Joining us for a quick Q&A today is Craig Hurley, Senior Product Manager at NTT America. The telecommunications industry as a whole has spent the last several quarters rapidly positioning itself for the cloud computing revolution, and one of the most active of all has been NTT. As a top internet backbone operator that has long offered managed hosting to the enterprise space, the company seems as ready as any out telecommunications company out there to benefit from the shift to the cloud. They started off with a public cloud effort last year, but in April took the next step and unveiled their Enterprise Cloud offering, which takes a flexible approach to private and hybrid clouds.
TR: Do you think the major telcos are going to successfully take on the pure cloud providers that have dominated the space thus far?
CH: The telcos are rapidly acquiring pure play hosting providers, and we do believe that a lot of the cloud is moving toward the telcos as they have the deep pockets. The telcos are going to have a lot more steam when focusing on the enterprise customer looking to go global. But it's early on and we'll see some acquisitions in the future.
TR: Does NTT America's history as a colocation and hosting provider since the Verio acquisition give you a head start on other telcos entering the cloud space?
CH: We believe so. NTT America has a lot of history focusing on dedicated servers, their stability and security and so on. We understand customer expectations - the stability, the security, the support, the transparency into the hardware, etc. - we understand these today and are applying those lessons to the cloud. That puts us in a position of strength going forward with both the cloud and managed services.
TR: What differentiates your enterprise cloud offering from other cloud offerings thus far?
CH: Because we have traditionally been a dedicated server provider, we have a lot of competency there. A lot of customers have applications that perhaps aren't cloud-ready, for example clustered SQL database applications they just aren't yet comfortable putting in the cloud. With NTT America, alongside their cloud environment for their webservers, customers can have a dedicated server or clustered dedicated server standing next to their cloud environment, behind the same firewall and on the same network segment. We really feel that's one of the key differentiators we have as compared to the pure play providers in the market. We also provide 24 x 7 support, which gives our customers direct access to our experienced team of engineers.
TR: Are there particular areas you are putting a lot of effort into currently?
CH: The NTT America Customer Portal is something we are really focusing our attention on this year. We are looking to present a common look and feel to the customer. We are also putting a lot of effort into our global OSS. Each NTT affiliate has had its own, and one of the focuses over the past year has been to combine these disparate OSS's into one global OSS. At the same time, as we add new products and services, we are making sure that we can buy solutions off the shelf and plug them into our OSS.
TR: A few weeks ago we saw Amazon's cloud suffer a very public outage. How does NTT America approach SLAs and outages with its cloud offerings?
CH: From our dedicated server background, we are used to providing SLAs and four or five nines depending on the underlying infrastructure. Outages are bound to take place for any hosting provider. It's our responsibility to make sure that we minimize any outages and that we're totally transparent when an outage happens. One advantage of a service-provider managed environment is the ability to utilize the latest technologies and experienced staff to respond rapidly and minimize the impact of an outage. We consider our customers as business partners and will do whatever we can to support their businesses and consider customer support of all types fundamental to the way we do business.
TR: How does NTT America's status as a network operator help it take on the emerging cloud marketplace?
CH: As one of the top three Internet backbone providers, we're in a unique situation to rely more heavily on our own Internet network and private MPLS network for data transport to end users, other data centers, or through our private peering arrangements to other networks. Since we control this network layer, we're able to ensure a higher degree of quality in network delivery. This is a key differentiator.
TR: Thank you for talking with Telecom Ramblings!