Cloud platforms to boost telecom service offerings, profits, Heavy Reading predicts

Off-the-shelf, pre-integrated cloud platforms enable network operators to offer and deliver effective cloud-based services to enterprise customers, a development that is likely to have a positive effect on cloud service profitability, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading.

Off-the-shelf, pre-integrated cloud platforms enable network operators to offer and deliver effective cloud-based services to enterprise customers, a development that is likely to have a positive effect on cloud service profitability, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading.

“The Cloud Platform Makeover: Buy It, Don't Build It” report looks at telco requirements for a service provider cloud platform and how vendors are meeting those needs. The new 29-page report identifies and analyzes the key components of carrier-grade cloud platforms, details the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to cloud platform creation, and profiles and analyzes pre-integrated cloud platforms from 10 vendors.

To take advantage of the opportunity to deliver cloud services to enterprises, communications service providers must put in place a cloud platform with cloud automation, management, and advanced orchestration capabilities, says Caroline Chappell, research analyst with Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider and author of the report. "Since so many vendors are now pre-integrating such functions in products aimed at service providers, service providers no longer have to follow the route of first movers in the cloud services market and build their own cloud platforms."

Network operators increasingly will need to support advanced cloud scenarios, such as cloud bursting, virtual private clouds, and cloud disaster recovery, Chappell adds. "This requires them to connect IT virtualization--the basic cloud automation function provided by all cloud platforms--with the MPLS/VPN edge of the data center cloud and the rich set of network services between the two."

The arrival of robust off-the-shelf products means telcos no longer need to build their own cloud platforms, which could mean the end of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, Chappell says. "IaaS is becoming a commodity service, and it may even become a redundant service as cloud service consumers interact directly with virtualization-aware applications rather than virtual machines."

Other key findings of “The Cloud Platform Makeover: Buy It, Don't Build It” include:

  • The need to bring IT together with the network in support of advanced cloud orchestration scenarios is driving the formation of three market-leading IT/network vendor partnerships: VCE Company, HP and Alcatel-Lucent, and IBM and Juniper.
  • Startup cloud platform vendors are driving innovations around cloud security, cloud bursting, cloud marketplaces and the virtual private cloud.
  • Cloud platforms must move beyond support for IaaS as this becomes a commodity and, in a world of virtualization-aware applications, a redundant service.

The Cloud Platform Makeover: Buy It, Don't Build It is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (six issues) to Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

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