The enterprise shift to hybrid clouds has spurred a movement by network service providers to offer more efficient ways to connect to multiple clouds, essentially redefining the cloud services market for much of telecom. This significant change is reflected in the four strong finalists for this year's Most Innovative Carrier Cloud award.
The global nature of the cloud market is also reflected in the finalists for this Leading Lights category, which include AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).
Enterprises moving their workloads to the cloud are not interested in moving everything at once to a public cloud and they certainly aren't looking to use best-effort Internet connections to their cloud providers for every application or workload. But managing a complex environment of multiple clouds and multiple connections undercuts the promise of cloud solutions to enable fast streamlining of IT processes at a lower cost of ownership.
All of our Leading Lights finalists in this category are tackling this complexity for their enterprise customers, enabling them to move to the cloud quickly and efficiently, while delivering cost savings.
The winner will be announced at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held during the evening of Monday, May 23, at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas, ahead of the Big Communications Event May 24-25 at the Austin Convention Center.
Here's a closer look at our finalists:
AT&T's NetBond with Cloud Storage and Colocation:
AT&T's NetBond is something of the grand old man of hybrid cloud connections, but this year the company added Cloud Storage and Colocation to the service it created to offer connections to multiple clouds, including IBM SoftLayer, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The combination lets enterprises use their secure MPLS connections to access public clouds but also private cloud infrastructure, giving them more control while maintaining their flexibility to adapt data storage requirements to their specific needs on a pay-as-you-go basis.
To deliver this service, AT&T combined its colocation, cloud storage, VPN, NetBond and third-party cloud services into one integrated hybrid cloud solution. Enterprises can easily access the major public clouds for workloads appropriate there and can also easily store and access private cloud workloads, all through one NetBond approach. Having that private cloud ability integrated into NetBond offers greater control and greater security in a rapidly deployable, pay-as-you-use service.
China Mobile Henan Communications' Henan Anyang e-Government cloud service
This cloud service was implemented for the government of the city of Anyang in the province of Henan and for business customers in that city. It provides a one-stop shop for a government cloud, combining traditional cloud services and cloud storage with classified security protection services, operation and maintenance management services and migration services that assist in the transition to the cloud.
Anyang's government has moved multiple sectors to the e-Government cloud, saving substantially on hardware and software investments in the process to the tune of about 30% total cost of ownership over five years. China Mobile is able to boost its revenue $1.5 million in the region providing the cloud service platform.
Telus's Hybrid Cloud Canadian operator Telus chose to work with Cisco Systems and Microsoft in designing its hybrid cloud environment. Using the Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform -- a "pre-integrated, tested and validated solution" -- helped the operator get into the market quickly and begin addressing demand from businesses looking to quicken their own speed to market for new products.
At its core, the Telus Hybrid Cloud lets business customers have fully managed public and private cloud environments, and lets them use a self-service portal to choose from six different tiers of service to tailor their choices to the specific workloads. Service templates and integrated protocols are pre-built and pre-tested for turning up services faster at lower risk, and services can be provisioned in minutes using the Cisco ACI Resource Provider.
The new service targets businesses from the largest of enterprises down to small retailers, giving each the opportunity to use the cloud in the way best suited to their needs.
Verizon's Secure Cloud Interconnect
SCI lets Verizon customers quickly make wide-area network connections to a global cloud provider ecosystem using pre-provisioned connections through the Verizon MPLS/Private IP network to major cloud service providers. The service offers the protection of diverse secure routes by making a cloud service provider appear as another node on a customer VPN. It also reduces costs by providing connections that behave as private circuits, without touching the Internet, at a fraction of private network costs.
The service enables network connectivity to ten cloud providers at more than 50 locations globally in nine countries and is controlled by a self-service portal. That insures agility for businesses moving to new markets or turning up new cloud connections.
Verizon SCI integrates wireless connections through seamless connectivity to the Verizon Wireless network and allows pay-as-you-go service with no term commitments and billing plan flexibility.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading