This is part one of a five-part series discussing how Juniper Networks is helping communication service providers (CSPs) partner, collaborate and succeed within the public cloud paradigm.
Communications service providers (CSPs) have moved from dipping a toe into the shallow end to diving headfirst into the deep waters of telco cloud, a software-defined, highly resilient cloud infrastructure for agile service delivery as well as internal workloads. Some, like Deutsche Telekom, have had success while others tread water, or worse. Public cloud providers (also known as “hyperscalers,” like AWS, Microsoft and Google) have come to the rescue with platforms and services designed specifically to support the needs of the CSP. Or have they?
Over the last decade, hyperscalers have developed and curated cloud technologies to successfully automate a global cloud ecosystem. Today, hyperscalers are working to extend their cloud platforms to the network edge, riding over the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G to deliver new services, enter new markets and generate new revenues. The problem? Hyperscalers own little to no edge real estate, placing an extraordinary dependency on CSP partnerships to achieve market success.
Today, most Tier-1 CSPs have invested in cloud transformation but progress has been inconsistent. Few, if any, have achieved the cloud proficiency to manage a highly scaled, telco and edge cloud deployment. As a result, several high-profile Tier-1 CSPs, particularly in North America, have entered partnerships with hyperscalers to hasten time to market with data center, telco and edge cloud services.
There are clear synergies, but the partnership strategy raises several CSP concerns:
- Can short-term success lead to long-term strategic gain?
- Are these partnerships mutually beneficial?
- Can CSPs maintain leverage in a long-term partnership?
Absolutely! Although disrupted by OTT players, CSPs have amassed a wealth of technology, experience and assets to make up lost ground. To level the playing field – or even tip the scales in their favor – CSPs will continue to learn, adapt and evolve their cloud capabilities and develop unique cloud solutions that leverage their own vast edge real estate.
Partnerships offer strategic value but using a hyperscaler cloud to achieve business agility without learning the tools of the trade is akin to eating food without learning to cook. To grow market share, increase revenues and participate in the growing cloud economy, CSPs are taking on a two-pronged telco cloud strategy:
- Building for success
- Developing cloud-native platforms, technologies and expertise to protect self-interests and maintain control.
- Partnering for success
- Developing balanced, symbiotic partnerships to ensure both near-term objectives and long-term success.
CSP and hyperscaler partnerships sound like a perfect match, but as hyperscalers compete with one another to lock up the CSPs’ dance cards, many CSPs are playing hard to get. The mutual near-term benefits are clear – immediate time to market with co-marketed and competitive offerings – but the long-term risks to the CSP brand, value and revenue are worth reconsidering. Partnerships are important – and inevitable – but CSPs are committed to building their own clouds as a vital part of a healthy and balanced telco cloud strategy.
In part two of this blog series, we’ll describe the CSP evolution from traditional to virtualized to cloud-native.