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Cloud news: China unveils national cloud, Telstra commits to Azure

Two countries, two very different cloud deals.

In China, China Telecom announced Monday it would build a 'national cloud' to service state-owned companies.

It's a scheme being driven by the State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the national agency for the oversight of China's SOEs, which wants to create an independent cloud under its supervision.

One part of this is for security reasons – Chinese authorities have been locking down networks and data through a series of laws and regulatory moves in the last three years.

But China Telecom executive director Shao Guanglu said it was also to spur digital transformation and to improve the efficiency of SOE management and supervision, financial news site Yicai reported.

China Telecom's Tianyi Cloud, the world's largest operator cloud, will provide the basic framework for the project.
 (Source: Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo)
China Telecom's Tianyi Cloud, the world's largest operator cloud, will provide the basic framework for the project.
(Source: Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo)

Details, including financial arrangements, have not been specified. But the national cloud project would require its own technical and security standards in network configuration and server deployment and manufacturing, a Tianfeng Securities analyst said.

Three partners

China Telecom has taken on three other SOE partners – China Electronics Corp, China Electronics Technology, China Chengtong and China Reform Holdings – but it will lead the delivery of services, capital spending and the creation of an ecosystem.

China Telecom's Tianyi Cloud, the world's largest operator cloud, will provide the basic framework for the project. It reportedly serves more than 2 million industry customers and has 2,000 partners in its ecosystem.

China Telecom doubled its cloud business last year, achieving revenue of just under 28 billion yuan (US$4.1 billion) (see Clouds part for China Telecom as business soars).

However, it remains a small player in the China cloud market, ranking fourth behind Alibaba, Huawei Cloud and Tencent with a 10% share.

Telstra's Azure deal

In Australia, Telstra and Microsoft have unveiled a different kind of cloud agreement – a five-year deal that designates Microsoft Azure as Telstra's preferred supplier.

The telco said it was "one of the largest partnerships" Microsoft had struck with a telco and would underpin its plan to migrate 90% of workloads to public cloud infrastructure by 2025.

Australia is already a big market for Azure. It's second in the IaaS market with a 30.1% share, just behind AWS on 32.2% – way ahead of its global market share of just 21%.

The agreement will make Telstra the largest supplier of network capacity to Microsoft.

The software firm will also become an anchor tenant on Telstra's new inter-city fiber network and may purchase capacity on its offshore subsea cable network.

"We probably wouldn't have been in a position to do this three years ago because we've completely swapped out our whole digital environment," Telstra CEO Andy Penn told Sydney Morning Herald.

The company had changed as a result of its T22 transformation strategy, and "the world around us has changed as well," he said.

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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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