Smart Enterprise Access Solutions for Service Providers

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1 Guaranteeing a Clear Pathway to the Cloud Using smart router technology to deliver enhanced, Cloud access services and new revenue opportunities for communications services providers. january 2012 Author Pravin Mirchandani Customer White paper

2 2 Smart Enterprise Access Solutions for Service Providers

3 Table of Contents 1. Executive Summary 2. The Impact of Cloud computing 2.1 Harnessing the Power of the Cloud 2.2 IT Cost Reduction 3. The Challenges of Cloud-computing 3.1 Performance 3.2 Security 4. Leveraging Cloud-computing revenue opportunities 5. The OneAccess Approach 6. Conclusion 3

4 1. Executive Summary Cloud-computing is rapidly transforming the approach that organisations have traditionally taken to architecting and resourcing their IT infrastructure. At the same time it is also opening up an exciting range of new revenue opportunities requiring service providers to radically reconsider their traditional service delivery models in order to stay competitive. Offering a highly cost effective and flexible alternative to the typical corporate data center, Cloud-computing means that businesses can access IT resources, on-demand computing, based on consumption and the actual needs of the organisation and, importantly, transferring IT from a Capex to an Opex cost framework. This rapid transformation has been brought about by the universal availability of high speed Internet and the technological advancements in new Web and Cloud-based business services. Voice and video IP communications is a typical example. Whilst delivery of voice and video conferencing services is a mature market sector, the associated cost and performance issues have restricted widespread adoption to mainly enterprise level organisations. However, with the success of essentially free Over-the-Top (OTT) services such as Skype, any size of organisation with a standard Internet connection can now enjoy the benefits of audio visual tele-conferencing and real time file sharing. For operators and communications service providers this development has created both challenges and opportunities in terms of adapting their delivery and pricing models to ensure they meet the needs of the consumer and, at the same time, provide an acceptable return on their infrastructure investment. This means a complete re-think in terms of the service definitions and pricing in order to capitalise on the new revenue streams, prevent customer drift and maintain the maximum RoI on infrastructure investment. Traditionally CSPs have used a fixed rate/unlimited use pricing model, which was fine when most organisations usage comprised of dealing with relatively low level traffic such as or standard Web browsing. With the increased use of voice and video IP and other OTT services, as well as widescale adoption of bandwidth-hungry Cloud applications by many organisations, this traditional business model no longer makes sound commercial sense. In order to ensure that they remain profitable in this new service-delivery environment, CSPs need to rethink their business services offering and introduce more flexible pricing structures that are fine-tuned to the needs of the customer. This also means working more closely and collaboratively with the business service providers to deliver higher and more consistent levels of quality of service for the end-user as well as generating increased revenues through more granular pricing structures. This white paper looks at the growth and diversity present in the emerging Cloud-computing sector and the implications CSPs need to consider if they are to maintain profitability and minimise customer churn. In addition, the paper discusses some of the challenges facing organisations planning to move to the Cloud and the opportunities this creates for CSPs. The final section will discuss how the OneAccess smart router family of connection devices can provide CSPs with an offthe-shelf or tailored solution to accelerate the introduction of these new, high revenue generating services for their customers. 4

5 2. The Impact of Cloud-computing Cloud-computing is transforming the IT industry from an asset-centric to a services-centric approach. Many major businesses and public sector organisations are re-platforming their IT services from ones principally using on-premises technology to a more adaptive architecture based on on-demand services. However, Cloud-computing is a complex and dynamic market sector that comprises various levels of as-a-service offerings with differing rates of adoption, with significant market growth predicted for the next ten years. The last two years in particular has seen rapid acceleration in innovation especially in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service sector driven by advances in server virtualisation technology. This has now been extended to include network virtualization, desktop virtualization and application virtualization with companies like Amazon leading the way. According to the recent Forrester report Sizing the Cloud the IaaS sector will continue to grow to reach $5.9 billion by 2014 before tailing off to slightly under $5 billion by However the same report forecasts explosive growth for the Software-as-a-Service sector. With a CAGR of 20% the SaaS sector is forecast to reach $241 billion in the same time period. A Gartner 2010 survey of over 2,000 CIOs representing 38 industries across 50 countries found that at the time of the survey only 3% operated with more than half of their infrastructure and applications in the Cloud. But this number is expected to grow to 46% by 2015, reinforcing the findings of the Forrester report and making Cloud transformation a primary focus of IT investment on a global scale. Other leading analysts report similar findings with IDC and Ovum also forecasting high growth in the Platform-as-a-Service sector, spearheaded by Microsoft, Google and Salesforce.com over the next 5 years. Forrester April

