by Rodney Gedda

Telstra to eat its own Cloud food

Dec 16, 2010
Cloud ComputingManaged IT Services

Telstra plans to become its own Cloud tenant in a bid to push its Cloud computing ventures to a wider set of customers.

“We are looking at different approach,” Telstra executive director, Michael Lawrey, said. “If we are going to move to true Cloud Telstra has to be the base tenant and then you start to create critical mass and then the incremental change will make you more cost effective and allow you to build in some flexibility.”

Speaking at a Cloud panel session hosted by Sydney law firm Gilbert + Tobin this week, Lawrey – who heads up the architecture, online and media business at Telstra – said the detailed level of instrumentation required by enterprises is still lacking in vendor Cloud services.

“Cloud is about supplying customers with what they want and we only want to pay on demand,” Lawrey said. “Vendors are some distance off Cloud in a true utility sense as the service orchestration is complex and still in its infancy.”

Lawrey said Telstra’s Cloud solution was designed as a managed service but not a “dial up, dial down” utility which is “what the customer wants”.

The T-Suite storage-as-a-service (SaaS) platform launched last year was Telstra’s revamped entrance into the application hosting market.

This year Telstra launched a marketing campaign for its Cloud services centred around software and infrastructure as a service with partners Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and Cisco.

Telstra is now building a Cloud that can be used by external customers in addition to its own internal operations.

For its own private-public Cloud development, Lawrey said the company looked at “all the Cloud providers and vendors” but the top-end of town, at the enterprise level with detailed instrumentation, is still at least six months away.

Lawrey said the level of service level agreements (SLA) needed at the enterprise level continued to mature but required further refinement in the coming year.

“By mid- next year the same level of Cloud maturity will appear and customers will drive open standards,” he said.

“If you buy a chunk of Cloud infrastructure and keep it then you will get it cheaper now than you will next week. The industry has to normalise around wholesale and retail purchasing to some degree.”

The Cloud is the next opportunity for the industry overall, Lawrey said, and “we won’t get there in a timely way if we don’t all work together”.

Security to be top concern

Lawrey said security must be paramount for any Cloud development. A secure deployment, he said, would sit across four levels: Environmental, logical, data protection and data location.

“How secure is the Cloud environment? I would put that to customer – how secure is your office environment compared to a data centre?” he said.

“The second is the logical security: are you immune to attacks? You can never put your hand on your heart and say you can’t be hacked [and] the third level is around DR (disaster recovery) – you need to make sure you have DR in the Cloud to fail over seamlessly.”

Regarding data location, Lawrey said if a local company houses its data with any US company, whether there is a local office or not, it is subject to the USA Patriot Act.