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The Five Clouds Enabling an Intelligent World

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The Five Clouds Enabling an Intelligent World

By Guo Ping, Huawei Rotating CEO

IBM founder Thomas J. Watson famously said there was a world market for about five computers. Frequently cited as grossly inaccurate, that prediction could be characterized as prescient if one interprets ‘five computers’ to mean ‘five clouds.’

Cloud services are becoming the primary model for the IT industry. Thanks to economies of scale in investments combined with the so-called ‘Matthew Effect’ (whereby the rich get richer), successful clouds will undoubtedly become more centralized.

But data sovereignty makes it impossible for the world to have just one cloud, or even two. We expect Huawei to become one of ‘the five clouds,’ simply because cloud computing is part of our Cloud DNA.

It has become commonplace to observe that, in a digital world, everything becomes more closely connected. And Huawei is one of the few companies with the capacity to connect ‘everything.’ We are a technology company that connects people to people, people to things, and things to things. Only a handful of other companies have this capacity.

About half of the world’s population uses Huawei’s network equipment, mainly because we continuously invest in technology. Huawei has invested heavily in building cloud platforms and continuously developing new capabilities to meet the needs of our customers. That’s the first element of Huawei’s Cloud DNA.

The second element is security. When it comes to the cloud, our customers are most concerned about the security of services and data.

The Huawei Cloud has a robust system in place to ensure the security of our customers’ services and data from two perspectives: Technology and processes.

In terms of technology, Huawei provides integrated chip and service solutions to ensure both physical security and network security. For example, our cloud security chips effectively address the problems affecting the security of the cloud. Our security mechanisms far exceed the level of security available on any current independent IT systems.

We have also embedded security into our business processes, so that security cannot be ignored during any stage of product development. We consistently invest 5 percent of our total Research and Development (R&D) budget in cyber security, and we collaborate with industry experts and academia to promote the development of cloud security architecture.

The third element of Huawei’s Cloud DNA is cloud-based services. To many people in the industry, cloud services ‘hang in the air;’ however, Huawei believes the cloud needs services at the ground level as well.

Different from Over-The-Top, or OTT, cloud companies, Huawei is a perfect example of growing with the cloud. Our own IT architecture is extremely complex and always changing. We therefore understand the needs and challenges of governments and large global companies, and have figured out a path of multi-cloud management. With our strong capabilities in technology and industry experience, we are confident that we can help governments and large enterprises transition to digital.

Without well-targeted ground services, it is difficult for organizations to launch services by themselves. For example, in 2015, to ensure the safety of the Pope during his visit to Nairobi, Kenya, the government asked Huawei to quickly deploy a Safe City cloud. It took us only five months to pass preliminary acceptance, and the safe city cloud was soon put into operation. Without strong ground services, such a rapid delivery would have been simply impossible.

The fourth and final element of Huawei’s Cloud DNA is shared success. Last year, I remarked that Huawei aims to cultivate an ecosystem like that of Costa Rica: Open, dynamic, diverse, symbiotic, and thriving. We collaborate with partners who are able to innovate, regardless of size, in order to create value for customers and help resolve their business challenges.

By building an ecosystem, Huawei does not want to own data, content, or turn our partners into information processing factories. Instead, we want to provide a technology platform.

With the technology we offer, our partners can turn their expertise into machine intelligence. To put it another way, we are leveraging the strengths of all parties to build an ecosystem where all parties coexist and thrive together.

Today, executives face a choice between active transformation and passive change. As Huawei sees it, shell broken from the outside in, get fried; those broken from the inside out, bring life. For traditional companies seeking to control their own destiny, the prudent course of action is to break out of one’s own shell by proactively embracing digital transformation — including the cloud. In the future, we will continue to work with our partners to build a cloud alliance, and deliver one of the world’s five largest clouds.

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