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Thursday, 26 May 2011 20:12

ZTE and Huawei head for the clouds Featured


Both of China's leading telecoms equipment makers - ZTE and Huawei - have set out plans to be major players in cloud computing technology, with ZTE saying it aims to derive a third of its revenue from this market.

Huawei unveiled its plans to a briefing of analysts at its HQ in Shenzhen last month, sparking a flurry of commentary from guest analysts. Earlier this month ZTE showed its its hand with the demonstration of "[a] complete range of cloud computing solutions for the first time, including [ZTE's] proprietary 'CoCloud' cloud operating system at the China Cloud Computing Conference in Beijing." ZTE also announced the establishment of its Global Cloud Computing Centre in Nanjing. This week ZTE re-iterated these goals at the ZTE Analysts Conference 2011 in Shenzhen.

According to ZTE, "With the 'CoCloud' operating system at its core, ZTE's cloud computing solutions consist of various platforms to manage IT resources, virtual computing, cloud operating management and cloud security'¦[that] cover all industries from traditional telecoms markets to government and enterprise markets."

According to ZTE President Shi Lirong, the company expects that one third of its total revenue will come from cloud computing within the next years.

Mr Wang Wei, SVP of ZTE said that in its traditional telecom-class market, ZTE hopes to become one of the top three solutions providers in the market for operators, providing an entire range of solutions including PaaS (Platform as a service), SaaS (Software as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

"On the one hand, [we] will put the traditional applications of its operator customers in 'cloud', to re-plan resources against pipes such as the scattered base-stations, redundant storage assets, and servers with unbalanced workload; to maximise the efficacy of assets," ZTE said. "On the other hand [we] will also work together with the operators to implement innovations in areas including business cloud and application cloud, to explore the industry's vast opportunity."

ZTE says it has developed its own definition of cloud computing "after several years of R&D and experience in cloud computing" and that, compared to the traditional OS, ZTE's CoCloud cloud operating system "accelerates the dynamic transfer of the resources through service process displaying, intelligent resource template suggestions, good adaptation and heterogeneous management of the services."


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In fact it debuted CoCloud a year ago at the same event. Lu Ping, President of ZTE's Communication Services R&D Institute in an interview on the company's web site said: "Our Communication Services R&D Institute has been conducting research into key cloud computing technologies and related platform planning. At the Second China Cloud Computing Conference held in May 2010, ZTE '¦launched its 'CoCloud' platform. CoCloud is designed to converge and open up all telecom and Internet capabilities, and offer a variety of colourful, innovative and converged services. The platform delivers application services at three levels: IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS."

ZTE says it has made "numerous partnerships with governmental agencies and enterprises on the cloud development of E-governmental, E-affair, and intelligent transportation. [which present] an opportunity to enter the IT market from a different perspective and provide improved solutions to both government and enterprise customers."

Huawei woos analysts on cloud strategy
Meanwhile news of Huawei's cloud strategy has emerged following Huawei's touting its cloud ambitions to analysts in late April.

Ken Hyers, senior analyst, networking & mobility practice at Technology Business Research, reported: "Huawei will take two approaches to delivering cloud solutions, offering them directly to enterprises and to network operators that will market the cloud solutions to their own customers. Huawei's private cloud strategy for SMEs is to deliver distributed IT through the cloud so that services and functions are no longer localized and are instead available on a distributed basis to employees in multiple locations.

"On the telco side, Huawei sees itself delivering public cloud solutions for operators that do not have the resources or experience to deliver cloud solutions themselves. In developed markets, the target telcos will be tier 2 operators, such as Leap or MetroPCS, in the US, while in emerging markets the solution will be offered to a wider group of operators."

Gartner research VP Lydia Leong wrote: "At their analyst summit, Huawei announced a number of grand ambitions - to become one of the major global device manufacturers, to aggressively grow into the enterprise networking equipment business, and to become an all-in-one solutions provider for cloud computing.


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"That includes Huawei's product portfolio of modular and container-based data centre solutions, servers, storage (via the Huawei-Symantec JV), data centre and wide-area networking equipment, and the 'cloud stack' of software needed to offer cloud IaaS, whether for an enterprise building a private cloud, or a service provider building a highly scalable public cloud. It also includes a suite of content delivery network (CDN) enablement solutions, targeted at network operators, and integrated into the cloud offering."

Ovum's Roy Illsley said: "Huawei has identified the mid-sized and above enterprise sector as its route to profitable growth and expansion beyond its traditional telecommunications market. We agree that this sector represents the future growth area of cloud computing and an excellent market opportunity for a telecommunications company to expand into. However, we believe that to penetrate this sector Huawei will need to focus on those industry verticals where concerns about security can be balanced by the promise of more efficient and agile delivery of ICT."

Huawei promises end-to-end cloud solution

According to Illsley, "Huawei's core differentiator is its assertion that it can provide an end-to-end solution to the cloud computing market. While the value proposition of an end-to-end solution is an appealing proposition for SMEs, we do not believe that this approach will resonate immediately with many mid to large enterprises, unless adoption of the solutions can provide a competitive differentiation, such as in the retail sector, where the ability to introduce new innovative customer experiences will help drive sales and margins."

His colleague David Cooperson was suitably impressed with Huawei's cloud ambitions. "Huawei's cloud strategy, comprising hardware (compute, storage), software (virtualisation, distributed file system, database management), and services ("cloud in a box"), was a well-kept secret," Cooperson said.

"Huawei's overwhelming barrage of claimed cloud capabilities included a platform, 'SingleCloud,' integrated content distribution networking and caching, and policy and charging control. Huawei highlighted the use of cloud-based storage and computing for its 10,000-person Shanghai R&D operation as early proof of its capabilities, noting energy savings, better data security, and faster inclusion of new employees as benefits it has accrued."

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