CLOUD AND DATA CENTRES SPECIAL REPORT: Top 10 cloud innovations

22 April 2016 |


Capacity looks at the cloud innovations that have launched in the past year and examines their potential impact on the market

AsiaInfo 

Innovation: Launched in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in February 2016, Veris Cloud Core is a complete cloud-based version of AsiaInfo’s existing Veris BSS software suite. AsiaInfo will utilise AWS infrastructure as the platform for the service, designed to support ‘mission critical services’ for telcos. AsiaInfo

What they say: “Our full Veris suite, which is telco grade and supports 300 million subscribers, is ready to go in Amazon’s cloud. We think the time is right to look at this as an option for the telco. We believe public cloud infrastructure is secure enough and has the flexibility to support the full tier one telco IT stack,” said Andy Tiller, vice president of product marketing at AsiaInfo. 

Impact on the market: The platform’s rapid time to market and the removal of a significant amount of cost related to traditional BSS solutions are just some of its major advantages, according to Tilly. The company said deploying the service in the cloud could cut implementation costs by 80% while time-to-market reduces by 36%. “Veris Cloud Core is the fast-track to operator business transformation,” said Yadong Jun, CTO of AsiaInfo. “Until today, service providers seeking to transform their billing and customer relationship management systems for their core operations were typically looking at a two-year project. Today, we are leading the market with a service that enables operators to begin reaping the benefits of a new system within just a few months.” 

Bosch 

Innovation: Launched in March 2016, Bosch Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud runs multiple applications for its connected mobility, industries and buildings businesses. The software services Bosch offers break down the Bosch IoT Suite into microservices which developers can utilise. Bosch logo

What they say: “By using the Cloud Foundry-based software services of the Bosch IoT Suite, companies can significantly accelerate their application development process in the internet of things. Our platform offers the flexible scalability developers need to commercialise successful prototype applications,” said Stefan Ferber, VP of engineering at Bosch Software Innovations. “For our customers, a cloud-enabled software platform is the foundation for growth in the IoT. The software services we offer break down the Bosch IoT Suite into easily reusable micro-services that cater precisely to IoT developers’ requirements.” 

Impact on market: Bosch’s launch of an IoT cloud service signals a move by traditional companies to provide digital services to diversify their product offerings. The service consists of a technical infrastructure, platform and software offerings and claims to own the complete IoT proposition, from the device to the cloud. Bosch’s IoT cloud will be managed from its data centre in Germany, bolstering its position in the Europe as US companies seek to extend the reach of cloud services in the region. The service is aimed at logistics and industrial applications, such as enabling sensors to collect data on parking spaces. “An important factor in the success of connected solutions is their scalability. Business models must be able to grow quickly when necessary. The Bosch IoT Cloud means Bosch now has the relevant infrastructure to achieve this. We see this as a major milestone for us,” said Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner. 

Deutsche Telekom 

Innovation: Open Telekom Cloud is a public cloud platform designed to provide enterprises of all sizes with on-demand, pay-as-you-go, secure cloud services. It is an OpenStack-based infrastructure-as-a-service operation powered by Huawei and operated by T-Systems, the enterprise-focussed subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom logo

What they say: “More and more customers are discovering the advantages of the public cloud. But they want a European alternative,” said Anette Bronder, head of the T-Systems digital division in charge of the cloud business. Impact on the market: Deutsche Telekom’s cloud platform provides rapid access to flexible and secure computing, storage, network components and other services. Open Telekom Cloud enables enterprises to order IT infrastructure and software solutions in a central booking portals. Deutsche Telekom claims the offering will give it a stronger foothold in a market segment largely dominated by US providers. “For our business customers in Europe this is an important new service to support their digitisation and a critical milestone for us in our ambition to be the leading provider of cloud services in Europe,” said CEO Tim Höttges. There is significant demand for a Germany-based public cloud service, according to analyst firm Pierre Audoin Consultants. “Access to a scalable, inexpensive public cloud provided by a German service provider from a German data centre under German law will be very attractive to many customers in Germany,” said Andreas Zilch, senior vice president of user business and lead advisor at the firm.

