The vendor last week unveiled its CloudBand offering, which has been tailored to the specific needs of network operators, allowing them to take advantage of the flexibility and cost controls that technologies such as asset virtualization can offer while at the same time offering cloud services to their customers. (See AlcaLu Unveils Its Carrier Cloud Play.)
"I think this hits a lot of the right buttons with carriers -- they want to develop a differentiated cloud from other public cloud providers," notes Chappell, who has just completed a Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider report (soon to be published) on the role of standards in the carrier cloud services market.
"Alcatel-Lucent's cloud solutions help carriers achieve a number of value-added trusted capabilities, such as: bringing cloud and connectivity together through its IP VPN stitching capability; high availability and SLA management; higher levels of security … and the ability to aggregate a broad portfolio of cloud-based services," notes the analyst.
"I'm particularly impressed by Alcatel-Lucent's support for business policies that can be applied to individual applications, so that carriers can allow end-users to specify the performance requirements and location constraints for each application," notes Chappell in an email to Light Reading.
"This level of control will be a big comfort factor for enterprises and really help to differentiate carriers as cloud providers," she adds. "The CloudBand Management System portal gives carriers and their customers visibility of the performance not just of individual virtual machines in their virtual cloud, but all the connectivity underneath that contributes to the overall performance of their cloud. This puts a lot of management power into the hands of the users, possibly more, in many cases, than they've ever had before within their own private infrastructures! So again, this gives enterprises confidence and makes carriers more trusted."
Others chasing carrier cloud gold pot
AlcaLu is clearly not alone among the major network equipment providers (NEPs) in its efforts to develop Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) offerings that can meet carriers' cloud services enablement needs, but it looks to be a step ahead of the likes of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Networks and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), which are certainly active in the market but have yet to unveil a product as targeted as AlcaLu's. (See MWC 2011: Ericsson, Akamai Get Jiggy, Cubio Does Cloud-Based Messaging , NEC Eyes Clouds in Europe and Telefónica Gets Cloudy With NEC.)
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), meanwhile, has a number of targeted offerings and a slew of key partnerships in the cloud technology space that have made it the front-runner among the NEPs in terms of carrier engagements. (See Cisco Purchase Could Bring Self-Service to Telcos, Cisco Turns Up the Apps Delivery Dial, CA, Cisco Team on Virtualization and BT, Cisco Claim Cloud Coup.)
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) also have significant cloud ambitions, but appear to be focused more on the needs of enterprise customers. (See ZTE Sets Cloud Sales Target, Huawei Buys Out Symantec, Huawei's Enterprise Vision Gets Cloudy and Huawei Unveils Cloud Strategy .)
For more on the carrier cloud, see:
- Cloud Could Face Network Bottlenecks
- Are Service Provider Cloud Goals Too Lofty?
- Aircel Turns to Tulip for Data Center Capacity
- Cloud Plans Need IT/Telco Unity
- The Cloud Platform Makeover
- GC Goes 'Network-Centric' for the Cloud