Telco perspective on cloud computing
Eurescom study P1951
Eurescom study P1951 has analysed
the cloud computing service delivery model and the related service
offerings. We focused mainly on Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a
Service, and Software as a Service. The study aimed to understand how cloud
services will impact the future of IT and networking, the evolution required
for telecom networks and datacenters to enable cloud service delivery, and
the strategic positioning of telcos in the new business environment. The
technical analysis, combined with a better understanding of the cloud
service business, allowed us to identify emerging research and
standardization topics, shape the evolution of telecom networks and
datacenters, identify emerging businesses and provide recommendations for
By analysing the impact of cloud
computing on IT and networking, we have identified a set of open research
and standardization problems. We have also studied the need for telecom
assets to evolve to meet requirements brought up by cloud services. We were
able to position telcos in the cloud service environment with a SWOT
analysis ((strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), key strategic
choices, and recommendations. In light of this study, the cloud service
environment appears to be largely favourable to telcos, with the potential
to play a key role in the operations of cloud infrastructures, the
possibility to add value to existing services and explore new services.
IT research and standardisation
Further research is needed regarding cloud services security, data location
and privacy issues, datacenter management and automation, software
licensing, programming tools and techniques for high-performance distributed
computing in virtualised environments, open and interoperable clouds, and
many others. These efforts concern almost any organization involved in IT
and the networking industry, including technology research and developers,
those operating these technologies to offer services, and those using these
technologies and services.
Commonly agreed cloud standards are
critical for the adoption of cloud services by telcos. Several initiatives
are under way to create open and interoperable clouds, which support the
seamless migration of cloud applications and data from one provider to
another and can be programmed via standard APIs.
Evolution of networks and
Telcos have a major technical and investment advantage with their existing
service infrastructure, which can be used to support cloud services.
However, in most cases telcos need to adapt their networks and datacenters.
For some specific properties, telcos need to conduct research, establish
collaborations with the networking and distributed computing research
communities, and develop novel standards. Examples for actions telcos need
to undertake to strengthen their competitive advantage are:
Transform their datacenter
networks into a LAN-based distributed system, with reliable high-speed
and direct communications between servers.
Adopt network and server
technologies that will enhance server scalability.
Develop techniques to reduce
latencies and guarantee delays.
Telcos in the cloud service
Telcos can use their global network and service management expertise to
stimulate R&D on new techniques for the global management of telecom clouds.
This can lead to securing cloud services with a more holistic approach
towards security threats, and to ensuring the dependability of cloud
infrastructure services. In addition, existing telco businesses can be
augmented with cloud services to add value to the existing. However, there
is a need to study which services can benefit from being transferred into
the cloud. Some key elements emerging from the SWOT analysis are:
Strength: the existence of a
strong market position and customer base,
Weakness: difficulties for
telcos to innovate in software and their lack of agility,
Opportunity: the use of Telco
assets for cloud services,
Threat: operators’ role may be
squeezed to become a mere bit-pipe business.
Cloud computing will generate demand for dependable and
low-latency distributed computing services. The needs to further investigate
end-to-end latency reduction, especially for critical applications and
high-performance computing, and to develop open and interoperable clouds are
of primary importance. Telcos need to adapt their networks and datacenters,
establish collaborations with the networking and distributed computing
research communities, conduct research and develop novel standards to enable
the coverage of the full spectrum of cloud services.
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