A cloud strategy has become a prerequisite for any self-respecting telco in the coronavirus era. Service providers are not only teaming up with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft but also developing their own private and public cloud offerings.
Some have even now started running network functions as well as IT systems from the public cloud. Just look at Dish Network in the US, which last week picked VMWare to run its 5G network functions in a multi-year agreement between the two firms.
Cloud moves hold out massive opportunities for service providers, but they also entail risk. In the public cloud arena, in particular, the big question is how operators should approach a market dominated by a handful of giant Internet firms. As edge computing and 5G swing into view, operators are trying to figure out how best to answer that question.
This year, three companies have been shortlisted for "Most Innovative Telco Cloud Strategy" for their activities in this fast-developing and interesting sector of the market.
The three companies in the running are:
The Leading Lights winners, and the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced online, on August 21, during a special video presentation on www.lightreading.com, one month before the start of the Big 5G Event.
Here's a closer look at the companies shortlisted in Most Innovative Telco Cloud Strategy:
Colt Technology Services – Dedicated Cloud Access
Involved in network functions virtualization almost from the outset, Colt has added this cloud offering to its expanding catalog of network services, allowing customers to access public cloud services with a healthy dose of speed and security. It runs over the operator's Colt IQ Network, which connects via fiber to about 900 data centers and 29,000 enterprise buildings worldwide, and is available "on demand," of course.
Colt now claims to have provided about 1,000 cloud connections for customers globally, around 150 of which use the "on demand" proposition. In different parts of the world, it has agreements with Alibaba, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM, ticking most of the public cloud boxes, and has been rolling out network-to-network interfaces with those companies.
HGC – Flagship International Marketplace
HGC's network-as-a-service (NaaS) offering provides connectivity over a software-defined networking (SDN) platform to data centers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Myanmar, London and Los Angeles. Customers can also connect to global Internet exchanges like AMS-IX, LINX and DE-CIX as well as to hyperscale platforms from AWS, Alibaba, Tencent, Microsoft and Google.
HGC is making a big deal of its commitment to and investment in open source technology, industry APIs (application specific interfaces) and vendor-neutral equipment and says its service is ideal for operators trying to get on the SDN curve more quickly. It has already signed an important agreement with SLT that allows the Sri Lankan operator to provide its own customers with NaaS offerings.
PCCW Global – Console Connect
The Hong Kong-based operator has developed a new platform to help customers more easily connect to cloud-based and business critical applications, as well as offices in far-flung locations. The system uses network automation software to manage access to PCCW Global's own high-speed MPLS network, now covering about 3,000 cities in 160 countries. An online portal allows customers to spin up virtual private network connections in just seconds and establish direct connections with cloud application providers and partners.
PCCW is pitching Console Connect as more than just a cloud offering, describing the new platform as an orchestrator that will provide secure and reliable access to hyperscalers. Where adjusting bandwidth between data centers and cloud workloads previously took months, it can now be done in minutes, says the operator.
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading