Asia's scale, speed of cloud adoption 'unique'

Quick adoption and vast deployment of cloud services in fast-growing wireless markets in Asia-Pacific indicative of region's potential in utilizing the technology, says HP exec.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Having spent the last six to nine months speaking to at least 100 CIOs from companies based in Asia-Pacific, a Hewlett-Packard executive believes there is much momentum and growth potential around cloud computing in the region.

According to Anthony McMahon, vice president of software and solutions for HP Asia-Pacific and Japan, this is illustrated by the "scale and speed of adoption" of cloud offerings in fast-growing wireless markets such as China, India and Southeast Asia. The momentum, he said, was "unique" to this part of the world.

"In order to cope with the huge number of mobile subscribers in these markets, service providers are very open to solutions that utilize cloud computing," McMahon told ZDNet Asia at a media briefing held here Thursday. "These service providers are also looking to provide cloud-based services such as ringtones, personalized data content and, for enterprises, compute on-demand, for their customers."

This is different from established telecommunications operators in more mature markets in the region such as Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, which according to McMahon, are looking at "becoming faster, more secure and able to offer more services" to their customers through cloud technologies.

HP's cloud for Asia
To address this growing demand, strategically, HP is not looking to offer dedicated public cloud services in the region as it is not the company's primary focus, said McMahon. Instead, the IT giant is looking to partner and equip existing hosted services and managed services providers such as carriers, the "picks and shovels" that would allow HP and these providers to bring cloud computing services to the market.

An equally important thrust for HP is to help, within the company's portfolio, existing enterprise clients "determine their route to cloud", he said.

"What this means is that we will take companies through the journey of determining what kind of cloud infrastructure would suit their business needs, and help customize products to suit them," he explained.

Asked how HP's cloud offerings compared against products by other industry players such as IBM or Cisco Systems, McMahon said the company focuses on creating and delivering "heterogeneous [cloud] services" that are platform- and software-agnostic.

This, he said, is different from other companies that provide products written in "proprietary code language" that locks users down to a certain platform.

He added that other competitors in the field do not have the "scope" in terms of product portfolio capable of matching HP. He noted that only "one other vendor" has the ability to match HP in terms of "sourcing, governing and validating" cloud services, but declined to reveal the company's name.

By ability, he said, HP is able to support the entire cycle to help companies customize their cloud ecosystems and provide the security and compliance software to govern the system, as well as validate the cloud services to ensure they meet service level agreements (SLAs).

Transforming data centers for cloud use
According to McMahon, the Asia-Pacific region is also seeing many companies that have yet embarked on determining their cloud strategies. "These companies are one of the primary drivers for cloud computing to take off in the region," he said.

As a result, Mohan Krishnan, HP's Asia-Pacific and Japan director for technology consulting, noted that virtualization services and consolidation of data centers in the region has seen "tremendous growth" in recent times. These are the first steps companies have to take when adopting cloud technology, said Krishnan, who was also at the briefing.

Bradden Wondra, CTO for enterprise services at HP Asia-Pacific and Japan, agreed. Also a speaker at the briefing, he noted that more companies here are "seeing the need to transform [their] rigid IT infrastructure".

"What these companies need to realize is for data centers to be transformed [and] ageing applications that might have served them well in the past are not sacred in the revamp," Wondra added.

This, he noted, would allow companies in emerging markets that have legacy systems to jumpstart their technology development, moving away from a siloed environment to one where there is a converged infrastructure able to support cloud-based applications.

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