Category Archives: Asia Pacific

AWS expands footprint in India with new data centre

Location India. Red pin on the map.AWS has expanded its reach in the Asia Pacific region, opening two new Availability Zones in Mumbai, taking the total globally to 35.

The company already has 75,000 customers in the country, which is one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. According to the CIA World Factbook, India is listed as the 12th fastest growing nation with a 7.3% real GDP growth rate, as well as a population growth rate of 1.22% per annum. The new region will support numerous services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as well Elastic Block Store (EBS), Virtual Private Cloud, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing.

“Indian start-ups and enterprises have been using AWS for many years – with most Indian technology start-ups building their entire businesses on AWS, and numerous enterprises running mission-critical, core applications on AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “These same 75,000 Indian customers, along with others anxious to start using AWS, have asked for an AWS India Region so they can move their applications that require low latency and data sovereignty.

“We’re excited to make this available today, with the same pay-as-you-go pricing, ability to get started immediately without having to negotiate enterprise agreements or wait days for access, and unmatched functionality that customers enjoy in AWS Regions worldwide – all of which allows customers to go from idea to launch faster than ever before was possible.”

Although India is one of the company’s fastest growing markets worldwide, AWS have been slower to market than its competitors. Last year, Microsoft has brought online three cloud data centres in India for its Azure offering, and IBM opened its first data centre in Chennai for Softlayer. Google is yet to gain traction in the market.

Making the announcement through the official blog, the team also announced numerous local partners ranging from Managed Service Providers such as Spruha Technologies and Consulting Partners including HCL, Tata Consulting Services, and Wipro.

Advancing the cloud in South East Asia

Mike_MuddToday is the first day of Cloud South East Asia in Kuala Lumpur, and the attendance alone testifies to the enthusiasm and curiosity around cloud development in the region in general and in Malaysia in particular.

One great authority on the topic is the chair of today’s event, Mike Mudd (pictured), MD at Asian Policy Partners LLC. Following keynotes from the likes of Amazon Web Services and the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Business Cloud News sat down with Mudd to discuss the significance of cloud computing standards in the region, something touched upon by a number of speakers.

BCN: Hi Mike. It was pointed out today that there is a slight disparity between the enthusiasm for the cloud in South East Asia, and the pace of actual adoption in the region. What would you say the big impediments are?

Michael Mudd: Well there’s the general one which is what I’ve described as the ‘trusted cloud’. This encompasses two things. One is security, and the other is privacy. The other issue however is that, only really half of the region here has adequate data protection rules. Some have them on the books but they’re either not enforced, they’re enforced laxly, or they are only applicable to the private sector, and not applicable to government. This is quite distinct to privacy laws in say Europe, where it goes across all sectors.

In addition, in certain countries, they’re trying to say that you cannot send any personally identifiable information across borders. This is important when it comes to financial information: banks, insurance, stock exchange, this type of thing, as well as healthcare.

And are regional governments taking up the cloud in general?

Forward looking governments are. Singapore, Hong Kong to a certain degree – but there’s not an idea of a ‘cloud first’ policy yet. It’s still very much ‘hug my server, build my data centre etc..’

From the point of view of the regulators, particularly the financial services, to do their job they’ve got to be able to audit. And one of the things they consider important to that is being able to physically enter premises if required. Certain jurisdictions want to see servers. If the data is in the cloud, then that too is an issue, and something that has to be addressed.

Do you think that the new Trans-Pacific Partnership could provide a way out of this impasse?

What has been drafted to my understanding (though we’ve still got to see the details) in the TPP, is wording which will enable or should enable cross border data flows to work far more easily. Again it was only signed two days ago so we don’t know exact words. (Like all trade negotiations they’re done in confidence – people complain they’re done in secrecy but all are done in the same way.)

Why is this so important?

From the point of view of cloud computing, this is new. Most trade agreements deal with traditional things. Agriculture being the first trading product, manufacturing the second, the third being services, but the fourth one is the new one: trading data, trading information, flowing across borders.

It actually goes right back to the very beginning. Information’s always been important for trade: being able to have a free flow of information. I’m not talking about security or government: that kind of thing is always sensitive and will always be treated separately as it should be, but commercial information is very important. It’s the reason your ATM card works here as well as in London. That’s a cross border data flow of information!

