When you live in an apartment complex, there are a lot of services that are provided for you by the apartment management. However, there are also customizations that you do to your own apartment yourself, such as putting up new wallpaper, installing better kitchen fixtures, or putting in a new bathtub. Also, if you feel that the security of the apartment is not adequate, you can install more locks, a surveillance system, and buy a dog. KT's corporate cloud service, uCloud, is like that apartment manager, and the corporations that will buy their services like the tenants. And just as apartments are more efficient uses of space, so also are cloud services more efficient uses of computing resources. KT is building a state-of-the-art apartment complex for your data, with the possibility of infinite expansion based on the number of customers living in its digital walls. With ever-increasing interest in cloud services in the IT industry, firms that utilize massive amounts of data such as communications, IT service, and finance IT are looking to incorporate this new technology into their ventures.
Cloud services allow diverse and flexible computing services based on the Internet, without the clients worrying about internal networking, much like how clouds are just there. By being able to use a single server for multiple clients performing diverse functions, cloud services can raise efficiency by over 70% and also provide faster and powerful data processing. KT's uCloud is many things - it is personal storage for its Internet and cable TV customers, it is corporate storage of essential business processes and data, and it is a unique workspace for collaborative teams. And businesses only have to pay 30% of the cost of Google and Amazon cloud service offerings.
KT-Softbank joint plans for cloud computing
KT is one of the companies that are most aggressively looking to distribute this service in the domestic market. Recently a partnership with Softbank - Japan's leading data center corporation - showed a real determination for aggressive expansion into the industry.
Lee Seok-chae, CEO of KT, was under the pressure of his own promises to bring next generation data IT services to the country, as well as significantly lower mobile service prices. His promises included a new data center, 4G mobile technology, and completely innovative technology. His efforts were rewarded handsomely when the CEO of Softbank, Sohn Jeong-hee, contacted him last November.
The multi-billion-won talk was over in just a week without much hassle or argument. Although many were puzzled about why a giant such as Softbank required the partnership of KT, Mr. Sohn's answer was that any partner willing to share an innovative solution at affordable prices is taken into consideration.
The two corporations will establish a joint venture company (Currently known as KTSB Data Services), with KT holding 51% of the shares and Softbank holding the other 49%. A 75 billion won joint data center with fiber optic cables running between Japan and Korea is being planned to be built in October near Busan. Currently the center will consume around 6000kW of power (roughly 10,000 servers) which is being planned to increase to 20,000kW by next year.
Following the earthquake last March, Japanese firms have been under power usage restrictions, and demand for an operations center in disaster-free zones are increasing rapidly. This joint venture is being seen as an innovative answer to the problem.
The new data center has enough capability to be able to supply data services to over 1.5 billion people in a 2,000 km radius as a true Asian hub for cloud services. CEO Lee Seok-chae has announced that "I am truly happy for this Korean-Japan partnership and an opportunity to be of service to Japanese corporations suffering from power shortage. I believe this will help in establishing better relations between the two countries."
"This project will break the conventional image that IT projects are for domestic purposes only," he continued. "This will be the first step in global expansion, and we will advance Korea into the world hub of global data." The new data center will supply cloud computing to both Korea and Japan, and there are hopes that it will be the Asian data service defense base against conglomerates such as Amazon or Google.
KT pushes domestic plans with CDC
International deals were not all that KT was up to lately. Last April, KT established a Cloud HQ under CEO Lee Seok-chae, and released a cloud service based on auto backups for both the corporate and private markets.
Since March this year, KT is also getting ready to release their corporate public cloud services uCloud CS and uCloud CDN, along with other services SS, DS, and VDI, aggressively searching for entry into the cloud market.
Established last year in 2010, the Cheonan Cloud Data Center (CDC) was originally planned for low orbit satellite projects in 1998, but the project was abandoned before the center was built, and KT was able to finish building the center, saving billions of won in the process. The land around the CDC is also owned by KT in preparation for future expansion.
Following this brilliant move, KT was able to increase server concentration 50 times, and increase their power efficacy by 100%. High-efficiency came without the cost of the environment as well, for carbon emissions were lowered by 90%. KT's new center is truly at a global standard, and it went through consultation and review of several domestic and foreign cloud corporations.
KT's plan does not end there, with over 200 billion won invested in expanding various cloud infrastructure and installing a cloud-exclusive floor in the original IDC in Mok-dong. Following explosive growth in data usage, KT sees this year as the year of full-scale cloud servicing and is looking for profit in the long run. The current 35 billion won market is expected to grow to 700 billion by 2015.
Personal Cloud, uCloud service
KT provides the N-screen service, which is more focused on backing up the data of individual users rather than corporations. Customers can backup as much as 50 gigabytes of information which they can then access from anywhere, be it from a smart phone, tablet, PC, or even an Olleh TV connection.
They also have uCloud VDI, aimed at corporate employees. If an employee has to work outside of the office, you can log into the VDI service, which provides everything that an employee needs to work at the equivalent of his desktop in the office. The service provides both the computing power and the operating system, so no matter where the employee is, they still have access to the corporate computing resources in exactly the same manner as at their desk.
Finally, for corporate workgroups there is the uCloud Office, which enables collaboration so that teams can have a shared workspace in which to build a complex project. uCloud Office also comes with guest IDs, so that clients can log into the shared workspace as well and see the completed efforts of the team. This eliminates the problems associated with sending large, complex files to team members and clients as well, speeding up the collaborative efforts of a team so that more deadlines can be reached.
Initial cloud success for KT
KT's current cloud service, uCloud, has gained over 1 million subscriptions in just a year since its release in 2010, both corporate and private users. The only competing cloud service in the domestic market is the NHN Ndrive which was released in 2009. With 15 petabytes of data in 5.5 billion files stored in its servers, uCloud is arguably the biggest cloud service yet.
As an example of how big 15 petabytes are, it would take 2,500 years to view all of its contents in movie format, and if printed on paper, the data would stack from the earth to the sun 5 times over.
The uCloud service is growing at 40 terabytes per day, which is lower than Internet portal-based cloud services but growth and real usage is being analyzed as being larger.
With the release of the iPad 2, uCloud service increased its data storage for clients from 20GB to 50GB, which increased subscriptions 500%.