Cloud computing is now well-established. In a nutshell, it allows you to treat computing power like electricity: you do not need to own the infrastructure, you pay only for what you use, and you use only as much as you need whenever you need it.
Neustar has specific interests in the intersection between “the cloud,” telecoms and enterprises. In my opinion, a great opportunity exists for a trusted private cloud for carriers. “Wait a minute,” I can almost hear you shout, “aren’t carriers very comfortable being inside their walled gardens, where no one can tamper with their playground slides?” Well, yes – they were, and some still are, but many carriers want to maintain their relevancy and are open to being… partially open.
There are many factors that are pushing carriers to look at the cloud as a valid vehicle for some of their offerings. Amongst them are recent global economical trends for cost reductions; telecoms outsourcing network elements and services; and carriers offering services with risk-mitigated early investment supporting growth in par with actual service usage. Moreover, to maximize operational efficiencies, the cloud optionally introduces a virtualized cloud environment that supports multiple carriers.
Private clouds for carriers are essentially a virtualized distributed infrastructure (cloud), but accessible and managed by telecoms. This is a well-established cloud model that suits telecoms’ desire for a more manageable cloud. This is not an oxymoron; a cloud can be shared and safe. However, to be able to offer such solutions to carriers, one should not underestimate the challenges surrounding security, privacy, trust and control, as well as the demand for superior and flexible solutions.
Of particular interest is the ability to introduce telecom services such as the Rich Communications Suite (RCS) into the cloud, and enable it for multiple carriers. This model can substantially lower the initial investments from each single carrier, but allow a global mass adoption. This can further grow to include additional telecom services, which we at Neustar sometimes call “Telecom as a Service,” or TaaS. Moreover, it has synergies with other relevant services such as hubs and interconnectivity solutions.
That’s what Neustar is all about: understanding customers’ pain points and offering the right remedy. Unfortunately, no simple medication will do in this case, as the barriers are quite commanding:
- Carriers are used to having full control of their resources
- Data and traffic has to be secured
- Regional or country specific legal issues impose certain restrictions
- Cloud hub may further offer interconnection point between the carriers
- Signaling and Data may pose different restrictions
- Cloud virtualization presents issues for hardware, network, storage and applications layers
- Carriers will still demand the service performance metrics for which they are renowned: Availability, Secured Separation, Service assurance, QoS (Quality of Service), and Manageability
Neustar is leading the way in establishing multi-tenant clouds for telecom services providers and enterprises. Join us for a discussion, but please don’t smoke: we have enough clouds as it is!