S'pore cloud standards plan needs 'articulation'

As Singapore government works on cloud computing guidelines covering issues such as security, local SMB urges clearer articulation of value proposition to user organizations.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

Singapore is looking to provide a cloud computing framework for all stakeholders by 2012 in hopes of boosting cloud adoption in the country, according to the government's IT arm. Such an initiative needs to be "more clearly articulated" to the business community, a local company has urged.

In an e-mail to ZDNet Asia, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) noted that it had begun work on instituting cloud computing standards since 2010. The Singapore Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC), supported by the IDA, is heading up the initiative to engage users, the local government and cloud service providers to come up with a "set of standards for applications and data to be interoperable across different cloud computing platforms", it added.

An IDA spokesperson said the conversations will focus on areas such as cloud security, service level agreements and virtualization, which were "areas identified by existing cloud users".

ITSC Chairman Robert Chew also added in an earlier interview with publication FutureGov Asia-Pacific that these issues need to be understood so that the committee can "prioritize them standards-wise and promote adoption of the cloud".

For instance, the IDA spokesperson elaborated, the cloud computing standards could provide clarity to what subscribers should look out for in the terms and conditions of software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).

He also highlighted that while new, cloud-related technologies create a "very agile, flexible and dynamic computing environment", they also bring about a new dimension of technical risks and challenges. The use of virtualization technology, for example, may entail a number of risks that can be addressed by proper attention to how the hypervisor is deployed and accessed as well as the implementation of appropriate standard operating procedures, explained the spokesperson.

He added: "With the development of such standards, we hope that cloud adoption will increase. We are targeting for the cloud computing standards to be ready by 2012."

According to Singapore-based mobile advertising company BuzzCity, the initiative "needs to be more clearly articulated" to the wider business community. Clifford Chew, its CTO and vice president of engineering, noted that such standards would appear to benefit local cloud providers more than businesses as it will help them compete globally with more established vendors such as Google and Amazon Web Services.

"It is unlikely to benefit small and midsize businesses (SMBs) such as us as much because, unlike power utilities, leading international cloud facilities are freely accessible to Singapore-based companies," he said in an e-mail.

BuzzCity's Chew also suggested that the ITSC could look into instituting guidelines to allow user organizations to configure their cloud services "24/7" and be granted full access to usage reports and Web traffic charges.

To this, the IDA indicated that the cloud computing standards should lead to "clarity in understanding cloud-specific issues and up user adoption from individuals and SMBs to enterprises".

Earlier, research firm AMI-Partners had noted that Asia-Pacific SMBs will spend US$11.4 billion on cloud computing this year--more than anywhere else in the world. Stefan Haas, Asia-Pacific consulting director at AMI-Partners, also highlighted that within Southeast Asian markets such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, increasingly favorable economic and infrastructural conditions provide strong annual growth potential.

Editorial standards