Telecom companies are migrating to the cloud. Melanie Posey in an IDC research paper averred that Telecom companies are being driven by economic imperatives to join the Cloud computing revolution. They are inserting themselves into the “Cloud in a way that highlights their current network assets and network related capabilities”. They are claiming their place at the cloud table and exploiting the opportunities for retail services for enterprises, consumers, software developers, and creating ecosystem oriented services. The process is, in turn, transforming their business models, allowing them to play important roles in the cloud services supply chain.

So, what kinds of role do telecom companies play in Cloud computing and data backup services? Are they just cutting themselves a slice of the cake or do they have something of value to add to the cloud infrastructure?

The IDC research paper holds that Telecom companies are the original cloud providers. They have been around for a long time with “shared tenant architectures for delivery of capabilities such as dial tone and network enabled services like inter and intra network switching and routing that enables point to multipoint connectivity, audio conferencing, security and hosted TDM and IP telephony”. So, it is not surprising that they are strategically exploiting “network adjacencies” and transforming the network from being a mere collection of pipes and ports to a “global intelligent networking and service enabling platform for performance optimized delivery of distributed applications”.

Telcos bring to the table low cost usage based service models with scalability and high availability. Anchored data centers are used to centralize services and manage user functionalities with front-end cloud service delivery models in place. They provide multiple services to multiple customers and optimize on use of resources and define quality of service levels.

IDC conclusively opines that Telcos have a very definite role in cloudscapes. They can anchor themselves with infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). They can sell wholesale capacity and monetize on their networks. They can emerge as full service telcos with data center footprints with “service delivery platforms for the creation, distribution and management of infrastructure, and application-oriented capabilities of enterprises, SMBs, consumers / prosumers and partners.”  The cloud will provide both challenges and opportunities to Telcos.

Source: Melanie Posey (2009) I N S I G H T:  Telcos in the Cloud: Claiming a Seat at the Table, IDC #219439, Volume: 1, Tab: Markets Hosting Infrastructure Services: Insight at http://www.voicecon.com/archive/downloads/Telcos_in_the_Cloud.pdf, accessed 3rd of August 2011.