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Asia lags on Cloud Computing

Ross O. Storey | May 20, 2011
Asia remains about three years behind North America and Europe in the enterprise adoption of cloud computing, because of infrastructure issues, according to Per Dahlberg, the CEO and co-founder of the non-profit, vendor-neutral Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Per Dahlberg, the CEO and co-founder of the non-profit, vendor-neutral Asia Cloud Computing Association, shared thoughts with Fairfax Business Media managing editor, Ross O. Storey about the reasons the association, launched in November 2010, was formed, 

What has the Asia Cloud Computing Association been formed and who has been the driving force for this?

The main purpose of the association is to gather the major cloud stakeholders in Asia and accelerate the creation of the market by collectively addressing key issues and obstacles - to resolve challenges that individual companies are unlikely or not at all able to achieve on their own. Per Dahlberg and Mark Ross are the co-founders of the initiative - they brought in a group of 11 companies as founding members (Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, Nokia-Siemens Network, Rackspace, NetApp, Verizon, Telenor group, PLDT/Smart and Reach).

How does the adoption of cloud computing services by Asia enterprises currently compare with the environment in the US and Europe?

Adoption of cloud computing in Asia is behind North America and Europe at this point. As a whole the infrastructure in Asia is not there. The interest in moving to cloud is very high but Asia is probably about three years behind North America and 18 months behind Europe in adopting cloud methodologies. Telegeography Research estimates that global broadband Internet subscribers will climb to more than 700 million by 2013, with more than 300 million from Asia, compared to about 100 million in North America, and nearly 200 million in Europe.  Broadband availability is closely linked to cloud computing because it makes it easy for users to store and access video, audio and applications in the cloud rather than running them on their own PCs.

The past 12 months there has seen an acceleration in the adoption as more products and services enter the market and customers understand the benefits cloud computing can provide. 

Australia and Japan are most mature in the adoption at this stage in Asia. Japan in particular has had major investment from local IT firms into cloud over the past two years and these efforts have been heavily supported and encouraged by the government.

What is stopping cloud adoption in the Asia Pacific region from reaching its full potential?

Cloud adoption is held by back factors ranging from a lack of broadband readiness to concerns around security, vendor lock-in, performance, availability, reliability and a general understanding of what cloud computing is. On top of that, or cutting right through it all, is the issue of Asia's fragmented regulatory framework, which is one of the biggest challenges in the region. For instance, some countries -- even tiny island nations -- require that citizens' personal information remain inside their national borders.  Regulations like these prevent some of the benefits of economies of scale. That means that cloud storage providers can't maximize efficiency by providing regional cloud centers. And SaaS providers can't run applications remotely if they need to download data in order to analyze or change it.  Indeed it could even hamper recovery in emergencies, because back-up data centers might be affected by the same weather or terrorism issues that shut down the main site.


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