IaaS: The Telco Tool for Business Growth
During the next few years, it is likely that your enterprise customers will be managing multiple cloud stacks across various departments and ultimately pursuing a mandate to integrate across cloud providers. In many cases, they will look to their established relationships for help with this "sourcing" challenge.
Many believe now is the time to move beyond a reactive response to business demand when considering IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) usage scenarios. Instead, customers should consider easy access to IaaS capabilities as a means to enable increased innovation, experimentation, and even the ability to "fail fast" and move on with minimal pain, reduced disruption, or risk to either business processes or IT operations.
A senior decision-maker's role is to be responsive to business requirements and although cost savings have been the primary driver of IaaS adoption, I expect to see innovation in IT to push ahead as the main motivator for deploying IaaS during the coming years. I believe that selecting a telco partner for IaaS will deliver these opportunities.
Challenges for telcos to understand
The same, commonplace, core challenges are faced 24x7 by CIOs in businesses all across the world. There is the need to consistently deploy applications, deliver business processes and deploy offshore solutions across multiple geographic locations. This also needs to be balanced with providing an exceptional end-user experience across the organization on a world-class, high-performance, low-latency global network.
When you factor in that CIOs have to do all of this and keep IT costs at a minimum, while continuing to use IT to innovate business practices, it could be suggested that they face an unenviable task.
This is where IaaS comes into play.
Many CIOs have recognized the benefits that IaaS can bring. While challenges remain, industry research has identified the cloud as a dependable means for delivering IT services and minimizing the cost structure often associated with on-premises deployments.
Naturally, however, there are concerns regarding perceived risks of using IaaS when considering moving across your company assets to a supplier. These include US government policy, data residency and privacy issues, through to data availability, latency and performance. While all are natural causes for concern, it is these very issues that organizations should instead use to evaluate various approaches and commercial IaaS offerings.
Why enterprises are considering IaaS
While concerns about moving company data and applications are understandable, there are many benefits to be had from doing so. Here are three of the big ones:
What type of IaaS deployment can telcos offer?
There are a few core criteria that enterprise customers should be considering when looking at making the move, including; the type of IaaS provider (i.e. global or local); the available network and infrastructure the solution is built upon; security; flexibility of the provider and the ability to grow; the level of control available; and collaboration between the IaaS provider and telco partners.
In short, with so many things to consider it is important for service providers to know their customer and ensure the offering meets their infrastructure needs. Research by Forrester has carved the IaaS provider market into three distinct segments:
1. Cloud-first providers
2. Independent managed service providers (MSPs) that have evolved out of the traditional hosting space to deliver their own IaaS capabilities
3. Cloud platform-based solutions, which include MSPs and other providers that base their offerings on a third-party vendor's cloud platform.
Cloud-first providers were the clear early leaders in this market, based on a combination of IaaS capabilities, ease of access, and transparency. Telco-based IaaS providers also have the added advantage of owning and operating the infrastructure networks, ensuring the quality of communications services. They can also offer additional benefits and reduced risks for IaaS adoption. For example, many medium-sized and enterprise businesses already work with telcos, having established relationships for voice and other networking services.
If improved redundancy and security is top of the customer's list, then carrier-grade networks will be the way forward. Telcos have smartly coupled IaaS with their own networks in Asia and their clear advantage is that they can offer all levels of IaaS, from entry-level through to higher-end offerings, backed up with well-defined nodes, in-country data centers, and network redundancy and security. Telcos also understand local regulations and can help enterprises navigate complex compliance and risk regulations on multiple levels.
It is clear to see that the growth of IaaS is creating opportunities for telcos and as the market grows this will only become more significant. There are challenges and complexities for service providers offering infrastructure-as-a-service though and it is not as simple as simply opening a new data center and connecting the first customer. Different enterprise customers have different needs and it is important that these needs are understood. Having said all of this, operating a world-class network will, of course, always be a big advantage.
— Tom Homer, Head of EMEA and the Americas Enterprise, Telstra Global