Asian data centers eyeing cloud services

Many datacenter operators in region muscling into cloud computing market, potentially competing with customers, say market players.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The datacenter industry has in recent years indirectly benefitted from the increased adoption of cloud computing as service providers turn to them for more server space for their own clients.

However, many of these datacenter operators are now keen to grab a piece of the action themselves.

Some of those in Southeast Asia told ZDNet Asia that they are already preparing to launch their cloud services within the year as a way to capitalize on their existing infrastructure.

One player pointed out that datacenter operators have been in the cloud game for many years. A spokesperson at Thai datacenter operator TCCT, said: "It is obvious that many data centers also provide cloud services to public and private users.

"As TCCT is a specialized datacenter service provider in Thailand, we have provided services on an ASP (Application Service Provider) model which is similar to present era's 'cloud' services for over 10 years," she said in her e-mail.

Similarly in Malaysia, Ahmad Zahri Mirza, vice president for business development at Malaysia headquartered-AIMS Asia, noted in an e-mail that the company is already cloud-enabled and will be launching the service by mid-2012.

In Singapore, 1-Net Managing Director Yow Tau Keon, said the company will be launching its Storage Cloud service within the first half of the year. He described the service as an online data repository where users of cloud applications can easily store and retrieve their content. "It comes in the form of individual data storage compartments named as 'storage buckets' where APIs and web services are used to interact with the storage buckets," he said.

According to Clement Goh, managing director of Equinix Singapore, a majority of the companies in Asia-Pacific which already launched their own public or hybrid cloud services are telecommunication service providers such as Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel).

Goh sees more telcos entering the cloud space because of increased competition and cost pressures in their conventional businesses over the last few years. He added that these companies already have the necessary assets such as large networks and customer base.

Differentiating in cloud race
According to TCCT, with 10 years of experience in data center and cloud services, the company will help enterprises save cost on facilities and equipment support. The company also plans to develop greater cloud service quality and efficiency by creating more consolidation of services using TCCT's two operating data centers. It will also build more data centers locally and abroad to satisfy the demand for cloud services, said the TCCT spokesperson.

AIMS's Ahmad noted that it plans to differentiate itself from other cloud providers in Malaysia in three areas: accessibility, price competitiveness and flexibility.

He noted that as one of the reference sites for the Malaysia Internet Exchange, the company has the connectivity to provide cloud services. "AIMS is also a carrier neutral data center where there is no bias toward any brands or Internet Service Providers (ISPs)," said Ahmad. "With the diversified routes, there are shorter hops. This enables a faster reach of data to the cloud infrastructure."

While data center players wish to capitalize on their existing infrastructure to sell cloud services, Equinix' Goh noted that these players might compete directly with existing and potential customers. "As a result, this will limit and lessen the number of cloud services they can offer," he said.

He cautioned that joining the cloud race might not be suitable for all data center service providers. "It requires the right resources, from purchasing the network to hiring a team of IT professionals and engineers with specialized skills," he said, noting that this can be a big financial investment which they will need to think through carefully to ensure that their cloud business can be profitable enough to cover these additional costs.

1-Net's Yow noted that customers can expect more cooperation between Southeast Asian data center players in the cloud space. He said 1-Net and other Asia Data Centre Alliance members are in the midst of planning an Inter-Cloud service which will link cloud services among partners using fiber or Internet connection, but details have yet to be finalized.

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