StarHub to offer IaaS to Singapore's public sector

The telco will be offering infrastructure-as-a-service, such as storage and virtual machines, to government agencies and statutory boards for "non-sensitive" computing needs.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The country's second-largest telco StarHub will be offering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) products to public sector agencies and statutory boards for the first time, after it was one of six companies to have clinched the tender to offer public cloud services put up by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

In a statement issued Friday, StarHub announced it would offer IaaS products via its platform called Argonar, and these offerings include storage, virtual machines and other computing resources. Potential customers range from government ministries and statutory boards to "organs of state and participating entities", according to the IDA tender, although StarHub noted its Argonar platform was not limited to these organizations and anyone can procure services from them.

The telco added it is partnering Symantec Singapore and Trend Micro Singapore to offer other value-added services in addition to compute resources. These include secure backup, disk encryption for storage, and cloud encryption for virtual machines, Sunny Tan, assistant vice president of StarHub's enterprise business group, said in a separate interview with ZDNet Asia.

Tan also pointed out the public cloud services it is offering to the public sector are for "non-sensitive computing workloads" that need not reside within the government's G-cloud environment, which is managed by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel).

The IDA tender pre-dates the G-cloud initiative, as it was first issued in 2008, he noted. SingTel Alatum, PTC Systems and NewMedia Express were the three incumbent companies since the beginning of the cloud program, with StarHub, CrimsonLogic and aZaaS the new entrants in the latest tender, the executive explained.

As a differentiator to the other service providers, StarHub's IaaS platform is protected by its Clean Pipe Anti-DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) which is monitored at all times by the telco's Network Operations Centre, the company stated. This is in addition to the monitoring done by the Cyber-Watch Center, which provides real-time cybersecurity response to government-related IT operations, Tan stated.

"No qualms" working with Huawei
The Argonar platform was designed and built with Huawei Technologies' cloud computing infrastructure, and the StarHub executive said the company had no issues working with the IT vendor. This is despite the ongoing scrutiny the Chinese company is facing in certain markets such as the United States and United Kingdom over the security of its networking gear.

Tan said the cloud infrastructure provided by Huawei is also recognized by Intel as its Cloud Builders Reference Architecture, and this is why StarHub has "no qualms" in working with the Chinese company from a technology perspective.

As for security, he said the company had subjected Huawei to the usual level of security and accountability screenings applicable to all its vendor partners.

Editorial standards