Huawei Analyst Summit 2018: Edge Computing, Hybrid Cloud, and AI are Central to Huawei’s Future Vision of the Data Center

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• Key themes from the 15th Huawei Analyst Summit (HAS) in Shenzhen, China, included edge computing, hybrid cloud enablement, and the application of AI to data center technologies.

• To unlock commercial opportunities and reinforce the competitiveness of its solutions, Huawei would benefit from a stronger articulation of both its hybrid cloud and edge computing capabilities.

Judging by the themes of the 15th HAS in Shenzhen, China, 17-19 April, Huawei expects data center technologies to become increasingly more intelligent, more distributed in the way they are deployed, and more diverse in the use cases they support. Key themes from the Summit, with particular relevance to data centers, included edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), multi-cloud and hybrid cloud enablement, and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to both data centers and the use cases they support.

The Summit saw a recurring emphasis on the theme of “boundless computing”, reflecting Huawei’s commitment to a single infrastructure platform that blurs the boundaries between CPUs, servers, and data centers and supports the delivery of resources wherever they are required. There was considerable discussion of edge computing, which involves the maintenance and operation of IT resources at locations that are closer to the points of data generation, and to the end users of digital content and applications. Huawei already offers several solutions that support enterprise edge computing initiatives, including its Cloud Fabric SDN solution and a version of its hyperconverged infrastructure offering, FusionCube, which is specifically optimized for remote office and branch office (ROBO) and edge computing deployments.
By promoting these and other edge computing solutions – and by developing a clear articulation of its edge computing strategy – Huawei should be in a strong position to capture early commercial gains in this emerging technology segment.

Another major theme of this year’s HAS was AI, reflecting Huawei’s view of an intelligent world where all things are connected, sensing, and intelligent. Practicing what it preaches, Huawei not only plans to bring AI solutions to market, but also to put AI to work within the company’s internal operations. AI will be steadily deployed within Huawei’s server, storage and networking solutions to make them more intuitive, adaptive and self-managing.

Huawei has expanded its focus on hybrid cloud considerably since last year’s HAS, when there was little mention of hybrid cloud. Back then attention was mostly focused on Huawei’s public cloud strategy, which involves the provision of an international cloud services platform in partnership with several major telecoms network operators. However, the past year has seen several initiatives from Huawei that build on the company’s expertise as a provider of private cloud infrastructure, and which offer customers new ways of deploying and managing their workloads within multi and hybrid cloud environments. These include Huawei’s recently launched distribution of Microsoft’s Azure Stack offering, a solution that allows Huawei customers using the Azure public cloud to run the Azure cloud platform on-premises within their own data centers, based on Huawei servers. They also include FusionCloud Stack, which was announced at Huawei Connect 2017. Like Azure Stack, FusionCloud Stack provides an extended module of the Huawei public cloud that can be deployed within enterprise data centers to support things such as enterprise cloud migration initiatives and data sovereignty requirements.

Another of Huawei’s hybrid cloud initiatives centers on its FusionCloud private cloud platform. FusionCloud customers can choose from VMware’s ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors, as well as Huawei’s own KVM-based hypervisor, FusionSphere. As a result, FusionCloud customers can extend their private cloud environment to the public cloud, via FusionBridge for providing users with tools for managing workloads across multiple cloud platforms. Public cloud compatibility for FusionBridge currently extends to Huawei’s own public cloud and to Amazon AWS, while Microsoft Azure will be added in future. Huawei has already begun to secure major customer wins for its hybrid cloud offering, including Chilean telco Entel, whose Secure Cloud Platform is based on Huawei’s FusionCloud solution, with FusionBridge providing a gateway to the AWS cloud.

As with edge computing, Huawei’s hybrid cloud initiatives will benefit from stronger strategy articulation and the promotion of actual capabilities. This will not only help to unlock commercial opportunities for Huawei, but would also reinforce the competitiveness of Huawei’s hybrid cloud solutions in a market that’s seeing a rapid expansion in the range of enterprise hybrid cloud options.

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