“It’s the network, stupid.” In a nutshell, that’s the idea Alcatel-Lucent
has with its new cloud initiative called “CloudBand
”. It’s no secret that network performance is a huge bottleneck with cloud computing services, and the company believes that CloudBand can address this issue is a meaningful way.
Alcatel-Lucent is touting CloudBand as a so-called “carrier cloud”, which purports to offer communications service providers a way to deliver networking services via the cloud with lower latency, better bandwidth control, and better quality of service guarantees.
Partially, CloudBand would virtualize some of the hardware elements of a network, enabling scalability and test deployments without the high costs of hardware. CloudBand will be available sometime in the first half of next year.
In a press release, Adolfo Hernandez, President, of Alcatel-Lucent’s Software, Services & Solutions Group, put it succintly: “The network makes the cloud, and communications service providers own the networks. That’s a very powerful combination.”
Alcatel-Lucent connects communications networks and the cloud
New CloudBand ‘carrier cloud’ solution brings the reliability, security and high performance of communications networks to the cloud services market
Paris - November 17, 2011 – Today Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is introducing a new solution, called CloudBand, which brings together the computing power and flexibility of the cloud with the high performance, reliability and security of communications networks. CloudBand is the foundation for a new class of ‘carrier cloud’ services that will enable communications service providers to bring the benefits of the cloud to their own networks and business operations, and put them in an ideal position to offer a new range of high-performance cloud services to enterprises and consumers.
The public cloud model has transformed how we access applications and use computing power and data storage. Applications and data can now be accessed on-demand from data centers through the Internet. Some services, however, are dependent on levels of quality and performance that the public cloud is not able to provide.
Recent Alcatel-Lucent research that surveyed nearly 3500 enterprise IT decision makers has found that their biggest concern by far about the cloud is performance, followed by security. CloudBand helps address these concerns by drawing on the unique strengths of communications service providers to create a new level of ‘business class’ cloud services that are delivered using secure, reliable, high-performance communications networks. This new level of service offers lower latency, better control of bandwidth and the ability to provide a guaranteed quality of service, all of which are necessary to meet the stringent performance demands of consumers and enterprises.
CloudBand is comprised of two distinct elements: the CloudBand Management System – which delivers orchestration and optimization of services between the communications network and the cloud; and the CloudBand Node, which provides the computing, storage and networking hardware and associated software to host a wide range of cloud services. CloudBand will be available for deployment in the first half of 2012.
Building the carrier cloud
CloudBand will enable communications service providers to deliver networking services from the cloud. By shifting to a cloud-based delivery model, service providers will be able to market and deliver new services to customers quickly, with improved quality of service and at lower cost. Using CloudBand, service providers can ‘virtualize’ many of the critical elements of their networks by converting them into software which is run in the cloud and accessed on demand as needed to address shifts in customer usage patterns.
Rather than having to install dedicated equipment for every communication service, such as SMS or video, service providers can instead draw from the carrier cloud to address demand. This approach offers service providers an enormous amount of ‘elasticity’, meaning they can expand or shrink particular elements of their service mix quickly as market demand dictate. It also means they can test out new services without having to make a massive investment, making it much easier to start small and grow as needed.
The biggest challenge in making the carrier cloud a reality is bringing the computing and communications network assets together. CloudBand, which features advanced algorithms developed by Bell Labs, orchestrates the network, computing and data storage elements distributed throughout the network. This approach results in the creation of a single, extremely powerful and flexible service delivery and computing platform that can support a wide range of services, eliminating the need for dedicated hardware platforms for each individual service. As importantly, this orchestration capability can be expanded beyond the service provider’s network to help manage access to a wide array of public and private clouds.
Adolfo Hernandez, President, of Alcatel-Lucent’s Software, Services & Solutions Group said: “From our research we know that performance is the highest concern of IT decision makers. We also know that they believe communications service providers are in the best position to deliver the quality and security they expect, making them the cloud provider of choice for the enterprise world.
Hernandez added: “The network makes the cloud, and communications service providers own the networks. That’s a very powerful combination.”
Informa telecommunications analyst Camille Mendler said: “Service providers’ cloud investments have already exceeded $11 billion in 2011, but financial rewards will only come if their computing and network assets are tightly integrated. Orchestration platforms like Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand support efficient consumption and control of diverse digital resources. Better control means better performance – and that’s absolutely critical to differentiate and win customers.”