IBM Systems and Technology TelecommunicationsCase Study China Telecom dials up pressure on the competition With an innovative internal cloud computing model based on IBM technology One of only three telecommunications operators in China, China Overview Telecom’s Jiangxi Subsidiary is a full-service integrated information service operator and the world’s largest wireline telecommunications The need and broadband services provider, with 53 million broadband sub- Operating in a highly competitive mar- scribers at the end of 2009. Offering services including basic and ket, China Telecom needed to reduce time to market for new products and mobile telecommunications, internet access and information services, services to seize greater market share. China Telecom has locations in ten provinces in China. 20,000 of The high cost of ﬂoor space and power the company’s 312,520 employees work in the Jiangxi subsidiary. in data centers was restricting growth. The solution In the ﬁercely competitive telecoms market, innovation is everything. Worked with IBM and Business China Telecom is constantly under pressure to bring new products and Partner HCF to implement services to market faster than its competitors, to increase the chance of IBM Power 570 servers, using IBM PowerVM and IBM Systems garnering a larger market share. Director VMControl to create cloud landscapes and to manage virtual Dr. Lifeng Liu, Assistant General Manager in the Network pools. IBM SVC is used to virtualize Development Department explains: “Traditionally we followed a set and manage storage. process to launch a new business application. Our marketing depart- The beneﬁt ments would identify a potential customer need, deﬁne a response and China Telecom slashed time to market pass this back to the back-end departments to assign the necessary IT for new offerings from three or four resources to turn this into a real product or service. We had a relatively months to just two or three days— representing a key competitive advan- mature and segmented workﬂow in place, which worked well—but we tage. Improved utilization and cut felt it could be faster and more efficient.” hardware costs by over 50 percent while reducing power requirements and CO2 emissions.
IBM Systems and Technology TelecommunicationsCase Study As the company continued to grow, it found scaling up its resources problematic. The high cost of data center ﬂoor space and energy “Our primary estimate is presented a further obstacle to speed to market, as China Telecom that the IBM solution traded off the speed of new products going live against prohibitive operational costs. has improved hardware utilization by over There is also an increasing demand for products which connect with 50 percent, although multiple services and devices, introducing a considerable challenge for China Telecom. this may in fact be higher. Sharing “Because our departments each had their own pool of resources, developing a product with numerous functionalities was often very resources through the complex,” says Dr. Liu. “For example, we offer SMS services through internal cloud has both our mobile telephone network and our website, but we had to allowed us to consolidate exploit a lot of resources to get this up and running, as it involved two separate departments.” hardware, translating into 50 percent cost sav- Selecting IBM ings in terms of CPU China Telecom began to consider developing a private cloud comput- ing model, leveraging virtualization to optimize use of resources. and storage.” The Jiangxi subsidiary was one of four sites selected for the pilot implementation. —Dr. Lifeng Liu, General Manager Assistant in the Network Development Department, China Telecom “Cloud computing is a very popular idea in the industry at the moment: many companies are speculating about the beneﬁts it could provide, but are also worried about the risks inherent in new technology,” comments Dr. Liu. “We knew, with the right partner, we could seize the opportunity to get ahead of the competition, while pro- tecting our shareholders’ investment.” Following a lengthy exploration of competing offerings, the company selected IBM technology. 2
