Cloud enablement

What Carriers Are Missing About Cloud

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Carrier Cloud Forum -- As carriers rush into cloud services, they need to get more of a clue, a few panelists said here at Light Reading's Monday session ahead of the CloudConnect conference.

Actually, most participants on the "Choosing Cloud Models" panel were more tactful than that. But the panel included Randy Bias, chief technology officer of Cloudscaling , who's known for strong opinions that can wake up a panel-after-lunch crowd.

Some carriers aren't putting a thought-out strategy behind cloud services, Bias said. Instead, they're taking the "spaghetti-on-the-wall" approach of seeing what sticks. "That creates a lot of froth," he said. "That doesn't really get us where we need to get."

Bias also gave the audience a chance to see a technology guy asking for more marketing. Carriers aren't recognizing the value of putting product marketing people behind their cloud offerings, he said. "I'm not seeing carriers take traditional models that startups use and have an owner for a new service or capability, and do the research before it comes to market."

What he's seeing instead are executive edicts to do something about the cloud -- which usually equates to a dartboard approach.

(Pat Adamiak, senior director of cloud solutions for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), had made a similar point, but less directly, in a way that included the phrase "go-to-market.")

Carriers also have strengths they need to exploit more thoroughly, panelists said. That's been a theme in the cloud discussion for a long time. For instance, carriers have deep customer relationships with enterprises, consultant Stefan Bewley of Altman Vilandrie & Co. pointed out. He thinks that ought to be the first place carriers should mine for cloud services business.

The network itself is another carrier advantage, one that speakers throughout the day were noting. By owning the network, the carrier can have better control over factors such as latency -- which is a big, big deal to some cloud customers, Bias said.

"A lot of cloud-ready apps like Zynga, like Netflix, have huge latency issues," Bias said. In response, carriers ought to be "building applications, for mobile in particular, where they can actually use their latency and all their natural assets as leverage."

(Bonus points for proper use of the word "leverage.")

Adamiak also noted the difficulty of building new cloud infrastructure in a world populated with old OSSs and BSSs.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

macemoneta 12/5/2012 | 5:42:43 PM
re: What Carriers Are Missing About Cloud

Many planned cloud-based services are storage based.  In order to effectively use these services, symmetrical bandwidth is a prerequisite.  In addition, bandwidth caps and throttling are the antagonists of cloud-based services.  Getting the infrastructure house in order should be the first step in any consideration of a network service offering.

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:42:33 PM
re: What Carriers Are Missing About Cloud

One of the best opportunities for service providers in the cloud market is the data center. Cincinnati Bell has seen a big boost from its acquisition of CyrusOne. And Verizon seems to be doing quite well with its Terremark acquisition.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:42:32 PM
re: What Carriers Are Missing About Cloud

With "cloud" having become the word du jour, it's not suprising that SPs are taking such a scattershot approach when it comes to offering cloud-based services. But the article also speaks of the importance of cloud services in the mobility space. But if, as one of the posts here notes, storage-based cloud services require symmetrical bandwidth (along with no data caps and throttling down of bandwidth), I wonder how that would impact the delivery of storage-based cloud services to mobile devices.

Have you heard vendors or SPs talk about these above challenges to cloud services for mobile users?


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