• At its annual Huawei Analyst Summit 2017, Huawei spoke of solutions built on top of two pillars: an open IaaS/PaaS cloud platform paired with an open ecosystem of partners.
• The vendor’s premise? Let Huawei handle the infrastructure (the cloud, pipes and devices, as Huawei puts it), leaving the rest to those who know business outcomes the best.
At its annual Huawei Analyst Summit 2017, the Chinese powerhouse took a surprising turn. At past events the vendor emphasized its ability to squeeze more performance from its sizable portfolio of predominantly hardware-based data center and networking offerings. The objective was simple: demonstrate a better cost/value ratio for high value workloads like video. That approach remains a solid strategy, one that is all too familiar to rival firms like Cisco. This is especially true for vendors seeking attention from the still lucrative telecom operator marketplace.
But at this year’s conference, Huawei eschewed the value of hardware. Well, mostly – the hardware was still on display, with Huawei pitching the value server, network and device hardware capable of supporting opportunities like an end-to-end IoT deployment. But in a move that will appeal to enterprise buyers and to telcos seeking help in doing the same, Huawei spoke of solutions (or business outcomes, if you prefer) built on top of two pillars: an open IaaS/PaaS cloud platform paired with an open ecosystem of partners.
At present, those solutions will serve verticals such as energy, manufacturing, transportation, finance and public safety. And they will revolve around several use cases including IoT, big data, video, and communications with more verticals and use cases to come. Moreover, they will run atop public and private cloud platforms hosted by Huawei or one of its operator partners. But they won’t be sold by Huawei alone. That’s because Huawei sees itself, not as a product vendor, but instead as an enabler of the business outcomes specific to digital transformation.
Think of a bank seeking to replace human tellers with a self-service mobile app for example. Here, Huawei might provide a number of services such as big data analytics running on its FusionInsight software platform. Solution partners like SAP might in turn provide the necessary line of business software, and a system integrator such as Accenture might build in the appropriate verticalization and do any necessary data integration work.
Though highly simplified, this is the basic go-to-market model Huawei is leading with for 2017 and the foreseeable future. Will it work? It should, but only because, although Huawei could provide end-to-end solutions on its own, it doesn’t want to. But that’s only half of the story. For this model to work, Huawei must build and nurture its partner ecosystem. And for that to work, Huawei must equip those partners with one important thing – choice.
When it comes to enterprise data and analytics, choice is synonymous with open source software (OSS). It is the rising tide that lifts all boats. So far Huawei is off to a good start in that regard, employing several key technologies relating to, and including, Apache Hadoop (e.g., Storm, HBase, MapReduce, YARN/Zookeeper, Spark, and Solr). It is also heavily invested in OpenStack and containerization in general, which, when paired with a solid, consistent API will make Huawei’s cloud platform (FusionCloud) an appealing route to market for domain experts who want a rapid route to market with minimal risk of vendor lock-in.
One important caveat however stems from Huawei’s introduction of select, proprietary elements that sit on top of or in some cases replace open sourced projects, as is the case with YARN. FusionInsight can of course work with standard YARN, but it comes with a rendition, which, according to the company, features valuable improvements.
This aside, the premise here is simple. Let Huawei handle the infrastructure (the cloud, pipes and devices, as Huawei puts it), leaving the rest to those who know business outcomes the best. So far Huawei has assembled a sizable ecosystem of experts, comprised of more than 500 technology partners, 12,000 channel partners, 400 solution providers, and 46,000 certified engineers, all looking to build their business on Huawei’s predominantly open spirit of enablement.