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Reliance Rebrands With Its Head in the Cloud

Dan Jones

NEW YORK -- Reliance Globalcom is rebranding as Global Cloud Xchange to prioritize a cloud future over its deep fiber roots.

The global fiber provider used the old money environment of the Yale Club of New York City to tell the world that it expects new revenue to come from a software-based, cloud future -- though one that builds on its already massive fiber footprint. CEO Bill Barney admitted during a Q&A session Tuesday that the move might be "a year or two ahead" of his customers, but he said he didn't mind being ahead of the game.

"All of our customers are going to be in the cloud. They might not know it yet, but they're going to be there," Barney said in response to questions from Light Reading. "In 10 years' time, there won't be fiber guys anymore."

This doesn't mean that Global Cloud Xchange will forget its position as the largest fully owned submarine cable provider on the globe. In fact, Barney expects to announce more buyouts of "distressed" networks in the future.

During his presentation, he said that the massive amounts of video, data, and voice that is and will be delivered over social networks and other cloud services will start to make fixed -- not wireless -- more trendy again as the need to move more packets of "big data" (no, not that Big Data) requires extra horsepower.

"Fiber guys are going to be be sexy for the next couple of years," he said.

Nonetheless, Barney expects to go beyond that by building 20 "enterprise-class cloud nodes" in 2014 around the world. These will be used to enable other providers to facilitate cloud services and allow Global Cloud Xchange to provide its own. "We go past 1,800 data centers today, but we're only in 75."

He didn't reveal the planned locations of the nodes, but he did say announcements will start to come in a few weeks. He also said Global Cloud Xchange had its best opportunities in markets with fewer providers, like India and Saudia Arabia.

He also suggested that the industry is changing the way it builds data centers, and Global Cloud Xchange will be a part of that. "You can no longer store information in downtown New York. It's too expensive."

So increasingly enterprise data centers will take a distributed approach, with the servers in the front in big cities and massive storage farms in back the suburbs. Global Cloud Xchange intends to announce its plans for "forward data centers" in the coming weeks.

All this is in service of building toward a future where networks and services are all based on SDN. "We're probably about halfway there. The process could take another 5-10 years."

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Steve Saunders
Steve Saunders,
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 3:30:04 PM
Re: Change in perspective
the data center architecture stuff was by far the most interesting part of yesterday's conference. Forward Operating Centers... Storage Operating Centers, Super dense metro data centers... it's all happening and its all "not your father's data center."

Ray... what's our coverage strategy? Soemthing to discuss offline! :)

R Clark
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 8:40:56 AM
Change in perspective
When he was running Pacnet Bill and his team (some of whom have crossed with him to GCX) came up with the not-bad idea of the integrated data centre-cable landing station. That was Pacnet's big public selling point.

Interesting that he's now discovered the data centre is so big it has to be shipped out to the suburbs.
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 4:17:32 AM
Re: Cloud and clear
The cloud is still going to have its naysayers mainly because of security (a longstanding concern) and service reliability -- very often the network element in cloud service delivery is forgotten.

Best effort cloud is OK for retail (eg music download) but no good for essential business class service eg ERP, so five nines is even more relevant than ever if cloud servies are to go mainstream. 

And that's where the fiber network operators come in....

Good to hear that Bill Barney has a lot of energy -- maybe he is revitalized after his long stint at Pacnet, which is where he was previously (and for a long time too)

Pacnet Calls Time on Its CEO

Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 6:08:22 PM
Re: Cloud and clear
Regarding pendulum swings -- just so. The principle of cloud is likely to last a long time, but the buzzword might well fade, leaving Reliance having to rebrand itself yet again. 

Are there any companies around with "client-server" in the name? Or "mainframe?"
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 6:06:57 PM
Re: Cloud and clear
"Cloud doubters" would be a good name for a band. 
Steve Saunders
Steve Saunders,
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 4:08:38 PM
Re: Cloud and clear
i don't know if there are too many doubters, Raymondo. But that doesn't mean we won't see the usual pendulum swings of indsutry opinion for and against cloud tech over the next few years.

I did think today's announcement was considerably more signficant than most press conferences I've been to. Bill Barney (CEO) had a lot of energy... that's a good thing.   

User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 3:48:52 PM
Re: Cloud and clear
Well, I think the concept the CEO laid out opens up a whole new world of problems.

The business mullet idea of data centers, if you will, aka distributed forward data centers. If storage gets to live far away from the server farm that processes the cloud services at what point do we start to see bottlenecks between the storage and server connections? 
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 3:40:44 PM
Cloud and clear
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