Today, we are going to discuss about a brand new topic: Myanmar datacenters and cloud providers.
As of today, hosting content in country is not the common rule in Myanmar. Most of the companies rely on Singapore for hosting both their data and computing capabilities. But this situation is slowly evolving and a domestic range of collocation and cloud offers is now available to Myanmar companies.
Domestic or international hosting, pros and cons?
First it is important to understand that collocation is nothing without connectivity. And that is basically the main reason why the collocation business in Myanmar has been struggling to find demand so far.
Domestic connectivity is mainly intricated to the development of a local Internet exchange point. There is an initiative to build an IX in Myanmar: MM-IX but it is far from being recognized and none of the dominant players have joined it so far. Without a big push from the regulator, there is little hope that this MM-IX will flourish as the main operators have absolutely no interest to interconnect.
In 2017, connectivity in Myanmar was organized around three international gateways (IGW) that control the traffic from and to Myanmar: MPT, Ooredoo and Telenor. These dominant players are not peered to each other. Or to be exact: are not peered in a way that traffic between them remain domestic.
That means that a MPT customer that wish to access content hosted in Telenor network will first reach by default MPT international gateway, go through Singapore and return back to Myanmar via Telenor international gateway.
Knowing that the average latency (backbone to backbone) between Yangon and Singapore is 45ms, a packet from MPT to Telenor will take at least 90ms for a round trip. With a local Internet exchange point, the latency would be reduced to 1-2 milliseconds.
Note that new IGW licenses have been awarded since so the situation is about to change. There is also a chance that things get a bit more complicated as it is probably easier to reach common ground for a local Internet exchange point with three players than ten.
Now that we set the Myanmar scene, there is one thing that could accelerate domestic peering: the development of local content. As content grows locally in country, telcos will have to create direct routes to reach it for the benefits of their customers.
Content needs local Internet exchange. Internet exchange needs content. Chicken and eggs situation.
Saying that, some of the Internet service providers in the country already peer with more than one dominant player and would be able therefore to act as a local exchange point.
In summary, it is key for anyone looking for collocation services in country to verify the datacenter connectivity.
Going back to collocation and cloud services offered in Myanmar, a quick google search will give you a few names.
- Burst Myanmar
- NTT Myanmar
- Myint and Associate
- GTMH Telecom
- KBZ Gateway
- True Datacenter
Burst is probably the most famous datacenter in Myanmar. At least on Google. A quick search on the good keywords will pop up a series of press releases, fund raising announcements and partnerships regarding this new datacenter in Myanmar. Burst masters PR and SEO, that is for sure.
Burst also claims to be Tier 4 design certified.
According to Wikipedia, “The Uptime Institute, a data center research and professional-services organization based in Seattle, WA defined what is commonly referred to today as “Tiers” or more accurately, the “Tier Standard”.
Uptime’s Tier Standard levels describe the availability of data processing from the hardware at a location. The higher the Tier level, the greater the expected availability”.
The word “design” is important because it means that only the datacenter design has been certified. No certification was made on the ground and the datacenter may not even exist!
That is a big question. We have played our favorite game of mystery shopper but the few mails sent to Burst were completely ignored. A quick look on Google Earth at the location where the datacenter is supposed to be built also return a green field. Is that real? Hard to know.
In June 2017, NTT announced in a press release the launch of a datacenter in Yangon. According to NTT, the datacenter can host up to 90 racks. NTT also claims service availability of 99.995%.
Another article precises that this datacenter is the fruit of a resell agreement from an existing datacenter from Myint & Associates Telecommunications Ltd.
We tried to contact NTT Myanmar and Thailand but once again, nobody seems interested by our business. Not a good sign to start with.
Myint and Associates
Myint & Associates is a large service provider specialized in Oil & Gas. It runs its own datacenter at Vantage tower in Yangon. The datacenter has the exact same specification as NTT Myanmar datacenter since… it is the same. This time, we did receive a response to our collocation inquiry.
Note that Myint & Associates is specialized on collocation services. It is not an Internet Service Provider in Myanmar and does not provide any virtualization or cloud services at this stage.
GTMH Telecom is not only a datacenter and cloud provider but an infrastructure service provider owning both NFS-I and IGW licenses as well. We discussed earlier how connectivity is important when it comes to collocation service. This is definitely a selling point of GTMH offering.
This datacenter is located in East Dagon township in Yangon and was built in partnership with GMBX and Huawei according to a press release from 2016.
When we contacted them with a sales inquiry, we received a quick reply and a quote for our needs.
From a connectivity perspective, GTMH peers with the dominant players which is definitely a key advantage for its collocation and cloud infrastructure.
KBZ is one of the largest consortium in Myanmar and employs more than 80,000 people. In 2016, the group launched KBZ Gateway which envision to “bridge the digital divide across the country”. Which say it all and nothing at the same time.
KBZ Gateway mainly focuses on B2B and provide services such as VSAT, IPLC, IP-VPN, datacenter collocation and virtual private server.
KBZ Gateway datacenter is tier3 by design and counts 25 racks which a maximum capacity of 150 racks. The only “minor” issue with this datacenter is the location. The datacenter is situated in Bago which is 2-3h drive of Yangon. The compound also hosts the company teleport.
KBZ Gateway also offers traditional virtualization services but no cloud for the time being.
True Internet Data Center
True is one of the largest communication conglomerate in Thailand. In Myanmar, True capability is limited to collocation services with True IDC Myanmar.
Their datacenter is situated in MICT Park and advertise a SLA of 99.95%. Our sales inquiry was replied quickly and efficiently.
If we look at the listed prices that we managed to collect, there is no much difference between the different datacenters in Myanmar.
As B2B services are usually subject to negotiation, we have decided to not publish any price comparison that would have lack of accuracy. In average, a full rack collocated in one of these datacenters cost between $2,000 and $2,500 per month.
Our benchmark is based on the following criteria:
- Accessibility assesses the easiness to travel from a main hub to the datacenter
- Connectivity evaluates the provider capability from a network connectivity perspective. Service provider and IGW licenses are definitely a plus.
- Location gauges the relevance of the location for a datacenter facility. Container-based datacenters and single storey buildings reduce the risk of outage and are evaluated favorably.
- Customer Service measures the provider responsiveness to our mystery shopper experience and the quality of the responses
- Service judges the provider capability. Virtualization and Cloud are a big plus.
GTMH Telecom stands out by its capabilities both from connectivity and service perspective.
Based on the criterias above, GTMH Telecom ranks number 1 in our hosting provider comparison with a score of 21. KBZ Gateway and True IDC are both number 2 with a score of 16 and finally Myint and Associate score with a very decent 15.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.