EMC Teams With Select Integrators For NFV Telecom Cloud Platform; VAR Partnerships Coming Down The Road

EMC Corp. is making good on its plans to move into the telecommunications space, teaming with an elite group of system integrators for its breakthrough network functions virtualization (NFV) cloud platform.

EMC's traditional channel partners, however, are not being brought into the fold on the EMC Provider Cloud System (PCS) just yet, according to the company. Instead, the storage giant is targeting systems integration giants like Bezons, France-based Atos.

EMC rolled out its Provider Cloud System at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, to help communications service providers deliver telecom and cloud services.

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The EMC PCS is a software-defined, NFV platform that both large and small service providers can use to customize and deliver multi-service and distributed carrier-grade cloud offerings quickly, according to EMC. PCS will not include any of the Virtustream technology that EMC picked up in 2015. Instead, the platform uses existing EMC technology, including ScaleIO, OnRack and data protection products from EMC. PCS also uses EMC Federation products such as VMware vCenter and vRealize, as well as EMC’s NFVi Manager.

EMC's PCS will be available to professional services organizations first, and the company will take a gradual approach with its traditional channel of VARs, said Anton Prenneis, Head of Marketing, NFV & Telecom Analytics at EMC. EMC is not saying how many partners will have access to PCS at this time.

"Right now, we feel we are empowering the [communication service providers] first, but over time, there will be opportunities for VARs in the future," Prenneis said.

According to EMC, PCS is available now through EMC sales representatives and select Technology Alliance partners.

"EMC is breaking into the managed services space by providing tools and technologies that partners can take to customers," said Paul Davey, global chief technology officer, telecoms, for systems integration and managed services organization at Atos, an EMC partner.

As technology makes a software- and services-centric shift, new communications service providers are entering the market. These newer providers can offer traditional telecom services bundled with next-generation services like cloud without the large, upfront expense, and while generating recurring revenue.

EMC's PCS gives these providers a scalable, unified platform that can host multiple services-based workloads in a multi-tenant fashion, EMC said. The platform will help providers monetize communication and cloud services quickly, said EMC's Prenneis.

Atos plans to help its service provider customers take advantage of this platform to virtualize network operations and deliver services economically, Davey said.

"This is the sort of platform that we have been looking for to be able to ingrate and package to take to our service provider clients," he said. "This platform will help to reduce the friction of technology changes, and we can also use it to speed up the time to value."

PCS is a software-defined stack that runs on industry-standard hardware.

"EMC is making a very clear, strategic decision to play at the infrastructure layer and to partner with NFV vendors to provide this technology to the marketplace," said EMC's Prenneis. "We feel like we are differentiated from other reference architecture because we are building a carrier-grade architecture with management orchestration software and by making it possible to integrate EMC's data protection products."

The platform will also help service providers move into adjacent markets, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) space, he said.

"These telecom providers are sitting on a lot of valuable data as well as the ability to gather telemetry, and what this platform is doing is unlocking the ability to do more with that data," Prenneis said.

EMC said it has many telecom and service provider customers. Last year, the company decided to focus on the telecommunications space and formed its Telecom Transformation business unit. This year-old unit, announced at last year's Mobile World Congress, falls under EMC's Global Alliances organization.

"We are marshaling all of our telecom expertise in the field to deliver solutions to customers, but also to the right kinds of partners from an integration and managed services standpoint," Prenneis said. "We have a lot of technology that really helps as communications service providers make the transition from proprietary solutions to cloud-based solutions."