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29 November 2011
Alcatel-Lucent has announced an architecture that addresses the networking aspects of cloud computing. Dubbed CloudBand, the system will enable operators to deliver network-enhanced cloud services to their enterprise customers.
Operators can also use CloudBand to benefit their own telecom services.  Alcatel-Lucent estimates that moving an operator's services to the cloud will reduce networking costs by 10% while speeding up new service introductions.
“As far as we know there is no other system that bridges the gap between the network and the cloud," said Dor Skuler, vice-president of cloud solutions at Alcatel-Lucent.
CloudBand uses an optimisation algorithm developed at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs. The algorithm takes the requested cloud and networking settings and, knowing the underlying topology, works out the best configuration.
“This is a complex equation to optimise,” said Skuler. “All these resources – all different and in different locations – need to be optimised; the network needs to be optimised; I also have the requirements of the applications and I want to optimise on price.” To compound the complexity, all these parameters change with time.
Alcatel-Lucent has already implemented its application store software, content management applications and digital media for use in the cloud. Skuler says video, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and the applications that run on the IMS architecture can also be moved to the cloud, while Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio wireless architecture, announced earlier this year, can pool and virtualise cellular base station resources.
But Skuler says that the real benefit for operators moving services to the cloud is agility: operators will be able to introduce new cloud-based services in days rather than months. This will reduce time-to-revenue and costs while allowing operators to experiment with new services.
CloudBand will be ready to trial in operators’ labs come January. The system will be available commercially in the first half of 2012.
By Roy Rubenstein