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All-Cloud Networks Empower Digital Transformation

By Kevin Hu, President, Switch and Enterprise Gateway Product Line, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

Today, each enterprise operator needs to explore new ways to understand customer needs and develop uniquely competitive business models. In the next ten years, information technologies and business models will continue to innovate and be upgraded. New technologies, including virtual reality and augmented reality, and new business models based on sharing and social economies are profoundly changing the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, and having a great impact on the sustainable development of enterprises. According to reports from the International Data Corporation (IDC), one-third of the top 20 enterprises and organizations in each industry will suffer for lack of digitization over the next three to five years.

Enterprises are in a period of fast digital transformation and digitalization continues to expand into various industries. Given these situations, enterprises that embrace digitalization to a higher degree will have higher operation and production efficiencies. Digital transformation is changing the business landscape at unprecedented speeds. Traditional industries, such as manufacturing, aim to achieve industrial upgrades through digitalization. After the upgrades, the production efficiency of these industries is expected to increase by 30 percent, and the product quality will be enhanced dozens of times over. Alongside digitalization, other new industries will emerge; and new markets will be created around Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In addition, digitalization brings Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reports that Industry 4.0 will improve Germany’s GDP by 1 percent and add 390,000 jobs over the next ten years.

For enterprises, digitalization is an important weapon, whether in fierce competition with counterparts or facing challenges from cross-border competitors. What kinds of enterprises can be called digital enterprises? At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit, rotating CEO Eric Xu said that each digital enterprise should have five features. First, the enterprise must provide employees, partners, and customers with Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) user experiences. Second, it uses socialized communication modes to fully motivate and enable employees. Third, it needs agile innovation capabilities to adapt to rapidly changing customer requirements and technological development trends. Fourth, it has a healthy ecosystem. In the digital era, no enterprise can stand alone; instead, it has only two options: Either exist in an ecosystem or dominate it. Enterprises can seize more opportunities when they both integrate and dominate a healthy ecosystem. And last, it must operate intelligently. An enterprise can use Big Data analytics and AI technologies for automatic and intelligent decision-making, as well as improve decision making efficiency and quality. As this new tide comes, enterprises that follow the tide will flourish and those that go against it will not survive. To survive in this era of digitalization, enterprises must participate sooner rather than later and build digital capabilities to transform into digital enterprises.

All-Cloud Network Is the Only Way to Digital Transformation for Enterprises

To support digital transformation and business development, enterprises can build on-demand networks for providing self-services to businesses, simpler management, Operation and Maintenance (O&M), and ensuring network security. For example, on a campus network, a large number of users access the network through Wi-Fi. Therefore, a large number of network devices are required. Hundreds or even thousands of Access Points (APs) are required to provide Wi-Fi coverage over the entire campus. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) planning and optimization must be implemented before the deployment of these APs. In addition, radio signal calibration is required based on user traffic and access locations. If these devices were to be managed and configured in the same way on traditional fixed networks, the management and configuration workloads would be huge. According to Gartner reports, one of the challenges facing campus networks is that the Operating Expenditure (OPEX) is so high, accounting for up to 73 percent of the total network expense. As more content gets aggregated in data centers and clouds, network traffic increases. For example, network traffic changes when the locations of a large number of Wi-Fi access users change. To offer better user experiences, networks need to be optimized, in advance, based on the changed user traffic and access locations. However, traditional manual network optimization methods cannot accomplish this objective. Additionally, enterprise networks become comprehensive networks that carry new services including office, production, video surveillance, and IoT services, and access devices on the networks become complicated. How to quickly locate faults is also a challenge for maintenance personnel.

