Building on its corporate principle of “Supporting customer business to progress together,” IDC Frontier offers high-quality datacenter solutions, including network security and operational monitoring, to customers in industries such as application services/SaaS, Internet financing/securities, e-commerce and web portals. In 2012, IDC broke ground on its 10th datacenter location in Japan. Using the experience and successful track record established through operating these datacenters, IDC expanded its portfolio with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) public cloud offerings.
In June 2009, ahead of other datacenter operators, IDC Frontier began offering a managed product for IaaS public cloud services. This service charges a flat rate that does not change even with sudden increases in use. The managed offering also includes services from an expert technician for anything from installation assistance to operational support. Makoto Oya, department manager of Service Development in the Business Promotion Division, said, “In 2010, our infrastructure offering, supported by a 120-Gbps large-capacity backbone and wide-area network, was popular with users. It included high-quality support with multiple virtual platforms for flexible extendibility and a 99.99% SLA. The use rate on that product soared. However, in addition, we needed a way to give our clients a certain degree of flexibility in using the cloud service.”
IDC Frontier decided to provide a self-service cloud that is ready for use from the portal immediately and is available on a pay-per-use basis. There were three critical requirements for the cloud platform: compliance with global standards, a range of options and the reliability that comes with Japanese quality. Oya said, “For example, when we want to provide an API that connects our infrastructure with the services offered by another company, we must create a different API for each company if the specifications are not standard. That’s why global standards—that is, open source and multi-hypervisor—and an adequate ecosystem without being locked into a single vendor were so important to us. We wanted to provide as many options as we could regarding the network, payment plans and locations. And supporting our 99.99% SLA was also essential.”
IDC Frontier’s search for cloud platform software to build the new self-service product ranged from open source to commercial applications. After evaluating the functions of multiple solutions, the company decided on Citrix CloudPlatform.
Oya explained the factors behind this decision. “What weighed particularly heavily in our selection was the Citrix product’s compliance with global standards and high reliability. Its proven performance was also critical—by that time, CloudPlatform had built a track record.”
It took only about six months of development for IDC Frontier to launch the self-service product on September 2012. It provided the IT resources needed on an on-demand basis, and the service agreement could be signed online from the portal page. Payment options included credit card, bank transfer and bank deposit. With credit card payment, the signup is approved in about five minutes, and the virtual server is ready for use in about five more minutes.
For portal development, the team used Citrix CloudPortal Business Manager. Oya said, “Since we were the first CloudPortal user in the world, it feels like we helped develop it rather than just installing it.” The wide range of options available, a strength of CloudPortal, allowed IDC Frontier to provide both self-service and managed options.
IDC Frontier’s cloud services include managed global server load balancing, which uses Citrix NetScaler. Global server load balancing makes it possible to distribute the load between datacenters and switch backup sites.
Oya discussed the results achieved by installing CloudPlatform. “For customers who were not satisfied with just the managed service, self-service on CloudPlatform was a great hit. Some of our customers use both for different purposes. And in terms of coverage, CloudPlatform has really boosted our service area.” He added, “Our clients are satisfied, of course, with our virtual server service, but particularly for our Japanese customers who want to develop globally, CloudPlatform is really popular. I feel like this solution will always provide us with the latest in cloud technology,”
To expand service coverage, IDC Frontier partnered with RightScale to deliver a service using the RightScale Cloud Management Platform, a transparent cloud integration tool, for operating and managing cloud services built on CloudPlatform in Japan and abroad, as well as private/public cloud environments built within corporations. Oya said, “This enabled our customers who were using our cloud services to also use cloud services provided by other companies in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Additionally, overseas users working with a CloudPlatform-based service can use our services to expand their business in Japan. I would say that the greatest benefit of adopting CloudPlatform has been its open source ecosystem compliant with global standards, as that has made it easy to link to domestic and foreign cloud services.”
IDC Frontier plans to further boost its cloud services with more storage, databases and caching. Oya said, “Going beyond merely providing our customers with products, we want to work with our partners to provide further added value like RightScale has with its services. And we look forward to doing that with CloudPlatform.”
*IDC Frontier was selected as a finalist for the 2012 Citrix Innovation Award at the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco.
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles—empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, easily and securely. With market-leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations achieve the speed and agility necessary to succeed in a mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 260,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.
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