Cloud Services

Cincinnati Bell Partners to Form Quicker Clouds

Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB) is partnering with Parallels Inc. and Apptix to bring cloud services to market quickly for its 30,000 small to mid-sized business customers. (See CinciBell Builds Parallels Cloud.)

The move reiterates the importance of cloud services -- those service providers without them see their data services business at risk from competitors in the SMB space, which can include cable companies and CLECs.

Cincinnati Bell announced its cloud partnerships and strategy the same week the company announced it would spin off its CyrusOne data center business into a separate unit, drawing a clear line between its cloud service strategy and its data center infrastructure operations.

Cloud-based IT services "are not the core competency of a telephone company," says Dave Heimbach, SVP and GM of business and carrier markets at Cincinnati Bell. "We are much better at delivering network service speeds and feeds. We don't have reputation or tack record as trusted advisor in IT space."

Apptix will provide hosted business services and Parallels offers cloud service delivery software to enable Cinci Bell to offer Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) applications such as hosted Exchange and Sharepoint.

Those are table stakes in the cloud-based IT services world, says Heimbach and having those logos on its service automatically establishes Cincinnati Bell's credibility on this new turf. The plan is to build confidence among SMBs with email, data backup and collaboration services so they'll later feel comfortable moving other mission-critical apps into Cincinnati Bell's cloud.

Parallels has built its business strategy on enabling data service providers to white label its cloud offerings to allow them to move into business more rapidly than a ground-up build of their own clouds would allow. (See Parallels Finding Cash in Clouds and Cloud-Hungry SMBs Still Require Savvy Sale.)

Cincinnati Bell's cloud announcement comes days after XO Communications announced its expanded cloud strategy, also aimed primarily at retaining and expanding its business with existing SMB customers. (See XO Keeps Cloud in the Family.)

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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