Cloud providers seek to become “arms dealers” to telco, carrier clouds

It’s clear that all the cloud providers really want old line telcos, carriers and hosting providers to embrace cloud technologies — they want the business.

cloudsThe cloud technology providers are banking that these legacy players have tried to build their own cloud services and realized that it’s easier and more productive to base those services on a cloud expert’s technology. So they’re rolling out bundles and packages tailored for that constituency.

Case in point: On Wednesday Tier 3  announced the “Reseller Edition” of its Enterprise Cloud Services.  The Bellevue, Wash.-based company built its own management, controls and services atop VMware(s vmw) vSsphere and packaged all that up for third-party providers from VARs to  telcos.

And Thursday, Dell(s dell) and OnApp announced joint offerings that are pre-tested to enable service providers, MSPs and telcos ro roll out cloud services as fast as possible.Last month, Rackspace pitched its own cloud infrastructure as a short cut for telcos, MSPS — the usual suspects — to build their own clouds.

Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz has repeatedly used wireless carriers as a key target market for the big data-oriented cloud platform his company is building.

So if carriers are gearing up to build clouds atop third-party IP, why is it happening now versus say, six or nine months ago? Tier 3 CEO Jared Wray thinks it’s because they see the market maturing. “Before recently it just wasn’t defined and there wasn’t a huge de facto open source initiative going on,” Wray said. Now, with OpenStack, in particular, that has happened.

“OpenStack has the fanfare and momentum, so the telcos see a defined, evolved ecosystem and it’s looking like they understand what the key components are,” Wray said. “The idea now is to use the colos and wires they already have and layer value added services atop all that.”

Wray attended last month’s OpenStack Summit to see for himself. As to whether Tier 3 will add OpenStack support he was noncommittal.

This is, of course, all very self-interested by these cloud providers to say. But there is evidence that hosting companies, data center providers and telcos really are getting pressure from their customers for the sorts of cloud services that come from Amazon(s amzn) Web Services and others, said Carl Brooks, cloud analyst at The 451 Group.

To be fair, not all the old line companies have given up on building their own technology for the cloud era. Thirty-year old MetaSwitch is open sourcing it’s new IMS core software to ease cloud development.

But whoever’s technology ends up in the mix, as raw connectivity and compute get ever more commoditized, the secret to profitability — and happy customers — is truly useful services and cloud seems the deployment model of choice.