In traditional IT environments, cloud computing is used to reduce costs and improve efficiency by centralizing resource management, maintenance, and manpower. For examples, government agencies use cloud-based network platforms to transform government functions and working methods to provide efficient, standardized, high-quality services. In the finance industry, cloud-based service platforms are used for Big Data modeling and analysis of online user behavior to improve decision-making efficiency and achieve fast innovation of personalized products and services. In the manufacturing industry, IoT technologies are being used as a new approach for preventive maintenance — not only to improve working efficiency, but also to greatly reduce OPEX and optimize financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These examples show that cloud-based networks are creating real benefits for digital enterprises, and secondly, that enterprises have common network digitalization requirements. These requirements include:

  • Ubiquitous network access is required to fully connect machines with people, and data with applications. The goal is to improve the efficiency of delivering information to customers. Ubiquitous network infrastructure is also required to reduce costs for enterprises in the digitalization process.
  • Open cloud platforms are required. Clouds are used for resource planning and operations management to improve efficiency. Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) need to be provided to achieve fast innovation of applications and services. With digital technologies and solutions, applications and services can be developed quickly within short periods of time.
  • Industrial applications adapted for social media must achieve information exchange among users, applications, terminals, and networks to bring greater business benefits.
  • In the future, enterprises that offer better service experiences to users, plus meeting innovation and security expectations, will stand out in the digital transformation age. This coincides with the Huawei value proposition for all-cloud networks. Building all-cloud networks is the only way to create digital enterprises.

    All-Cloud Network Solutions Reconstruct Digital Enterprise Models

    Digital technologies — including social media, mobile Internet, Big Data analytics, and cloud computing — are more powerful when used together rather than alone to help enterprises transform their business processes and workflow. Huawei all-cloud network solutions implement development and optimization based on these technologies to reconstruct business models, enterprise ecosystems, and the network architectures of digital enterprises. The solutions change enterprises’ business and working models by using these technologies to create value for business operators.

  • All-cloud networks reconstruct business models of enterprises
  • Enterprises that focus on creating new customer value propositions or changing their business models need to respond flexibly to rapidly changing customer requirements in order to achieve business model innovation. The most important ability of enterprises undergoing a digital transition is to design and implement new business models. Enterprises must continually explore the best way to generate profitable revenues, engage in business activities, and establish a presence in new or existing industries. All-cloud networks have brought great changes to traditional business models and allowed Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to operate their own cloud management platforms. By leveraging Huawei public clouds or self-operated cloud management platforms, MSPs can choose the business models that are most appropriate for their own development. Such approaches release MSPs from depending on vendor platforms and help them transition from selling devices to selling services to gain more benefits. Niu Zenghui, General Manager of FreeWiFi8 said, “We are a professional Wi-Fi network construction and operation company. With the continuous expansion of businesses, we have encountered many tough issues during project operations. For example, O&M is complex for Wi-Fi coverage in multiple business districts; transformation is urgently needed in Value-Added Service (VAS) fields, and business expansion is restricted because our services depend on enterprise leased lines. Our cooperation model with Huawei is that Huawei provides basic services such as online support, software subscriptions, and northbound interfaces; and we offer services like network planning, Managed Services (MSs), remote O&M, and VASs. Huawei’s CloudCampus solution helps us reduce operating costs and service support burdens, and accommodates the increasing requirements for on-demand VASs.”

  • All-cloud networks reconstruct enterprise ecosystems
  • In the three-layer architecture of Huawei’s all-cloud network, social media applications that have been adapted for industry are focused on customer services. Based on the all-cloud network architecture, Huawei CloudApp Platform offers enterprises and partners a complete network environment for App development. Apart from the support for new application development, the platform can also rapidly integrate existing applications through APIs, allowing enterprises to take full advantage of network data values, rapidly respond to market changes, and seize new business opportunities. Huawei CloudApp Platform enables partners in the application sector to reach their full potential while developing differentiated solutions to better meet the needs of end users and build an all-cloud network ecosystem.

