Aussie cloud hub dream needs customers

Summary:After yesterday's main TechLines: Cloud Control session, Ovum analyst Kevin Noonan said that Australian customers will need to walk the cloud walk or the nation will miss out on becoming a cloud provider instead of consumer.

After yesterday's main TechLines: Cloud Control session, Ovum analyst Kevin Noonan said that Australian customers will need to walk the cloud walk or the nation will miss out on becoming a cloud provider instead of consumer.

The TechLines panel

The TechLines panel (Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet Australia)

"Unless we have customers starting to think about the cloud and their uses, there will not be a provision industry developing because of companies within Australia," he said.

He explained that the local segments of multinationals had to compete globally for resources, and that while Australia dithered about the cons of cloud, other markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong were diving into the new concept. This made it tough for the nation to be picked as a data hub, according to Noonan.

"The local business case relies on the extent to which customers are saying we need to think about cloud," he said.

Customers don't need to commit, he said, but simply show that they were thinking about cloud.

Noonan believed that the growth in the Australian market was in private cloud and while many considered that not to be true cloud, he thought it would be a mistake to discount it.

"It's a great start. If you snuff out the embers of growth at this point, you'll regret it later."

Gianpaolo Carraro, director, platform and developer evangelism, for Microsoft Australia, said that even if Australia isn't hosting cloud hardware, it should make sure it's a hub of intellectual-property-driven exports via the cloud. He called on industry or government to foster the innovation to achieve this.

Meanwhile, futurist Mark Pesce believed that relatively low electricity prices would give Australia an edge when vendors decided where to place their cloud hubs.

What has Wikileaks done to cloud?

The discussion also delved into the effects Wikileaks has had on the cloud market.

Amazon stopped providing cloud services to Wikileaks after the whistleblowing site started publishing a mountain of cables. When asked what this meant for cloud, Pesce and Carraro said that cloud wasn't something meant as a be all and end all.

"If you are doing something that other people are going to find objectionable in their countries or anything else, then you should probably have a very, very strong private cloud strategy thought out before you start pissing people off," Pesce said. "A public cloud can be turned off."

He also drew attention to Egypt's internet blackout to highlight another cloud vulnerability.

"All of our systems are so interconnected globally that if you pull the plugs on the systems, on the cables that run from Australia to the rest of the world, all of our systems will more or less fail because they depend on information that's constantly flowing in from those other systems," he said.

Carraro likened cloud to an electricity provider. If the electricity goes down, and you need it all the time, then you should have a private generator in your garage, he said.

"You rely on public structure as long as you can and when this goes away you have backup that might not be as powerful or as complete as you can get from public infrastructure, but you can have your survival systems," he said.

However, Carraro told ZDNet Australia later that he didn't think that using Wikileaks as an example for the problems of cloud was a fair comparison, saying it was a unique case. He said that using cloud versus private hosting was always going to be a case of cost versus control.

You can watch the main TechLines: Cloud Control panel here. The post-discussion stream will be available soon.

Topics: Cloud


Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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