inwinSTACK, Taiwan’s pioneer in OpenStack system integration services, is currently on its way to expand its business to Japan.
The OpenStack Summit is a worldwide conference held once every 6 months. Regardless of the Tokyo Summit last year or this year’s Austin Summit held in Texas, vendors from Taiwan have been proactive to participate. Besides renowned enterprises from Japan, such as NEC, Hitachi, Fujitsu, and NTT, several booths were held for Taiwanese vendors, including the new gold member of OpenStack Foundation – inwinSTACK inc. On August 29th at the Ceph Day (an official community event for software-defined storage Ceph) in Tokyo, inwinSTACK’s presence was also found. Following is an interview with Jimmy Kao, Director of Business Development for inwinSTACK, to discuss the current status of development of OpenStack project in Taiwan, the requirements of the customers, and inwinSTACK’s future prospects for Japan market.
Q: Please briefly introduce your company.
A: inwinSTACK was established three years ago, mainly focusing on OpenStack cloud services. At that time, the number of people familiar with OpenStack are estimated to be less than 50 (* chuckles). But we were probably the earliest to engage in OpenStack R&D. We curated the first official OpenStack Day in Taiwan in 2014, and again in 2015, attracting over 700 participants. That’s when eyes of various industries start paying attention to OpenStack. In March this year, we held the world’s first OpenStack Hackathon Contest at our office. Even Jonathan Bryce, the CEO of OpenStack Foundation came all the way to Taiwan from the US to be part of this event.
As a member of InWin group, we are a cloud service company specialized in delivering OpenStack and Ceph integration services.
Q: Didn’t the winner of that Hackathon contest appear in the Austin Summit last year to demonstrate their winning piece?
A: That’s right. As a participant from Taiwan, we were very excited and proud of their achievement.
Q: Why did inwinSTACK choose to focus on OpenStack as its main cloud service?
A: The enterprises of Taiwan have changed their way of thinking towards software and IT infrastructures. Proprietary software provided by server virtualization software giants are heading towards a dead end for their future, and many companies are coming to realize this and gradually beginning to pursue open sourced software or platforms. To our surprise, our first customer was from the banking industry. Their IT infrastructure are getting too old and limited, thus needing a flexible, expandable and cost efficient solution like OpenStack.
Our current customers in Taiwan are mostly mid-sized firms and public organizations, as well as a number of large enterprises. Regardless of their scale, all companies have come to realize that cloud computing is the ongoing trend. Thus we feel that our successful experiences could be duplicated to Japan, and we hope that more enterprises in Japan could be benefitted from the merit of cloud platforms.
Q: I’m particularly interested in your first successful customer experience from the banking industry. In Japan, normally telecommunication companies such as NTT would take first step to try such technology.
A: We’re quite overwhelmed as well. In Taiwan, telecommunication firms tend to be more conservative. Another reason we think that OpenStack and Ceph are receiving such attention, is that, although many enterprises are fearful of trying something they never did before, and also afraid that these new industries or business models might replace their existing business directions, they are relieved and impressed by witnessing successful experiences like Uber or Airbnb, and are then more willing to give cloud business models a try.
Many firms in Taiwan have come to realize the limitations of proprietary software. In the past, when we used to be a dealer of server virtulization software products, customers’ choice of solution were often led by us, where we proposed them to use a particular system/solution, whereas now, as a cloud service provider we sometimes encounter customers who come proposing to us for a particular cloud service/solution. The merit of open source is that customers get to attain the source code and massive amount of shared information which allows them to design a solution dedicated to meet their demands.
Last but not least, there is a huge gap between Taiwanese and Japanese firms when it comes to choosing public or private cloud services. In Taiwan, very few companies are users of public cloud services like AWS. Instead, most firms in Taiwan feel more secure to place their data on private cloud solutions such as OpenStack.
Q: I’m quite curious about why there are so few enterprises that use AWS solutions. What do you think could be the reason?
A: In my opinion, AWS is more like a public parking space. If any theft or damage occurs at the parking space, it is still the owner’s responsibility to deal with any loss. Perhaps most people wouldn’t choose to park their lamborghinis there, right? (*laughs). Another reason could be that, maybe Japanese customers tend to feel more comfortable and confident about European or American products, while Taiwanese firms have less such tendency.
Q: Lastly, tell me about inwinSTACK’s upcoming plans for the future.
A: Our openStack deployment in Taiwan has already been going quite smoothly. For Japan market, since most customers are very concerned about quality of service, we are now considering to forge an alliance with a local, trusted partner to setup location for local support. We would like to gain trust and integrity from the locals by accumulating customer references on the first hand, instead of directly looking for business profits.
As a Gold Member of OpenStack Foundation, we would like to take on the major role as a host of OpenStack Summit in Taiwan. Just like how the “Mitaka (M)” version of OpenStack is held in Japan, we hope the “T” version (symbolic to “Taiwan”) of OpenStack Summit could be held in Taiwan, as a way for us to contribute to the Foundation and community.
Until today, inwinSTACK has been more than a sponsor of the OpenStack community. We are ranked in the top 20 global contributors of OpenStack project. While for our second major service, Ceph, we have developed Ceph Appliance, a total package storage solution for enterprises. The trend for Ceph storage in Japan has only just begun, and we are already ready for it. The key to our future development in Japan market would be to find a local trusted alliance, and we welcome any companies that have the same visions as us to join the journey of cloud service transformation.
Original article link: https://thinkit.co.jp/article/10750