Role of Telecommunications & Benefits of Cloud Computing (ITU-T FG Cloud)

October 9, 2011
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Editors Note:  This article is based entirely on the October 7, 2011 ITU-T FG Cloud document “Cloud Benefits” which is based on their recent meeting in Seoul, South Korea.  We have not provided any editorial content or opinion on this work in progress.  The article is provided as further background information for the October 12th IEEE ComSocSCV Meeting on Cloud Networking as described in a recent Viodi View article http://viodi.com/2011/10/07/cloud-networking-provider-vendor-perspective-at-ieee-comsocscv-oct-12-meeting/  and in more detail at:   http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/index.php#oct12


Role of Telecommunications in Cloud Computing

Telecommunication/ICT (Information Communications Technology) players have an important role to play in the emerging Cloud  market and ecosystem. The telecommunications network is a central part for multi-tenant cloud architecture delivering multi-services for multi-users with high QoS and optimal resource allocation.   This role is uniquely positioned to deliver  high-grade clouds services  integrating services, platform, data center and IP network infrastructure with end-to-end SLA guarantees . The Telecommunication/ICT roles in cloud computing are considered from both operational & technical aspects.

The main telecommunication operational roles are:

  • Network control: which is considered the main driver for cloud services delivery, telecommunication/ICT have a high level of expertise’s in the deployment and end to end SLA management of all public and private network  services (L1 up to L7) and data centers.
  • Operation and maintenance: with customer support, fulfillment assurance and billing (OSS/BSS) for large scale of regional and worldwide networks of 100 millions of subscribers.
  • User experience and customer relationship: telecommunication/ICT players have developed a good user experience for consumer, SME and large enterprise markets.
  • Trusted partner: telecommunication/ICT players are considered as a trusted partner for customer with high level of reputation for data security, integrity, and privacy with a local presence. Most of telecommunication/ICT players  have implemented several ICT standards (from ISO and ITU-T), guidance and frameworks (ITSMF and  TMF).
  • Cloud Intermediary: control the delivery of a holistic IT, Network and Communication cloud services for inter-cloud or private-public cloud federation.

The general benefits of cloud computing from a telecommunication/ICT perspective can be summarized in 3 main areas:

  1. To consider the cloud delivery model as a converged platform to deliver IT and communication services over any network (fixed, mobile and worldwide coverage) and used by any end user connected devices (PC, TV, Smart Phone, M2M…).
  2. To deliver a rich set of communication services  (voice & video call, audio, video & web conf, messaging, unified communication, content creation, workspace, broadcasting…) according to cloud multi-tenant consumption based usage model and creating mash-ups with Web 2.0 collaborative services for  “Communication and Collaboration as Services” CaaS.
  3. To consider network services (L2-L3 connectivity & VPN and L4-L7 network services) as smart pipes “high-grade network” for cloud services transport and cloud interconnection (inter-cloud) in order to guarantee secure and high performance end-to-end quality of service QoS for end users (considered as an important key differentiator for telecommunication players).

In addition to these main 3 benefits, some other benefits can be also considered from Service Provider, Partner and user perspectives as well as improvement of Security by Cloud Computing as listed in the section below.

Cloud Computing Benefits from Service Provider Perspective

  • Cost saving:

Cloud providers can host software at a much lower cost than enterprise customers can themselves. Virtualization and provisioning software lets them efficiently allocate computing resources, lowering their cost of hardware. Cloud computing service providers can locate facilities at low cost locations, provisioning which cannot be duplicated by most enterprises. There are low up-front costs. In fact, other than the costs for a user terminal (personal computer or smart phone), web browser and network capacity for each end-user, there are no software or hardware costs that customers need to pay.

  • Improve Total Cost of Ownership & De-Risk:

Investments are shifted from the upfront Capital Expense (CAPEX) to Operational expense (OPEX) for consuming IT resources. Increases capacity utilization of IT assets. User terminals, servers, or software, which is not needed in-house (Onsite), can be offered up for outsourcing (Online), and equipment not fully utilized can be used jointly with third parties to reduce idle time. Costs can also be reduced by short lead times, and by paying for just what is needed.

  • Highly scalable and flexible infrastructure:

Massively scalable engine allows building highly scalable services for customers and partners. Infrastructure scale with the demand for peak loads and seasonal variations.

  • Efficiency & flexibility of resource management:

Service providers can use more flexible and efficient resources (IT resources, server, storage and network resources) using virtualization technology in cloud computing.

Business agility with rapid service deployment: Service provision with lower cost by efficient use and management of resources. The easier and faster a provider can perform an administrative task the more expedient the business moves, reducing costs or driving revenue. Easier to get IT operations established and less need for IT expertise at the company level.  The provider also finds their speed of deployment is much quicker than if they were to build applications, or worse, a whole data center, from scratch.

  • Reliability of service with high availability:

Since the workloads can be spread across many facilities, and even across clouds, redundant instances of applications can be used to avoid downtime and increase the availability. In addition, data distribution strategies can help address disaster (e.g. earthquake, tsunami, flooding, hurricane/typhoon) recovery and business continuity issues.

  • Good support of 3rd party business':

Intermediate service provider may utilize the cloud marketplace which allows multiple input from Independent Software Vendors among ISV, developers, cloud service (SaaS) providers, integrators, business customers, end users.

  • Energy efficiency:

In principle, cloud computing can be an inherently energy-efficient technology for ICT provided that its potential for significant energy savings that have so far focused on hardware aspects, can be fully explored with respect to system operation and networking aspects.

  • IT Capability:

Service Providers can establish large-scale, on-demand, flexible, scalable IT capability by low-cost cloud technology to provide IaaS, analyze operation data and information processing.

Unified Managed Based OSS:  Service Providers can build unified cloud-based MBOSS system to upgrade the level of system response, reduce cost, and increase the speed of new services providing.

  • Accelerate Service Innovation:

Service Providers can set up an application service hosting platform, integrated with telecommunication services and network capability, to accelerate service innovation, especially for mobile internet services.

  • Capability Aggregation:

Service Providers can utilize the cloud platform to aggregate capability (the 3rd parties’ and their own), integrate the industry chain and enhance customer loyalty.

Benefits from Cloud Partner Perspectives

Cloud service provider’s partners include: telecommunications operator (network providers), software providers (virtualization software, distributed middleware, and other new core software), equipment providers, system integrators, consulting service providers. Cloud service brings benefits for these partners including:

  • Telecommunications operator:

From providing simple network access to integrated service transformation products upgrades to bring new business growth; users to increase the dependence on access, improve access bandwidth and overall access to income; upgrade service platforms and IT systems for personal use, IT systems to enhance operational capability and efficiency.

  • Software providers: mainstream software providers are extensions of the existing services in rich at the same time, their product line bring new revenue growth.
  • Equipment providers: new hardware upgrades, including servers, storage, network and related equipment procurement will increase, and require equipment provider for cloud computing strengthening technical reserves and research, provide complete system support.
  • System Integrators: the system integration solutions to service providers to provide professional system integration services, open up new markets.
  • Cloud consultants: for different segments of the cloud industry chain to provide professional technical and marketing consulting services, and promote the overall growth of the industry chain and also to bring their own new market space.

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