Standards are only just emerging. We obviously have technical standards – their objective is to enable interoperability between disparate machines. Those kinds of standards have been around a long time – they’re based on industry protocols etc. What have starting to come up now are management standards, standards coming out now very specifically for cloud.

IBM signs cloud development agreement with ANZ bank

ANZ has signed a five-year, A$450 million (£208 million) strategic agreement with IBM, the centrepiece of which is the establishment of a cloud-based Innovation Lab based on IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform-as-a-service, reports Banking Technology.

The lab will allow the Bank’s developers to build, test and deploy new applications and services at “a fraction of the time and cost previously taken”.

As well as the Innovation Lab and cloud capabilities, the agreement includes access to IBM’s software portfolio and core systems infrastructure. The IBM agreement will provide common platforms across ANZ’s network as it continues to grow as a super-regional bank and will allow the bank to deliver a “more integrated and innovative banking experience for digital customers”.

IBM will deploy its newest z13 mainframe and Power8 infrastructure as part of ANZ’s private cloud environment. The infrastructure will provide the bank with the reliability, security and resiliency needed to service the needs of mobile customers across the bank’s network. IBM integration, content management, data, analytics and cloud software will support ANZ’s core banking and infrastructure needs.

“Understanding our customers’ needs and preferences around mobile and digital banking is critical to our business and to providing a superior customer experience,” said Scott Collary, ANZ’s chief information officer. “We therefore need to ensure we’re meeting these needs in an innovative, consistent and seamless way and with this partnership with IBM, we’re working to achieve this goal.”

IBM has been a strategic partner of ANZ for more than 40 years said Scott Barlow, IBM client director for ANZ Bank: “This new agreement continues to build on this by enabling ANZ access to an arsenal of leading edge technology to provide the agility, speed and innovation essential in the rapidly changing financial services marketplace.”

Alibaba to set up cloud datacentre, HQ in Singapore

Alibaba is adding a datacentre in Singapore, where it will also place its international HQ

Alibaba is adding a datacentre in Singapore, where it will also place its international HQ

Alibaba’s cloud computing division Aliyun revealed plans to set up a datacentre in Singapore, where it also plans to base its overseas business headquarters.

The Singapore datacentre, its seventh globally, will host the company’s growing suite of cloud services and link up with its existing datacentres in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Silicon Valley.

“The cloud datacentre in Singapore is a key milestone in our strategy to help businesses of all sizes innovate and scale, wherever they are based, and however they choose to grow,” said Sicheng Yu, vice president of Aliyun. “Aliyun offers a unique combination of services for success in the cloud, including high-volume cloud-based transaction support and quality assurance for cloud computing services.”

Singapore will also be home to the company’s international headquarters, where its global business outside of China will be managed.

Aliyun claims demand for its cloud services is growing at a whopping 82 per cent, with revenues from its cloud services more than doubling year on year. The company said it has over 1.8 million cloud customers as of June this year.

Last month Aliyun’s parent Alibaba announced plans to plough $1bn into its cloud computing division, which cloud give it the scale it needs to compete more effectively with the likes of Amazon and Google. In addition to the Singapore datacentre, which is scheduled to go live in September this year, the company also plans to add cloud datacentres in the Middle East, Japan, and in various countries in Europe as part of that investment.

At the time the company said it also plans to use the funds to expand its partnerships through its recently announced Marketplace Alliance Program, a move that sees it partnering with large tech and datacentre operators, initially including Intel, Singtel, Meeras, Equinix and PCCW among others to help localise its cloud computing services and grow its ecosystem.

Pivotal teams with Telstra on enterprise big data

Telstra and Pivotal are teaming up to push Cloud Foundry and big data services in Australia

Telstra and Pivotal are teaming up to push Cloud Foundry and big data services in Australia

Pivotal announced a partnership with Australian telco Telstra that will see the two firms jointly marketing Pivotal’s big data development services to Telstra enterprise customers.

Pivotal will also offer enterprise customers training at its newly established Pivotal Labs office in Sydney, Australia, its 16th globally.

The company said the move would help it reach a broader enterprise customer base in the region by leveraging Telstra’s existing local relationships and experience in the ICT sector.

