2009 has seen a swath of new services and platforms offering on-demand, online, pay-as-you-go capabilities

December 31, 2009

4 Min Read
2009 Top Ten: Cloud Stories

2009 has been the year of telecom cloud formations, as service providers and vendors alike have rushed to promote and launch their offerings. (See Capturing SaaS Cloud Computing Business and Clouds Gather Over Telco Data Centers.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and the major U.S. carriers dominate our most-read cloud-related stories, though some of Europe's main operators made their moves late in the year. So here are our Top Ten most-popular cloud stories of the year, in reverse order, starting with a push into the clouds from Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s Orange.

10. Orange Unveils Cloud Formation
December: Orange Business Services left it very late in the year to unveil its cloud services strategy, with its CEO, Barbara Dalibard, proclaiming that "cloud computing is our new frontier." It wasn't exciting enough to keep her aboard for the big push in 2010, though, as her departure was announced almost simultaneously, leaving her executive team to lead the charge and ponder a bid for the hot seat. (See Shakeup at France Telecom.)

9. TWC's Outlook: Cloudy, With a Chance of Ethernet
December: The U.S. cable operators are determined not to be left behind in the push to offer on-demand services, with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) setting out its stall at The Future of Cable Business Services event in New York. Small and medium-sized businesses "don't want to be IT managers," reckons the MSO's VP of marketing, Denisse Goldbarg.

8. NTT, OpSource Bring Cloud Services to US
November: NTT America Inc. decided it wasn't going to leave the U.S. market open to the incumbent telcos, so teamed up with OpSource Ltd. to offer enterprise users virtual private access to computing and application resources.

7. Network Crunch Could Stymie Cloud Computing
December: A message for the world's carrier from TM Forum chairman Keith Willetts: Invest decisively to ensure quality access to the cloud, or others will rain on your parade. To help carriers at least make informed decisions, the TM Forum elicited the help of the enterprise community as part of its Cloud Services program. (See TM Forum Seeks Enterprise Help With the Cloud.)

Willetts has been warning the operator community they need to get moving, and fast, on their transformation programs for some time. (See Amazon's Lessons for Telcos.)

6. AT&T Joins Cloud Computing Set
November: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has thrown itself into the cloud services market, and by November it had launched the third of its "Synaptic" offerings, enabling companies to access computing resources via an online portal that they could pay for with a credit card. Those end-of-month bills could start to get a bit interesting if the service proves popular.

5. BT, Cisco Claim Cloud Coup
December: BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) ramped up its cloud presence late in the year with a "global hosted IP telephony service," created with partner Cisco. The marketing message was a bit mixed up, though, as the "global" service was available only in the U.K. to start with. I know these cloud services are breaking down borders, but they're not making the world shrink that much...

4. Verizon Eats Its Own Clouds
December: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) decided to eat its own virtual dog food by implementing an internal cloud-computing program, and found its costs going down and performance going up. That's a neat story to tell as it pushes its services to the corporate masses. (See Verizon Offers Cloud Lessons, Verizon Pushes Deeper Into Tele-Medicine, Verizon CaaS Is a Top Pick, Verizon Offers Cloud-Based Monitoring, and Verizon Clouds Up Europe.)

3. AlcaLu Takes VPN Apps Into the Cloud
May: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) enhanced its edge IP routing platforms with a module that enables operators to offer a suite of application-specific managed services to enterprise VPN customers without the need to install new customer premises equipment (CPE). The vendor also took the opportunity to give deep packet inspection (DPI) technology some much-needed love after months of it being labeled as Satan's favorite technology.

2. Cisco Plays in the Clouds
July: The IP giant made cloud computing a key topic at its annual "Cisco Live!" event, as well as pointing out how multiple clouds need to be linked together to form an "Intercloud." Well, you didn't think the industry would miss this opportunity to introduce new terminology, did you?

1. Cisco Beckons Carriers to the Cloud
May: Cisco unveiled its Unified Service Delivery blueprint for carriers wanting to make better use of virtualization techniques and pool data center resources with wide-area networking capabilities. But there was a problem: It would involve significant new investment from the carriers, which, apart from a few exceptions such as AT&T, were showing little interest in the cloud hype. That apathy appears to be melting away as we drift into 2010, though.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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