EMC 

Innovation: EMC Provider Cloud Systems is a software-defined network functions virtualisation infrastructure reference architecture designed to enable service providers to deliver distributed, multiservice, carrier-grade cloud services. EMC logo

What they say: “Massive changes in communications, collaboration, mobility and content present today’s communication service providers with unprecedented opportunities. To help customers thrive during this period of massive transformation, EMC is delivering scalability, carrier-grade reliability and choice,” said David Hudson, EMC general manager of telecom transformation. 

Impact on market: Launched at Mobile World Congress 2016, EMC Provider Cloud Systems is a software-defined reference model for service providers aimed at addressing their challenges of maintaining carrier-grade cloud services. EMC claims that the platform can support the complete range of distributed and multi-service offerings that operators are looking to offer, with the added economics of cloud computing’s speed and cost efficiency. The platform addresses the inflexibility of legacy telco systems by blending automation, programmability and predictive analytics to support new cloud workloads. According to its in-house research, the infrastructure possesses both the industrial strength of legacy systems and the ability to run communications and telecoms services at a 60% total lower cost of ownership. 

Epsilon 

Innovation: Built on the Cloud Exchange platform from BTI Systems, the Cloud Link eXchange (CloudLX) uses Epsilon’s network to offer data centre operators and enterprises a suite of service enablement tools and direct network connectivity to an extensive cloud ecosystem. Epsilon logo

What they say: “CloudLX leverages our global network footprint to enable customers to gain direct connectivity to the leading cloud providers, and a dedicated online portal to seamlessly provision private virtualised connections. With the BTI Cloud Exchange solution powering our service offering, we provide our customers cloud diversity, managed end-to-end connectivity and efficient operations,” said Jerzy Szlosarek, CEO of Epsilon Telecommunications. 

Impact on market: Traditional cloud connectivity models do not have the agility and flexibility to adjust to user demands as multiple locations evolve. Epsilon’s CloudLX – launched in February 2016 – seeks to simplify processes by easing procurement and management of cloud connectivity to data centres and enterprise locations globally. Through a web-based portal, enterprises can connect their sites to cloud services and scale services up and down at any time. The service claims to enable the monitoring of quality of service and experience in near real-time by supporting hybrid cloud scenarios and offering the full combination of public IP access and private Ethernet WANs.

Ericsson 

Innovation: OTT Cloud Connect (OCC) is an open cloud service that enables telcos to connect to multiple over-the-top providers to deliver services to users worldwide. The platform is aimed at bridging the gap between telco networks and OTT services by “exposing the OSS and BSS capabilities of operators to OTT players and vice versa”. Ericsson logo

What they say: “Collaboration, between operators and OTT providers, is essential as we start seeing new innovative services being introduced towards the end users. Ericsson is strongly supportive of this approach and we believe we are in a sweet spot to play the role of an enabler to make this collaboration ==happen,” said Diomedes Kastanis, head of technology of business unit support solutions at Ericsson. 

Impact on market: The announcement of the product at MWC 2016 strengthens Ericsson’s position as telcos’ choice in the cloud-based services market. The OCC serves as a gateway platform that removes the complexities of each telco’s network and provides simple integration for OTTs and applications. Ericsson is presently collaborating with Google, one of its first partners, to bring innovative features and services to products such as YouTube to reach scores of users with the scale of the platform. It plans to bring additional OTTs on the platform with the aim to provide the benefit of a standard interface. “We are very bullish about the OCC platform and very happy to have integrated with YouTube as the first video platform. We look forward to welcoming many more OTT providers,” added Kastanis.

Global Cloud Xchange 

Innovation: Launched in February 2016, Cloud X is an enterprise-class platform that delivers applications and content across the company’s private-owned global fibre optic network. Global Cloud XChange logo

What they say: “Cloud X is changing the paradigm of cloud computing. The network must now undergo a profound transformation, from a static entity, to a dynamic, intelligent, application-aware fabric that can support multiple traffic requirements, diverse geographies and flexible pricing models,” said Bill Barney, CEO of Reliance Communications and Global Cloud Xchange. 

