‘We have Built the Largest Mo­bile Net­works of the World’

Eric­s­son to­day is trans­form­ing it­self to be­come a lead­ing ICT player, with its key fo­cus ar­eas be­ing cloud and IP. The com­pany in­tends to use its net­work ex­pe­ri­ence and com­pe­tence to cre­ate com­pelling cloud so­lu­tions and strives to be num­ber 1 in the tele

Voice&Data - - CONTENT - Kr­ishna Mukher­jee kr­ish­[email protected]­ber­me­dia.co.in

—Ja­son Hoff­man Di­rec­tor, Busi­ness Unit Cloud and IP, Eric­s­son

Voice&Data: How did you ven­ture into cloud and how has your jour­ney been so far… af­ter join­ing Eric­s­son?

Ja­son Hoff­man: In 2004, I launched a pub­lic cloud offering that is still the old­est sur­viv­ing in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice offering and I was both the CTO and CEO of that com­pany. So, in that re­spect you can say that we were the pi­o­neers in this space.

When I came on Eric­s­son board, it was largely about chang­ing some plat­form as­pects for vir­tu­al­iz­ing core net­work­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

Then we turned it into an ac­tual ex­ter­nal­ized cloud busi­ness. As you must be aware, Eric­s­son largely builds and op­er­ates mo­bile net­work in­fra­struc­ture.

A year ago, we de­vel­oped a busi­ness unit for Cloud and IP and started look­ing at six ar­eas needed for cloud. The first one was data cen­tre fa­cil­ity, a highly mar­ginal, very ef­fi­cient and a com­pletely soft­ware au­to­mated fa­cil­ity.

Then, we thought of ex­pand­ing

hard­ware ca­pa­bil­i­ties to four range of hard­ware, which al­lowed us to have a very mod­ern ap­proach to be able to do net­works com­pute and stor­age with a sin­gle hard­ware de­sign.

Af­ter that, we did ma­jor­ity ac­qui­si­tion of a com­pany called Apcera in the ap­pli­ca­tion plat­form space. That’s about hy­brid cloud man­age­ment, con­tainer plat­form and mi­cro-ser­vices plat­form, an IoT plat­form, a data an­a­lyt­ics plat­form. So, this be­came a set busi­ness within cloud.

Af­ter­wards, we did data plat­forms as well and launched a few data stor­age prod­ucts.

Voice&Data: How do you see the over­all trans­for­ma­tion in Eric­s­son as it strives to be num­ber 1 telco cloud in­fra­struc­ture provider?

Ja­son Hoff­man: Ear­lier, we used to use the tra­di­tional in­fra­struc­ture to do voice, but voice doesn’t re­quire a lot back­end in­fra­struc­ture.

As we started do­ing mes­sag­ing and me­dia, the need for a lot of back­end in­fra­struc­ture was felt. So, there’s a tran­si­tion tak­ing place, the tran­si­tion from hu­man be­ing the end users to de­vices be­ing the end users, then you also have th­ese cases of data col­lec­tion and con­trol sys­tem show­ing up.

To­day, we have net­works where peo­ple pre­dom­i­nantly con­sume video down­loads. How­ever, the fu­ture of this whole in­fra­struc­ture will be a tremen­dous amount of up­loads.

There­fore, be­ing a net­work provider only is not suf­fi­cient to en­able this change. We ac­tu­ally need to have com­pute and stor­age ca­pa­bil­i­ties and have to con­nect all th­ese things with IP.

We have built the largest ma­chine which is the mo­bile net­works of the world and that’s pretty much a net­work present in ev­ery coun­try, no mat­ter where you go.

When we look at the IoT (In­ter­net of Things) space be­ing used by multi­na­tion­als want­ing to go some­where and col­lect a bunch of data and send th­ese in stor­age en­vi­ron­ments across mul­ti­ple coun­tries, the same plat­form ap­proach, like ra­dio, has to be taken.

So, our to­tal in­fra­struc­ture is a sim­pli­fied ra­dio, cloud is the next layer up and the whole thing is con­nected by IP. There is a ra­dio plat­form group and cloud plat­form group and the con­nec­tion is through IP.