“The arrival of Pivotal Labs in Australia presents a great opportunity for local organisations. Pivotal Labs will quickly become a software innovation hub for Australia’s largest enterprises in all industries to transform into great software companies – taking digital disruption to the next level,” said Melissa Ries, vice president and general manager APJ, Pivotal.

“Pivotal has a great relationship with Telstra, which is built on a foundation of shared visions. With Telstra’s involvement in the Cloud Foundry Foundation and our joint venture, we’re partnering to help Telstra’s customers transform into great software companies.”

The companies said that by using tools like Pivotal CF, the Cloud Foundry-based platform as a service (PaaS), and Pivotal Big Data Suite (BDS), enterprise customers will be able to improve how they develop their web and mobile services.

Kate McKenzie, chief operations officer at Telstra said: “In conjunction with our new Gurrowa Innovation Lab, Pivotal Labs will enhance our innovation offering for our customers and create a pipeline of skills to grow our development capabilities. Innovation at Telstra is about helping our customers get the best out of technology for the future and ultimately providing access to the best networks from which they can innovate, and the partnership will allow us to do just that.”

NTT Com sets up IoT practice

NTT Com is setting up an IoT practice

NTT Com is setting up an IoT practice

NTT Com is setting up an office to target the development, sales and marketing of Internet of Things solutions.

The ICT-focused subsidiary of NTT Group said it will leverage its expertise in cloud computing, software development and telecoms to design and sell IoT solutions to clients, solutions that make use of the company’s 130 cloud datacentres and global network.

It plans to offer a one-stop application platform that can store, analyse and visualise data generated from IoT sensors.

The company is already working with a number of companies in Japan and Indonesia on a series of IoT trials.

In August this year for instance it announced a partnership with Kanazawa Nishi Hospital in Japan to test sensors deployed in electric appliances to help monitor elderly people living alone. In April it announced a partnership with TOCHU Corporation to test a smart streetlighting network at a complex in Indonesia to help optimise power consumption.

NTT Com buys Cyber CSF to boost Indonesian datacentre presence

NTT Com's newest datacentre in Jakarta, Indonesia

NTT Com’s newest datacentre in Jakarta, Indonesia

NTT Communications announced it has reached an agreement to acquire PT. Cyber CSF, one of Indonesia’s largest datacentre and cloud service providers, for an undisclosed sum.

Headquartered in Jakarta, Cyber CSF was founded in 2012 and with 2,800 racks in 7,700 square metres claims to be the country’s largest datacentre operator. NTT Com plans to rename Cyber CSF as NTT Indonesia Nexcenter.

The company’s carrier-neutral facility links up to 32 domestic and overseas fibre operators and will also help NTT Com add another point of presence for its Arcstar VPN service, which it plans to do in October this year.

NTT said it wants to position itself in front of what the company sees as an impending boom in the regional cloud market.

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest countries and according to IDC the Indonesian ICT market is expected to average about 10 per cent annual growth through 2017, exceeding growth rates in most other Southeast Asian countries.

Additionally, the company expects new legislation in the region to influence more financial services companies to outsource their datacentre operations and move more of their systems to the cloud.

The company has in recent months looked to bolster its datacentre presence globally. In April this year the company’s American subsidiary completed a merger with Verio (after acquiring it 15 years ago), and in March bought a majority stake in one of Germany’s largest datacentre operators, e-shelter.

Alibaba to bolster cloud performance, proposes data protection pact

Alibaba is boosting the performance of its cloud services and reassuring customers on data protection

Alibaba is boosting the performance of its cloud services and reassuring customers on data protection

Alibaba unveiled a series of performance upgrades to its cloud platform this week in a bid to compete more effectively for big data workloads with other large cloud incumbents, and clarified its position on data protection.

The company said it is adding solid state drive (SSD) backed cloud storage, which will massively improve read-write performance over its existing HDD-based offerings, and virtual private cloud services (VPC) for high performance compute and analytics workloads. It’s also boosting performance with virtualised GPU-based technology.

“The huge amount of data and advanced computing capacity has brought great business opportunities to the industry,” said Wensong Zhang, chief technology officer of Aliyun, Alibaba’s cloud division.

