Since the birth of the cloud era, enterprises have faced challenges that had the potential to hinder quick time to market (TTM) of their new services. Telcos always consider building a network as their primary resource and monetizer, with little emphasis placed on the hidden value of intelligent cloud-network synergy. Huawei sensed this industry requirement and proactively launched the concept of an intelligent cloud-network synergy solution to build future-proof digital and cloud-native campus networks, WANs, and fabric networks with cutting-edge technology. This innovative cloud-network solution enabled by fast computing power, big data, and artificial intelligence capabilities means an increase in CSPs’ competitive strengths and helps them enjoy significant business benefits.
In a digital industrial revolution era, millions of enterprises are migrating to the cloud, and their production networks are required to transform into one unified and intelligent IPv6-based transport bearer network. In the last decade, CSPs, being the networks’ owners, have already lost a big chunk of business benefits in competition with over-the-top (OTT) rivals due to the slow pace of deployment, TTM, and provisioning procedures as well as the slow TTM of the new services themselves and slow provisioning procedures. On the other hand, OTT cloud providers’ strategy of moving closer to the edge or nearer the users for generally better user experiences through network functions virtualization process and their determination to build their backbones are becoming significant threats for CSPs. On top of that, 5G’s later traction for meeting low latency use-case requirements for business verticals means daunting business and technical challenges. Huawei emphasized this loss of business appetite and pressure to CSPs and injected a new momentum of intelligent cloud-network synergy bundled solutions for the campus, WAN, and data center fabric networks. Though the idea of cloud network synergy is not new in the telco industry, embracing the actual benefits and fruits of this synergy are yet to be entirely reaped. We have heard the noise of this cloud-network synergy for many years, but delivering the best and seamless cloud connectivity with zero or low IP packet loss for better user experiences and guaranteed SLAs with intelligent operations and maintenance is still far from implementation.
In the 5G era and the ongoing tug of war with OTTs, CSPs’ future success depends on how vendors help them deliver cutting-edge digital and intelligent technology solutions in their networks to deliver the best user experiences to their subscribers. The enablement of E2E intelligent IP cloud-network synergy requires the proactive inclusion of advanced technologies such as fast computing power at the edge, complete SRv6 support for a single hop to multiple clouds, FLEXE-based hard slicing for deterministic user experiences, AI-enabled intelligent connectivity and provisioning, and predictive maintenance, self-healing mechanisms, and intent-based automation for quick TTM and so on.
In a nutshell, this intelligent cloud-network solution in which network-as-a-service (NAAS) or intelligent cloud-network synergy looks quite attractive and has seen positive traction among many CSPs; but it also unleashes actual business gains yet to be enjoyed. In the second half of 2021, it will be interesting to see how Huawei will convince its strategic partner CSPs and the digital industry itself to adopt and implement its innovative, intelligent cloud-network solution for their campuses, data centers, or WAN implementations. We must also ask whether or not Huawei’s incumbent and seasoned Tier 1 competitors and OTTs will be determined to fight back with their own innovative and possibly different strategies, and quickly, for a speedy time to market of new services and intelligent traffic optimizations.
Sameer Ashfaq Malik, Senior Principal Analyst, Service Provider Routing and Switching