On top of it, there are ap­pli­ca­tions and data that are in­volved in all th­ese dif­fer­ent use-cases in dif­fer­ent mod­els.

In fact, we have gone ahead and done a pretty good job on the mo­bile net­work side and as all the use cases were chang­ing and end users were chang­ing, we were in a pretty good po­si­tion to move into the other part of the in­fra­struc­ture, the cloud cover, which is crit­i­cal for us to be suc­cess­ful and crit­i­cal for our cus­tomers to be suc­cess­ful as well.

From be­ing mo­bile net­work in­fra­struc­ture providers to com­plete in­fra­struc­ture providers is ac­tu­ally the need of the hour for IoT.

Voice&Data: What are your expectations with re­spect to cloud up­take in In­dia?

Ja­son Hoff­man: We are here, at this event, for the launch in In­dia. We launched the broad port­fo­lio of our cloud so­lu­tions at the Mo­bile World Congress in the be­gin­ning of March.

In this about five months, the re­sponse from cus­tomers, non-cus­tomers and an­a­lysts has been ex­tremely pos­i­tive. We have been try­ing to do unique prod­ucts that don’t ex­ist in this space. We wanted to take our knowl­edge of tele­com, what large scale cloud providers and large scale web peo­ple were do­ing, what’s wrong with typ­i­cal en­ter­prise IT things, and there­fore we started look­ing to­wards ar­chi­tec­ture and prod­ucts a couple of years ahead.

We are making sure that we are the only ven­dor to whom some­one can come and get the right kind of ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It has been very well re­ceived be­cause we are striv­ing for busi­ness mod­els and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the value-chain in a cer­tain part. And also the price-points of our prod­ucts, we are ac­tu­ally keep­ing them dra­mat­i­cally lower than oth­ers.

We are talk­ing about 60% re­duc­tion in hard­ware, a 60% re­duc­tion in power,

a 75% re­duc­tion in op­er­a­tional costs and we know that we can drive those num­bers up.

For a mar­ket like In­dia, our abil­ity is to sit down and say that we are go­ing to de­liver to our cus­tomers and I think that ap­proach is needed in this mar­ket to ac­tu­ally mod­ern­ize the in­fra­struc­ture and do it in a scale that In­dia re­quires.

Voice&Data: What would be your key dif­fer­en­tia­tors to sell your cloud prod­ucts in the In­dia mar­ket?

Ja­son Hoff­man: We have some­thing from a unit cost per­spec­tive. It’s very in­ex­pen­sive, yet there is no sac­ri­fice on qual­ity, scal­a­bil­ity, per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity. If you can get some­thing 8090% cheaper with­out com­pro­mis­ing on qual­ity then that can be fan­tas­tic and helps quite a lot.

We are look­ing at the large-scale au­to­ma­tion and that’s very im­por­tant for a mar­ket of this size. We are also do­ing things around se­cu­rity and gov­er­nance and en­sur­ing that data is not tam­pered with.

Our whole ap­proach on se­cu­rity and gov­er­nance is really im­por­tant for Dig­i­tal In­dia where dig­i­tiz­ing things can oc­cur at that very low price-point that the cit­i­zens can them­selves say that the tech­nol­ogy has the fea­tures and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to pro­tect me and my data. And that’s how we dif­fer­en­ti­ate in this space.

Voice&Data: How are tel­cos adopt­ing the cloud in­fra­struc­ture and mod­ern­iz­ing their net­works?

Ja­son Hoff­man: Cloud adop­tion has been very high, both in pub­lic as well as pri­vate cloud. In IT and OSS/BSS oper­a­tions, it has been ex­tremely high. We have been mov­ing the tele­com in­fra­struc­ture, which is the core net­work it­self, and the sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture for the mo­bile net­works to the cloud. We have launched the vir­tu­al­ized in­fra­struc­ture and ap­pli­ca­tions in this space; It will be com­pleted by mid-2016.

—Ja­son Hoff­man Di­rec­tor, Busi­ness Unit Cloud and IP, Eric­s­son

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