Latency a 'big issue' in APAC cloud delivery

Region's large geographical expanse could results in high latency challenges, which is an issue cloud service providers operating here need to factor in as adoption ramps up in Asia.

The Asia-Pacific region's large geographical expanse means that network latency is a challenge that needs to be thought through by cloud service providers. Despite this, 2013 is believed to be the tipping point for cloud adoption, according to one AT&T executive.

Steve Caniano, vice president of hosting, managed services, and cloud solutions at AT&T's Business Solutions unit, said during a conference call on Wednesday: "The Asian market is highly distributed and very geographically dispersed. So latency can be a big issue if you're centralized in one country and your users can be all across Asia-Pacific."

He added that the distance from Australia to Singapore or Hong Kong can sometimes be too long a hop for the optimal performance for an app or Web site, and this might be negative for companies. A retail site, for instance, needs a shopping cart experience that is instantaneous, or the customer might abandon the cart, Caniano pointed out.

This is why AT&T has a footprint that spans a diverse set of countries in Asia. Of the 38 Internet Data Centres it has worldwide, nine are situated in Asia-Pacific, he said. These include Bangalore, India; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; two in Hong Kong; two in Shanghai, China; and two in Tokyo, Japan.

Caniano said that the opening of its second Internet Data Centre in Tokyo allows it to scale up its hosting capabilities in Japan and Asia-Pacific. "The new Internet Data Centre bolsters AT&T's existing ability to offer multinational companies services that enable them to focus on their core activities, increase productivity, improve operational efficiency, and lower costs," he added.

Steve Caniano believes hybrid cloud will be the dominant cloud choice.
Steve Caniano believes hybrid cloud will be the dominant cloud choice. (Credit:ZDNet)

Hybrid clouds to dominate

In terms of the development of the cloud computing industry, the executive admitted that the subject has become a popular media topic, but said that some of the reports were hyped.

"You probably can't pick up a newspaper or magazine and not read about cloud today. But I think some of them are hype, honestly. I think that customers are still along an adoption curve toward various types of cloud services," he said.

Caniano said cloud adoption in the enterprise space is still a relatively new trend globally, but it is reaching a "tipping point."

"In the Asian market, specifically, we see that there is demand for on-demand services. But like most of the world, we're seeing customers experimenting services that is out there and building their own cloud ," he said.

Over time, he believes that the cloud model will become more pervasive with enterprises moving "serious applications" onto the cloud.

He added that the challenge of integrating cloud-based apps is real. Thus, the migration of critical apps to cloud will most likely happen when existing software is reaching the end of their lifecycle, and companies choose between continuing with on premise or cloud-delivered, he stated.

In the long run, Caniano believes a hybrid cloud that connects the enterprise's private cloud to a public cloud provided by service providers will be the dominant choice. This arrangement allows the enterprise to have dedicated connectivity integrated with cloud services, he said.

Be prepared for cloud failure

He also called on enterprises to do their homework when choosing a cloud provider, such as understanding who they are doing business with, how the cloud provider operates, and the reputation of their service and service levels.

This is to prevent downtimes, such as that experienced by video-streaming site Netflix, which saw its service disrupted due to problems faced by its cloud provider Amazon Web Services last December.

"In addition, as a customer, you will need to understand what your application's requirements are, and ensure that you have adequate redundancy and resilience built into your application," Caniano advised.