How Long Until We Live In An All-Cloud World?


Adrian Bridgwater

October 18, 2016

Sometime pretty soon we could find ourselves living in an all-cloud world. All software and data services will need to be accessed through devices connected to the Internet. Your apps will refuse to work above a basic level of functionality unless you are cloud-connected and can provide some evidence of access to an Internet pipe.

Is all that a bit rich and too much for 2016? By some way of justification, allow me to explain where I am.

Story from a London train

I am writing this story on a Surface tablet on my knee on the fabulous London Overground service on my way to a cloud security debate with Rackspace, the ‘managed cloud company’. My version of Word is (of course) connected to my Office 365 subscription and although I had downloaded some info from Huawei (we’ll get to Huawei in a moment) and saved it in a Word doc, my Microsoft Word subscription needed to be web-connected and validated before I could write a single word.

Luckily, London Overground stations have great free WiFi provided by The Cloud service for the UK and I also have a great hotspot service from my smartphone through my contract with network provider 3. This meant I was able to get cloud-connected while on the train and keep working.

This personal experience was paralleled at the recent Open Cloud Forum in Dutch capital this week. Speakers at The Hague spoke under the theme “SDN and NFV, Awaken the Force of the Network” and discussed the reality of business processes in an all-cloud era.

The four pillars of all-cloud networks

Chinese networking and telecommunications giant Huawei asserts that the four pillars of the all-cloud network are focused in four areas – equipment, network, services and operations.

Speaking at the forum itself was Mr. He Weijie, Huawei president of marketing and solution sales for Western Europe. Weijie explains that the next phase of so-called digital transformation will be driven by ROADS (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY and Social) user experience. “Within our continued spirit of complete openness, Huawei continues to invite more partners to jointly build the open ecosystem for an all-cloud transformation,” he said.

Echoing these sentiments was IDC analyst Emir Halilovic who says that digital transformation is an in-depth conversion process starting with network transformation.

“Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies provide tools for network virtualization and enables operators to establish an integrated telecom cloud. This transformation must be all-encompassing and include changes in operators’ organization structure, business processes and business models in order to achieve ultimate business success,” said Halilovic.

Full all-cloud transformation will be achieved in steps says Huawei and the three stages are:

  1. Virtualization
  2. Cloudification
  3. Cloud Native-ness.

Currently, the industry is in the transition stage from Cloudification to Cloud Native, which consists of deploying software micro-systems; with these micro-services (argues the firm) the entire software system will be able to and respond to vertical industries’ business needs.

Leo Ma, Huawei VP of product management for West Europe explained the concept and practice of cloud transformation from Cloudification to Cloud Native in detail and said that on the road to all-cloud, we both business and technology factors driving us to this inevitability.

“On the business side, due to the decreasing of the demographic dividend in the B2C market, operators have shifted the strategy from B2C to a B2B market, both will require greater flexibility, robustness, and agility; lower operational and maintenance costs as well as more innovative business models. For the technology aspect, the need for network features such as web slices, micro-services and separation of the control and media layers are required with the development of 5G, video and the Internet of Things (IoT),” said Ma.

So, how long until all-cloud then?

Network architectures are quite definitely moving this towards an all-cloud world for us in the near future. Whether it’s five years before this happens is tough to say, but five years is always a good bet for predicting the next so-called paradigm shift if you ever need to try and lay down an educated prediction.

Huawei claims that we are currently at the transition point from stage 2 to 3 (as detailed above), so the momentum is there. Cloud native always-on all-cloud apps are already here and they will become an increasingly prevalent part of our computing experiences from now on.


This article was written by Adrian Bridgwater from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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