DiPP - Are telecommunications infrastructures an integral and essential part of cloud?

24 Mar 2014
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM CEST
Microsoft offices
Rue Montoyer 51, 1040 Brussels

Infrastructures are a fundamental ingredient of a successful cloud strategy, the starting point actually. This workshop will hear the views of the Commission, of network equipment manufacturers and of lead suppliers of cloud services to stir a debate on how they apply concretely to the daily operations of public and private users of these services. 


  • Ken Ducatel

    European Commission

  • David Amzallag

    Vice President, Virtual Telecommunications and CloudBand CTO, Alcatel-Lucent

  • Robert Reinert

    Head of IT Solutions, Huawei


  • John Higgins

    Director General, DIGITALEUROPE

DIGITALEUROPE will demonstrate industry’s activities in this domain and the solid and positive impact Cloud Computing can make on the European economy. These workshops will demonstrate best practice and deep dive into the issues providing a powerful education platform for industry and political stakeholders to share information and discuss opportunities relating to the Cloud in Europe.

Cloud in Practice Programme – 7th workshop – 24 March 2014 at Microsoft Brussels office

“Are telecommunications infrastructures an integral and essential part of cloud?”

Ken Ducatel, European Commission; David Amzallag, Alcatel-Lucent; Abdellatif Benjelloum Touimi,   Huawei; Matt Foley, HP; moderated by John Higgins, DIGITALEUROPE.

The Digital Agenda Assembly held in Dublin in 2013 found that high performance clouds need better broadband for greater symmetry and lower latency. They call for different provisioning of different architectures. The forensic tools needed to map out the transition from on-premise to IaaS, pay-as-you-use modus operandi are still missing.

These questions too have yet to be answered:

– do we need an inter cloud (see IEEE P2302 initiative) pathway to permit the multicloud to perform? How should the related pairing arrangements look like? How will they secure quality of service and security?

– will telcos accept the new network service delivery models made possible by NFV? How will this development impact business models?

– does the introduction of SDN spell the dumbing down of networks en route towards virtualized provision-based on standards VMs in order to enhance the efficiency and adaptability of provisioning? How will this shift impact network providers? Can software-enabled environments match the throughput and reliability of traditional networks?

– are network providers ready to push clouds from central servers to the edge of networks (fog or smog computing) in order to secure flawless interactivity in real time by bringing the processing of data closer to their source?


Cloud is often seen as affording telcos a competitive edge by enhancing the value of their key assets for delivering QoS, security, interoperability, etc. They seem to be the perfect cloud brokers. The cooperation between Microsoft and at&t on VPNs is a good example of what IP and telcos can accomplish together, i.e. IT services as easy to use as electricity. By exemplifying the value of bringing the C of ICT to IT, it ushers in a new era for cloud-based converging ICT services.

Indeed IT-style clouds are unable to avoid latency in virtual desktop apps or pixelization in video services. Time to switch to more robust telco-type clouds… Their full distribution to thousands of nodes, big and small makes geography immaterial. They also secure automatic load-balancing, instant resource mobilization at the customer’s fingertips. Since November 2012, 48 telcos and 180 vendors have been working at delivering optimal resource management. Delivering boxes gives way to activating apps for easy, instant optimization.

The IT-fication of networks brings about another advantage for telcos: by reducing maintenance costs dramatically and by switching investment from capex to opex, it frees up resources for smarter allocation. Though reminiscent of the move from terrestrial broadcasting to cable that made for a more cost-effective user experience, combining the modus operandi of regulated telcos with that of mostly unregulated IT carries a regulatory challenge with it. Indeed regulators will keep a close eye on the way telcos try to capture new markets by playing out their best cards, i.e. top-class network and access provision.

Our challenge is to make the two dynamics compatible if user demand for lower latency and more symmetry is to be met. It calls for more investment, whether from regulated telcos or unregulated OTTs. Equity investors in telcos don’t like heavy capex. Can you pass opex on to users?

Contracts have to be adapted too with a view to cover liability end-to-end.

This is the first generation of cloud, based on intelligent networks. Next wave will see processing capacity move out to users. Such a “democratization of technology” will afford entrepreneurs new possibilities (see Social Mobility Analytics Cloud SMAC still vastly underused). But the bulk of the business has yet to be convinced that transitioning from on-premise to the cloud offers a good trade-off from the perspective of the integrity/availability/privacy of data. In short, infrastructures do matter but shaping and implementing the right policies on the service side matters too.    

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