NTT Comms Plans More M&A, Preps Next-Gen Cloud Platform
LONDON -- NTT Communications is set to continue its international expansion with the acquisition of a "large data center operator" in Indonesia in the coming months, the recently appointed CEO Tetsuya Shoji announced during a media briefing here in London Thursday.
The fast-car-fancying CEO, who took the helm last month, said NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) had been looking for some time for a location in Indonesia to build its own facilities, but that an acquisition was now regarded as a more economic and quicker route to market. He declined to provide any further details. (See NTT Comms' New Chief Likes the Fast Lane.)
The move is part of NTT Comms' strategy to expand its global carrier cloud capabilities: Only recently the operator shelled out $830 million for German data center operator e-shelter. (See NTT Making Aggressive Data Center Push.)
That acquisition looks to be the stepping stone for further expansion in Europe. Shoji noted that NTT Comms is currently working with the e-shelter team to identify the best European markets where it could either build additional data center facilities or make further strategic acquisitions. He also noted that e-shelter is well placed to help build new facilities as it already has experience in building its own data centers and has particular expertise in power management.
The operator expects to announce more details about its European expansion moves in the next few months, added Masaaki Moribayashi, managing director at NTT Europe. Multiple markets are under consideration. Spain is a prime market for expansion and NTT recently won a deal with the city of Barcelona to help run its ICT capabilities, he said.
NTT Comms plans to open a new data center in Hemel Hempstead in the UK; the company announced its intentions for the UK data center market in 2012 with the acquisition of Gyron. (See NTT Com Buys UK Data Center Player.)
"We are expanding our footprint because being close to customers is important," not only physically but also culturally, said the CEO. "It's important to have people who can speak the local language."
Alongside the operator's physical expansion, NTT Comms is pushing ahead with partnerships -- it is working on a tie-up with Orange Business Services on international cloud service enablement -- and enhancing its cloud services to help it differentiate itself from the likes of Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Azure.
"What we provide is what we call 'carrier cloud' -- network and data center in a coordinated manner -- and we provide this with reliability and safety. That is where we can differentiate," along with providing economic and affordable connectivity, stated the CEO.
It's also "not conceivable for NTT Comms to compete [with the likes of AWS] just on public cloud," noted Shoji, so NTT Comms has been working hard to deliver a combination of public and private cloud services to its customers and is now planning to launch (by the end of this year) a "next-generation cloud platform" that will provide a single customer portal for all cloud services, whether public or private, and all managed in the same way using SDN to allocate and manage resources.
In tandem, the operator has three main "initiatives for service enhancement": to strengthen its carrier cloud through greater integration of data center and network assets; the acceleration of virtualization and the introduction of enhanced SDN capabilities; and expanded API features.
NTT Comms regards SDN and NFV as key capabilities to deliver unique services and showed its intent to accelerate its NFV strategy with the acquisition of Virtela last year. "We have been using SDN for years in our network and now we are making some features available to customers. Our aim is to remove complexity from our customers, make their multiple clouds seem like a single cloud. The way to do that is to have a great network," noted the CEO. (See NFV Lets NTT America Flex Its Networks, NTT Launches NFV-Based Cloud Services.)
And as NTT Comms works on unifying its data center and network capabilities, so it will seek to take SDN beyond the data center and into the wide area network, a much tricker prospect in terms of management and orchestration, acknowledged Motoo Tanaka, senior vice president of cloud services and Takasi Ooi, senior VP of Network Services. (See NTT Shares Critical SDN Lessons.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading