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Cloud Computing, Huawei’s Approach

Submitted by on 09 Mar 2012 – 15:57

Cloud Computing, Huawei’s Approach

By Tony Graziano, Vice President of EU Public Affairs and Communication & Abdellatif Benjelloun, Huawei Industry Standards Dept., Europe

During the last decade, enhancements in Information Technology (IT) have played a key role in enhancing peoples’ lives, increasing productivity and helping to create a fully connected, more participative society.

As IT has advanced, much of the effort has moved from business-driven, privately managed environments to publically-available services which are located “in the cloud”. These Cloud Computing systems represent a paradigm shift by allowing vast amounts of power to be used for everything from searching the Internet to social networking to new models of video consumption. These cloud computing systems have also transformed the business model for information services and become platforms for innovation. One key innovation is the transformation from separate systems for voice, data and video into unified Information Communications Technology (ICT) systems which not only offer new kinds of consumer services, but which also allow governments and businesses to transform themselves. These transformations are beginning to enable governments globally to achieve massive efficiencies to better serve their constituents.

For government and business decision-makers, Cloud Computing is often thought of as simply a way to reduce costs, but the potential impact is much more profound. Cloud Computing has become an unparalleled equalizer, effectively levelling the playing field for companies and organizations of any size by allowing them to compete on a global scale by removing the limits that technology infrastructure previously imposed. Besides offering flexible business models, Cloud Computing is also becoming the tool that unlocks one of the main drivers of unsustainable practices: poorly informed decision-making.

Apart from offering flexible business models, Cloud Computing will affect the whole architecture of information services. It will play a major role in creating the basic conditions to allow end users and customers to be liberated from their current device’s physical constraints to a world of unlimited services and applications. Cloud Computing in combination with mobile technologies will allow the realisation of “Anywhere, Anytime, and over any Device”.

As with all major technology shifts, Cloud Computing offers great opportunities. It also poses a number of questions, from policy, technology, business and usage perspectives. The technology shift to ubiquitous computing poses the questions of new value chains and respective roles of market players both in the infrastructure segment as well as for the applications/services segments. The markets currently shaping up pose questions with regards to policy, regulation and standards: how to best enable the emergence of new ecosystems and support innovation while ensuring an adequate level of interoperability and consumer protection? The borderless nature of the cloud poses questions with regards to data security, data privacy, jurisdictions and liability.

When considering all this, it is important policy initiatives ensure openness, appropriate use of global standards, interoperability and data security. We at Huawei firmly believe that creating an interoperable environment of portability, transparency, reliability and accountability will instill confidence for all the actors and will be fundamental in the process of cloud adoption. Our active engagement with most of the international standards initiatives (DMTF, Cloud Security Alliance, ITU-T, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC38, ETSI TC Cloud, etc), our own initiative in addressing cyber security, and collaboration with the different stakeholders is proof of our commitment to ensure the conditions of cooperation, openness, interoperability and data security are fully met.

We at Huawei are fully supportive of the idea that everyone should be able to reap the benefits offered by ICT and in particular, Cloud Computing. In this context, we strongly advocate closer international cooperation amongst countries and regions to ensure the sharing of technology know-how, skills and best practices. Apart from the obvious effect of addressing the digital divide, international cooperation also provides the opportunity to create economies of scale which will create financial benefits for consumers and business alike.

Huawei fully supports Commissioner Kroes’ approach to developing future Cloud Computing policies and actions. We particularly support the recent announcement to establish a European Cloud Partnership between government and industry with the objective to set-up a common basis for cloud procurement by public authorities. Cloud Computing offers huge potentials for the public sector. The implementation of Cloud Computing by the public sector will showcase the cost savings, improved productivity and market acceptance of cloud services which in turn will be good for the European cloud services market. At Huawei, we share Commissioner Kroes’ objective to focus the first phase of the Cloud partnership on establishing common requirements in the areas of open standards and security as we believe these are essential to ensure safety and confidentiality of data. These are two aspects which we have identified as critical for the future success of Cloud Computing based services.

In order to leverage the scalability and flexibility offered by the cloud, Huawei began to utilize desktop cloud technology at its Shanghai R&D Centre in 2009, and today, it is used by more than 45,000 Huawei engineers around the world. By using a thin client program, engineers can access their virtual desktops anytime, which results in improved efficiency and work flow. With a desktop cloud deployment, data is no longer stored on each PC, but on servers in the cloud data centre. By centralizing control of the information storage, The Huawei desktop cloud also greatly enhances information security. In addition, maintenance has become more efficient as each IT engineer is now able to manage more than 1,000 virtual desktops, compared with the previous 100 desktops.

Compared to conventional desktop technology, it is estimated that using a desktop cloud can save businesses 30% of a traditional investment and conserve 73% in power consumption. Deployment time is also reduced for the desktop cloud from three months to a few hours.

With the rapid development of cloud-computing technologies, more and more business applications have moved into the cloud. Huawei’s desktop cloud is already improving the operations of customers in over 30 countries with a total of 100,000 users, in a range of industries including government, healthcare, education, telecom, and finance. Huawei is committed to offering leading cloud applications and IT infrastructure solutions to promote cloud-based services and applications. In order to promote openness and collaboration across the industry, Huawei has joined hands with more than 300 partners to drive growth and shape the future of the industry. Huawei maintains a strategic focus in supporting European priorities, eg e-Health, Ambient Assisted Living, Smart Cities, Energy Efficiency, which will leverage unique services within the Cloud, ensuring long term benefits to the European community.