TECH PERSPECTIVE / THE DIGITAL EDGE
PUBLISHED 17 DECEMBER 2014
Global Cloud Xchange’s global cloud platform is all about getting applications and services “on-net.” The concept of on-net is simple, meaning literally, that it is on a network that is owned, operated and managed by a single entity, in this case GCX.
When referring to on-net for its subsea infrastructure, the company is referring to its expansive subsea cable network, which reaches from New York, to London, to Mumbai, to Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. On-net means that GCX controls not only the entire length of the fiber optic cable between shores, but also the terrestrial backhaul connecting cable landing stations to point-of-presence sites and data center facilities.
When those POPs and data center facilities are also owned and operated by GCX, they too become on-net. In other words, they are part of a single, unifying fabric, which GCX can then deployed services.
Traditionally, on-net meant that the operator, in this case GCX, can layered their suite of managed services, including Layer 2 Ethernet, VPLS, MPLS, private leased circuits, and even internet connections, on top of the infrastructure and maintained end-to-end control.
Now GCX is looking to bring an extra layer of cloud-enabled infrastructure and network applications and services onto the on-net platform.
On-net means that GCX controls he terrestrial backhaul connecting cable landing stations to point-of-presence sites and data center facilities.
In absolute numbers, GCX owns 68,000 kilometers of subsea and terrestrial fiber optic cables, 160 POPs and over 100 data centers worldwide. For the specific cloud platform that it is building, GCX has connected together its assets with backbone links ranging from 10G and 100G circuits.
That backbone will connect together strategically located Cloud X nodes around the world, which will house the underlying compute and storage hardware for its own cloud services as well as those of third party cloud application and services.
On top of that physically infrastructure, GCX is building several key capabilities that transforms the entire capability into a dynamic, flexible, fabric that is optimized for cloud operating models.
First it is putting in an automated control layer that will give its Cloud X customers direct access to the cloud hardware. With software defined networking, GCX can give its customers the ability to set up, activate, and turn bandwidth up or down . GCX is also putting in a customized cloud orchestration layer that will tie into Cloud X services hosted inside its data centers.
When these elements fully integrated into a single system, GCX has effectively built a completely on-net cloud infrastructure, on which the company offers its portfolio of cloud services, including its multi-tenant public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and storage-as-a-service offerings.
Further, GCX is building a Cloud Ecosystems, where cloud service providers are invited to become ‘on-net’ on its infrastructure. What that means is cloud applications and service providers can now house the servers that deliver their services directly inside GCX’s data center facilities. Alternatively, these cloud providers can also establish a direct connection from their servers housed in third party facilities to GCX’s network, thus making them part of GCX’s infrastructure.
By having all these services on-net, GCX’s cloud offering promises a powerful solution that behaves very much like an internal data center for enterprises, but across multiple sites and regions, and across multiple domains, all connected over its global fiber network.
For enterprises, it’s a pretty powerful proposition since they can now place non-critical applications on a public cloud operated by GCX or a number of third party public cloud providers, build their own private secure cloud for their core corporate applications, as well as source third party cloud applications from the Cloud Ecosystem – all on a single platform and accessible through a single portal. And because that platform is built on a fiber network, the entire system behaves like a single data center, but spread across the entire globe.
This is when the power of GCX’s vision really comes to life. By eliminating geographical boundaries with its global platform, they also highlight the critical importance of distance.
For example, since services on GCX’s network are all part of the same infrastructure, enterprises can now choose where they want to store their applications and data depending on their own set of priorities and operational parameters. They can turn their attention to performance related issues such as latency, cost variables such as energy and real estate pricing, or regulatory requirements like data sovereignty laws.
In this way, the advantages of having everything on-net is essentially the same as having everything within the same system, like inside the chassis of a personal computer. Every element is accessible, interconnected, all the time. GCX’s cloud is like an Earthwide computer. Now you get to run your applications on it.