SHANGHAI — At the opening keynote at Huawei Connect 2017 today, Huawei executives said the company aims to create a global cloud by partnering with other cloud providers.
“In the future, we predict there will be five major clouds in the world,” said Guo Ping, Huawei’s current acting CEO. “Huawei will work with our partners to build one of those five clouds, and we’ve got the technology and know-how to do it.”
The company plans to help governments and individual enterprises meet their cloud needs. “Cloud service is now becoming the major model of the IT industry,” said Ping. “However, because of data sovereignty it’s impossible to be limited to a few clouds.”
The Chinese vendor says it will be able to partner with other cloud providers — rather than compete with them — because it wants to provide the underlying technology: the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and the platform-as-a-service (PaaS). It’s already partnered with Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telefonica as part of its cloud alliance.
Different countries have different IT infrastructure and regulatory requirements. These three service provider partners are already doing business in many countries, said Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei’s cloud business unit. They have established relationships with governments and enterprises.
Huawei also today announced a partnership with Microsoft for Microsoft applications to be released on the Huawei cloud.
Ping stressed that Huawei differentiates itself from other cloud providers “because we do not monetize the user data,” he said. “Huawei cloud does not monetize data or coerce customers to exchange data with Huawei.”
The company’s business model is based on selling technology and services, not data.
He added, “Huawei is a technology firm. Around one-third of the global population is using Huawei networking equipment. In this world about two to three other companies are close to doing what we can do. Cloud is the most needed tech of governments and enterprises. We want to provide a technology platform. Our partners can then use these technologies, leveraging the strengths of all parties.”
Ping likened the company’s cloud ambitions to alliances between airlines such as SkyTeam, Oneworld, and Star Alliance.
Cloud Business Unit
The Chinese tech giant got its start in cloud by helping carriers build their own private and public clouds. It then started working with enterprises that wanted to build clouds. Last year, the company announced its All Cloud strategy, focused on helping various business verticals build clouds customized for their own needs.
Although Huawei doesn’t host any clouds outside of China, it does operate a large cloud within China for its own needs. For example, members of its R&D group don’t have any memory on their computers. They just plug into the company’s cloud.
In March 2017, Huawei announced the cloud business unit. Rather than operating as a fourth business unit for the company, it operates more as a support unit, underlying the company’s other three business units, which are carrier network, enterprise, and consumer.
The company named Zheng Yelai as president of its new cloud unit. At a media event today, Yelai said, “Our share in the Chinese private cloud market is No. 1. Through Huawei cloud, we are essentially exposing our most formative achievements and practices in R&D, which we’ve built up over many years, to governments, enterprises, partners, and developers.”
He added that Huawei is committed to becoming a neutral service provider. Since the formation of the cloud business unit six months ago, the company has seen a 238 percent increase in its cloud user base. And it has released 40 new cloud services, making a total of 85 cloud services.
Photo: Huawei CEO Guo Ping speaking at Huawei Connect 2017.