Alcatel-Lucent representatives dropped by to chat with me about their CloudBand portfolio of products and services that are designed to address the needs of telecommunications carriers. They pose that their long-time association with that market allows them to have a unique understanding of the requirements of those companies. Furthermore, the company believes that the network makes the cloud.
Alcatel-Lucent points out that most cloud service providers and cloud technology providers can't offer performance or quality guarentees because they don't own the network through which the organization and its customers access applications and data. The company would also point out that purchasing needed bandwidth can be expense. Furthermore, Alcatel-Lucent would say, most cloud service providers are offering centralized architectures that would make it difficult to move services (applicaitons and databases) closer to customers to reduce overall latency.
The company sees this as an opportunity and is working with a number of partners, notably HP and Citrix, to offer CloudBand. CloudBand is comprised of two elements:
- The CloudBand Management System, which delivers orchestration and optimization of services between the communications network and the cloud.
- The CloudBand Node, which provides the computing, storage and networking hardware and associated software to host a wide range of cloud services.
While it does appear that the company understands the requirements of the telecommunications industry quite well, it is not at all clear to me that it is offering anything that is a step beyond what Dell, HP, IBM and Oracle already are offering to the same customer base. All of these suppliers have, at one time or another, discussed the very same issues.
What appeared to be a special focus was Alcatel-Lucient's desire to help the telecommunications carriers transform themselves to increase flexibility, efficiency and agility while also reducing their costs. Then, from that position, create new products and services for their customers. This grand vision clearly requires a great deal of understanding of how telecommunications companies structure their internal business operations.
An outside observer, however, would point out that competitors have been serving the same market for years and have a similar level of expertise and can offer similar sets of products and services.