Post number 2 in a series of 12 from one of our provider partners, NTT.
In my first post we laid some groundwork for what cloud computing was and where it came from. In this post we will start to explore ways that large enterprises can take advantage of cloud services to expand their global reach. In the connected world that we live in, it is impossible to not have operations all around the world. Advances in telecommunications, transportation and collaboration and have made global business the norm. Many markets that 20 years ago were closed for commerce are opening up and living standards around the world are starting to change because of it. To highlight the changes in the last two years, NTT (the company that I currently work for) has increased the bandwidth 400% in certain regions of the globe. This is not unusual. Many other companies have been doing
If you only get one thing out of this post, it should be that using cloud resources around the globe is about Risk Avoidance. Operating in other countries outside the US can be a challenge. For example, a 2010 BBC article talked about how Google is re-thinking their China operations because of issues around censorship on the site. Political climate and regulations can have wide consequences on how and where data is stored. One such example in US law is the USA Patriot Act that limits where data can be stored. If you want to dive deeper into this subject, Alex Lakatos has written a very good article about some of the reaction of the world to this act entitled “The USA Patriot Act and the Privacy of Data Stored in the Cloud”
Many times companies struggle with finding ways to support more remote regions. Import and VAT taxes make getting equipment to regions more expensive. For example, the average VAT tax on equipment in Brazil is 17%. That would need to be added on to the cost of whatever you are buying (unless it is produced inside of Brazil). Many equipment manufacturers have to import whatever they sell you, so you will be responsible for that cost, too.
There are also security concerns that may be associated with storing data in different countries. If you are storing data in a country that is politically unstable, it may be difficult to access it if there are problems. Many organizations use Singapore and Hong Kong for operations in the Far East because of their relative stability.
Global satellites may also end up being smaller offices without technical staff to handle the day-to-day operations. Also, some of the infrastructure that is taken for granted in the US (a reliable power grid, transportation system and telecommunications options) may be more limited in some regions. That is one of the reasons for huge growth in this area in other parts of the world – emerging economies are in the process of building out their basic infrastructure. Growth areas like China, India and South America are places where businesses are looking for partners to help in
Like I said, using cloud computing during global expansion helps mitigate risk. Public and Hybrid clouds can help accelerate moves into new markets if a solutions provider with a global reach is used. Customers are protected from the uncertainty and risk of international expansion because of the following:
- Data Centers can be located in more secure and protected environments that help avoid issues happening in individual countries. As I mentioned before, Singapore is a typical place for infrastructure because of the relative stability of the country, a reliable power grid and an area that is relatively protected from natural disasters. Also, providing cloud services from the US, Europe, or Japan provides a reliable (for the most part) infrastructure.
- Cloud providers typically came from the Colocation business, so a lot of redundancy is built into those data centers. Typically, redundant cooling and power, redundant network and electrical feeds and backup generators with storage tanks for diesel fuel are all part of the package from the start. When you compare this to putting 1 or 2 servers into a potentially insecure region to using cloud resources, you can see how risk level goes down. There may also be options for mixing some cloud features with traditionally hosted infrastructure, which may be better suited to your
- Cloud providers can provide backup options for environments stored in remote locations. That means that a local administrator does not have to change a tape or use some sort of expensive remote
- Data can be centralized in one location and capabilities can be put in place to move it on the fly if there is
- Taxes, duties and shipping costs can all be reduced because you are now no longer sending physical products into a country but are just leasing time on the infrastructure that is sitting somewhere in the world. It is a good practice to check local laws and tax codes to see if there is any impact on your business.
- In emerging markets resources can sometimes be difficult to predict, so cloud resources provide flexible environments that can be quickly deployed for the regions that need the computing capacity.
- Cloud solutions can also provide access to more skilled labor than may be readily available in developing countries.
There are still some drawbacks to putting infrastructure in the cloud, such as security risk and individual regulations that dictate where company data should reside, but in general there are probably more advantages than disadvantages. When you start moving international workloads to the cloud, it would be wise to work with companies that understand the “gotchas” that you may experience in doing international business.
Next Post : Moving Enterprises to the Public or Hybrid Cloud (Part 3 of 12) – Development Work
Please contact StrataCore to learn more about NTT America Cloud services
(206) 686-3211 or stratacore.com
About the author: Ladd Wimmer
Ladd Wimmer is a valuable member of the NTT Communications team. He has over 15 years of experience implementing, architecting, and supporting enterprise servers, storage and virtualization solutions in a variety of IT computing and service provider environments. He worked as Systems Engineer/Solution Architect in the Data Center Solutions practice of Dimension Data, most recently serving as technical lead for the roll out of Cisco’s UCS and VCE vBlock platforms across the Dimension Data customer base. Ladd has also run two IBM partner lab environments and worked for an early SaaS provider that created lab environments for Sales, QA testing and Training.