Ekow Nelson, Head of Business Unit IT & Cloud at Ericsson India divulged Dataquest how Ericsson plans to tap the burgeoning cloud infrastructure market in India. The company is wooing customers with the USP of empowering them with its rack scale architecture which most telecos have so far been privileged with. Experts of the conversation:
Since Cloud as a market has a lot of players, how is Ericsson going to differentiate and stand out?
Let me explain where we sit in the market and what we are targeting in the market. The cloud market is made up of people who provide cloud services. There are cloud service providers like Amazon or Netmagic, who basically do the large infrastructure. They rent out capacity or services to customers who want to host their applications or services on that infrastructure. We are not in that market. Ericsson provides the infrastructure and the equipment that people like them would use to serve their customers. Our competition is not with Amazon and Netmagic. We are probably competing with HP, IBM or the traditional hardware manufacturers in the industry.
Cloud infrastructure has failed to deliver the savings that it had promised. We have a proposition that allows a greater utilization of processing power, storage and memory, which is really what the cloud economics is all about. We have built what we call is a rack scale infrastructure that integrates network, hardware and storage on one rack. And the good thing is that it can be easily scaled up as it allows you to change and expand. In the existing architecture that most users have, it is not possible. Most of them are using blade architecture which has 3 things on it — networking, memory and storage. But if a user runs out of memory and storage, it has to be replaced and does not come with scalability option. We and Intel are the only ones that have this kind of architecture in the market which can be scaled up. We can help the cloud service providers to really use their equipment much more effectively. They can get a lot more out of their investment. That’s the market that we are going after.
In a way, you (Ericsson) are trying to step into the traditional IT hardware market, aren’t you?
We have always been a systems integrator. Now we are providing traditional IT with complete storage hardware. Traditionally we supplied it to the telecom industry. Now we are supplying to both the telecom industry and the non- telecom industry. Because we believe the experience that we’ve got from the telecom industry in terms of high availability and high usage, it can be used in helping other verticals.
Why would customers rely on Ericsson for their Cloud infrastructure?
We are the only one with the rack scale architecture that gives us the expansibility and modularity. We believe that we are about 18 months ahead in the market, with our new product called HDS 8000. We launched this product in September this year. Nobody has that architecture. Competition is not close to have that architecture.
Did you early have takers for that architecture so far?
We do have quite a few deployments around the world. We are in conversation with a number of operators and a number of cloud service providers in India. Hopefully next year you will see a significant breakthrough for us, because the economics is just there. We are saving their money. In the end storage is getting cheaper; computing is getting cheaper. The only way that you can meet the customer need is by way of building your infrastructure at low cost. You can make it cheaper by using more effectively your existing infrastructure. That’s the value proposition that we have for our customers.
In the last 5 years we have seen a lot of surge in data center and infrastructure building in India. It is expected that this surge will continue. Are you looking at the cloud providers as your prospective customers in the first place?
Absolutely. That’s more in the general data center space. In our traditional telecom space we are also doing a lot of cloud because the telecom core is also moving towards commodity hardware and virtualization.
The trick is that, for us we want to sell the same infrastructure that manages telecom workloads to traditional cloud providers. As telecom workloads are far stressful, this infrastructure would easily outsmart other players in the infrastructure providers. Our offering will equip cloud providers with telecom-like speed and reliability.