Light Reading

Windstream Portal Integrates Cloud, Network

Carol Wilson
7/17/2014
50%
50%

Beginning this month, Windstream's cloud customers can see all their cloud and network resources through a single customer portal. Over the next eight weeks, they'll gain the ability to provision those resources through the same user interface.

The new user interface fulfills an early promise of telecom cloud services -- integration of cloud capabilities (compute and storage) with networking as part of an easy package deal.

Chris Nicolini, senior vice president of data center operation atWindstream Communications Inc. (NYSE: WIN), said the move is part of an effort to put its customers in control of what they use and how they use it. By creating a wrapper that encompasses network and data center facilities, Windstream gives the customer an integrated view of things that aren't necessarily integrated on the backend.

"Ultimately, this is putting the power in the hands of the customer, to do what they want whenever they want," he said. "They have been able to turn up virtual machines for some time, but now they will be able to turn up network devices like switches, firewalls, load balancers, and storage capacity."

The move is Windstream's latest cloud advance. The company first got into the cloud business in 2010 with its purchase of the North Carolina cloud provider Hosting Solutions. (See Windstream Buys Hosted Solutions, Windstream Unwraps Cloud Strategy, and Windstream Makes Regional Cloud Play.)

In conversations with Light Reading, including one following his speaking engagement at last month's Big Telecom Event, Nicolini explained Windstream's work to integrate the sales process, bringing together the sales teams of the cloud operations and those of the legacy network services. The goal is to have all the expertise at the table when determining how to meet the full range of customer needs.

That's important because Windstream is targeting customers that have complex IT and networking needs but aren't necessarily the largest enterprises. That customer focus, along with the company's local service presence in many Tier 2 cities, brings Windstream to the table with many customers that larger operators aren't serving.

"We are operating in some key Tier 2 cities -- Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville –- as well as places like rural Pennsylvania, Chicago, and D.C., and we have been able to build up a strong regional sales force [for the data center operations] that is able to work relationships with our heritage network sales force," Nicolini said. "In Chicago, for instance, we have a strong network sales force and four or five guys who live and breathe inside the data center."

The goal is to make the two parts of the puzzle -- cloud/data center and network services -- appear seamless to the customer without "over-integrating," which might unnecessarily burden the sales and support processes. With the right people integrated in the sales process and the customer support tools that span both data center and network, Windstream can give its customers the best of both worlds.

"We will spend as much time with [these smaller firms] as we spend with those whose budgets are much larger," Nicolini said. "Some of the bigger guys aren't willing to do that. Because of that, we can do more of the advanced stuff and make sure we meet them exactly where they want to be met. We can share the full range of our experience, flexibility and ability to customize."

Windstream is finding particular traction in four verticals: e-commerce, healthcare, municipal governments, and legal offices. Over the past year, the company has increased the percentage of sales on the data center side that have been referred from the network side from the high 20s to 40%.

He cites one typical customer: An e-commerce startup launched using Amazon Web Services LLC but grew tired of having to manage servers, storage, and backup facilities, as well as its growing e-commerce operation. Windstream was able to deliver the compute-storage and backup from its cloud and sell networking, as well.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
7/17/2014 | 3:47:49 PM
Re: avoiding over-integrating
That's part of it, but only part. They know they have to make their cloud services easy to use and integration with the network services does that - but only for those customers who are on their network. There's a pull-through on both sides, potentially. 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
7/17/2014 | 3:40:11 PM
avoiding over-integrating
Is this so it's clear the value they bring as a network operator vs. Amazon or some other pure cloud provider?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones