Huawei hosted about 160 industry and financial analysts at its ninth annual analyst summit in Shenzhen, China in April 2012. The event showed us that Huawei’s carrier network activities are becoming increasingly software-focused. Huawei is building up its network software and professional services capabilities. This drive is reflected in its SoftCom solution, driven by the cloud computing delivery model in the network space. Huawei is well aware of the role software will play for future distributed and virtualized network infrastructure and network-centric solutions, where the data center is effectively becoming the phone switch for ICT solutions. In fact, Huawei goes as far as to say that hardware will be fairly commoditized and that differentiation will be based on software. Huawei is a member of more than 130 industry standard-defining bodies; as such, it influences the development of industry standards. Huawei maintains its own silicon chip fabrication capabilities (HiSilicon), which help deliver opex reductions and greater energy efficiency as part of its networking solutions for wired and wireless (WiFi, WiMAX, and LTE) environments. Huawei has been designing and assembling servers for a decade and offers blade and rack configurations designed to support cloud and virtualization environments. Huawei’s security solutions, greatly enhanced by Huawei buying the remaining 49% stake in its Huawei Symantec joint venture recently, include firewall, VPNs, intrusion detection, application gateways, and unified threat management. Huawei also works with other leading ICT vendors to deliver solutions according to customer requirements. Huawei’s GalaX Cloud operating system delivers large scale virtualization capability for compute and storage resources in a cloud deployment. Huawei assists carriers and enterprise customers with design implementation and operation of deployments through its SmartCare Services solution, which monitors and ensures the
The other day I visited Colt’s London HQ and saw how the telco is revamping its approach to developing more customer-centric and Agile solutions (Colt consciously avoids the “cloud” terminology). By now, most telcos managed to jump onto the cloud bandwagon by launching cloud-based services. The challenge, from an end user perspective, is that these solutions all seem very similar. Customers can get storage, server capacity, unified communications, etc., from most telcos. All telcos underline the value-added nature of end-to-end network QoS and security that they can ensure (check out our report, "Telcos As Cloud Rainmakers"). Indeed, telcos have some right to feel that they have achieved some progress regarding their cloud offerings — although it took Amazon to show them the opportunity.
But most telco cloud offerings suffer from the fact that telcos develop cloud solutions in the traditional sense through their traditional product factories. This approach tends to follow rather than slow product innovation cycles. Moreover, it produces products that, once developed, are pushed to the customer as a standard offering. All customisation costs extra.
The reality of cloud demand is that each customer is different. Most customers want some form of customisation. Most customers want some form of hybrid cloud, a private part for core apps, as well as access to the open Internet to, for instance, exchange views and information with end customers via Twitter or for crowd sourcing with suppliers. Similarly, most customers want a mix of fixed and virtual assets and a blend of self-service and managed service solutions as the chart indicates.