The Cloudscaling team is proud to announce that KT (Korea’s largest landline operator and second largest mobile operator) has officially launched Korea’s first large-scale private cloud. Back in August, KT announced their intention to launch a complete set of cloud services to address the explosion of data emerging from the use of smart phones, the internet, and multimedia. This private cloud is intended to be a platform for KT’s own internal operations and is a milestone step along their cloud services path.

Projects of this scope and scale always require teamwork and this was no exception. In addition to the KT team themselves, we were fortunate to work with a great group of people from Intel, Citrix, Nexenta, and SP Korea.

Randy Bias (CEO, Cloudscaling) recently spoke with Mr. Jung-sik Suh, (Senior Vice President, Cloud Services Business Unit) about the launch of the private cloud. An excerpt of their discussion is below:

RLB: What motivated the decision to build Korea’s largest private cloud?

JSS: Telcos should focus on the explosion of data from smart phones, the internet, and multimedia. We should prepare for continued data growth in the future. There will be many opportunities to provide applications supporting this data explosion. We think cloud is the right technology solution to accomplish this.

RLB: KT’s approach is very uncommon among telcos, who generally don’t want to take risk. Most want a traditional enterprise vendor solution. What made you decide to build a solution like Amazon or Google - based on highly automated commodity hardware and software running at large scale? What got you excited about that approach?

JSS: Prior to meeting your team, we met a lot of other cloud companies. We asked ourselves who was the best fit for our vision. The CEO and I simultaneously decided that cloud architectures offered by enterprise vendors were not a good fit. Almost all cloud technology is being initiated by Internet companies. They are on the frontier of this technology. They are the trendsetters and set the standards. We tried to understand their way of thinking and working with respect to architecture and philosophy. We sought newer and better technology than the enterprise vendors offered. With their way of thinking, we realized we could implement a cloud strategy and compete with them in short order. From our research and meetings with more than 30 cloud providers, we realized that this way of thinking is totally different for IT people. Not just one or two things are different. All of it is different.

RLB: That is extremely bold! Now what about speed? How was KT able to move so quickly?

JSS: First of all, our CEO decided that the cloud initiative would be a totally different approach from how we typically launch new initiatives. As a 117 year old company, we have a great deal of tradition. For this project, we rethought our traditional decision process by setting up a new cloud division so we could move quickly. We broke almost all of the unwritten rules to accomplish this.

RLB: KT appears to be very ambitious. KT wants to start with the private cloud, but you have many other cloud initiatives in the works. Without revealing too much, what can you tell us about KT’s cloud portfolio plan?

JSS: We want to be the #1 player in our markets. We are working on partnerships with other companies from Asia and Europe who will help us offer new services and applications as our cloud strategy is implemented.

We are excited about the launch of this cloud because it is a validation of the philosophy and architectural design principles that both companies share - inspired by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Rackspace.

We used commodity hardware to keep the up-front and ongoing capex costs down. The software stack is based heavily on free and/or open source software to lower the license costs. The system was designed for failure. Cloud infrastructure must be highly available, which means hardware and software failure should not interrupt the service.  These loosely coupled services should be automatically provisioned, deployed and managed.

Ultimately, our goal is to engineer infrastructure “designed for operation”.

Stay tuned for more projects like this from KT and our other clients in the months to come.