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HCC Europe: Open standards, hybrid and integration are key to cloud services

Cloud technology can bring businesses into the internet age, but has to be based on open architecture and innovation to bring value, according to Huawei

At the Huawei Cloud Congress Europe in Prague, Huawei speakers talked in length about the importance of openness and integration, with the key message being that cloud has the potential to transform businesses, but only if it’s done right. 

Huawei’s senior IT solutions sales expert, Krzysztof Celmer, said open architecture was key when developing cloud services. “Open brings more choice,” he said. “If you go for open technology and architecture, you can choose from more vendors, open standards and APIs [application programming interfaces].”

Open source is key

The sentiment is perhaps not surprising, seeing as Huawei prides itself on being a large contributor to open source communities. The company says it’s the second largest contributor to Docker and one of the six largest contributors to OpenStack.

The company also puts emphasis on partners, and recently launched Open Telekom Cloud – a partnership with network operator Deutsche Telekom.

The cloud is based on open standards and enables the carrier to provide a “comprehensive cloud portfolio all under one roof”, including private and public cloud, and software solutions that offer integration with a company’s existing IT infrastructure.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Huawei’s director of IT solutions, Western Europe enterprise business, Kunbin Hong, said the company aimed to bring innovations to the market and was “quite confident we can help”.

The Chinese company is working hard to improve its European market share and recently made some big strides, although, according to Zheng Ye Lai, president IT product line at Huawei, the company isn’t yet satisfied with its sales figures for enterprise IT in Europe. “In the next two to three years we will exceed our goals,” he added.

A hybrid cloud

According to Celmer, there are three things that are key to running successful cloud services: Open standards, hybrid and integration.

He referred to an “international study” which showed that top enterprise customers were spending less than 10% on public cloud services. This is something Huawei wants to change.

“Most customers are using legacy modes of private cloud, but we want our customers to take advantage of innovative cloud solutions,” said Celmer.

A hybrid version – in other words, a mix of the two – can provide that innovation while still ensuring customers get the security they need and want.

“Software isn’t everything. We need to deliver integrated knowledge and experience to our customers,” he said, adding that the company’s FusionCloud allowed it to do just that. “It allows us to give customers the same experience whether they are using public cloud services, or running them on a private cloud.”

There are several companies offering a similar, hybrid version, but Celmer claimed Huawei was different: “Huawei’s strategy is different from other vendors. On the one hand, we give the opportunity for customers to create their own cloud; on the other, we help them make the transformation to the cloud, and do so efficiently.”

A secure environment

The public cloud market is expected to be worth $133bn by 2018, according to analyst firm Gartner, o it’s hardly surprising Huawei sees potential in the market.

According to the company, enterprises will need to restructure their IT and move into the cloud to remain competitive and cost effective. “Not deploying a cloud solution may result in three to five times higher data storage and analytics IT costs than any cloud solution,” Huawei said in a press release.

But despite the public cloud market being the largest, Huawei’s Hong said enterprises will also need either a hybrid cloud or a private cloud, which means those are also growing markets, particularly in Europe.

“We’re trying to fulfil the different demands so we can provide a solution to hybrid cloud, private cloud and public cloud,” he said.

An Intel Security survey published in April 2016 found that 77% of organisations trust cloud computing more than they did a year ago, yet just 13% trust public cloud providers to secure sensitive data.

According to Hong, storing data in the cloud is completely secure. “The security has become more mature now,” he said, adding that there were many different cloud security solutions tailored to different sectors.

The company is keen to be at the forefront of innovation and spends 10% of its annual revenue on research and development, said Hong.

In April 2016, Huawei partnered with Vodafone to launch a narrowband internet of things (IoT) lab in Newbury. The aim of the lab is to incubate and commercialise machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT systems using narrowband networking.

Hong said that while IoT is “very complicated”, IoT is the “next future”. New technologies such as connected cars and further development of mobile devices will become more important in the future, he added.

While it’s a challenging market for the company, best known for its consumer offerings, Huawei is “getting more famous” said Hong.

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