“Deep learning and high-performance computing have been widely adopted in Alibaba Group for internal use. Aliyun will roll out high-performance computing services and accelerators based on GPU technology that could be applied in image recognition and deep learning to expand the boundaries of business,” Zhang said.

The company also released what it is calling a data protection pact. In its proposal Alibaba said customers will have “absolute ownership” over all of the data generated or sent to the company’s cloud services, and the “right to select whatever services they choose to securely process their data.”

It also said it would strengthen its threat protection and disaster recovery capabilities in order to reassure customers of its ability to guard their data – and the data of their clients. The company did not, however, cite any specific standards or internationally recognised guidelines on data protection in its plans.

“Without the self-discipline exercised by the banking industry, the financial and economic prosperity that exists in modern-day society would not have ensued. Similarly, without common consensus and concrete action dedicated to data protection, the future for the [data technology] economy would be dim,” the company said in a statement.

“We hereby promise to strictly abide by this pledge, and encourage the entire industry to collectively exercise the self-regulation that is vital in promoting the sustainable development of this data technology economy.”

CSA lends prototype compliance tool to six-year cloud security project

The CSA is part of the STRATUS project, a six-year cybersecurity project

The CSA is part of the STRATUS project, a six-year cybersecurity project

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) said this week that it is lending a prototype data auditing and compliance regulation tool to the STRATUS initiative, a six-year multi-million dollar cybersecurity project funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.

STRATUS, which stands for Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Transparency and User-centric Services in the Cloud, is a project being led by the University of Waikato intends to develop a series of security tools, techniques and capabilities to help give cloud users more control over how they secure the cloud services they use.

As part of the project the CSA showed how cloud data governance could be automated by applying auditing guidelines (CSA Cloud Control Matrix, ISO standards, etc.) and compliance regulations using a recently developed online tool.

The organisation, which is leading the data governance and accountability subproject within STRATUS, said it would also help support STRATUS’ commercialisation efforts.

“STRATUS’ approach to research commercialisation is different from typical scientific research grants,” said Dr. Ryan Ko, principal investigator of STRATUS, and CSA APAC research advisor.

“STRATUS understands that for cloud security innovation to reach a global audience, it will require a platform which will allow these cutting-edge cloud services to quickly align to global best practices and requirements – a core CSA strength given its strong research outputs such as the Cloud Controls Matrix and the Cloud Data Governance Working Group,” Ko said.

Aloysius Cheang, managing director for CSA APAC: “We have developed a prototype tool based on our work so far, that has received positive reviews. In addition, we are working to connect STRATUS and New Zealand to the CSA eco-system through our local chapter. More importantly, we are beginning to see some preliminary results of the efforts to connect to dots to commercialisation efforts as well as standardization efforts.”

The organisation reckons it should be able to show off the “fruit of these efforts” in November this year.

AWS to expand to India in 2016

AWS said India is the next big market for public cloud expansion

AWS said India is the next big market for public cloud expansion

Amazon unveiled plans this week to bring its Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure to India by 2016 in a bid to expand into the quickly growing public cloud services market there.

AWS is already available in India and the company claims to have over 10,000 local customers using the platform, but the recently announced move would see the company set up its own infrastructure in-country rather than relying on delivering the services from nearby availability zones like Singapore.

The company says the move will likely improve the performance of the cloud services on offer to local organisations.

“Tens of thousands of customers in India are using AWS from one of AWS’s eleven global infrastructure regions outside of India. Several of these customers, along with many prospective new customers, have asked us to locate infrastructure in India so they can enjoy even lower latency to their end users in India and satisfy any data sovereignty requirements they may have,”said Andy Jassy, senior vice president, AWS.

“We’re excited to share that Indian customers will be able to use the world’s leading cloud computing platform in India in 2016 – and we believe India will be one of AWS’s largest regions over the long term.”

The India expansion comes at a time when the local market is maturing rapidly.

According to analyst and consulting house Gartner public cloud services revenue in India will reach $838m by the end of 2015, an increase of almost 33 per cent – making it one of the fastest growing markets for public cloud services in the world (global average growth rates sit in the mid-twenties range, depending on the analyst house). The firm believe many local organisations in India are shifting away from more traditional IT outsourcing and using public cloud services instead.