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Onwards and upwards with cloud

Dec 20, 2017 By Joseph Waring,Mobile World Live

Cloud was a major theme at Huawei Connect 2017. Find out how Huawei Cloud is helping customers and partners – including Orange, CERN, and Microsoft – reap digital rewards

Speed and flexibility drive public cloud

Driven by rapid technological innovation, the fourth industrial revolution will enable enterprises in nearly every industry to boost efficiency, innovate, and step up productivity.

Survey data from IDC on the top 2,000 global enterprises reveals that by the end of 2017, 67 percent of CEOs will position digitalization as a core strategy. Industry insiders agree that cloud is the best tool for enterprises and governments to deploy robust ICT infrastructure for a digital future.

At Huawei Connect 2017, Orange Business Service CEO Thierry Bonhomme stated that software will enable companies to quickly deploy agile micro-services to meet customer requirements. Earlier this year, Orange launched Flexible Engine, its own public cloud service platform based on Huawei infrastructure. According to Bonhomme, “The solution provides flexible IT infrastructure and nurtures ecosystems in various verticals.” 

While Orange operates mainly in a private cloud environment, Bonhomme believes there’s space for players other than the usual hyperscalers. In the long run, this can lower the price of migration because the ecosystem comprises native cloud applications, compared with the business model today.

“Migration to native cloud apps take time, so you need a partner you can trust,” he said.

Data overload

The move to public cloud isn’t just driven by the need for flexibility. Europe’s nuclear research giant CERN, which operates the Large Hadron Collider in France, began facing massive computing challenges as its search for new particles expanded massively. 

To cope with the projected 60-fold increase in CPU capacity, it wasn’t viable to migrate to a private cloud based on OpenStack, because the cost of running the data centers would be too high.

So CERN started to shift from private clouds to public clouds, migrating last year to Open Telekom Cloud. “The public cloud [can] burst our resource provisioning,” said Jan van Eldik, the CERN team leader in charge of resource provisioning, “At the beginning of the year CERN and Huawei started to work jointly on improving OpenStack. I’m excited about this project and looking forward to seeing the results of it in production in our clouds in the coming years.” 

All about cloud

Cloud was the major theme at Huawei Connect this September. Covering 20,000 meters, the annual event was 30 percent larger than last year’s, and attracted around 20,000 visitors, more than 60 sponsors, 10 industry organizations, and 130 solution partners.

As part of its commitment to become an industry cloud enabler for enterprises, Huawei plans to invest US$500 million over the next five years to enhance the service capabilities of its cloud services. It aims to provide customers with end-to-end cloud transformation services that enable them to effectively build, use, and manage their cloud platforms.

Sun Maolu, president of the technical service department for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said: “With the emergence of a cloud-only era, Huawei is adopting a long-term cloud transformation service strategy to support its enterprise customers on their cloud journey.”

Huawei’s enterprise services will focus on four key areas: cloud innovation, a digital platform, smart operations, and enabling businesses.

Sun said that Huawei will increase investment in developing service solutions and global service centers, as well as tools, platforms, and verification labs for professional services. In the next five years, it will focus on industry cloud R&D, increasing annual investment by more than 50 percent.

Cloud advances

Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei’s Cloud Business Unit, gave a progress update on Huawei Cloud, with a number of enterprise customers sharing their digital transformation experiences.

Huawei Cloud was developed to help enterprises go digital more smoothly and is constantly being updated, said Zheng. Huawei has released 4,500 new features for its cloud, as well as 40 new services. Since the cloud business unit was established at the end of August, Huawei’s cloud customer base has grown by 238 percent.

At Huawei Connect, the Shenzhen-based company announced a number of expanded partnerships, including strategic collaboration on cloud services to enable more Microsoft enterprise-level applications to be released on Huawei Cloud. 

“As a global leader in enterprise IT, Huawei is a strategic partner for Microsoft in the mission to empower organizations as they transform,” said Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China, “Our increased collaboration will drive innovation as we build a seamless platform to benefit customers through industry-leading technology. Together, we’re confident that we will lead and win in the era of digital transformation by focusing on what our customers need.”

Huawei also signed an MoU with Dassault Systems for its 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to run on Huawei Cloud. Combining Huawei’s high-performance computing cloud solutions and Dassault’s industry solution experiences portfolio, the solution will offer integrated enterprise design, verification, and manufacturing solutions in various industries.

“Industries today are intersecting to imagine, engineer, deliver, market, operate, and service smart, connected experiences that blend hardware, software, content, and services,” said Olivier Ribet, VP of high-tech industry at Dassault. “Greater cloud adoption opens up new possibilities to share and create – for companies embracing open innovation projects to municipalities simulating use cases.”

Two drivers

Yang Xiaoling, chief digital officer at China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), remarked that companies’ digital transformation strategies are designed to address wo main operating problems that enterprises face: customer experience and operations efficiency.

CPIC launched its digital transformation strategy in late 2016, focusing on five areas: digitalized clients for E2E interaction, digitalized supply chain, higher computing capacity, a more agile technology platform, and better security.

The company unveiled the robot insurance adviser Alpha InsurAdvisor on September 1. Using AI to help families define their risk defense index, Huawei supports the back office.

“In the Fintech era, we hope to strengthen our partnership with Huawei…particularly in image recognition and deep learning, so as to provide better solutions that suit the needs of our customers,” Yang said.

CPIC recently signed an MOU with Huawei covering the development of data centers, cloud platforms, big data, AI applications, and digital security.

One of five

Huawei’s Rotating CEO Guo Ping predicts that the speed of digital technology development coupled with rising investment levels will drive massive consolidation and lead to a world with just five cloud networks.

“Cloud is the cornerstone of the intelligent world,” Guo said in his keynote at Huawei Connect. “Clouds around the world will begin to converge – becoming more centralized. In the future, we predict there will be five major clouds in the world. Huawei will work with its partners to build one of those five clouds.”

Guo said Huawei will build a cloud network based on its own public clouds and build a global cloud alliance with its key telco partners, including Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Orange Business Services.

Huawei’s experience in connecting half the world’s population via telecoms networks and its leadership in the China market positions it well to be a global cloud leader.

IDC data reveals that China is one of the main engines of global cloud growth, with spending on cloud hardware in the mainland forecast to increase by 19 percent annually between 2016 and 2021, compared with the world average of 13 percent. 

Connections are necessary to maximize cloud efficiency and release its value, said David Wang, president of Huawei Products & Solutions, adding that connectivity and cloud are the two engines powering smart cities, governments, and enterprises.

“Our strategy is to stay focused on cloud and connections to digitalize organizations faster by innovating solutions that achieve business growth and social progress,” Wang explained.   

He said that the goal of cloud services is to enable total flexibility in allocating resources, with seamless migration among public and private clouds.

New initiatives

Huawei also launched a number of new products at Huawei Connect, including Enterprise Intelligence (EI) cloud services, which it will support with general and scenario-specific solutions.

“Integrating EI into Huawei Cloud \makes Huawei Cloud more intelligent, and will help create greater industry value with advancements in technology,” said Zheng.

While not the biggest [cloud platform] in the world, he said: “We’re the fastest moving player and making rapid progress. Today Huawei isn’t a great talker obsessed with fancy ideas…but we’re a great doer that makes things happen.”

Huawei isn’t building out a cloud platform for the sake of having a cloud offering, said Zheng. Instead, the company focuses on creating business value through cloud platforms and services.

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