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SOFTBANK Contributes to Japan’s Recovery Process by Utilizing NetApp Technology Following 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami

IT Transformation Enables Softbank to Increase Customer Base by 27% and Reduce Operating Expenses by 30% in the Last Five Years

SUNNYVALE, Calif.-April 10, 2012- Companies large and small all over the world depend on their information technology (IT) infrastructures to help drive business success. By making the right decisions, a company can transform its IT environment to accelerate business, create competitive advantages, and increase profits. But what if an IT infrastructure could do more than simply help a company accomplish its business goals? What if the decisions made years earlier about how to transform IT could also lay the foundation to enable a company to respond in a time of crisis?

On March 11, 2011, Japan's largest earthquake on record hit and triggered a massive and devastating tsunami, causing extensive damage in a wide range of regions throughout the country.

In 2006, SOFTBANK Group, a Japanese telecommunications and media corporation, set out on a path to consolidate and transform its entire IT organization, which had become highly complex, redundant, and disparate due to previous acquisitions and expansion. The company's goal was to change IT from a cost center to a profit center, and it turned to NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) as a key technology partner to help make that happen. What resulted was a completely revamped IT organization that enabled SOFTBANK Group to deliver a range of internal and external cloud services called White Cloud that served as a catalyst for SOFTBANK Group's continued growth and success.

But with a corporate philosophy aimed at making people happy through an information revolution, SOFTBANK Group took its work one step further. The company's newly transformed IT infrastructure allowed SOFTBANK Group, just days following March 11, 2011, to deliver several of its cloud service offerings either at highly discounted rates or free of charge to businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations that had been affected by the disaster. SOFTBANK Group also made a decision to expand its internal virtual desktop service, which was built on a NetApp® foundation and used by some of its groups, to a company-wide system to enable the continued efficient operation of the company as a whole.

Although the original plan was to gradually release this service over a one-year period, SOFTBANK Group completed the deployment to 14,000 employees in just a few weeks. Behind SOFTBANK Group's ability to quickly respond to external emergency and internal needs was NetApp technology.

SOFTBANK Group Leans on NetApp to Drive Business and Respond to Disaster
Since kicking off its IT transformation project in 2006, SOFTBANK Group has realized tremendous results. These include not only enabling its business to go further, faster, but also enabling the company to be there for its fellow citizens when they needed it most. Highlights of the project include:

Turning IT from a Cost Center to a Profit Center

  • SOFTBANK Group's IT infrastructure transformation helped the company decrease IT operating expenses by 30%, increase its customer base by 27%, and reduce overall storage capacity by 40%.
  • NetApp's unique storage efficiency technologies such as deduplication and thin provisioning have provided the company with disk space savings of more than 50% for increased savings and flexibility.
  • SOFTBANK Mobile, the highest-growth business of SOFTBANK Group, increased its number of customer accounts by 75% and reduced operating costs by 50%.

Massive Transformation of IT Infrastructure to Focus on Cloud Services

  • SOFTBANK Group has a vision that cloud computing will become one of the world's greatest assets, and believes that it will serve as a repository for every piece of human knowledge and wisdom.
  • SOFTBANK Group today offers a total of 16 different White Cloud services, several of which are built on NetApp. One of the first White Cloud services was called White Cloud Desktop Service and was based on its internal virtual desktop offering built on NetApp. This offering helped the company reduce calls to the internal help desk by 90% and increased individual productivity by an average of 10%.
  • SOFTBANK Group's internal virtual desktop service has also instilled a cultural shift among its own employees. Working remotely in Japan is not a common practice but SOFTBANK Group's White Cloud Desktop Service provides employees with increased work flexibility, which resulted in largely increased productivity for the company. In fact, more than 22,000 company employees today use virtual desktops built on a NetApp foundation, making SOFTBANK Group one of the largest VDI use cases in the world.
  • NetApp FlexClone® technology has allowed SOFTBANK Group to reduce the time it takes to implement 1,000 virtual desktops from one week to one day, improving overall productivity and speeding time to deployment.

The Ability to Respond at a Time of Crisis

  • Just three days after the earthquake and tsunami, SOFTBANK Group began offering at a major discount its White Cloud Desktop Service to businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations incapacitated by the disaster and provided other services free of charge.
  • SOFTBANK Group also delivered its White Cloud Desktop Service to thousands of its own employees who were not yet part of the deployment. This ability to make a decision in just a few days and to deploy its services on a massive scale in just a few weeks was testament not only to the flexibility and scalability of SOFTBANK Group's own IT infrastructure but also to the innovation and will of its people.
  • Following the earthquake and tsunami, a crisis at one of the country's main nuclear power plants resulted in a power shortage and a government-mandated decrease of 25% in energy use. SOFTBANK Group's actions, such as deployment of the White Cloud Desktop Service, allowed the company to decrease power usage by 39%.

Supporting Quotes

  • Amane Kito, chief information & security officer, SOFTBANK Group
    "SOFTBANK Group's business plan is to continue evolving as an Internet company and mobile Internet company and to expand our cloud service business in Asia and all over the world. We cannot achieve this goal just by ourselves. We need a partner with state-of-the-art technology who offers the scalability, flexibility, and efficiency necessary to meet the increasing needs of our customers. In addition to these conditions, NetApp has a proven track record in customer deployment, superb cloud strategies, and global business operation, making NetApp an important business partner for us. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with NetApp going forward."
  • Rob Salmon, executive vice president of Field Operations, NetApp
    "SOFTBANK Group's story is the perfect example of how decisions a company makes about its IT infrastructure today can help pave the way for an amazing tomorrow. NetApp is honored to be able to help provide the foundation for SOFTBANK Group's White Cloud that not only has helped the company achieve great business success but also has helped make a difference for the citizens of Japan during their time of need."

Additional Resources

About NetApp
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Press Contact:
Ryan Lowry
(408) 822-7544

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