Amazon may have pioneered cloud-based storage and software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) in general, but service providers are in a good position to benefit from the market for cloud storage that it helped create.
That’s because network service providers are in a natural position to offer cloud storage both to enterprises and consumers. With their distributed footprint and superior network performance, with the right carrier cloud architecture service providers can offer cloud storage services that have superior performance, availability and reliability.
But let’s talk about the market opportunity first.
IDC (News - Alert) estimates that nearly 20 percent of the 7.9 zettabyes of information in the digital universe will pass through the cloud by 2015, according to a paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), The Other SaaS: Why Service Providers Should Think Storage, with as much as 10 percent of that being maintained in the cloud. Forrester (News - Alert) research predicts that the total market for storage services will be $6 billion dollars by 2016.
The paper also notes that by 2016 a full third of all consumer storage needs will be filled by cloud services. And, word-of-mouth is predicted to be the main vehicle for consumer cloud storage adoption. Service providers, with their existing consumer relationships, are in a prime position to capitalize on consumer cloud storage needs.
But the case for cloud storage services from network service providers goes much deeper. With the right carrier cloud network architecture such as Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand Management System, service providers have the opportunity to offer a service that overcomes key weaknesses in the existing cloud storage market. These weaknesses include:
- End-to-end service guarantees
- Security and bandwidth costs
The CloudBand Management System orchestrates, automates and optimizes services across the service provider’s network and data center resources. It provides a global view of and control over the entire service delivery environment as a single pool of resources. It also includes an OSS/BSS layer that integrates with service providers’ OSS/BSS systems and processes.
With this carrier cloud architecture, service providers can offer reduced storage latency with their cloud storage solution because they can store data closer to the customer than most centralized data centers. They also can match workloads to network traffic patterns, according to Alcatel-Lucent,
Service providers have a leg up when it comes to their ability to offer end-to-end service guarantees because service providers own the access network and, with CloudBand they are thereby able to adjust storage workloads to meet optimal performance and SLA requirements.
In addition, offering cloud storage solutions makes sense for service providers because they play well with the need for increased security requirements—a carrier cloud architecture brings the redundancy, failure detection and automated recovery capabilities that are built-in to service providers’ networks to cloud storage services.
Finally, service providers have a competitive advantage when it comes to bandwidth considerations because network costs are a major concern for anyone looking for cloud storage services, and there are inherent advantages to those who own physical networks versus those who must lease facilities.
Alcatel-Lucent makes a point that resonates when it says that all of this adds up for quite an opportunity for facilities-based network service providers.
Edited by Peter Bernstein