While ‘cloud’ might be an overused word to describe what is effectively a natural evolution in terms of how existing technology is leveraged, businesses need to do more to harness the opportunity it provides. After all the hype, cloud computing is now really beginning to get traction, and not just in the smaller enterprises; a recent international survey by Ovum of more than 100 multinational corporations found a 60% increase in the take-up of cloud services among large organizations over the last year. The strongest showing is in Asia, which boasts an uptake of at least 63%.
Moving to Cloud
The survey also shows that enterprises have already moved significant resources to the cloud and are ready to move more application services. The dominant areas of cloud services uptake are in data back-up and storage, at 51% of respondents, with an additional 33% reporting their intention to procure cloud data back-up and storage services in the next 24 months.
The Ovum survey also found that telecommunications providers are emerging as trusted partners for cloud computing. A year ago, 37% of enterprise users rated telecommunications providers as credible suppliers, but this increased to 49% in 2011. This is attributed to their capabilities in both managed hosting and managed networks.
This trend is occurring as, fundamentally, all cloud services need to be positioned on a strong network platform. Without this communications layer, cloud computing cannot take place. Although cloud computing providers do provide this kind of network, telecommunications providers are extremely well-positioned to provide a very robust communications layer.
Major telecommunications providers have the expertise in combining their network with managing data centers and they can use this expertise in building competitive advantage as compared to other players. They will be able to provide the essential bandwidth required, plus they already have the necessary experience at hand when it comes to delivering infrastructure. It is simply a matter of extending their core competencies into the cloud space.
Securing the Cloud
The best way to secure the cloud computing environment, and to ensure application performance, is to make sure that the prime access routes are via the organization’s own internal wide area network (private cloud), not the internet (public cloud). By placing services in a secure cloud environment within the wide area network, and using the established methods of data separation, data becomes intrinsically safer, and performance is not only better, but can also be managed by advanced application performance management networking tools.
Therefore in order for cloud services to really penetrate the enterprise market, robust and secure hosting environments need to be combined with resilient, high performing, and secure next-generation networks, and both need to be ensured with stringent service level agreements.
Telecommunications providers already have these issues covered: The all-important security question, the expertise, the facilities, and the infrastructure in place for providing hosted services. Moreover cloud computing has been looked on as the ultimate managed service and telecommunications providers have been in the managed service market for a long time.
The Existing Trend
While most of the telcos offer cloud computing services in their respective local markets, very few of them have generated the right visibility globally so far. Only the initial players with global presence providing seem less experience will be the key differentiators from major SIs.
The existing trend of consolidation and network optimization remains the key drivers for telcos to upgrade their customer into SaaS and CaaS/UCaaS based offerings within their private cloud allowing cost benefits and ease of migration.
The future of IT holds one thing for certain, growth will come from those businesses that are prepared to innovate and make bold decisions with the courage to move to the cloud, and telecommunications providers are the perfect match to capitalize on this opportunity.
The author is director, technology
consulting services, Cable
Wireless Worldwide India