Service Provider Cloud

Hutchinson Networks: If You Can't Beat the Cloud, Join It

Enterprise transition to the cloud could be a big problem for Hutchinson Networks, a UK systems integrator and professional services provider. Enterprises won't need systems integration and professional services if they shut down their IT operations and move to the cloud.

So Hutchinson is launching a public cloud infrastructure. If enterprises move from on-premises computing to cloud, Hutchinson wants a piece of that action. Or, as the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, join them," Hutchinson CTO Stephen Hampton tells Light Reading.

Hutchinson, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, serves small and midsized enterprises -- organizations without specialist skills. Hutchinson steps in to help out with projects that recur every three to four years and helps deploy and run those projects. The SMEs it serves previously had their own mini data centers with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange, Active Directory, Sharepoint and phone services. Increasingly, those businesses are going to Office 365, and don't need on-premises computing, Hampton says.

"If this continues to accelerate, the need for in-house skills reduces further, and the need for our services starts to erode," Hampton says.

Implementing its own public cloud provides other benefits for Hutchinson. In a services business, revenue runs in peaks and troughs, but cloud provides recurring revenue.

And standing up a cloud service is the best way to learn emerging cloud technologies. "You can read the white papers and run the labs but the best way to learn it is to stand it up," Hampton says. Hutchinson can then take those skills to other communications service providers looking to develop cloud offerings.

Hutchinson's traditional service offerings start with lowest level "racking, stacking, cabling," access point and wireless gateways, all the way to architecture consultancy. Hutchinson will put a solutions architect onsite with a large customer long term, as well as provide architecture review, design and implementation, Hampton says.

Hutchinson provides traditional switches, unified communications, wireless, security, and application delivery using technology from F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) and Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD).

Hutchinson also provides data center fabric implementation and networking.

Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

Add infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud to the other services Hutchinson already offers. Hutchinson provides cloud virtual machines for enterprise networking. It works closely with software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers to offer smooth performance for enterprise customers.

Hutchinson also offers application extraction -- the ability to move applications between multiple cloud platforms -- using services from CliQr, which was acquired recently by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), as well as Pivotal and Apprenda. Extraction can be tricky for non-cloud-native apps, which require policies around security and app delivery, as well as moving large data sets, Hampton says. (See Cisco Buys CliQr for $260M in Hybrid Cloud Push, Microsoft & Ford Fund Cloud Startup Pivotal, and Apprenda Launches Enterprise Kubernetes With Kismatic Acquisition.)

Hutchinson started discussing moving to cloud in late 2014, and decided to use Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure to implement the service. It received hardware and started building in August 2015.

Next page: Head-to-head with Hypercloud

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