Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai – Partnering is a key strategy for Huawei as it builds out its IT business to embrace public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.

Eric Xu, CEO of Huawei Technologies, stresses that the very nature of cloud computing and digital transformation means that one company cannot be all things to all people, and partnering is going to be key to success in the future.

“Cloud computing has put all IT companies on to the same starting line,” he points out. “At Huawei we had no legacy so were in a good position to take advantage of cloud.

“Huawei’s goal has always been to become a leader in ICT, which meant we had to become an IT company. But we had to focus, so we focused on server, storage and data centre networking.”

As a relatively new company, Huawei’s enterprise business is still learning about the market, and is open to learn and change as it goes. “We are building a deeper understanding of the IT industry,” says Xu. “We are keenly aware that is it no easy task to succeed in cloud architecture and services. This requires collaboration and participation of a large number of industry players – collaboration is crucial to make that transition.”

Huawei, has always positioned itself as a pure-play product supplier, he adds, but this is not sufficient to meet customer needs. “So we are keenly aware that a cloud infrastructure is crucial, and an ecosystem is needed to drive the transformation to the cloud.

“In building this cloud ecosystem, Huawei will still focus on the areas it is good at – the IT infrastructure, and try to build an ecosystem around this,” Xu says. “So we are building a software ecosystem and partnering on cloud services. We also working on joint innovation with our partners.”

The cloud infrastructure is built around Huawei’s software offering.

Xu explains that the FusionSphere cloud operating system uses a single architecture to support public, private or hybrid cloud, all based on OpenStack. “Huawei is among the first companies in the world that has commercially realised OpenStack public cloud services.

“But to hide hardware differences, we need collaboration from hardware partners; and we also need a lot of software development partners and systems integrators to migrate applications on to the cloud.”

FusionInsight is a Hadoop/Spark-based big data mining platform. “But no there is huge focus on big data, so we need a large ecosystems of partners to take our FusionInsight platform to satisfy the needs of different industry verticals and solve their problems,” Xu says.

FusionStage is the distributed computing platform that is the outcome of many years of working with enterprise customers, he adds. “Application developers can use this platform to build different solutions for vertical markets.”

When it comes to public cloud, Xu relates how Huawei launched its public cloud services in the Chinese market, and what it learned from that exercise. “We have heard different opinions, and realised that for Huawei to run public cloud services was not the best option.

“We have always believed that working together with telecommunications operators on public cloud was the best option. If we can arrive at a meaningful business model with the telecommunications operators that we can work together and compete with Internet public cloud providers, it is possible to win.

“In that context, we have built a consensus to work with Deutsche Telecom and China Telecom to build public clouds in different markets.”

The company has committed to building partnerships is all aspects of the emerging cloud computing market, Xu says, and there is a realisation that skills are in short supply.

“Our positioning is around aggregating application software, so we need a large number of software developers to use our cloud platform to build solutions. In order to build up the cloud ecosystems and help enterprises migrate to the cloud, talent development and skills transfer is critical.

“We are willing to work with our partners on the Huawei Networking Academy, with the aim of building up 10 000 Huawei certified engineers in the next there years.”

Overall, the company is working to embrace an open collaborative strategy, while nurturing talent acquisition, Xu says.
“We want to work with our partners to build a leading open cloud ecosystem. Our hope is that all partners can collaborate in the open ecosystem to achieve a win:win result.”