Having an enterprise-grade global cloud strategy isn't just about data centers – it's the network too. NTT America -- a wholly owned subsidiary of global telecommunications provider, NTT Communications -- offers cloud services via its Universal One global private IP network and its 120 worldwide data centers to customers in 150 countries.
In 2012, after Superstorm Sandy, many businesses learned the hard way that a disaster recovery (DR) strategy was crucial, and they have been turning to cloud providers for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). As more operational applications are being moved to the cloud, providers are realizing that the network must also be reliable for their customers. Nayan Naik, director of product strategy for the data center services business unit at NTT America, shares his insights on trends that shaped the market in 2012, and what New Year's resolutions NTT customers can expect to see carried out in 2013.
What can we expect to see from NTT America in the 2013 cloud computing market?
Nayan Naik: We recently formally announced our global cloud vision -- our guiding principle that will shape out our corporate client services as we move forward into 2013. Based on this vision, we will be offering globally seamless cloud services to the market over the next few years, and a lot of it is based on software-defined networking (SDN). As a part of our cloud vision, we launched our public and private cloud offerings. We currently have one single platform on the public cloud and one single private cloud environment based on VMware's VCloud Director, and [we] are utilizing SDN technology -- like Openflow. [We will] use the network virtualization capability to connect our data centers and offer our customers seamless portability of their application workloads, either regionally or geographically, and offer it either on a public platform or a private environment depending on what their workload requirement is. Existing customers of our Universal One network will be able to connect their on-premises environments to our cloud network seamlessly.
What major challenge did your customers face with the cloud in 2012, and how will NTT America help to address the issue?
Naik: Many companies are struggling with migrating legacy applications into the cloud. For 2013 and beyond, you'll see us offering migration services as well as robust security services because we still believe that security continues to be the number one reason why companies are not adopting the cloud.
While we have heard that security has been an inhibitor, [customers] are becoming more accustomed to the fact that as global cloud providers, we are certainly aware of security constraints. NTT Communications recently purchased two security companies, so we know a thing or two about security.
What was the most important lesson you learned from the 2012 cloud computing market?
Naik: I think towards the latter half 2012, we made a concerted effort to build out our DR strategy and our Disaster Recovery as a Service portfolio. We saw [DRaaS] as the killer application for the cloud because we realized that organizations are not going to completely move everything to the cloud. We started by [offering] Cloud Recovery, an enterprise-grade cloud-based replication solution that meets some of the strictest requirements for enterprises looking to ensure business continuity and mission-critical applications, with the ability to failover within minutes. We recently launched that product offering and we also launched cloud backup and cloud archiving towards the latter half of 2011.
Cloud backup is an agentless architecture that basically continuously backs up our customers' data into the cloud. When [customers] declare a disaster, they are able to spin up cloud resources and have continuous availability and cloud archiving that meets the regulatory needs that mandate long-term storage of a company’s data and applications.
What's your New Year's resolution for NTT's cloud strategy in 2013?
Naik: Having that DR strategy and DRaaS is certainly important for us and our clients. SDN will continue to be a very important area of focus for our company, and a clear focus around our global cloud platform for our customers.
Many customers were looking for hybrid cloud strategies in 2012, and were looking to the cloud for scalability and potentially business continuity. This year, our customers were able to use the network connectivity to boost bandwidth from one location to the other, and migrate workloads using their existing technology.
It's not just about cloud enablement technologies and products – it's also about the network -- and that meets right in line with our global cloud vision for 2013. Cloud is not only about large data centers, but the ability to connect.
What story wasn't given enough attention in 2012 by journalists and bloggers covering the cloud computing market?
Naik: I actually do believe in the early part of the year, DR strategy and DR as a Service was being looked at and covered, but a lot of folks considered it to be a challenge to address in 2013 and 2014. The recent disaster -- Superstorm Sandy -- has certainly now increased the importantance of a DR strategy and business continuity in general. I think in the initial part of the year it was about public cloud and there was some focus on hybrid cloud functionality, but now I think the industry has caught on to the fact that the cloud doesn’t have to be 'all or nothing,' and hybrid strategies are important.
Customers are realizing they can utilize the cloud for disaster recovery, and I think we have done a better job in this last quarter covering DR as a Service.