6 2.1 Harnessing the power of the Cloud However, regardless of how the Cloud is being utilised the two key elements in the process are the service provider and the communication transport provider, with the end-user experience ultimately depending on how well these two work together. Essentially Cloud-computing means that businesses can begin to reduce the size of their internal data centre and move all their IT requirements to a specialist third-party or range of Cloud providers. This enables businesses to consume IT resources on a pay-as-you-go basis with no responsibility for the on-going maintenance and support of the infrastructure, making computing the third utility service that can be billed in much the same way as power and water usage. From an internal user perspective the key requirement is that when they switch on their desk-top computer all the same features and functionality of the applications they need to perform their routine tasks are available. Whether the computer is connected to an internal LAN, corporate WAN or a virtual data centre in the Cloud, is just a technicality as far as the user is concerned, providing of course that it does not impact their productivity and ability to do their job. 2.2 IT Cost Reduction From the business perspective a primary motivation for switching to a Cloud platform is to reduce the annual IT budget and take the guess work out specifying and provisioning the optimum computing and storage capacity to meet the medium and long-term requirements of the business. This is particularly the case as new technologies continually emerge to take Cloud-computing to the next level of functionality and performance. Cost of ownership is a major factor that can sometimes be overlooked when provisioning a business with all its IT resources. For large scale enterprises with significantly sized, on-premise data centers in addition to the hardware and software investment, businesses also need to add technical and physical maintenance, real-estate costs, power and consumables into the TCO equation. Cloudcomputing means that organizations only pay for what they use, when they use it and have no on-going responsibility for maintaining availability. The same situation applies to business-critical software; buying enterprise-class software involves high up-front and annual maintenance costs that are typically linked to fixed user limits. SaaS offers businesses the opportunity to have the latest version of the software package at a fixed monthly fee and provides the flexibility to increase or decrease user access in-line with the realtime business requirement. 6

7 3. The Challenges of Cloud-computing While the benefits of a Cloud approach to delivering and managing corporate IT resources appears, at face-value, to be entirely compelling, the reality is that such a move is not without its challenges. In particular, since it is likely that a company will still retain some on-premise capacity, at least in the transitional phase. Thus there will be the issue of how to link the resources together and ensure that software interdependencies are recognised in this hybrid environment. 3.1 Performance Network performance is a major issue for users of the corporate IT infrastructure that can be negatively affected by a number of different factors but essentially comes down, in simple terms, to the level of traffic relative to the available bandwidth. Just over-specifying the bandwidth to allow for worst case scenarios can be an expensive option, a more cost-effective approach is to apply more sophisticated traffic monitoring and filtering techniques (WAN Optimization) at the point of connection. In the Cloud environment a primary concern is the impact on application performance, particularly when applications, running in the Cloud, need to connect to software and data sources running in the corporate data centre. This can result in performance degradation as traffic is bottlenecked through a single point of connection that is also likely to be handling a range of integrated communication tasks between the company and the external world. When the impact of high bandwidth-consuming, tele-conferencing and video streaming are also factored into the equation, maintaining performance consistency and high QoS standards over extended time periods is a significant on-going challenge for service providers. This makes the point of connection a critical factor in the successful transition to a Cloud environment if vital customer services and internal user productivity are to be maintained at acceptable performance levels. By implication this means that real-time traffic monitoring and bandwidth optimization functionality are key considerations in the specification of the external interface device. 3.2 Security In addition to application performance, data security and access control are also very important considerations for any company planning to move, partially or wholly, to the Cloud. In this hybrid scenario, businesses only really have control over the data that is stored behind the corporate firewall, which means that the responsibility for securing the data stored in the Cloud or on the move between the Cloud and the data centre is passed to the service provider and the carrier. The problem of security is increased if the service is delivered from a public-cloud where data storage is on shared servers and user access is via a common Web-interface. As well as data vulnerabilities, the Cloud environment can also be a conduit for a range of malware attacks targeting the corporate network, again with the point of connection playing a critical security role at the network perimeter. It is here where the issues of application performance and network security overlap. If set up incorrectly the corporate security shield can also be a potential performance bottleneck; getting the balance right to ensure that the system is fully protected without introducing latency problems into the system can be the crucial difference between the success or failure of a Cloud-computing project. 7

8 4. Leveraging Cloud-computing revenue opportunities The rapid growth in Cloud-computing is challenging many of the established norms associated with delivering corporate IT resources and represents a paradigm shift that has ramifications for all players in the supply chain. As with any major industry step-change this new utility approach to providing business critical IT services is opening up opportunities for new service providers to enter the market as well as enabling existing operators to introduce or consolidate new revenue streams. Conversely some IT support companies will start to see their traditional business model coming under considerable pressure. VARs and System integrators in particular are likely to see demand for their services diminish as pay-as-you-go Cloud offerings such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs become more established. However, as discussed earlier, the Cloud is a multi-layered and complex environment with many component parts, all of which play a critical role in ensuring that the end user experience is equal to, or better than if connected to an on-premise data-centre otherwise why bother? To avoid being marginalized in this fast moving market CSPs need to transition from the traditional «transport» mind-set and adopt and equally dynamic «Service-Delivery» mentality. While the Cloud-provider is responsible for the performance of all the servers and applications as well as the security of the customer data inside the Cloud, carriers and managed communications service providers also have a critical role to play in the ultimate user experience, providing a clear and clean pathway between the corporate environment and the Cloud. In a highly competitive market this means that carriers need to look beyond the traditional service offering that is typically just concerned with delivering specific bandwidth capacity, and tailor their offering more around the customer s quality of experience at the point of access, which ultimately is where it matters most. For carriers and CSPs this represents a major opportunity to introduce new value-added services specifically to cater for this alwayson, resource-hungry market. With bandwidth at premium-rate prices Cloud customers are always going to look for the best deal possible when selecting their carrier partner. 8

