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A cloud over telecoms

Ben Rossi | March 27, 2013
The last thing anybody needs is another story highlighting the benefits and challenges of implementing a cloud-based solution for their enterprise.

The last thing anybody needs is another story highlighting the benefits and challenges of implementing a cloud-based solution for their enterprise.

Most CIOs of enterprises now understand that the cloud is where IT is going. Maybe not the public cloud -- yet, anyway -- but private clouds and managed services are gathering more and more momentum every day.

Various estimates from the likes of Gartner and IDC estimate the cloud market to expand to a value of $72.9 billion this year, with the market for public cloud computing services in the Middle East and North Africa reaching $378.5 million.

What does warrant more discussion is who an organisation should turn to when selecting a reliable cloud service.

Yes, there are the large multinational organisations throwing their services into the fray -- the EMCs, the Oracles and the SAPs, for example.

Then there are also the small start-ups that have made a name for themselves by becoming globally successful cloud services.

But how about the telecoms operators? Unsurprisingly, they're also getting involved in search of new revenue streams by partnering with technology companies that act as cloud enablers. And it would seem that perhaps they have a better platform for cloud services than anyone else does.

A new direction

Take the UAE's two leading operators as a key example. Etisalat and du have both invested heavily in their B2B cloud offerings of late and many organisations would be keen to use a vendor they already use and trust, and who actually owns the network.

"We already have an existing market -- virtually 100 percent of the market is already our customer in one way or another," says Ramesh Krishna Bhandari, Manager, Cloud Computing, Etisalat. "And we own the data centres. We've got about eight data centres with more in the making, so we already have the baseline infrastructure needed for cloud services.

"It becomes easier for us to provide customers with end-to-end SLAs with cloud services coming into play. 99 percent of the UAE is covered with our links. Then we also have LTE as another flavour, which supports the exponential growth of cloud and managed services. So since we already have the right underlying mix for a project, we will add more value than any other cloud service provider in this market."

Farid Faraidooni, CCO, du, concurs. "Telcos, with their large customer base, plus their ability to build large data centre infrastructures and connectivity, are ideally placed to offer cloud solutions," he says.

EMC also recognises the benefits of telcos entering the market, says the Senior Director of its global services organisation in EMEA and Turkey, Wael El Nadi.

"Cloud is enabling telcos to re-engage with their customers to drive new service offerings, address the data mobility challenges laid down by smart devices, and become more relevant to their customers," he says.


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