Telstra gets global cloud scale with Cisco

Telstra's new cloud partnership with Cisco will allow the Australian telco to compete with some of the bigger global cloud players.

Telstra will join forces with Cisco to launch its own cloud services, becoming the first global partner for the Cisco Evolved Services Platform.

Cisco, which is already one of Telstra's key partners as part of its five-year AU$800 million global investment in cloud services, will be operating and controlling Telstra's cloud platform in Telstra's datacentre and using Telstra's mobile network in Australia, Telstra's global enterprise and services executive director for cloud, Erez Yarkoni, told ZDNet.

"It is coming in our datacentre, and it will be connected to our network, and we see benefits in how that kind of connectivity evolves, but also this is not about us buying kit and implementing and operating," he said.

"This is managed and operated by Cisco as part of a global offer. We're just the first in the world to use it, with exception of Cisco in general."

Nick Earle, Cisco's senior vice president for worldwide services sales said that in operating and managing the infrastructure, Cisco will be providing service-level agreements to Telstra, which the company can then onsell to its customers.

"Telstra can take those guarantees and then sell them through to the end users, so it is the world's first deployment of this global cloud platform built on Cisco's Evolved Services Platform," Earle said.

He said Cisco decided to choose Telstra as its first partner because Australia is a "clear leader" in moving services into the cloud.

"Australia is the leading market for cloud in terms of end user take-up," he said.

"We have a deep relationship with Telstra going back over many years. From our perspective, Telstra is one of the most innovative service providers in the world. For us, it was the right thing to do."

Yarkoni said that Telstra decided to partner with Cisco rather than opting to take on the monumental task of growing globally as a cloud company on its own because the economies of scale made sense, given that Cisco is already a global company.

"We're getting infrastructure that is being built and managed at economies of scale at a global footprint, but we're getting capacity in a virtual instance, so there will be more than one physical presence here," he said.

"Doing it yourself, buying our own kit, and then running our own software on top of it ... to do that, even as big as Telstra is, as one local instance to Australia, would be uncompetitive with the global offerings."

He said that in going up against the likes of Amazon, Azure, and others, it made sense to partner with Cisco.

"I think any one of us around the world that is going to try and do it locally is going to have a hard time competing at that layer," he said.

"You have to have global partners."

The initial focus will be government customers, Australian businesses, and Australian multinationals before the company looks to target international companies.

"We're targeting all of Australia, and the Australian multinationals because we are getting a global footprint here," he said.

The product using Cisco's platform will be available at the end of 2014 in Australia.

Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.