Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC, news, filings) is getting into the data center business. Today at MWC in Barcelona they launched both a new service for building and optimizing data centers and a platform for network-enabled clouds to take advantage of them. Telecom operators worldwide have been maneuvering to leverage the cloud to boost their enterprise business, and Ericsson is clearly looking to grow its service business by riding that trend.
The Data Center Build and Optimizaiton offering promises to improve the planning, design and implementation of the coming buildouts. The product is complementary to Ericsson's other telecom services, in which it helps to operate and maintain providers' networks. For example, they took over much of that work for Sprint a year and a half ago, both for wireless and wireline. Now they will be helping such operators build and optimize the data centers that are becoming an increasingly critical piece of the puzzle for their customers.
Of course, the large telecoms Ericsson serves have long built and maintained their own facilities. But the cloud revolution has been focused on the more modern carrier-neutral type of colocation facility, as opposed to telco colocation -- which is why the Verizons and CenturyLinks have been buying things like Terremark and Savvis rather than building them. It's really a different type of buildout than they've done in the past, and hence it does seem like a smart idea for Ericsson to make some money by helping them bridge that gap.
Meanwhile, Ericsson is also introducing a Network-enabled Cloud platform. This also is aimed squarely at the needs of large telecoms, who have been making the case that their ability to pair network assets with the cloud is a key advantage. That advantage is theoretical until the underlying infrastructure is integrated into something greater than the sum of the parts. That's a non-trivial piece, and hence an opportunity.
It's interesting that Ericsson decided to unveil this at a wireless conference, which goes to show just how far the pendulum is swinging toward mobile data and services. Will this effort bear fruit? Don't ask me, I never thought telecom operators would outsource network operations themselves.
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