Cloud services ramp up: TIA 2011 Preview

Service providers are offering three distinct cloud service sets: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Cloud services continue to be the rage with a growing crowd of service providers charging into the market with a mix of hardware, software and service solutions.   

Service providers are offering three distinct cloud service sets: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). These services allows businesses and even consumers to offload applications (storage or security) or take even traditional software products like Microsoft Word off their own desktop and hosted in a service provider's data center.

Of course, cloud services aren't without their issues. For one, most industry pundits continue to  definition and .

"People are still arguing over the definition of the cloud, but that's where we all are," said Grant Seiffert, President of the TIA. "It's going to take time, but I would say we see continued growth in data centers redeploy, which are replacing the old Central Offices (CO)."

Amy Larsen DeCarlo, Principal Analyst, Security and Data Center Services for Current Analysis, agreed that the definition of what cloud services are is still in transition, adding that "there are problems especially with public cloud as seen with the big Amazon disruption, but we're getting there."

Lately, the headlines in the cloud services market have been dominated by network expansion and consolidation. Two cases in point are CenturyLink's (NYSE: CTL) proposed $2.5 acquisition of Savvis and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) earlier move to buy the former Terremark. CenturyLink's deal to acquire Savvis is transformational in that the once voice-centric rural carrier instantly becomes a global service provider with data center and cloud service presence not only in the U.S., but also Asia and Europe.

And the TIA event reflects the consolidation and expansion trends taking place in the cloud market with Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (NYSE: T) and Tony Melone, Verizon's CTO set to give keynote speeches.

Leveraging its well established global presence, Verizon will be able through its Terremark acquisition instantly expand its global data center presence and ability to expand its Everything as a Service (EaaS) cloud services vision.

Just the same, AT&T recently set aside $1 billion of its previously announced $19 billion budget to target enterprise mobility and cloud services for its growing base of domestic and increasingly international business customers.

Other smaller service providers, however, are being no less aggressive with cloud services.

Take TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), both of which are also speaking during the show. Each previously bought up Team and Hosted Solutions to expand their wireline fortunes they sell to business customers. TDS and  Windstream both reported in their Q1 2011 earnings that cloud and managed services were major revenue contributors to their business revenue results.

Regardless of all the progress that has been made with cloud, it's still a market in transition.

"The cloud concept phrase hasn't been around for that long, but the model has been in some evolutionary state for years and years and the understanding is this is the way people are going to consume IP services and they way they will be delivered," said Larsen-DeCarlo. "Not every single customer is going to use the cloud for every single application, but I think the reality is there."

Cloud services ramp up: TIA 2011 Preview