Bill Barney, CEO of Reliance Communications (Enterprise) and Global Cloud Xchange was in Australia to brief media and stir up analysts for the launch of its next generation content and cloud delivery network – for Australia - based initially in Sydney.
Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) is a subsidiary of the Indian-based Reliance Group. In essence, it has major cable systems spanning the world connecting 27,000 sites in more than 160 countries through a dedicated, secure, virtual private LAN service, over IP and/or multi-protocol label switching networks.
Barney is a telecommunications veteran – 10 years as CEO of Pacnet (now owned by Telstra) and before that Asia-Pacific president and CEO for MCI WorldCom (now a Verizon business). He is now based in Hong Kong but spends a lot of time in Mumbai.
His focus has been on building and monetising the network after initially exploring options for its sale. “This is a pretty incredible network and it makes sense to build services on top of it,” he said.
“We need to UBER-up” the networks,” said Barney speaking about the disruption he thinks GCX may cause.
While there are lots of technical terms for GCX, its primary function is the unification of the company’s network assets into a coherent global platform that can be provisioned and controlled from a single source. This is part of a strategic realignment of capabilities to support cloud networking requirements, including self-provisioning of network resources and bandwidth-on-demand.
In simple terms, it will enable enterprise customers across Australia to have on-net access to leading public cloud platforms including AWS, Microsoft Azure, SoftLayer, Google, Rackspace, VMware and more than 20 others worldwide, as well as software services like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work.
“GCX’s Cloud X orchestration portal will not only simplify infrastructure deployment but also de-risk migration to the Cloud for our ANZ customers,” said Dave Pearson, Managing Director, Global Cloud Xchange ANZ.
Read on for Barney’s take on the cloud computing and the network of the future. The remainder of the interview is paraphrased.
Last November, GCX announced the expansion and upgrade of its Global Network across Australia and New Zealand with four new Points of Presence (PoPs) in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland, providing enhanced coverage and increased diversity to address the growing demand for premium global connectivity in the region.
Cloud X is changing the paradigm of cloud computing. The Network must now undergo a profound transformation, from a static entity, to a dynamic, intelligent, application-aware fabric that can support multiple traffic requirements, diverse geographies and flexible pricing models.
The cloud is an often misused and misunderstood term. Barney simply says that cloud uses hardware that belongs to someone else accessed over, what has been for too long, ‘dumb pipes’.
GCX is a revolution of the cloud paradigm – delivering applications and content largely over its fibre network with new levels of sophistication – a digital transformation.
Ultimately most end-points (desktops and mobile) will access the cloud (server side computing) simply because it can offer 55x the speed of a desktop, 600GB of memory, 12 Exabytes of storage and astonishing efficiency. End-points are now really dumb terminals especially if their cloud connection is via an intelligent network – in GCX’s case the world’s largest privately-owned subsea cable system.
Cloud will also herald the move from owning, managing and maintaining infrastructure to renting – a move from CAPEX to OPEX but more than that the move is from ‘always on’ cost structures to ‘pay as you go’ efficiencies.
In a new IT world, priorities will be reversed. The cloud will drive applications and data instead of worrying about installation and infrastructure. The platform and applications as a service enable this.
At present consumers have embraced more cloud services than enterprise but that is changing. Content (think video and audio media) have embraced it. Enterprise is beginning to see the advantages of unified voice and data, and GCX’s portal based infrastructure is the first enterprise-class, cloud switching structure that requires zero human intervention.
A rich ‘catalogue’ of cloud services will comprise:
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
- Cloud serves apps (such as Office 365)
- Virtualisation support
- Monitoring and management
- Bandwidth on demand