Outsourcing the cloud

Jessica Scarpati
17 Jan 2011
Service providers know networks, not data centers. But service providers that are building telecom cloud infrastructure for enterprise customers will discover that data center expertise is critical. There are telecom outsourcing options for service providers that are struggling to compete in the cloud against other carriers as well as the new and agile cloud providers that possess experience with data center hardware and software.
The telecom outsourcing options for cloud infrastructure are varied. Operators can find help with design and development or day-to-day management.
Service providers that face competitive pressure to launch cloud services but lack capital to do so are turning to telecom outsourcing services, according to Amy Larsen DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis. Like their own customers, carriers are looking to minimize their upfront capital expenses by outsourcing various pieces of their cloud deployments, she said.
"Service providers are spending a lot of money investing in their networks and a lot of that money is going into the wireless infrastructure," Larsen DeCarlo said. "They don't have a lot of money to dedicate to data center-based services … so service providers want something that's cost-effective." 
Some service providers are looking for turnkey cloud computing equipment packages that vendors have pre-assembled, according to Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of cloud computing at Cisco Systems. This approach to telecom outsourcing offers carriers a quicker time to market for large-scale deployments by dictating the service objectives but leaving the cloud infrastructure design, testing, integration and configuration to the vendor, Tucker said.
"Our objective is to make it possible for service providers to spend less time bringing up the basic infrastructure so they can spend more time on making each of their service offerings the best in the market," Tucker said.
These turnkey options mitigate the risk of building out the infrastructure "before one sale is made," said Lauren Robinette, principal analyst at ACG Research. "Cisco [is] managing the infrastructure … until the service provider directly takes on this business."


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