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Alcatel-Lucent Thursday unveiled a new solution that it says is the foundation for a new class of carrier services it has dubbed "carrier cloud." The communications technology company said its new CloudBand solution will allow communications carriers to offer cloud-based networking services with guaranteed performance, reliability and security.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) said CloudBand is a key step in the establishment of its global cloud initiative, which is centered on transforming the Paris-based company's platforms and applications to a cloud-based architecture and offering them as a service from Alcatel-Lucent's cloud to carriers. It is currently serving 18 million subscribers through the initiative.
Alcatel-Lucent said its research shows that, far and away, the biggest concern of enterprise IT decision makers when it comes to the cloud is performance, followed by security. The company is hoping that CloudBand's capabilities will alleviate these concerns and convince enterprise IT decision makers that communications service providers that offer business class cloud services can deliver low latency, better control of bandwidth and the ability to provide a guaranteed quality of service.
"From our research, we know that performance is the highest concern of IT decision makers," said Adolfo Hernandez, president of Alcatel-Lucent's Software, Services & Solutions Group. "We also know that they believe communications service providers are in the best position to deliver the quality and security they expect, making them the cloud provider of choice for the enterprise world. The network makes the cloud, and communications service providers own the networks. That's a very powerful combination."
CloudBand, built on algorithms developed at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs, is composed of two elements: the CloudBand Management System and the CloudBand Node. The CloudBand Management System delivers orchestration and optimization of services between the communications network and the cloud, while CloudBand Node provides the computing, storage and networking hardware and associated software necessary to host a wide variety of services.
Together, these elements give CloudBand the ability to orchestrate the network, computing and data storage elements distributed throughout the network, creating a powerful and flexible delivery service and platform that can support a wide range of services. This includes extending beyond the service provider's network to manage access to an array of private and public clouds.
The company said that once carriers are connected to the carrier cloud, they wouldn't need to install dedicated equipment for communication services like SMS or video. Instead, they can draw from the carrier cloud to address demand or even test new services.
"Service providers' cloud investments have already exceeded $11 billion in 2011, but financial rewards will only come if their computing and network assets are tightly integrated," said Camille Mendler, telecommunications analyst at Informa. "Orchestration platforms like Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand support efficient consumption and control of diverse digital resources. Better control means better performance—and that's absolutely critical to differentiate and win customers."
Alcatel-Lucent said CloudBand will be available for deployment in the first half of 2012.