SK Telecom builds a successful cloud service with Citrix XenServer

SK Telecom, founded in 1984, is a Korean telecommunications firm known for its leading edge technology that provides  the best voice-text service, content, applications and solutions for  improved productivity, communication and the convenient use of information. SK Telecom focuses on the deployment of wireless Internet services such as GXG and Mobile Cyworld, and new convergence services such as Satellite DMB, Telematics, Digital Home and M-Finance. SK Telecom is making strong efforts to advance into new business areas that combine wired and wireless services, such as MelOn and Cizle, and  is poised to lead the creation of innovative mobile lifestyles through its expertise in telecommunications.

Searching for ways to promote the development of new services

SK Telecom needed to develop a platform to support the service development environment for its mobile content partners. . The existing  partners had to build a development server and commercial service separately in order to develop new services, and they had to spend a lot of money and resources on hardware and applications. SK Telecom decided to build a cloud environment for its partners with a PaaS (Platform as a Service) format based on virtualization technology, the first company in the industry to do so.

Sung Bin Lim, a manager in the Data Network Headquarters of SK Telecom, who is in charge of this project explained, “The development companies had to purchase resources such as development servers and applications in order to realize their ideas; this was expensive, time-consuming.  and inefficient. We decided to implement  a PaaS cloud in order to develop services without having to worry about building  a platform.”

The PaaS  cloud  does not require partner companies to build separate services development environments   with servers, storage, network and applications. It is a service for requesting resources and making them available for use in the cloud environment provided by SK Telecom. Thus, it is a format for allowing the use of the service as needed, similar to a utility service such as electricity.

Introduction of Citrix XenServer optimized for cloud service

The important aspect for the PaaS  cloud computing  is to build a platform that can  provide a service development environment to make required resources and applications available for use. This is the reason why SK Telecom introduced Citrix® XenServer™, a server virtualization solution, for a flexible management of independent resources and efficient composition of server pool.

SK Telecom reviewed a variety of solutions including VMware  and Red Hat in addition to Citrix. SK Telecom’s top priorities were efficiency and function.  SK Telecom selected XenServer after considering function, stability and cost of implementation.

Lim said “We performed tests on Citrix XenServer along with other server virtualization solutions and selected Citrix XenServer considering its function, stability and efficiency. Also, the costs of implementation and hardware infrastructure investment for other companies were higher, but XenServer provided enterprise grade functions with relatively low implementation costs.”

Cost-effective and flexible resource management through XenServer

SK Telecom created a host OS hypervisor with XenServer that provides enterprise-grade functions and was able to efficiently use the virtualized resources required for building a cloud environment. SK Telecom has implemented about 80 physical servers by building 30 additional incubation systems that are currently operated in a test phase. Using the server virtualization technology of XenServer, up to about 600 virtual servers can be created from  80 physical servers (a 7.5:1 reduction ratio). SK Telecom is currently providing about 20 services using the cloud platform and plans to expand the number of services provided in the future.

The cloud platform has produced savings in  time, expense  and human resources previously needed for new service planning, resource request and resource allocation madepossible through the fast and efficient resource allocation of  virtualization technology.

Lim explained, “We are satisfied with the functions and features of Citrix XenServer. We are using resource management, monitoring and provisioning functions through the management tool XenServer. I’d assess the XenServer to have exceptional functions for the cost. In particular, it has the advantage of efficient and flexible management.”

SK Telecom has ultimately reinforced the partner ecosystem by introducing a cloud computing platform by using XenServer server virtualization technology, and it significantly increased the efficiency of time and resources needed for developing and commercializing the services of mobile service development partners. SK Telecom currently provides a cloud service internally but plans to expand this service to external content development partners in the future.

About XenServer

XenServer is the leading open source virtualization platform, powered by the Xen Project hypervisor and the XAPI toolstack. It is used in the world's largest clouds and enterprises.
Commercial support for XenServer is available from Citrix.