IBM Systems and Technology TelecommunicationsCase Study “There were a number of reasons for China Telecom choosing to part- Solution components ner with IBM on this innovative project,” explains Dr. Liu. “We were impressed by their reputation, as they seem to be the leader in the ﬁeld Servers of cloud computing, and we had access to many case studies and cus- ● IBM Power® 570 tomer references that conﬁrmed this. Also, since they have a special- Software ized telecoms unit, we felt that they truly understand the telecoms ● IBM AIX® business—better than HP or Microsoft—which is a great advantage.” ● IBM PowerVM™ ● IBM Systems Director VMControl™ ● IBM System Storage® San Volume Sharing resources with virtualization Controller The company worked with IBM Lab Services and IBM Global Technology Services and IBM Business Partner HCF to deploy Services IBM Power® 570 servers at four sites including Jiangxu. IBM Systems ● IBM Lab Services ● IBM Global Technology Services – Director VMControl™ is used to help China Telecom simplify the Advanced Technical Support build-up and deployment of virtual servers, manage the virtual pool as a single system, and move workloads and adjust resources dynamically. IBM Business Partner IBM PowerVM™ Enterprise Edition is used to divide the servers into ● HCF multiple virtual partitions, creating a private cloud. “Ultimately, virtualization gives us the tools to transform our rigid workﬂows into a much more ﬂuid and ﬂexible business model,” says Dr. Liu. “We can efficiently form shared pools of resources, dynami- cally adjusting the server capacity assigned to each department to meet changing workload demands.” China Telecom also chose IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller (SVC), which provides highly ﬂexible access to storage resources. SVC allows storage from multiple devices, including non-IBM systems, to be pooled and presented as integrated volumes to applications. “The IBM SAN Volume Controller gives us complete control over our storage environment,” comments Dr. Liu. “It has really impressed with its reliability and security, leading us to believe it is truly an enterprise- level storage product. It enables us to move data within the virtual space without the need to stop operations, leading to greater continuity of service.” 3
IBM Systems and Technology TelecommunicationsCase Study IBM Power 570 servers provide industry-leading performance at a rea- sonable price point, with superb availability and scalability enabling China Telecom to do more. “The performance-price ratio of the IBM Power 570 servers is very impressive,” says Dr. Liu. “We have experienced increased availability and reliability since deployment, as well as improving response speed of the system. It is also highly scalable, enabling us to grow efficiently and without disruption to services.” Signiﬁcant savings China Telecom has achieved considerable cost savings since imple- menting the new solution, generated through higher utilization of hardware resources. “Our primary estimate is that the IBM solution has improved hardware utilization by over 50 percent, although this may in fact be higher,” comments Dr. Liu. “Sharing resources through the internal cloud has allowed us to consolidate hardware, translating into 50 percent cost savings in terms of CPU and storage.” The increase in consolidation has led to China Telecom requiring less data center ﬂoor space and power. Built-in energy-saving technology in the IBM Power 570 servers helps to lower energy costs without sacri- ﬁcing performance or business ﬂexibility. “The built-in load balancing and energy-saving capabilities in the IBM Power 570 servers enable us to use resources as efficiently and effectively as possible with minimum effort,” says Dr. Liu. “The cen- tralized cloud computing model also allows us to take a more economi- cal approach to maintenance, using virtual teams of just three to four people to manage the entire system, whereas before this took at least ten people. Consequently, labor costs have reduced considerably.” 4
IBM Systems and Technology TelecommunicationsCase Study Opening up new markets By leveraging an innovative cloud computing model, China Telecom has gained a key competitive advantage, accelerating the time to mar- ket for new products and services. “As far as we know, we are the only company in our market to adopt this kind of approach to infrastructure,” says Dr. Liu. “This made it a risky endeavor, but one we feel has paid off, giving us a real edge over the competition.” “It is so much easier to get new products through the pipeline now, since different departments can work together and get access to the capacity they need pretty much as soon as they want it. It used to take us three to four months to develop a new business application, now it is only two to three days, giving us a much better chance to corner the market before our competitors have a chance to enter the fray.” Looking to the future Currently, the internal cloud is only in use at four pilot sites, including Jiangxu—although the success of the project has led to plans to extend its use throughout China. Furthermore, there are plans to exploit idle resources by introducing a new “resource rental” service to other companies. “Embracing cloud computing has opened up many new opportunities for China Telecom, which we are keen to capitalize on,” says Dr. Liu. “We really feel it is the future of computing, and are proud to have worked with IBM to deploy this solution while it was still relatively new and innovative.” 5