Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Dalibor Siroky, Stackify Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing: Opportunities for Communication Service Providers

Cloud computing offers CSPs a great opportunity to regain an important role in delivering services to consumers

Cloud Computing is an evolution of existing technologies to deliver services to end users. Communication service providers have an early adopter opportunity to compete with new entrants, increase their bottom line and play a dominant role in delivering cloud services.

Service providers have seen many so-called next- generation technology waves in the last 15 years. Cloud computing, which was seen as a new fad, has passed the initial test. Cloud computing is for real and not a vague idea anymore. It helps drive down costs for IT organizations by making infrastructure more distributed, more efficient and massively scalable. It's being accepted by enterprises of different sizes as a smarter way to deliver services. The worldwide cloud computing market is growing fast. According to IDC, it will be a $148.8B market by 2014, of which the public cloud alone would be about $55.5B. Communication service providers (CSPs) have made a significant investment in technology, people and processes. They have customer knowledge and relationships. Public cloud computing offers a unique opportunity to CSPs to defend their hosting business and grow significantly by focusing on a much larger market than what they can do today. This article focuses on some of the areas where CSPs have an advantage over others to take the lead market share in public cloud computing.

The Connected World
We live in a world where we expect everything to happen instantly and in real-time. It's a connected world, where people expect personalized information anytime, using any access device, delivered instantly. Everyone expects information to be processed in real time. The connected world is now moving to an agile world. The days of batch processing are numbered, if you want to meet the expectations of your users or customers. The computer and network infrastructure need to be ready to respond to this new connected or real-time world.

Communication service providers (CSPs) understand this better than any other industry. From the very early days of telephony, customers always expected a dial tone when they picked up the phone. CPSs know how to ensure a dial-tone each and every time. CSPs understand and appreciate what it takes to deliver information instantly anywhere every time. They are used to designing, implementing, running and managing infrastructure that is always on. Traditional voice services could be classified as cloud services.

Now it's beyond just the dial-tone. Today, the enterprise that can deliver instantly what a customer/user expects has a competitive advantage. It's important for businesses to make sure that applications, infrastructure and processes in the back end are able to meet this expectation. Businesses need to be agile to capture opportunities presented in this instant-on world.

Cloud Computing
To address these market pressures, CIOs are looking for simplified and flexible architecture. This is where cloud computing makes sense. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.

Today the focus is shifting to service and away from infrastructure components that are getting virtualized, standardized and commoditized. Virtualization utilizes resources better. But an architecture built on disparate components in a virtualized world adds more complexity. As a result, converged infrastructure, based on industry standards, is the foundation for agile service delivery with reduced time to provision additional resources. IT neither has the time nor the budget to integrate different components and own up to the risk of integration, resulting in increased time-to-market.

With virtualization, the application is not tied to the IT infrastructure, resulting in flexibility that's needed to meet the requirements of the real-time world. The service can be delivered from a data center or from the network or a combination of the two, as long as it makes business sense and can meet user's service-level expectations.

Cloud computing is a natural evolution due to the convergence of IT delivery and network.[1] With cloud computing, networking is part of the shared resources. It plays an important role in making everything work in an instant-on manner. It needs to be based on open industry standards, not proprietary protocols, more so now than ever, to provide the required agility and flexibility at reduced operational costs.

Opportunities for Service Providers
The telecom industry understands the value proposition, technical and operational transformation required as well as the opportunities that exist with cloud computing. CSPs have a lot of intelligence about their subscribers, their preferences, the services they consume, how and when they consume, etc., which help them add more value in a personalized service delivery. CSPs have billing and mediation platforms to charge customers based on usage. Combine all these with their brand and CSPs can play a dominant role and increase their top line revenue, if they proactively embrace public cloud computing.

Today, CSPs provide network connectivity to enterprise and SMB customers. Cloud service is a natural extension to what they are already providing:

  • Cloud computing makes a lot of business sense for the SMB market, which is expected to adopt it sooner than the enterprise market. SMB is a price-sensitive market and normally doesn't carry a lot of legacy application infrastructure. It's a market that is more likely to adapt to a standard cloud offering with little or no customization. On the contrary, enterprise customers would look for a more customized cloud offering. In a global study conducted by Forrester for HP, more than 65% of SMB customers expressed an interest in getting call center as well as unified communication services as cloud services from CSPs. [2] This opens up a great opportunity for CSPs to target that market segment and deliver packaged cloud services (Compute as a Service and Communication as a Service).
  • Market adoption of cloud services is best suited for CSPs. The study done by the IDC [3] shows that top cloud services accepted by the market are collaboration applications, web-based applications, information security and back-up or archiving services. These are the areas where CSPs have core strength and have been delivering them as standalone or dedicated services.

The computing resources and applications remained mostly in data centers. CSPs have focused primarily on managing and supporting networks connecting data centers. Typically, the computing resources are managed separately. If a customer looked for a single point of contact, CSPs, in most cases, worked as sub-contractors to large IT and SI companies.

