Digital Transformation & Maturity

BT deal with AWS is milestone for Cloud of Clouds platform

In a move that further demonstrates the potential for telcos to partner with digital natives as platform enablers, BT announced this week that it is taking its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to the next level.

The deal includes new customer initiatives such as BT’s ‘hybrid cloud landing zone’, research and innovation in the evolution of network services, and a comprehensive approach to security in the cloud. It represents a significant milestone in the evolution of BT’s  ‘Cloud of Clouds’ strategy, which was developed around BT’s Compute Management System (CMS).

CMS was significantly accelerated through participation in TM Forum’s Catalyst projects and work in the Forum’s Open Digital Ecosystem program. See this case study for details, and watch the video below with Luis Alvarez, former CEO, BT Global Services, and Howard Watson, CEO of Technology Service and Operations, BT, for a discussion of Cloud of Clouds.

Hybrid cloud landing zone

BT’s new hybrid cloud landing zone offers an integrated set of cloud deployment tools, including ready-made blueprints for best practice hybrid cloud deployment across multiple geographies and cloud environments, especially AWS. This is designed to help customers manage the complexity of multiple hybrid cloud environments, establish virtual networking between multiple geographic regions and maintain the highest levels of security across hybrid cloud environments, at scale.

The ready-made blueprints will draw on BT’s global network scale, security expertise and managed services capabilities to give customers much greater visibility and control across the entirety of their estate. BT will use virtualized components for flexible connectivity and pre-embedded security, increasing speed to deploy for customers and optimizing overall cloud performance. BT will develop this initiative with support from AWS, working collaboratively with customers. Early adoption will be available in the first half of 2018.

New approach to security

BT and AWS will also work together on a comprehensive approach to security, allowing customers to extend their existing security controls to the cloud, and supporting customers with compliance. BT will make a catalog of embedded network security, anti-DDoS and threat intelligence products available on the AWS Marketplace.

Longer term, BT research and innovation will include identity and access management through to the evolution of end-to-end security services. BT has already deployed a dedicated instance of its Cyber Security Platform on AWS for a multinational customer and is working closely with AWS to make this a standardized and replicable offer for all customers.

The role for telcos

The Register’s Kat Hall asked Neil Sutton, Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Alliances, BT Global Services, about the deal with AWS, specifically why customers would not want to go to AWS directly. His reply?

“BT would help them navigate complex networking issues – such as if someone digs up a cable, or there is a data centre outage,” Hall writes. “That is something he said AWS can’t do on its own.”

At the Forum, we’ve been hammering this point home with our members for many months. Forging partnerships with companies like AWS is the key to survival for telcos. Operators have an opportunity to move beyond connectivity to become platform or digital ecosystem curators, enabling many verticals. The World Economic Forum predicts this market could be worth $650 billion during the next 10 years and others suggest it could be even larger. The trick is figuring out how to turn the opportunity into reality.

“I believe it’s time for us to change our mindset as an industry,” TM Forum CEO Nik Willetts said during a keynote at TM Forum Live! in May. “The world has changed around us. The industry is having, if you like, a midlife crisis. We’re no longer sure what the future holds for us, but we know it’s no longer just about dominating linear value chains. It’s about embracing ecosystem economics and platform-based business models, where value is created through co-creation and collaboration, leveraging network effects to enable us to grow with phenomenal speed.” (For more about leveraging network effects, check out this article on Inform.)

This means collaborating not only with customers but also other CSPs and digital-native cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft – in short, telcos must embrace partnerships with companies they traditionally have seen as competitors.

You can watch Willetts’ keynote below:


    About The Author

    Managing Editor

    Dawn Bushaus began her career in technology journalism in 1989 at Telephony magazine, which means she’s been writing about networking for a quarter century. (She wishes she didn’t have to admit that because it probably gives you a good idea of how old she really is.) In 1996, Dawn joined a team of journalists to start a McGraw-Hill publication called, and in 2000, she helped a team at Ziff-Davis launch The Net Economy, where she held senior writing and editing positions. Prior to joining TM Forum, she worked as a freelance analyst for Heavy Reading.

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