvement in service experience, network speeds and capacity, according to Paolo Perfetti, Telecom Personal’s CTO.

Yesterday BCN reported that HPE has launched AppPulse Trace, a service that developer clients can use to monitor their cloud app performances.

Nokia creates foundations for launching telcos into the cloud

nokia data center servicesNokia’s Data Center Services division has unveiled plans to launch mobile telcos into the cloud. Plans include a custom-made a multivendor infrastructure to support its transformation consulting services.

These services aim to help telecoms operators re-shape their people and processes for the new cloud-centric comms industry. In a statement it explained that its new managed cloud operations aim to make the introduction of multi-vendor hybrid operations, cloud data centres and the virtualisation of network functions (VNFs) as painless as possible.

The networking vendor is expanding its cloud services portfolio with the launch of three professional services. Nokia Data Center services will offer development and operations (DevOps) services, with a brief to help telcos use cloud technology to launch services as quickly as possible.

Secondly, the Nokia Cloud Transformation Consulting services aim to help operators make the fullest use of telco cloud opportunities. Nokia said it is using expertise rom the Bell Labs Consulting practice to support operators and enterprises in addressing cloud transformation.

Finally the Managed Cloud Operations managed service will help telcos run hybrid operations across hardware, cloudware and application layer management, without the build up of silos of information that have traditionally hamstrung telcos turned comms service providers.

In order to support the data centre services Nokia is creating a design facility in the UK, supported by global delivery depots across the globe. To complement its services portfolio, Nokia has now invited partners, such as global supply chain Sanmina, to focus on Data Center services.

The service is needed because 62% of operators are very likely to rely on network equipment providers for data centre transformation, according to Heavy Reading research figures quoted by Nokia.

Meanwhile, in a related announcement Nokia said it will simplify networks with a new Shared Data Layer, a central point of storage for all the data used by Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs). This could free VNFs from the need to manage their own data, creating so-called stateless VNFs that are simpler and have the capacity for rapid expansion or contraction.

The result is a more flexible, programmable network for 5G that can minimise latency and maximise network speeds in order to cater for the Internet of Things (IoT). The network also becomes more reliable as a failed stateless VNF can instantly activate and provide access to the shared data to maintain seamless service continuity.

Verizon announces its plans to pull out of public cloud

VerizonVerizon Communications has served notice to its customers that it is to pull the plug on its public cloud offering.

The news emerged as security researcher Kenn White used Twitter to publish a copy of a customer communication sent from Verizon Communications, which warned client that Verizon will ‘discontinue its Public Cloud, Reserve Performance and Marketplace services on April the 12th. As an alternative, Verizon said it will offer Virtual Private Cloud which, it says, provides the cost effectiveness of a multi tenant public cloud but includes added levels of configuration, control and support. It claims this will improve isolation and control for more advanced businesses.

When Verizon shuts down the virtual servers currently running Public Cloud and Reserved Performance, no data or content will be retained, it told customers, warning that without prior transfer to the discontinuation their data would be permanently deleted.

Virtual Private Cloud is the service that Verizon intends to carry on offering to the enterprise market and Verizon said it is making significant investments in the enterprise cloud platform in 2016.

In January BCN reported that Verizon was examining its options for selling its global estate of 48 data centres. Verizon would reportedly expect to raise over $2.5 billion and streamline its business. Currently its colocation portfolio generates $275 million a year. Other telcos such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream have also divested themselves of their data centres businesses in recent years.

According to channel publication CRN Verizon could work with Google to cater for the increasing demand for hybrid cloud systems among enterprise customers, with a Verizon-branded hybrid service running on Google’s public cloud a possibility. This would obviate the need for Verizon having its own public cloud offering. Neither party has confirmed or denied the speculation about their alleged partnership.

AWS partners with BSS vendor AsiaInfo in telco cloud move

Veris cloud coreBSS vendor AsiaInfo has announced a strategic bet on the cloud by making its Veris suite available as a pre-integrated cloud offering deployed via a partnership with Amazon Web Services, reports

The new product is called Veris Cloud Core to distinguish it from the modular, on-premise Veris Agile Core, which is the current deployment model. Apart from generally future-proofing its main product as the world moves into the cloud, Veris Cloud Core claims many of the benefits generally associated with the cloud model, including speed of deployment, flexibility and the efficiency of a SaaS commercial model.

“We are constantly exploring brand new business models, promoting industrial innovation and cross-boundary integration, and striving to build a business ecosystem powered by the Business Internet,” said AsiaInfo’s Executive Chairman Dr. Edward Tian. “This collaboration with AWS Inc. is critical and makes our vision of ‘building the Business Internet’ a reality.”

The AWS partnership is significant on a couple of fronts. The first is the precedent set by a software vendor partnering with a specific cloud provider, creating a comprehensive cloud service offering that should simplify and speed up the whole process of changing and upgrading business software. Secondly this is a major bet on the public cloud by AsiaInfo at a time when there are still many reservations around data security, reliability and control. AsiaInfo, of course, doesn’t share these concerns and thinks it’s just a matter of time before the market follows suit.

“Working with AsiaInfo underscores the importance of helping telecommunications and enterprise companies innovate in their markets by leveraging the AWS Infrastructure to deliver faster and more flexible transformation IT infrastructure,” said Adam Selipsky, VP of AWS. “By removing complexity, companies are focusing their time and resources on adding real value to their business, and to those of their customers.”

AsiaInfo is not phasing out its Agile Core offering, which it thinks will remain a good option for a lot of customers. By launching of Cloud Core in partnership with AWS the company is looking to steal a march on its competitors, who it thinks lack the same kind of out-of-the-box cloud offering. AsiaInfo is also thinking long-term; it’s only targeting a single client win this year but is betting that as everything moves into the cloud in years to come, preparing for it now will pay dividends.

The slide below summarizes AsiaInfo’s claims regarding the benefits of the cloud model over the traditional one in this context.

Veris cloud core benefits slide

Juniper Networks buys telco cloud vendor BTI Systems

business cloud network worldData centre infrastructure vendor Juniper Networks is to buy BTI Systems, a specialist developer of software-defined networking (SDN) tools and networking hardware, reports

The acquisition was announced on Juniper’s website which gave no details of the terms of the deal. However, in a comparable takeover in 2012, Juniper paid $176 million when it bought SDN startup Contrail. In its statement Juniper explained its need to speed up the delivery of open and automated packet optical transport systems, as demand for cloud services booms.

Juniper’s General Manager of Development Jonathan Davidson said Juniper will integrate the new SDN tools with its NorthStar Controller and use the new network management features to create new end-to-end services.

The move may affect cloud service providers as it gives owners of multiple data centres a new option for juggling huge volumes of data within their own data centre estate. BTI’s data centre and service provider clients include top tier operators such as Equinix, Interxion, Rackspace and VKontakte. It has a client base of 380 data centre operators and cloud service providers.

Since BTI specializes in cloud and metro networking, in which large volumes of content are shifted between data centres concentrated in the same town or city, the new technology addition could position Juniper more favourably when tendering against Cisco and Arista.

Ottowa based Canadian network BTI has previously raised $60 million in venture capital from backers including Bain Capital Ventures, Export Development Canada and Fujitsu Network Communications.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and the expected date for transaction closure was given as ‘Q2 of this year’.