Cloud enablement

Colt Reaches for Clouds

6:55 AM -- Like a Gok's Fashion Fix, pan-European carrier Colt Technology Services Group Ltd has spruced up its strategy.

That strategy hasn't changed since the end of last year, but the carrier has fine-tuned how it conveys what its business is about now, to judge from a presentation to journalists in London this week.

So, no longer is Colt just a metro fiber provider, data center operator, Ethernet supplier, and a voice and data capacity supplier. The company still does all of that with its 25,000-kilometer European network that connects 19 data centers and 16,000 buildings in 34 metropolitan area networks across 100 cities. Colt's network supports 1-Gbit/s and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, and, at the optical layer, the network is 100G-ready thanks to its supplier, Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN). (See Infinera Bolsters COLT's Backbone and Ethernet Expo: COLT Calls the Shots.)

On top of its network and data center capacity, Colt has big plans for cloud services for enterprises and delivering network and IT managed services, which is a big component of what we like to call Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT). (See The SPIT Manifesto and Light Reading: SPIT Is It.)

Managed services accounted for 10 percent of Colt's revenues in 2009, and the carrier says it expects this to "increase substantially" in 2010 as voice services reduce their share of the revenue mix. Half of Colt's revenues will continue to come from data services. (See Brits Get Bullish on Business Services, COLT Wins €10M Deal, COLT Launches Managed Service, and COLT Adds Cloud Services.)

The carrier has lined up a host of partners in its cloud services push, including Tibco Software Inc. (Nasdaq: TIBX), VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL).

Colt plans to offer more security, application, and infrastructure services. Later this year, for example, the company will start to offer managed grid and managed application services as well as grid extension and managed storage and backup, according to Adrian Saunders, managing director of managed services at Colt.

Colt has also gussied up its back office with new billing and operational support system (BSS/OSS) capabilities from partners VMware and Oracle so that customers will be able to view their bills and provision certain services from a Web-based portal. Colt plans to make this available to customers in the third quarter this year.

"We decided to have external capabilities as well as internal [for the BSS/OSS]," says Henri van der Vaeren, managing director of the UK and southern region at Colt. "The intention is to try to utilize the same systems and processes."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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