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China Mobile's Cloud Works All Day, Plays All Night

May 26, 2012


Source: Total Telecom, the UK

Huawei explains how customer China Mobile is using its internal cloud to open up new revenue streams outside working hours.

By moving its internal ICT operations into the cloud, China Mobile has both increased its productivity internally and opened up additional revenue streams by recycling unused capacity outside business hours.

“These are times when your business offices are winding down or closed, and so the physical servers, the storage that was used for those internal applications during the day, can be reused transparently, and get a new revenue source,” Ron Raffensperger, director of cloud computing marketing for Huawei, told Total Telecom at ITU Telecom World 2011 on Wednesday.

“China Mobile is using Huawei's cloud offering for their own internal stuff, but they're also selling capacity out of the cloud to an online gaming company,” Raffensperger explained. The move does not require any additional specialist software and hardware, he added.

Hosting gaming servers when workers have gone home generates revenue from dormant machines. Crucially, it is also the time of day when gaming servers are most needed, as people relax in the evenings, he explained.

However, Raffensperger was adamant that the cloud is more than just a remote server. It’s not just transferring a computer from a back room to an operator's data centre; it’s about flexibility and accessibility.

“The simplest way to think about cloud is: It’s not where I am, but I can get at it from wherever I am,” he said. “You want to make the information that people need available wherever they are,” not just storage, but all the applications, services, and security as well.

But the concept is difficult to sell, partly due to the enthusiasm of marketing departments for labeling anything and everything as “cloud”, and partly because customers are unsure what they can use it for. To address this issue, cloud providers need to consult businesses, discussing their requirements, rather than just selling a product, Raffensperger said, adding that this is Huawei’s strategy for taking on the cloud space.

Raffensperger attributed the recent uptake in cloud services to advances in technology, and the cost of computing and storage dropping to an affordable level over the last 10 to 20 years.

“These concepts (virtualized data centers) aren’t new,” he concluded. “But unfortunately broadband wasn't ubiquitous enough (until now)... What is new, really, is the scale, because you can reach incredible distances,” as a result of broadband having become accessible to much wider markets.