TM Forum, the world industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, today announced the formation of an ecosystem of major industry players in the emerging cloud services sector. The centerpiece of this effort is the creation of the Enterprise Cloud Buyers Council (ECBC) whose goal is to understand the needs of the largest global cloud buyers and ensure any impediments to the uptake of cloud technology are removed. Together with key service and technology suppliers, the ecosystem will initiate a range of programs designed to remove barriers to the growth of commercial cloud services.
Among the enterprise buyers joining this effort are Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Deutsche Bank.
"Cloud computing has the potential to have a significant influence on enterprise IT in the type, quality and price of the services we create and consume," stated Sean Kelley, Global CIO for Deutsche Asset Management. "But a number of challenges remain."
"The ECBC represents an opportunity to affect the global information technology marketplace, bringing transparency and efficiency to the relationship between buyers and sellers," said Eric Pulier, Executive Director of the ECBC. "By lowering the gating factors for widespread adoption of cloud services, the ECBC can accelerate the shift to the next era in computing."
The ECBC will seek to understand the needs of commercial cloud services buyers, set strategy and launch specific work programs. All work on specific projects will be done collaboratively within the broader eco-system, with the buyers providing guidance and best practice requirements.
So far Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs, AT&T, BT, CA, Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia Siemens Networks, Telecom Italia and Telstra have agreed to join the program as well as industry organizations including DMTF (for resource management) and itSMF (through itSMF UK) with their focus on service delivery.
"The demand for cloud services holds significant potential for the industry, and it's just at the start of its evolution," explained Keith Willetts, Chairman and CEO, TM Forum. "However, there are a number of barriers that must be overcome before cloud can become a mass-market success, and the Forum is well-placed to act as an orchestrator to address these challenges."
Several candidate areas for work have already been identified including:
a.. Common Cloud Services Product Definitions
b.. Cloud Security Issues
c.. Cloud-to-Cloud Interoperability, Data Portability and APIs
d.. Service Provider Benchmarking
e.. Buyer-demand Forecasting
f.. Federated Cloud Stores
g.. Cloud Service Level Agreement Process Management
h.. Cloud Network Performance and Latency Issues
Several proof-of-concept technology "Catalyst" demonstrations are planned as a way of accelerating development of solutions including one on Common Service Catalog definitions at the Management World Americas conference being held in Orlando, Florida from December 8-10th 2009.
"Cloud Services are offered through a variety of business models, leveraging a multitude of disciplines and technologies, that will need to be integrated together to make this initiative successful. Alcatel-Lucent will work closely with the TM Forum and other Cloud Initiative participants to further develop requirements and design solutions for service providers that leverage their unique strengths in this rapidly evolving market," said Kenneth Frank, President Solutions & Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent.
"Service providers that thrive in the new SaaS/Cloud game will offer a one-stop-shop for their business customers' ICT needs," said Seth Nesbitt, vice president of products and solutions at Amdocs. "As the industry evolves, service providers will need to offer a diversified portfolio of applications and services, with support from the OSS/BSS and SDP. Amdocs will work closely with the TM Forum to formulate the technical and commercial strategies to accelerate new business models."
"AT&T has been a global network and IT services provider for years, and cloud computing represents the evolution of networking and technology being used by enterprises to derive even greater value from their communication assets. We welcome TM Forum's initiative in helping to further accelerate the emerging ecosystem of cloud service providers and make it even easier for enterprise buyers to acquire these services," said Joe Weinman, executive director, strategy and business development, AT&T Business Solutions.
Phil Dance, MD, Adastral Park at BT Group plc. commented "We at BT are convinced that cloud offers huge opportunities for customers and for the suppliers serving those customers. The nature of cloud services needs vendors, communications and service providers and industry bodies to design and build services and components that work together in a seamless cloud environment. This initiative will help to make this happen, and BT is pleased to be supporting it."
"CA believes that the cloud fundamentally changes the way IT services are created, deployed, delivered and managed," said Ajei Gopal, CA's executive vice president of products and technology. "We are participating in this creative TM Forum initiative to help accelerate widespread commercial success of cloud services so that both users and providers benefit. CA brings to the TM Forum cloud program deep understanding of the critical role automation, service assurance, and security management play in building, deploying, operating and using cloud services."
"The advent of cloud computing has created many opportunities for service providers and technology suppliers alike, yet the notion of managing large scale multi-tenancy in the cloud presents a variety of challenges," said Joe Wojtal, Vice President, Operations and Systems Development at Cisco. "Cisco is focused on enabling service providers with the infrastructure and solutions needed to deliver secure public cloud services as well as customers to build their own private clouds. We will continue to listen to customers' priorities and concerns around cloud and will work collaboratively with organizations such as the TM Forum to address these and help drive adoption of commercial cloud services."
"Customers are challenged with navigating through one of the most dramatic IT shifts in decades. Initiatives like the Enterprise Cloud Buyers Council are important in bringing a cloud ecosystem together to work through customers' current - and future - roadblocks including cloud security, trusting the cloud, and standards. As the world's leading information infrastructure provider, EMC is excited about collaborating with the TM Forum and its members to streamline service provider adoption and delivery of cloud services," said Mike Feinberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, EMC Cloud Infrastructure Group.
"Many customers recognize the benefits of cloud computing but have important issues that need to be addressed before fully considering cloud services as part of their technology roadmap/plan", said Ananda Subbiah, vice president, Industry Practice, Asia-Pacific Japan, Enterprise Services, HP. "HP believes that everything will be delivered as a service - from computing power to business process to personal interactions - whenever and wherever customers need it. As a member of the TM Forum, we look forward to collaborating with other industry leaders to provide customers the insight and resolutions they need to continue their cloud journey."
"As the largest technology services company in the world, IBM is pleased to work with TM Forum and join efforts with other contributors on this project," said Mike Hill, Vice President, IBM Cloud Computing. "Coming together with the entire ecosystem to identify security concerns, SLA management and begin work to develop standards to prevent lock in is of top priority to IBM."
"Service interoperability is core to Microsoft's software plus services strategy," said Amitabh Srivastava, Senior Vice President of Windows Azure at Microsoft. "Microsoft recognizes that hosted services must be able to interact reliably within one cloud, across private and public clouds, and between different service provider infrastructures. Services must be manageable end-to-end. The TM Forum's work on interoperability is especially helpful for the industry to deliver on the promise of cloud computing."
"We have seen fast technical development in virtualization and cloud computing especially in IT, but also in the telecommunications business, ranging from end-user applications to the networks. Technical evolution offers new strategic options and the possibility to re-think business models and ecosystems. TM Forum's cloud initiative is an example of this type of evolution and we're keen to contribute our deep understanding of OSS/BSS," said Juhani Hintikka, Head of Operations and Business Software, Nokia Siemens Networks.
"Cloud computing continues to be a major focus area for many DMTF members," said Winston Bumpus, DMTF President. "DMTF has a longstanding relationship with TM Forum through our Alliance Partner Program, and we are very excited to extend this partnership into the cloud services market. We believe open industry collaboration will play an integral role in accelerating adoption of cloud services."
"Cloud Services are a growing area of interest and opportunity for itSMF members, and we are pleased to build on our existing successful partnership with TM Forum to explore this challenging new area together" - Keith Aldis, Chief Executive, itSMF.