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North American SPs Lead Cloud Adoption

Carol Wilson
7/24/2013

North American service providers have moved ahead of their global counterparts in adopting cloud-based services to better operate their networks, and are now much more comfortable doing so, says the CEO of Razorsight Corp., a cloud-based analytics software firm.

Charlie Thomas says there were far greater concerns about cloud-based solutions four or five years ago among the North American carriers, but that they have grown comfortable with the idea of allowing their data to be pulled into a cloud-based analytics system which provides a single view of their peering relationships and network assets and allows automation of partner supply chain management, among other things.

"Just like in the mobile market, we started off behind in terms of mobile infrastructure and now we have caught up and mostly surpassed the rest of the world," Thomas says. "Similarly North America as a whole is definitely a global leader in embracing and adopting cloud solutions."

Thomas has met with roughly 150 service providers globally and finds the EMEA, Asia and Latin America markets are not nearly as far along in accepting cloud-based options.

"They have similar concerns to what we used to hear here -- they are worried about proprietary data, both theirs and their customers, being housed in the cloud," he says. "We think they will become more comfortable with it, but there is definitely sensitivity."

North American service providers have grown more comfortable with cloud deployments as they themselves have moved into the cloud services realm, Thomas says. Razorsight this week announced its latest customer, broadband network wholesaler Lightower Fiber Networks. (See Lightower Tabs Razorsight for Cloud-Based Financial Analytics.)

Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Caroline Chappell notes, however, that some service providers delivering cloud services through their enterprise units still resist deploying cloud in their own back office, due in part to the long-held belief of many in network operations that what is good for IT isn't good enough for telecom.

Thomas, whose company was delivering financial analytics in an on-demand, or software-as-a-service model for years before cloud nomenclature was developed, says Razorsight is working to build confidence in cloud-based analytics based on its long-standing service record with companies such as AT&T and Verizon, and by conducting yearly audits based on standards developed by the Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The Razorsight CEO also is excited to see LTE deployments take hold, as that wireless standard is much more conducive to deployment of cloud-based solutions than the previous generations of wireless infrastructure. As both LTE and virtualization are deployed more broadly, "it creates even a greater need over that period for solutions like ours that can pull data and function over multiple different geographies, systems, and networks," Thomas says.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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