Impact on market: Cloud X is said to enable enterprises to set up global links instantly and provision access to global cloud services and cloud hosted business applications through a web portal. The service can deliver infrastructure provisioning in a few clicks as well as deploy complex multitiered enterprise applications directly to enterprise networks in minutes. “GCX’s Cloud X orchestration portal will simplify infrastructure deployment and de-risk migration to the cloud for our customers,” said Dave Pearson, managing director of Global Cloud Xchange in Australia and New Zealand. 

Barney predicts a transformation in the use of networks from the provisioning of communications to the provisioning of access to computing and storage services. “Enterprise usage of networks for computing will go from 15-20% today to 80% in 10 years.” 

HP 

Innovation: HPE Service Director is designed to help service providers manage services across hybrid networks of both the physical and the virtual environments found in NFV deployments. HPE logo

What they say: “HPE Service Director is a transformational change in the relationship between assurance and fulfilment, allowing the OSS resource pool to be treated, automated and managed as a service. Our approach provides a dynamic service model, enabling CSPs to bridge existing physical and new environments and dramatically improve their service agility,” said David Sliter, HP Enterprise’s vice president and general manager of communications. 

Impact on market: In January 2016, HPE launched its Service Director offering aimed at simplifying hybrid cloud management for telcos. Virtualisation has extended beyond generations of operations support systems and the coexistence of virtual and physical infrastructure can bring obstacles that hinder service agility, said HPE. 

It claims its Service Director platform can enable service providers to roll out services faster. Features include automation of operations, shared information, flexible modelling of services and openness. 

HPE has announced a partnership with Swisscom to use its HPE virtual services router and HPE technology services along with Service Director to create Swisscom’s vCPE model. The aim is to enable Swisscom to manage its customers’ network infrastructure from a centralised location and provide networking services. 

Orixcom 

Innovation: Last July, Orixcom partnered with Zadara Storage to deliver Zadara’s Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA) platform as part of its enterprise storage as a service (SaaS) in the Middle East and Africa. Orixcom logo

What they say: “Our mission is to address customer challenges in MEA with industry-leading connectivity and cloud solutions,” said Andrew Grenville, CEO at Orixcom. “We chose Zadara Storage as our partner because their solution is a pure OpEx, fully elastic, enterprise-grade storage as a service. The result is that our customers can focus on running and growing their businesses, rather than managing their storage.” 

Impact on the market: Global organisations are experiencing increasing pressure on their data storage as capacity grows exponentially. At the same time IT departments need to rethink the traditional methods of purchasing, managing and replacing storage arrays, said Orixcom. 

The carrier claims that its partnership with Zadara Storage to provide their VPSA enterprise SaaS – both in the cloud and on premises – addresses the need for costeffective and agile data storage. 

“The alignment of Orixcom with Zadara Storage is a positive move for companies within the MEA region which now have access to an industry-leading enterprise storage as a service solution,” said Simon Robinson, vice president at 451 Research. “IT organisations within the region now have access to alternatives to the traditional, inefficient buy-manage-replace cycle and gain the flexibility, agility and cost benefits of the as-a-service model.” 

Tata Communications 

Innovation: IZO Private Cloud was launched last October by Tata Communications. It enables enterprises to connect to the largest clouds, and to build a hybrid, high-performance IT infrastructure where clouds, colocation and managed hosting environments function as one. Tata Comm

What they say: “IZO Private Cloud overcomes the final barriers to enterprise cloud adoption. Following the launch of the IZO cloud enablement platform, IZO Private Cloud is our next step,” said Genius Wong, president of global network services of cloud and data centre services at Tata Communications. 

Impact on market: Different clouds often operate in fragmented silos, resulting in large and complex environments. Tata claims its private cloud solves this challenge by enabling enterprises to combine public cloud with enterprise-grade security. 

Vendors’ ability to deliver an agile, cloud-driven approach to infrastructure and application management is a must, said Agatha Poon, research manager at 451 Research. “Tata Communications’ OpenStackbased cloud platform supports key enterprise features and facilitates control and manageability. Deepening integration with its existing colocation and managed hosting offerings makes sense as enterprises continue to operate in a hybrid IT environment,” Poon added.