City Network is one of the first infrastructure providers in Europe to launch a public cloud built on OpenStack which is available across multiple connected data centres. Jelle Frank van der Zwet, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Interxion, talks to Johan Christenson, CEO of City Network, about this groundbreaking development in public cloud services.
JF van der Zwet: So my first question is, why did you choose OpenStack?
Johan Christenson: We can see that OpenStack is rapidly becoming the new standard for infrastructure deployed in the cloud. We expect OpenStack to do for cloud what Linux did for the operating system. Like Linux, it's open source, and it allows companies like us to build transparent, secure and scalable cloud solutions. It's backed by major technology players, so is clearly here to stay; and the large number of developers working with OpenStack are building up a vast bank of knowledge between them.
JFZ: From a customer perspective, what are the advantages of an OpenStack cloud?
JC: The main benefit is that there's no vendor lock-in, so customers have enormous freedom and flexibility. They can switch between clouds based on OpenStack, or work with multiple vendors, using all the same APIs and other functionality.
JFZ: Clearly there are other OpenStack-based clouds in Europe, but City Cloud has the distinction of being available in multiple, connected data centres. What does that mean for customers?
JC: We already have City Cloud nodes in three data centres, with more due to launch soon. Although other providers may have nodes in more than one data centre, what's unique about City Cloud is that those nodes are connected. This means that data, workloads, virtual machines and so on can flow seamlessly between all three locations over private wavelengths.
JFZ: How do customers benefit from that capability?
JC: It's useful in many different scenarios. For example, a new application can be developed and tested in one location, then moved to a production environment in another. Or an organisation may find its needs evolve — perhaps they start off with services in London and later want to move or expand them to Stockholm or Frankfurt.
JFZ: Being able to flow data between locations must enable resilience, too?
JC: Absolutely. In our always-on world, it makes sense to build applications and services across multiple data centres for business continuity reasons. With City Cloud, customers can load-balance between data centres and build in redundancy to get as close to 100% uptime as reasonably possible.
JFZ: It sounds as though managing it all could be quite challenging for customers that don't have extensive technical teams.
JC: We knew we needed to make our IaaS usable by organisations of all types and sizes — whether an individual is hosting a blog on it, or a large company is running a complex application on it. So we designed and built a management interface that gives customers a simple way to control everything directly from their browser. They can carry out tasks ranging from the routine, such as starting or stopping a virtual machine — to the more complex, such as implementing load-balancing across data centres by simply dragging and dropping a server from, say, Stockholm to London.
JFZ: Tell us about your expansion plans for City Cloud.
JC: We already have two nodes in Sweden (at our Karlskrona data centre and Interxion Stockholm) and one at Interxion London. Further nodes will go live at Interxion's Frankfurt and Paris facilities this year, and other European cities are in the pipeline.
JFZ: Do you find that, given the choice, European companies prefer to have their data close by?
JC: Yes, and in addition to 'cultural' reasons for storing data locally, there are often regulatory or corporate policy reasons, too. For example, we have government organisations among our customers who are obliged to store data in-country. On the other hand, if a company wishes to target a new geographical market, locating applications in or near that region will help reduce latency and improve the user experience — this can be vital to the enjoyment of online gaming, for instance. Our goal is to take advantage of Interxion's broad European footprint and put City Cloud nodes in enough locations to meet all these different requirements.
ABOUT CITY NETWORK
City Network is a leading provider of infrastructure services in Europe — with more than 25,000 customers worldwide. Its core services include public, hybrid, and private cloud services — on OpenStack (IaaS and PaaS). Since 2014, City Network is ISO certified pursuant to ISO 9001: 2008 — an international quality management systems standard.
www.citycloud.com and www.citynetworkhosting.com