Alatum touts local presence as differentiator

Singapore-based cloud provider says local presence helps win more enterprise customers, giving it edge over bigger players such as Amazon.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Singaporean cloud provider, Alatum, says its local presence provides it an edge over bigger cloud providers.

The competition, namely Amazon's EC2 platform, is based in the United States and cannot offer local customers the low latency and "personal service" a Singapore-based provider can, said Lim Jee Yen, Alatum director of operations.

Lim said in an interview with ZDNet Asia Tuesday, the SingTel-owned grid computing provider has had numerous customer requests for customized services.

He pointed to examples where customer network security vulnerabilities were addressed by implementing measures such as restricting selected application ports. Some customers only realized they required additional support after embarking on a cloud migration plan with Alatum, he added.

Alatum's engineers and infrastructure, based in Singapore, also helps inspire more confidence in enterprise customers--instrumental in winning hesitant potential clients, he said.

"Right now, education is the main focus. Awareness of cloud [computing] in Singapore is improving. We are still getting early adopters, but it's still early days. It's still challenging.

"Singaporean customers are more forward-looking but also more cautious. There are many seeking to understand the [benefits of] the technology, but also more waiting for others to sign up first," said Lim.

Yaj Malik, Asean area vice president at Citrix Systems, said the industry is not at the point yet where enterprises are comfortable being completely reliant on cloud-based infrastructure, but noted that many are quickly seeing the benefits of having a cloud supporting their architecture.

Retailers, for example, are able to handle spikes in traffic during peak periods without having to invest in new hardware, said Malik.

Alatum went live on Nov. 1 last year, and now has a customer base of "slightly less than 100". This is made up of a mix of large enterprises and SMBs (small and midsize businesses), said Lim.

It provides infrastructure grid services and a platform hosting SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications to customers. It uses virtualization technology provided by Citrix.

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