At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 held in Barcelona, Alibaba Cloud released seven major products and solutions including Global Connection, providing global enterprises with Alibaba Cloud-based intelligent enterprise digital transformation ideas. Global Connection is an intelligent network solution tailored for global enterprises. It provides strong IT infrastructure guarantee for Chinese companies that are actively exploring global markets, and paves the path to their enterprise globalization.
Alibaba Cloud Has Unique Advantages to Empowering Global Business for Enterprises
In an era with increasingly close international business connections, more and more international companies have been developing and deepening business in China. Most of the Fortune Global 500 companies have been operating in the Asian and Chinese markets. For Chinese domestic enterprises, “globalization” is not a concept, but an unavoidable trend. Exploring global markets has become the only path to increase market share and become first class international companies. Since 2014, with the internationalization progress of Alibaba Cloud, more and more renowned international enterprises have chosen Alibaba Cloud, including the InterContinental Hotels Group, Ford Motor Company, Shiseido, Huya, Sina Weibo, and 51Talk. Alibaba Cloud provides strong support for their international business.
Robert Hou, Director of Mobile Platforms and Products, Ford Asia Pacific, once said “We are impressed by Alibaba Cloud’s scalable and flexible technology and its strong ecosystem that enables us to rapidly deliver customized digital solutions for our Chinese customers. We value Alibaba Cloud’s local market insights and reliable technology as it supports our ‘in China, for China, and at China speed’ strategy.” View the full customer story and video on this link.
Global Operations Challenges
Faced with the rapidly changing competitive landscape in the international market and the increasing requirements from end consumers on customer experience, multinational companies need to adjust their business processes and technology architectures to adapt to these external changes. Specifically, the digital transformation challenges of multinational companies mainly exist in the following four aspects:
1) How to provide consistent customer experience for domestic and international customers
2) How to rapidly deploy international business
3) How to carry out international business in a safe and compliant manner
4) How to reduce cross-border operating costs
The global service capabilities of business and IT systems are vital to an enterprise’s globalization strategy. The most fundamental problem is network connectivity. A good network allows companies to do more with less. According to Alibaba Cloud’s experience in serving international clients over all these years, multinational enterprises need to pay attention to the following key points when establishing an efficient network:
- Network performance: Long distance transmission often results in significant latency, which directly affects the response speed of the application system. For a system that provides external services, long latency may lead to poor user experience and customer churn.
- Reliability: Large enterprises have strictly high SLA requirements, and network availability usually needs to be over 99%. The network deployment between major systems often requires multiple active and standby links.
- Management cost: International line configuration is complicated, and the lines are expensive. You may also need to assign dedicated persons or hire vendors to take care of the maintenance. All these lead to a high total cost of ownership (TCO). If you use multiple line operators, the coordination difficulty and cost will be increased.
- Deployment flexibility: Enterprises with rapid business growth need to quickly establish their IT infrastructure, and Internet companies often need to quickly enter new markets for trial and error. However, it takes months to activate conventional network services, and a contract of at least one year must be signed. This makes it difficult for enterprises to flexibly adapt to the changing business needs.
- Security compliance: Different countries have different data security laws and regulations, such as GDPR and FINRA. Multinational companies must to be compliant in all markets that they operate in. In addition, data transmission through the public network is not secure, and is vulnerable to network attacks, such as interception, tampering, and domain name hijacking.
Global Connection Was Developed to Solve These Problems
Through five years’ accumulation of international services, Alibaba Cloud now operates in 19 regions and 56 zones, has more than 110 point of presence (PoP) points and more than 1,500 edge nodes. Relying on Alibaba Cloud’s sound global infrastructure resources, we have been gradually improving our network connection solutions for international enterprises. Global Connection effectively solves the above five network pain points of multinational organizations. Global Connection is now serving multinational companies in the manufacturing, service, finance, and Internet sectors, including Fortune Global 500 companies and Chinese domestic companies that have been vigorously exploring international markets.
According to the statistics of Alibaba Cloud customers, after adopting the Global Connection solution, their average network speed is increased by 20 times, and their average network TOC is reduced by about 50%. The time required for activating the global cloud network service is also reduced from months to days. All cloud-based and on-premises systems are connected through the enterprises’ private networks, which greatly improves the security of data communication.
Global Connection mainly consists of the following four parts:
- Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN): CEN is a global network that quickly connects an enterprise’s VPCs in different regions. It takes only four simple steps to build a global network. CEN supports automatic route learning and convergence. Multiple lines are provided between different regions to ensure high network availability.
- Smart Access Gateway (SAG): SAG is an all-in-one solution that allows branches of enterprises to connect to Alibaba Cloud, by simply using the encrypted Internet connection on their own devices. In comparison with conventional network services, SAG does not require complicated route configurations and manual O&M costs.
- Express Connect: Express Connect allows enterprises to connect to Alibaba Cloud through private lines, helps enterprises build hybrid clouds, and ensures 99.95% availability. In comparison with the public network, Express Connect significantly reduces network problems such as latency, jitter, and packet loss.
- VPN Gateway: The IPsec VPN is encrypted on the public network. It allows branches of an enterprise to connect to Alibaba Cloud, and it establishes connections between different branches. The SSL VPN connects mobile terminals to the intranet of an enterprise, making it easier for work on the go.
Global Connection Typical Scenarios
Global Connection is widely used and highly recognized by customers from different sectors. Specifically, Global Connection has three typical scenarios.
- Enterprise application acceleration: The business systems of multinational corporations are often distributed in different geographical locations, and applications are deployed in hybrid cloud environments — on the cloud and on premises. This kind of deployment is very likely to cause poor application performance in some areas, and it is difficult and expensive to maintain the network. Global Connection allows users of different branches around the world to have high-speed application access experiences, simplifies the global network architecture, and reduces the O&M difficulty.
- Gaming, video, and social media: The Internet industry has high requirements on network scalability. They have a common demand for a hybrid cloud architecture, which allows them to use scalable cloud resources to deal with the peak traffic during the peak hours of their business. In addition, when a large number of Chinese domestic Internet companies are exploring international markets, they need networks that can be deployed and resized at any time. Global Connection’s day-to-day deployment allows customers to adjust the specification as needed, and satisfies the scalability requirements of Internet companies.
- Online education: User experience is an important factor that differentiates an education service provider from its competitors in the online education sector. Poor network quality may significantly compromise the teaching effectiveness, and even cause refunds and loss of users. Based on high-speed, low-latency, and high-bandwidth features of private lines, Global Connection connects cloud resources in different regions to build a high-speed global network. This allows teachers and students around the world to connect to the nearest VPCs, ensuring smooth lesson quality.
- For more information about international customer stories, see Success Stories.
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- For more information about Alibaba Cloud network solutions, see Alibaba Cloud network solutions.