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Monday, March 9, 2015

Ericsson: Adding Trust + Governance to Agility in the Cloud

Periodically advances are made that propel the state of the art to a new level and allow us to accomplish things that were just not possible before.  It’s a powerful experience and is the nature of real progress.

In the steadily advancing domain of cloud computing an improvement of this sort has recently been made that could help service providers increase the security and governance of their cloud-based services by an order of magnitude. Improvement in these areas has been a gating factor holding back adoption of the cloud in many operators’ environments, and strengthening capabilities in each of them is crucial for bringing cloud offerings to market with increased confidence.

In its Hyperscale Data Center System (HDS) and Cloud System announcements at Mobile World Congress last week, Ericsson demonstrated innovation and powerful insights for success in cloud-based offerings ( HDS incorporates secure storage protections, mitigating concerns about data security in the cloud. Additionally its Cloud System software incorporates an elegant policy enforcement solution that ensures governance criteria for data and software management are enforced in both development (DevOps, PaaS) and operations environments.

These two sets of innovations come from a combination of investments Ericsson has made in the past year.  Secure cloud storage in HDS is made possible by technology from CleverSafe, for secure object storage in conventional data base and web-scale ‘NoSQL’ environments.  Additional storage protections in cyber attack detection and mitigation have been integrated from Guardtime. 

The Cloud System’s governance and policy control functionality is based on Ericsson’s investment in Apcera.  Apcera’s vision, based on its founders’ experience at VMware and CloudFoundry, is to embed a rich array of policy controls into a cloud service delivery platform (in both development and operations domains) as an inherent part of the underlying software.  Application modules can be prevented from communicating with each other, and production applications can be automatically prevented from operating in the wrong deployment geography, as just two examples of governance and compliance.   

The result of these innovations is a cloud platform that takes away obstacles in security and policy enforcement that have been holding back the adoption of cloud-based services in many operators’ deployments to date.   

Will these capabilities remain unique in the market as other vendors pursue their developments in parallel?  Maybe not.  But it’s worth noting the pervasive integration Ericsson has achieved for both secure data storage and cloud system governance is not a trivial accomplishment.  To deliver similar functionality in a full solution platform for NFV, XaaS and other cloud-based offerings will take a sizable commitment from any other firm, whether startup or established.  While the market may catch up over time for the moment it’s worth putting the spotlight on Ericsson’s achievement in bringing them to market now.  The added protection and compliance available in the Cloud System offering should accelerate adoption of the virtualized network and cloud-based services significantly.

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