Eric Xu, Huawei’s rotating CEO has announced at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2016 the next strategic step in the market as they look to move enterprises to full cloudification. Xu commented: “In the All IP era, we proposed our Single strategy, which effectively supported the development of operator customers. Nowadays, as we face the digital transformation of different industries, we advocate full cloudification to build efficient networks and agile competitiveness.
“At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2015, we proposed the Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experience model to define the features of a superior user experience. This year, we have introduced the ‘All Cloud’ strategy, which focuses on delivering a ROADS experience. A ROADS experience cannot be achieved without support from services, networks, and operations systems. Driven by end users’ needs for a better experience, Huawei proactively advocates the ‘All Cloud’ strategy, promotes network modernization, and works to enable digital transformation across industries, thus meeting end user needs to enable customer success.”
Four pillars of “All Cloud”
At the centre of the Huawei “All Cloud” strategy are the four building blocks for infrastructure networks: equipment, network, service and operations. This is not a case of Huawei changing strategy but rather a better defined path as it sees it helping customers towards a data centric model where all network functions, services and application will be running in a cloud data centre. Huawei has already invested in cloud data centre infrastructure including FusionSphere – a cloud operating system, FusionInsight – a Big Data platform, and FusionStage – distributed PaaS.
While the announcement was generic, Huawei has also partnered with applications providers such as SAP to provide dedicated hardware for SAP HANA as well. While many companies will be looking to CSP’s to provide this kind of equipment the SAP HANA announcement shows that in the right market Huawei will look to provide dedicated equipment for the enterprise. Whether there will be any further developments with this kind of technology would be interesting.
Huawei is intending that these four pillars will enable it to provide to systematic strengths in pooled hardware resources, fully distributed software architecture, and full automation for its customers. Xu is ambitious, he is envisganig a world where the Huawei open architecture pervades every aspect of a customers solution. To achieve this he sees that Huawei still have to make that final step: “Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) standardizes and virtualizes equipment and hardware on ICT networks.
“However, even with NFV, we still adopt a traditional method for managing the software architecture and operations model. If we can move another step forward and use the cloudification concept to make network software fully distributed and automated, we can realize Network Functions Cloudification (NFC).”
Whether all customers are ready for cloudification remains to be seen but it is interesting that Huawei retain the option of hybrid cloud, which would infer that they do acknowledge that not every customer wants everything in the cloud. With three target markets Huawei has further refined three approaches to delivering on their strategy.
Three markets three approaches
Huawei has three target markets: Enterprise, Carrier and Consumer. For each of these they have announced a slightly different focus.
For the enterprise market Huawei will deliver solutions in cloud, SDN and Big Data, helping companies with their digitalization strategies. Huawei will look to accomplish this with a unified SDN controller. This sounds interesting although there appears to be no further information on what the device actually is. The intention is to integrate telecommunications, enterprise and data centre networks.This infers that Huawei are looking to, or have developed a controller that will work in a hybrid environment and cover the full technology requirements of an enterprise. How well it will integrate with third party technologies is unstated, but this could be something very interesting to look for.
In its carrier market Huawei is still aiming to deliver the ROADS experience and thereby achieve full cloudification. It is looking to broaden its reach into the market with new solutions for IoT, video services and cloud service platforms. It is also hoping that by improving its offering for automation, scalability and flexibility through technologies such as SDN and NFC it can deliver business advantages to its carrier customers over their rivals.
For consumers Huawei is less focused on technology and more upon its service delivery. The press release stated that it will: “focus its future investment and development efforts on building an ecosystem centered on the consumer experience.” What this will actually mean is not stated but the objective for Xu is to create a high quality brand. Does this mean that there will be retail stores opening to challenge the likes of Apple in the future?
Huawei perceives its “All Cloud” approach as open. It has already set up 10 “Open Labs” globally for joint innovation and rapid service development, including the recently announced narrowband/IoT lab with Vodafone in February this year. Huawei is also committed to openness with recent contributions OpenStack an example.
Another area of interest are the links Huawei has been developing with universities globally, investing in development centres such as the 5GIC at the University of Surrey, England. It will be interesting to see what products Huawei develops over the coming months, years and while it is not a household name, it is certainly trying to improved its brand image on all fronts. If it increases its brand awareness amongst consumers outside of Asia then it could grow even more powerful.