Photo - Sean Ong, Country Manager, Brocade Malaysia.
2012 has been a good year for the ICT industry in Asia Pacific. The importance of the CIO and IT department as a key component of the business enablement process is hitting home and has resulted in increased IT budgets, a trend that looks to continue in 2013, despite the economic uncertainties being felt in Europe and North America.
PC sales reduced throughout 2012 as the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices picked up pace leading to a wider acceptance of the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) movement, with even corporate BYOD policies being implemented.
Most importantly, the benefits and interest in cloud computing are translating into sales and action. Organisations recognise the value and also recognise that it is not a single step process but instead a gradual migration. Governments in the region have stepped up education and adoption of cloud computing products and services. In Malaysia, we saw rising interest in virtualisation services adoption by organisations with early adopters going ahead in their efforts to realise hardware cost savings.
As we go into 2013, we are seeing cloud infrastructure readiness becoming a priority for the delivery of applications in a more optimised manner. The industry is moving in the right direction from a business and technology standpoint and we are excited to continue producing great products and services to maintain and extend our leadership position.
We have posted record revenue in quarter three, maintaining our AP leadership position of over 80 percent market share of the Fiber Channel switch and fixed port switch market. In Malaysia, our business more than doubled in 2012 compared with the year before, and our IP business grew-ten-fold. Product demand was driven not just by technology refresh cycles for IPv6 readiness and organisation-specific reasons - particularly in the public sector and in education, but by a rising appetite to realise cost savings and achieve a better return on investment (RoI) with built-in scalability in a 'pay-as-you-grow' model.
Going forward, we are seeing more government innovation in services delivery driving demand for networking solutions, although there was some slowdown in activity in the FSI and manufacturing sectors.
In 2012, we strengthened our relationships with our channel partners. We recognise that our channel partners are on the front lines where technology advancements and customer needs meet, and are committed to provide them with the training, understanding and positioning required to see through this transition and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
Throughout the course of the year, we have rolled out a number of initiatives designed to support and bring value to partners as they explore ways to address new technology trends, and become an "architect for the future".
We launched our APAC Regional Briefing Centre (RBC) in Singapore in February this year to enable our partners to showcase their leading-edge product demonstrations and facilitate discussions with their customers in a world-class environment, effectively duplicating the customer's network and demonstrating how our products work. The RBC
Launch along with our US$100 million investment commitment in the regional IT industry demonstrates how important we value the AP region.
Brocade has also made strategic appointments across the region. We now have key personnel placed in important markets such as Malaysia and Thailand to capitalise on the growth potential of these markets. The management and organisational changes are part of a streamlining of strategy to a market that is continuously changing in scope and sophistication, which ultimately, has contributed to our continued success in the region.
Cloud on steroids:
The uptake of cloud computing will continue to gather pace in AP. Organisations will require more sophisticated solutions that are scalable, cost-effective and agile in the network as they transform their data centres. In Malaysia, government will continue to take the lead, especially for technology adoption to reduce operating expenditures (OPEX) and for virtual desktop infrastructure, with applications sitting in secure cloud servers - reducing software licensing costs and allowing better control of security, particularly as the BYOD trend strengthens.
1. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) gets serious: Businesses in AP have accepted that they cannot stop the incoming tide of mobile devices into their networks and are looking at how to integrate a mobility strategy into their networks, especially from a security standpoint.
The marriage of smartphones and tablets ("phablets") re-affirms the consumer led movement. Consumers will be able to access corporate applications from anytime and anywhere, and this will directly reduce procurement costs. IDC predicts that 40 percent of employees in AP will be mobile workers by 2015.
2. SDN/OpenFlow : 2012 has seen an explosion of interest in OpenFlow, which enables software-defined-networking (SDN), a technology that has the ability to revolutionise the way networks are managed. We expect to see companies push out feelers towards adopting SDN, which will result in early SDN service deployments in AP.
3. Ethernet Fabric everywhere: Fabric-based have become mainstream. The benefits of having a flat, reliable, high performance network with simplified management and increased agility have been validated. Fabrics have changed the manner in which vendors and organisations design the data centre. We will continue to see increased adoption of fabrics in 2013, along with deployments in tandem with SDN and other new technologies.
4. Server / storage stacks / stacked solutions: Data centres are growing at a tremendous pace putting strain on IT operators. In 2013 we will see a rise in usage of storage or integrated stacks, bundled storage products that includes servers, networking components and server virtualisation software.
5. Evolution of the network: 3G connectivity is being replaced by 4G in many parts of AP. It is a matter of time before Ethernet networks move from 10G to 100G. With the expected pressures on networks over the next few years, organisations are beginning to future proof themselves by adopting more powerful switches and Ethernet interfaces.
6. Cloud on steroids: Organisations in AP are getting smart about cloud computing. They realise that it is not a one step process but can offer a host of benefits if done correctly, leading to a tougher round of justification and scrutiny of cloud programmes in 2013. What are the benefits? What is the ROI? What else can we integrate into the cloud? These are just some questions that organisations will be asking themselves.
The global economic environment may cause slight constraints on AP's ICT performance, but the impact will be minimal as the networking industry is being viewed as a key element of IT investment in the region.
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