What Color Is Your Cloud?
Even back in the 1980s, before there was a commercial Internet, the notion existed of services in the cloud -- Centrex is, in many ways, the original cloud service.
It took Amazon Web Services Inc. and other Internet companies, however, to launch "cloud services" as a means of offering on-demand, pay-as-you-go computing and other IT capabilities. Major telecom operators have been fast followers on this concept, and are claiming to bring much more to the cloud space.
But telecom service providers also face a real challenge in defining what "cloud" means and where it fits in the broader array of hosted and managed services that have been the cornerstone of advanced business data services in the past.
One key difference between hosted/managed services and cloud offerings is that the former have been associated with long-term contracts and infrastructure deployed on behalf of the customer, either in the service provider's network (hosted) or on the enterprise premises (managed). The beauty of cloud offerings, on the other hand, is their flexibility -- resources can be turned up or down on demand, used as needed and paid for only when used.
This is a new way of thinking for many telecom service providers and one they should get used to. Locking customers into contracts is a safer and probably more profitable way of operating, but more nimble and efficient companies don't need that contract crutch, and telecom operators need to throw it away as well.
Will telecom settle on one definition and one approach to cloud? I hope not -- that would be deadly dull, after all. But this and other topics will be among the many discussion points on May 9, when Light Reading hosts our very first Carrier Cloud Forum. There's still time to join us. You can register here. — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading