Global Cloud Xchange, a subsidiary of India’s Reliance Communications, has ramped up competition in wide area software defined networking services in Australia and New Zealand with the launch of its Cloud X service, to be delivered from new PoPs in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland.
Cloud X will enable enterprise customers to set up global links instantly via a web portal, and provision access to global cloud services and cloud hosted business applications.
“What this does is to enable arbitrage of compute and storage facilities around the world,” Global Cloud Xchange CEO, Bill Barney, told a press briefing in Sydney.
“It gives customers enterprise class access to apps from a suite of 27 applications and connectivity to any data centre on the planet that is connected to our network… It allows users to store information wherever they want to, and to access any cloud provider on our network anywhere in the world.”
In addition to the 27 application providers directly connected to Cloud X, Barney said there were an additional 460 that could sell their wares through the network.
He claimed that there was a massive and rapid shift of organisations’ IT resources into the cloud, and that this had caught many CIOs off guard.
“The biggest issue CIOs are facing is that five years ago they wanted their own data centre and their own network. Now they want access to as much infrastructure as the can get on a pay for use basis,” he said.
“Most CIOs don't get this. Nineteen of our top 30 customers have changed CIOs in the last 24 months, and five of our top six, largely because of this issue.”
Cloud X brings competition to Telstra’s PEN service, the former Pacnet Enabled Network, acquired by Telstra in early 2015.
At that time, PEN provided on-demand connectivity only to Pacnet data centres around Asia.
Telstra has since expanded coverage to a global network of 26 PoPs across the Asia Pacific region, Europe and North America and in January 2016 announced the PEN Exchange and the PEN Marketplace. PEN Exchange allows PEN customers go provided on-demand connectivity with other PEN customers. PEN Marketplace allows users to add virtual applications such as firewalls and routers.
In addition, Telstra and Cisco announced, at Mobile World Congress in February last year a collaboration that would result in “new Telstra ‘ready to consume’ services that can be rapidly deployed through a single self-service portal, and will enable customers to connect private and public clouds and managed network services in a manner that has not previously been possible.” However Telstra has yet to launch any such service.
Barney claimed that Cloud X had superior global coverage to PEN.
“I would argue that Telstra’s network outside Asia it is pretty small. We are in 21 cities in the US alone,” he said. “We think we have a huge opportunity and we are executing against it in Australia.”
PEN and Cloud X are both early players in the growing market for software defined wide area network services, and Barney predicts a massive shift in the use of networks from provision of communications to the provision of access to compute and storage resources.
“We believe that as we build out our capabilities around the world, allowing people to access the cloud will be the most important thing we can do. Because over the next 10 years enterprise usage of networks for computing will go from 15-20 percent today to 80 percent.”
Barney said Global Cloud Xchange did not intend to get into the data centre business, which he predicted would become commoditised and“largely focussed on jurisdiction [where data can be stored] and places that are effective for data centres, based on power, climate and connectivity to the rest of the world.”
He said the company’s network investment was focussed on what he called the emerging market corridor.
“Today most of the cloud capabilities are in Western Europe and the United States. They don’t exist in the high growth consumer markets, Asia the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Those regions account for 45-50 percent of the population but 65-70 percent of the world’s youth. That is where the future growth is going to come from. But the reality is that the infrastructure does not exist in those places. They are the furthest behind.”
He said the company had already invested almost $US4.5 billion in networks in that part of the world, and that 80-90 percent of future investment would be into a corridor from Japan to Western Europe.
“Our biggest network investment next year will be in the Pacific, probably out of Japan,” Barney said.“We will expand our network in Australia, but we are not big enough to take on submarine cables.”