Telecom Sector Embraces the Cloud

By Joshua Geist

February 11, 2011

Big telecom companies have traditionally been late to market when it comes to introduction of emerging technology, preferring to let other, smaller companies absorb the first-to-market risks associated with launching game-changing services and solutions. Historically, the “wait and see” – only moving when there is clear market acceptance approach – has worked for these mass group of telcos. 

Effective Followers

In the 90’s, for example, when small and mid-size companies rushed to market with VOIP solutions, the telcos lagged behind. It wasn’t that they didn’t see the value of VOIP – it was more that they saw the threat.

They had the ability to introduce VOIP solutions overnight, but couldn’t risk rapidly cannibalizing their existing revenues…

They had to milk their base for all they could, slowly allowing prices to drop and minimizing the pace of revenue loss until they had no choice but to enter the market….

They lost share, but preserved cash flow and profitability along the way, and bought the time they needed to enter new markets like mobility to offset revenue loss elsewhere.

And when they finally did enter the world of IP Networking, they did so with a bang…quickly dominating the market and becoming the leading providers of VOIP solutions. 

Fast Followers

The telco strategy shifted a little in the 2000’s as emerging technologies posed lesser threats to their embedded revenue base, and presented greater opportunity for new sources of revenue.  The co-lo business is a good example of this. The telecom companies weren’t first to market, but they followed in a hurry and quickly carved out a very large niche with telecom co-location data centres popping up everywhere, and rapidly being filled as customers flocked to the brands they’d trusted for years – like AT&T, Verizon and Qwest. 

Now as this millennium has its teen years in sight, the telcos haven’t quite reached the stage where they’re considered “early adopters” but there’s ample evidence that suggest they have come a long way from their “wait and see” days when it came to new service introduction.

What’s driving this? The cloud and the global race to see who will emerge as the dominate players in this multi-billion dollar market that will permanently change the computing landscape.

Really Fast Followers or Leading the Way?

The world’s giant service providers are all staking their claim in the cloud – some with what can only be described as “brochure-ware” solutions which they hope will buy them time to bring cloud services to market, and other with real offerings that are gaining market momentum.  And who’s right there with the big guys – the IBMs, HPs, Symantecs and Sungards of the world? The telcos, many of whom are making a strong statement that they are going to be in this game from day one. 

In August, 2010, I blogged about Qwest’s entry into the cloud being a signal that the telecom sector was mobilizing, and that as they did, the cloud would migrate from a computing option, into a mainstream technology and a driving business force.  Well, here we are in the first few days of February 2011 – the equivalent of about 5 cloud years later (remember Internet years?), and the telcos have not only mobilized, they are armed and ready to attack the cloud market from every corner of the planet.
 
And there is ample evidence of this from announcements made just in the last few weeks. 

  • Verizon Communications, the second-largest telecom operator in the US, disclosed plans to acquire IT infrastructure and cloud services provider Terremark, for $1.4 billion in cash.  The proposed acquisition of Terremark is the largest purchase by Verizon since it acquired MCI in 2005 for $6.8 billion, and that alone is a pretty telling statement. Companies don’t toss around this kind of coin unless they’re serious about grabbing a piece of a market that they know is critical to their overall strategic direction.
  • Time Warner Cable announced that it has acquired Navisite, a provider of enterprise-class hosting, managed application, messaging and you guessed it – cloud  services. The $230 million acquisition brings an additional 10 data centers into the Time Warner family but most importantly “provides us [Time Warner] with a successful managed services business and a new, innovative managed cloud platform representing significant growth opportunities… for small and medium sized business.” said Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt.
  • In Canada, a strong and significant build-out of pure cloud-based programs and portfolios was announced recently as MTS Allstream, Canada’s largest all-business carrier staked its claim in the market with the launch of a Cloud Data Protection Portfolio including its Cloud Replication Services.
  • Australia’s Macquarie Telecom announced its entry into the cloud services market with a managed, hosted IaaS offering, explain that its decision was fuelled by an Australian government paper that encourages agencies to adopt public cloud offerings.

And that’s just the news that’s public.  The really big stuff hasn’t even fully bubbled to the surface.  But it will, and soon.
 
Last week I had a conversation with a senior executive at a big-name global company that has a presence in every major market. My contact owns the telecom sector worldwide, and had just returned from a two-week trip to Asia where he’d met with senior telecom leaders in Korea, Japan and China.  What was on their minds? The cloud.  And what was on my contact’s mind?  How his company can layer cloud services – onto its current offerings to enrich its telecom services suite.
 
We discussed what’s developing within the telecom sector in other parts of the world, and to quote my prospective business partner, “Every telco that I handle is either at the cloud architectural planning or proof-of-concept stage.”

The cloud rush is on, and it’s no longer a one or two team race to the finish line to see who can claim the number one spot.  The traditional “big boys” have some new players to contend with, ones with deep pockets, strong, trusted brands, and massive embedded customer bases.

I can hardly wait ‘til we reach the 20’s.  Imagine…telcos as “early adopters.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflops Tianhe-2 and currently with the 93-petaflops TaihuLight. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger communities? That question is at the heart of a new study pub Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Launches Site to Share its NYC-based Algorithm Research

August 22, 2017

Much of Google’s algorithm development occurs in groups scattered throughout New York City. Yesterday, Google launched a single website - NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team page - to provide a deeper view into all of Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Leveraging Deep Learning for Fraud Detection

Advancements in computing technologies and the expanding use of e-commerce platforms have dramatically increased the risk of fraud for financial services companies and their customers. Read more…

Dell Strikes Reseller Deal with Atos; Supplants SGI

August 22, 2017

Dell EMC and Atos announced a reseller deal today in which Dell will offer Atos’ high-end 8- and 16-socket Bullion servers. Some move from Dell had been expected following Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s purchase of SGI Read more…

By John Russell

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger c Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Giants Outline Battle Plans for Future HPC Market

August 21, 2017

Four companies engaged in a cage fight for leadership in the emerging HPC market of the 2020s are, despite deep differences in some areas, in violent agreement Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Bolsters Azure With Cloud HPC Deal

August 15, 2017

Microsoft has acquired cloud computing software vendor Cycle Computing in a move designed to bring orchestration tools along with high-end computing access capabilities to the cloud. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Ships Supercomputer to Space Station, Final Destination Mars

August 14, 2017

With a manned mission to Mars on the horizon, the demand for space-based supercomputing is at hand. Today HPE and NASA sent the first off-the-shelf HPC system i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD EPYC Video Takes Aim at Intel’s Broadwell

August 14, 2017

Let the benchmarking begin. Last week, AMD posted a YouTube video in which one of its EPYC-based systems outperformed a ‘comparable’ Intel Broadwell-based s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Thrives in Cancer Moonshot

August 8, 2017

The U.S. War on Cancer, certainly a worthy cause, is a collection of programs stretching back more than 40 years and abiding under many banners. The latest is t Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Raises the Bar for Distributed Deep Learning

August 8, 2017

IBM is announcing today an enhancement to its PowerAI software platform aimed at facilitating the practical scaling of AI models on today’s fastest GPUs. Scal Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Clears Path to 5nm with Silicon Nanosheets

June 5, 2017

Two years since announcing the industry’s first 7nm node test chip, IBM and its research alliance partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have developed a proces Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This