As Huawei Expands Its Public Cloud Platform It Should Not Underestimate Private and Hybrid Cloud Requirements

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• Although Huawei’s public cloud platform will compete internationally against Amazon, Microsoft and Google, Huawei will differentiate by focusing on emerging markets and specific verticals.

• In promoting its public cloud platform, Huawei must continue to support the long-term need among many enterprises for private and hybrid cloud solutions.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Huawei, which has been forging ahead with new initiatives for supporting the adoption of cloud-based technologies and services among enterprise customers. One of the most attention-grabbing announcements at Huawei’s 14th Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen (April 11-13), centered on the international expansion of the company’s public cloud platform. Huawei has offered public cloud services in China since 2015, competing against local providers such as Alibaba. It is now extending its ability to deliver public cloud services internationally via strategic partnerships with Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefónica, which will each utilize Huawei’s platform to offer public cloud services in regions where they have network infrastructure strengths. Although Huawei plans to extend its public cloud platform to other regions, it will do so cautiously, in response to customer demand, and with partners that need strict selection criteria.

The expansion of Huawei’s public cloud platform internationally will inevitably bring it into competition with public cloud market leaders, Amazon, Microsoft and Google. However, rather than focusing on developed markets where those companies are dominant, Huawei plans to target emerging market regions which are less well-served by the public cloud giants. It will do this via agreements with Telefónica in Spain and Latin America, Deutsche Telekom in Central and Eastern Europe, and Orange in France and parts of Africa and Asia.

It is notable that Huawei’s move to expand its position as a public cloud provider contrasts with recent moves by other infrastructure vendors to abandon their public cloud initiatives. So, although IBM and Oracle continue to pursue opportunities in the market for public cloud services, HPE, Cisco and VMware have all recently retreated from maintaining their own public cloud offerings, instead opting to partner with Amazon or Microsoft.

Alongside the question of whether Huawei can succeed with public cloud provisioning where other large infrastructure vendors have failed, is the question of how Huawei envisages the continued need for private and hybrid cloud architectures among enterprises. The speed and extent to which enterprises will move towards the use of public cloud platforms is much debated. And although Huawei recognizes the continued need to support enterprises with diverse cloud needs, in prompting its new public cloud platform there’s a danger it will underestimate the long-term (and in many cases permanent) need for many enterprises to maintain private and hybrid cloud architectures that also make use of the public cloud. The growing market for hybrid cloud solutions is something that several of Huawei’s rival vendors have recently sharpened their focus on, with specific hybrid cloud offerings including Microsoft Azure Stack on Cisco UCS and Dell EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

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