Each month, we highlight an Equinix Global Solutions Architect (GSA) and the innovative work he or she is doing with our enterprise customers. This month’s GSA spotlight is on Tamas Horvath, who lives on the lower North Shore of Sydney, Australia. Tamas brings 18 years of end-user computing, data center management and IT operations experience to helping his enterprise, managed service provider (MSP) and cloud service provider (CSP) customers with their technology and business challenges.
He enjoys the sunny beaches of Sydney, travel and snorkeling. His hobbies range from economics and finance (i.e. trading financial markets) to raw food-based diets and music – being an avid jazz fan.
Q: What is the top challenge you and your team are helping customers solve today?
A: Given that data sovereignty and regulatory compliance is still on top of the mind of most CIOs, local MSPs used to have an edge in Australia with their onshore cloud offerings. However, the entry of the global, “hyperscale” IaaS public cloud providers to the local market (i.e., AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Softlayer) is forcing these CSPs and MSPs to change their business models. Instead of trying to compete with these big vendors’ constant price reductions, the local providers are shifting to embrace big public clouds and offer value-added services built on top or around them.
Our job, as the multi-tenant data center of choice for the local service providers, is to work with our customers on the transitions brought on by this change. The main trend we see is the shift to managed private cloud service offerings to support hybrid cloud architectures. In this model, cloud-burst scenarios take advantage of the “own the base, rent the spike” concept, where the private cloud component is provided by an MSP that is leveraging hyperscale IaaS providers and integrating with major SaaS platforms.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about working with your enterprise customers on this major shift to the cloud?
A: Helping IT develop a sound cloud transition management strategy is a significant and rewarding challenge. Australian enterprises have been progressing well with their on-premise virtualization journeys in the past, which have led to mature private cloud implementations. This trend has contributed to Australia becoming one of the global leaders in public cloud adoption today.
The on-premise IT components, however, still have to work with the cloud migrated systems and applications during the transition. Many customers acknowledge that they won’t be able go “all-in” to public clouds and are keeping private infrastructures for security, privacy or performance reasons. Some are applying the new bimodal IT concept introduced by Gartner, where they only focus on making the key business support areas agile, then leave the rest “good enough.” Hence, the hybrid cloud model may be used not only for the transition period, but also as a valid architecture for the end state.
We’ve been working with our customers to better understand that the private cloud component does not have to be on-premise. For most customers, their original data center facility is too big to keep and operate just for this small footprint, especially after everything else has been virtualized or migrated to public clouds. Colocation and managed private cloud services offer private clouds the same commercial benefit of a fully OPEX-based cost structure as the public cloud price model, while retaining tight control and the highest security.
In addition, low latency and reduced data transfer rates between the public and private clouds are key in hybrid cloud architectures to maximize service delivery performance. We provide unmatched proximity within our Sydney data centers, putting enterprises right next to approximately 200 cloud and managed service providers to enable high-performance multicloud and hybrid-cloud architectures.
Q: Can you tell us about one of your more innovative hybrid cloud customers?
A: I’ve been involved in an exciting project with an Australian utility provider, working to automate their gas and electricity meter reading process using a hybrid, multicloud model. They will place SIM cards into customer premise metering devices to get the reading data transferred via a mobile network into a global hyperscale IaaS cloud for processing, using a SaaS application specifically developed for the Australian utilities industry. The solution also includes a full implementation of SAP on the IaaS cloud platform for billing purposes, which is accessed by the utility provider’s on-premise customer service and dealer network.
Equinix will provide the secure, private, high throughput interconnections to the hyperscale IaaS platform via the Equinix Cloud Exchange, both on the meter reading side, via the mobile network operator, and on the utility provider customer’s internal IT side, via their telco provider.
This is a great example of where I’ve been able to work closely with an enterprise customer in a multi-vendor systems integration and professional services project. I can help my customers take a practical approach to technology solutions by focusing first on their requirements (and at times reshaping them to best meet their business objectives) and then advising them on a technology and architecture road map for better alignment and support of their business goals.