This was an important week for Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) (ALU) in regards to where its CEO Michel Combes wants to take the company, based on his recently announced Shift Plan – which will reposition the company strategically from being a telecom solutions generalist to an industrial specialist. The reason is that it is clear that being a dominant player in providing cloud infrastructure solutions and support services is core to making the shift work.
Combes, in fact, made this an important part of his speech this week at the formal opening of the company’s world-class cloud research and development center in Kfar Saba (News - Alert), Israel, whose mission is to deliver on the promise of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to accelerate ALU’s service provider customers to the cloud.
In conjunction with the ALU launch its CloudBand Ecosystem program to help promote industry cooperation on NFV which enables network services to be deployed on a shared cloud infrastructure instead of dedicated, purpose-built hardware. The company’s CloudBand solution is the industry’s first open, multivendor NFV management platform enabling service providers to bring the benefits of the cloud to their own networks and business operations while offering cloud services with the security, reliability and quality enterprises and consumers expect from telecommunications networks.
Combes explained the role cloud is playing in IP networking and ultra-broadband access in general. However, he used the R&D center opening to highlight the value of NFV.
“We believe new technologies like NFV and Software Defined Networking are going to massively change the networking landscape,” Combes stated. “They will lead the industry’s network transformation to a cloud-based approach.” The facility in Kfar Saba will be a key part in working to help customers apply NFV to create a simpler, more agile and efficient operating model for meeting networking demands.
“Having world-class cloud facilities in Israel, as well as in Silicon Valley, gives Alcatel-Lucent two of the brightest centers in the world focused on excellence in cloud technologies,” Combes commented. “Their location, in global innovation hubs, underscores our commitment to cloud’s evolution, which we see as one of the most integral and influential technologies shaping next generation networks, communications, business and the economy within the next five years.”
In addition, Alcatel-Lucent is moving major parts of its portfolio to the cloud—creating a path to NFV technology and giving service providers choices on which key network services to deploy to the cloud. The facility at Kfar Saba also has a collaborative relationship with major Israeli universities, specifically Tel-Aviv University and Technion, to research distributed cloud optimization.
With NFV and SDN so crucial to ALU’s future success as part of the Shift Plan, i.e., with the cloud key to sunnier days ahead, other areas of ALU involvement in the cloud should be noted. Not only is there all of the interest around its CloudBand solution, and now the ecosystem program to bring together service providers, developers and vendors to accelerate NFV development and adoption, Alcatel-Lucent announced a breakthrough Software Defined Networking (SDN) solution in April of this year, by its new Nuage Networks venture.
So the shift is on and ALU is convinced the cloud is the place where the industry is going and where they intend to lead. It is why they are investing heavily in both NFV and SDN. While nothing is ever a safe bet, in this case assuming continued investment and execution you have to believe the odds for success are worth the risks of the bets being placed.
Edited by Alisen Downey