Cloud enablement

Bharti Joins the Cloud Crowd

5:15 AM -- Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) has joined the cloud crowd, using virtualization software (vSphere) from specialist vendor VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) to offer managed IT services. (See Bharti Offers Virtualization.)

An interesting move, for sure. Bharti says it will "unlock the potential of the hosted IT services market in India" by making a range of services -- "Web Services, File, Mail, Database, Transaction, Disaster Recovery, Co-location and other Managed Services" -- available to enterprise customers on a "pay per use" basis.

The key question, though, is whether there is a market for these services in India. Other key enterprise services -- for example, Ethernet connectivity -- are on offer in India, but don't look to have generated much uptake.

Companies are going to need reliable broadband if they're to benefit from the potential of cloud computing and hosted services, but how many companies have the right sort of connectivity? Maybe the availability of such services will kick-start the enterprise Ethernet services market in India -- and I hope it does -- but if Bharti is pitching itself as a company that can provide mission-critical hosted services, it might have a tough time generating significant uptake for its Managed Virtual Compute, at least in the next few years.

To be fair, it's not the only Indian operator with cloud aspirations. Of all the Indian carriers, Reliance Communications Ltd. , which is working with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) on its offering, Tata Communications Ltd. , which is working with NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), and Bharti look best placed to make any impact. (See MTS India Puts Its Faith in Data.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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