    A cloud itself is an ecosystem. No single manufacturer can provide users with a complete line of products independently; therefore, mutual cooperation is a must. In the ICT field, Huawei has always implemented the concepts of openness and cooperation with the aim to build an ecosystem with partners and customers that achieves win-win outcomes for everybody. Given the enormous market space, cloud networks require upstream and downstream support from enterprises in the industry that are committed to participate and promote the establishment of a sound ecosystem. Only in this way can all-cloud network solutions be fully developed and smoothly implemented. Huawei has been active in promoting the development and expansion of the cloud network ecosystem. In one example, during CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, Germany, Huawei announced a strategic partnership with Honeywell to collaborate on a smart building solution for use in large Smart City projects. By adopting the latest technologies for edge computing in IoT environments, the collaborative solution between Huawei and Honeywell aims to create more environmentally friendly, secure, and efficient buildings.

    Currently, Huawei’s all-cloud network solutions have been widely applied in a variety of global sectors such as finance, telecommunications, education, manufacturing, retail, IoT, and data center operations.

  • All-cloud networks reconstruct network architectures
  • With the all-cloud network architecture, enterprise networks will be data center-centric. Campuses, branches, and IoT networks achieve interconnection and interoperability based on a data center network. Through cloud-based network management, enterprise networks enable rapid deployment of services and simple O&M on the cloud. With the help of cloud-based Big Data analytics, enterprise networks can also offer a large range of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, delivering fully open and commercially value-added network resources and data.

    By virtue of cloud technologies, the Huawei CloudCampus solution helps enterprises transition to cloud services. The solution enables 100 percent cloud-based management, full lifecycle support, and all Wi-Fi access.

    The Huawei CloudFabric solution is suitable for service-centric cloud data center networks and better implements cloud-and-network synergy to support the efficient operation of enterprise cloud services. In addition, the solution helps enterprises build open, agile, and efficient cloud data centers to accommodate the growing demands of their cloud services.

    The Huawei CloudEPN solution is geared to the Business-to-Business (B2B) service needs of enterprises, with agile interconnection and one-stop ICT integration services for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The solution re-architects enterprise interconnections using cloud technologies, and helps branch sites access the headquarter data centers rapidly at a low cost. With the support of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technologies, the solution implements real-time deployment of network and security functions, ensuring enterprises offer an ‘Any Service Online’ experience.

    By focusing on the digitalization of vertical industries, the Huawei Edge Computing-Internet of Things (EC-IoT) solution adopts a cloud-based SDN architecture, integrated with both cloud and edge computing technologies. The solution allows hundreds of millions of sensors to be centrally managed over the cloud and services such as real-time decision-making and traffic compression to be processed locally. The EC-IoT solution is based on the unified management of mass numbers of IoT gateways for rapid response and the local survival of IoT data at the network edge. Ubiquitous security solutions enable scenario- and service-based security capabilities and transform passive defenses to proactive defenses through intelligent learning, while also ensuring the security of data centers, campuses, branches, and IoT networks.

    All-cloud networks upgrade basic networks from the perspectives of devices, networks, services, and operations and ecosystem management to allow for cloud-based network management, hardware resource pooling, automatic deployment, and unified policy control. By constructing an all-cloud network, enterprises can offer a Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experience to users.

    Joint Innovation and Commercial Projects with Global Customers

    Huawei’s all-cloud network solutions enhance the usage efficiency of network infrastructures to improve network management and reduce the cost of empowering the digital transformation of enterprises. By helping MSPs improve their network infrastructure, the all-cloud solutions also enable business model innovation. Huawei continues to create an all-cloud network ecosystem along with partners and offer users in various industries a ‘Whole Journey, All Digital’ experience.

    In the exploration of the all-cloud network, Huawei has proactively carried out many joint innovation and commercial projects with global customers and has accumulated extensive practical experience. As of 2016, Huawei teamed up with global enterprises and put a large number of network cloudification projects into commercial or trial commercial use, involving data center networks, enterprise campuses, and IoT networks. To date, Huawei has successfully put network cloudification into commercial use for more than 200 customers in over 50 countries and regions worldwide, covering multiple fields such as Internet, finance, government, healthcare, education, and transportation. Committed to the concepts of openness, collaboration, and win-win outcomes, Huawei will continue to work with partners to build healthy cloud ecosystems and provide solid support for the digital transformation of enterprises.

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