  • In the world of cloud computing, this situation is changed to the advantage of CSPs because of the flexibility of putting compute resources either in the data center or network, wherever it made business sense. Cloud computing helps CSPs add more value by delivering more than just connectivity and network support. They can compete better with traditional IT service providers, thereby improving the top line.
  • CSPs are better positioned to provide web-based application services. Network assets are important assets of service providers that, in the world of cloud computing, can manage and deliver quality of service to users. This will not only allow service providers to differentiate themselves but will maximize the value of their investment in the network and create a new revenue stream.
  • As the network becomes an important part of the overall service, and when some computing resources reside outside data centers and in the network, traditional IT service providers and SI companies will work more closely with CSPs to commit SLAs to their customers. IT service providers will look for ways to jointly go-to- market with CSPs because they play a key role in delivering SLAs.
  • Events (natural disasters, sports events, elections, civil unrest, etc.) drive a burst of network and application traffic. It's cost-effective for organizations to handle such bursts of application usage or increased traffic to their sites using cloud computing. CSPs are in the best position to set it up very quickly for a short period of time and then tear it down.
  • Enterprise and SMB customers will also experience an occasional increase in their computing needs that can be easily met by CSPs with cloud computing with a pay-per-use model, which is more cost-effective compared to permanently investing in the infrastructure to meet occasional peaks. This reduces Capex as well as Opex for businesses.

According to Gartner, "By 2012, 20% of all business will own no IT assets." [4] As CSPs play a central role in delivering quality service to customers, they have an opportunity to be a services broker for customers. They can become the CIO of many businesses and deliver applications (services) from multiple sources.

  • CSPs can offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to defend their hosting customers. They can differentiate themselves from other providers by ensuring service quality and by bundling IT service with communication services. CSPs are less likely to win the battle in this area mainly on price. The next logical step for CSPs is to start offering Platform as a Service (PaaS). But they will be able to meet the required margin targets with Software as a Service (SaaS), bundling services and ensuring service levels.

  • Some service providers are considering building a repository for health care data (storage cloud) fed wirelessly from monitoring devices, labs and other sources. The health care cloud would give secure access to doctors, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmacists. This is just one example of an early adopter working with HP in Asia.

CSPs can be trusted providers of network connectivity to cloud services providers. As we move some computing resources from the data center to the network, the network becomes a gateway to store, retrieve, process and analyze information. This increases network traffic with cloud and drives more bandwidth.

  • With content delivery solutions (CDN), CSPs can speed up the delivery of Web and cloud applications to employees, partners and customers. Combined with policy solutions, CSPs can do it more intelligently, i.e., not speed up everything but understand the content and take into account user privileges and adjust the acceleration of traffic.

CSPs can aggregate different types of services and content and deliver them as and when requested through a self-service portal to customers with required level of quality and personalization on any access device. They can also let consumers store their content in the cloud and allow them to access it on any device.

The traditional hosting business growth for CSPs is tapering off. Cloud computing (IaaS and SaaS) not only offsets this decline but fuels the overall growth for CSPs.

CSPs will improve efficiency and reduce their internal IT costs by deploying cloud, thereby improving the top line. They will also realize a positive business case for internal cloud deployment when it's coupled with revenue-generating GTM programs.

Cloud computing offers CSPs a great opportunity to regain an important role in delivering services to consumers as well as SMB and enterprise customers. The questions remain: Who will take the early adopter advantage with cloud computing and who will try to be early followers?

References

  1. Mike Candsfield, F. (2010, June 16). Telecom's Central Role in Cloud Computing. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from Forrester.
  2. Forrester for HP. (n.d.). Communication as a Service for Midsize Businesses. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from hp.com.
  3. IDC. (2009, September 29). Cloud Computing 2010, An IDC Update, IDC Executive Telebriefing. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from cionet.com.
  4. Gartner. (2010, Jan 13). Retrieved June 20, 2011, from Gartner Newsroom.

More Stories By Kapil Raval

Kapil Raval is an experienced technology solutions consultant with nearly 20 years of experience in the telecom industry. He thinks ‘the business’ and focuses on linking business challenges to technology solutions. He currently works for HP and drives strategic solutions in the telecom vertical.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as app...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and develo...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
From manual human effort the world is slowly paving its way to a new space where most process are getting replaced with tools and systems to improve efficiency and bring down operational costs. Automation is the next big thing and low code platforms are fueling it in a significant way. The Automation era is here. We are in the fast pace of replacing manual human efforts with machines and processes. In the world of Information Technology too, we are linking disparate systems, softwares and tool...
DevOps is good for organizations. According to the soon to be released State of DevOps Report high-performing IT organizations are 2X more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do they do it? How do they use DevOps to drive value and differentiate their companies? We recently sat down with Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and lead investigator for the State of DevOps Report, to discuss the role of measure...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud4U builds software services that help people build DevOps platforms for cloud-based software and using our platform people can draw a picture of the system, network, software," explained Kihyeon Kim, CEO and Head of R&D at Cloud4U, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...