Posted by: Christian Verstraete | September 13, 2010

Is building an R&D cloud Utopia?

Last week I had a lot of discussions around the subject of R&D clouds, and the question came up a number of times as whether it made sense to think about it or whether we should just forget.

Having had the opportunity lately to dig a little deeper in one of the lesser known cloud components, namely the network, I believe there is a unique opportunity for the telco’s to deliver such services to their customers.

Indeed, its all about the network. R&D requires low latency as engineers often manipulate large files and graphical objects, and need those at their fingertips. With Moore’s law and the availability of low servers and storage, the network is really becoming the bottleneck. And to my knowledge, there is no Moore’s law for networking.

As the network is operated and managed by third parties (that’s the first thing most CIO’s have outsourced), companies mostly look at this as a given. They get what they get. What I’m trying to argue is that this is no longer enough.

Technologies exist, but are most often not applied, Enterprises should work with their telco and network providers to optimize the end-to-end delivery of low latency networks and ultimately content to the end-user.

Multiple approaches can be taken and choices depends not only on the quality of the network but also on a number of other considerations that may have to do with redundancy of information, IP protection and others.

In their quest to improve engineering productivity, to facilitate collaboration with ODM’s and contract manufacturers, and to speed-up go to market, companies should look at new approaches for R&D, and cloud is one of them. However, that implies technology can match the requirements of the engineers, and this will force enterprises and teclo’s to work more closely together moving forward.

This is a unique opportunity for telco’s to raise up to the plate. In doing so they will not only secure long term customers and increase their revenues, they will also heighten the barrier for new entrants. If they don’t do it, new entrants will eat their lunch, pushing them into the traditional service corner, making them obsolete as those services migrate and transform themselves. So, what are telco’s waiting for?

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