9 There are only two real ways that this can be achieved; by throwing more, expensive, bandwidth at the problem or by introducing smarter traffic monitoring and management into the system to ensure optimum bandwidth usage. In reality, over-specifying the bandwidth is not an economically viable option for most organizations. This means that carriers incorporating WAN optimization functionality as a service delivery option can offer more granular SLAs based on guaranteed bandwidth for the customer s business critical applications. More importantly they are the ones that are more likely to succeed in this crowded sector. Specifically, WAN optimization means filtering out redundant transmissions, accelerating protocols and prioritizing traffic-flows at the network access-point for optimum performance and maximum security providing carriers with an opportunity to differentiate their offering and leverage more revenues from the evolving Cloud-computing market. Providers that leverage their ownership of the network infrastructure in this way, which is their strong point when competing against OTT vendors, are the ones most likely to succeed. 5. The OneAccess Approach OneAccess smart routers are IP-native devices at the heart of every platform is a high-performance switch/router incorporating sophisticated traffic monitoring, security and QoS capabilities as standard including sophisticated WAN optimization capabilities. This enables delivery of IP managed services with highly differentiated SLAs to be created, demarcated, monitored and controlled, with just one CPE deployment, and at industry-leading price points. Incorporating advanced QoS techniques, the OneAccess smart router s functionality includes packet classification, marking/tagging, DiffServ, traffic conditioning, traffic shaping and congestion avoidance to ensure the quality of a wide variety of traffic types including IP voice and video traffic. In addition, embedded measurement probes provide network performance metrics, such as throughput, round trip delays, jitter and loss to give current and historical insights into the customer experience and report this to operational support systems. This is essential for the effective and simplified provisioning of SLA management. It also enables service providers to deliver a performance snapshot of service quality as well as defining compliance with the SLA for their wholesale clients and retail end-user business customer alike. activities, and enabling CSPs to offer real-time performance reports to clients. 9

10 In addition to the latest world-class technology OneAccess also offers CSPs an unrivalled combination of service features, partner relationships, local support, and cost leadership including: Mass customized services OneAccess can accommodate many service feature requirements that are not already integrated within the standard functionality. Close and flexible team working - OneAccess provides CSPs with close, consistent cooperation and the agility to meet its evolving needs. Support requests are usually handled in a matter of hours or days. Operating via a global network of offices OneAccess partners and end-users have access to local business and technical teams to provide easy access to tailored customer support services. Lower cost of ownership OneAccess s auto-configure capabilities help to lower the need for staff training, intervention and associated on-site costs. The multi-service capability of the OneAccess smart router technology can be easily integrated into existing network management systems, facilitating operation and maintenance 6. Conclusions The rapid transition from on-premise to Cloud based IT platforms, whether public or private, means that businesses and public sector organisations are becoming increasingly dependent on their IP connection to deliver consistent QoS standards across their entire IT infrastructure. Enterprise-class Cloud applications and third-party OTT services such as tele-conferencing need high bandwidth consistency over extended time periods to maintain packet integrity and LAN-like performance metrics. Traditional communications transport services are no longer sustainable in this new bandwidth hungry environment and CSPs need to adopt an approach more focused on service-delivery that reflects the changing real-time requirements of Cloud-computing users. OneAccess is a leading, global supplier of smart router technology and support services with an extensive track record of working with the world s major carriers and managed communications service providers. By working closely with its partners, OneAccess can demonstrate a formidable track record in the delivery of new revenue-generating services, increased customer retention and overall business profitability for its multi-national clients. 10

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12 ABOUT us Incorporated in 2001, OneAccess is a leading manufacturer of multi-service routers and carrier Ethernet access devices enabling major telecoms service providers to deliver business-grade managed services profitably. OneAccess supplies routers to over 110 communications service providers including 4 of the top 5 largest telecoms operators in Europe. By using mass customization techniques OneAccess CPE solutions can be precisely tailored to meet the stringent demands of the business managed services market enabling superior performance, management, reliability and services innovation. Smart Enterprise Access Solutions for Service Providers For more information visit OneAccess, Pentagone Plaza, 381 Avenue du Général de Gaulle, Clamart, France Phone: +33 (0) Fax: +33 (0)

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