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Our Telco Cloud Services initiative is a product innovation program for telcos and web hosting companies, intended to develop a Cloud solutions portfolio for them to adopt based on best practices developed from real-world projects.

As the Cisco white paper highlights, the primary value of Cloud computing to telcos is that it offers a platform for product innovation, and so our objective is exactly this, to link a Cloud Services Roadmap to the development of a Cloud Service Innovation Platform.

To achieve this I was inspired by the UK Governments concept of “Forward Commitment Procurement“, utilizing Government spending as the source of innovation, and have spent the last year intensively reviewing the procurement RFPs of the Canadian Government, using them as the requirements specifications to define the Cloud Services Roadmap.

Cloud Services Roadmap

The overall enterprise architecture required for this platform is described in this 18-page PPT from the CIO of the Canadian Federal Government.

In the same fashion as the UK program it states a requirement for an overall ‘G-Cloud’ environment, that incorporates elements such as a ‘Cloud Services Access Layer’ for uniting networks and access control with ‘Community Clouds’ for shared applications and Inter-Cloud data peering between them.

Where this states the future-looking, long-term roadmap, the individual RFPs published to the MERX portal then detail specific project requirements needed today, such as:

  • Utility Cloud Computing - Elections Canada is a headline example of the Cloud wave, a Government agency making a move from a traditional web hosting approach to a utility Cloud Computing model. Read more in this short paper.
  • Government 2.0 portals - The City of Edmonton is implementing an web hosting and CMS project, that all other cities will undertake too, to meet the obligations of the Open Government Resolution. This will see more collaborative models with citizens, more use of social media by government staff and more use of Open Data.
  • Electronic Records Management - The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation seeking a solution for electronic records management.
  • Healthcare Information Exchange – As described in this RFP it’s described how 3SO is deploying what NIST describe as an ‘On-site Community Cloud’, to implement a Sharepoint/Dynamics based solution for the eHealth Ontario ‘RM&R process‘ that will be shared across their member hospital organizations. They will need an ‘HIE’ to share referral records between them.
  • Cloud BCP - Olds College is looking for an enterprise-wide backup solution which will work with their Windows and SQL servers and Microsoft Exchange 2007 environment.

Cloud Service Innovation Platform

The fundamental opportunity for Cloud computing is that as of today most of these projects will  be met by one-off, dedicated and on-site purchases, simply due to the current state of the market and historical practices.

However this is a hugely inefficient approach by Government that expends far more taxpayers monies than is actually needed, and creates isolated ‘islands’ of information systems. As things mature a single G-Cloud environment will be able to cater for all of the requirements, each as a managed service element, and via a utility-pricing model for a better integrated set of applications.

Our Telco Cloud Services initiative will define the specifications for this Cloud Services Innovation Platform, designed in response to the above requirements. This will combine core Cloud technologies and best practices with startup innovations and existing service automation players, to offer all the necessary technology innovations built-in, such as:

  • G-Cloud Apps Store - A core multi-tenant SaaS environment for a Government apps store. Read more in this presentation PDF.
  • G-Cloud Open Data Platform - A key objective for projects like the City of Edmonton is to publish Open Data as part of their portal community. Defined in partnership with Microsoft Canada, this initial  Solution specification describes how this can be achieved within the context of the G-Cloud Apps Store.
  • VM Aware – Building autonomic intelligence into Virtual Machine environments.
  • Guardtime – Cloud-based keyless security to enable signing of PDF documents for securely distributed electronic patient records, certified email services and other innovative new Cloud services.

Additional technical capabilities will be incorporated into the platform on an ongoing basis.

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