Jaring’s cloud-ready infrastructure, its best asset

  • New player said to use acquisition strategy to ramp up on operational readiness for LTE deployment
  • Jaring’s assets still valuable; includes a cloud-ready infrastructure

PUNCAK Semangat’s initial interest in Jaring could very well be because of its data center infrastructure, which the Internet service provider has spent a fair amount of time and resources on building in the past two years, according to an industry observer.
Digital News Asia understands that one way for Puncak Semangat, a nascent telco player linked to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, to gain foothold in this highly competitive wireless space is to acquire its way to operational readiness.
Jaring’s cloud-ready infrastructure, its best assetPuncak Semangat has ambitions to build a full-fledged Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network after it and eight other operators had been awarded provisional license to do so by industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission last year.
“They are trying to buy stake in companies to get a shortcut into the game,” said one industry observer in the wireless space who spoke to Digital News Asia on condition of anonymity.
Notwithstanding the woes that Jaring is in today, the country’s oldest ISP has invested heavily into building world-class data center, which is said to be cloud computing-ready. It counts amongst its vendors such as VMware, which powers its virtualization infrastructure, as its technology suppliers.
In an interview with business weekly The Edge [email protected] last year, Nik Abdul Aziz, the then CEO said he was game to take on the massive task of transforming Jaring by leading it into a sector that many industry players say is the next wave growth for ISPs – cloud computing.
The ISP had in July 2011 launched what it claimed to be Malaysia's first hybrid infrastructure cloud service aimed at helping its business grow exponentially in the next three years.
Known as the Jaring OneCloud service, the ambitious effort by Jaring is touted to be able to provide the most advanced enterprise-class hybrid infrastructure cloud and on-demand high performance computing (HPC) services.
Jaring had already invested close to RM5 million for the entire infrastructure and the cloud computing services are available for commercial deployment.
Jaring OneCloud is said to be a complete and ready-to-go public and hybrid cloud infrastructure that the industry has been looking for. Nik Aziz had said then that its competitive edge ostensibly comes from its fully equipped carrier-grade data centres that are ready for immediate deployment in mission critical cloud hosting and high performance computing services, all of which are backed by certified secured services.
A bit of history
Jaring was the first ISP that brought the Internet to the masses via its dial-up lines. But in the last 15 years or so, the ISP has almost but disappeared from the media and in market talk.
As dial-up subscription regressed and as ADSL-based broadband connections surged, Jaring faded from view as it struggled to keep up with the more illustriously perceived state-owned competitor, Telekom Malaysia (TM) and other newer, nimbler players.
Even its efforts in the wireless arena, via its Jaring Flite product lines, were no match with the then up-and-coming cellular players, which collectively and aggressively marketed their respective 3G products and services.
Jaring started off successfully as a business unit of Mimos Bhd and was initially termed as Joint Advance Research Integrated NetworkinG. It began in 1986 with the design of a computer network that had international connectivity, which would later become the basis for the nation's first Internet network that provided connectivity to thousands of Malaysians in 1992.
In its heyday, it was continuously at the forefront of the Internet revolution. For instance, it became the first ISP in 1997 in to install a T3 (45 megabits per second) line in, while in 1999, it introduced its SuperJaring Internet backbone with a 2.5 gigabytes per second transmission speed, which was touted then as the world's longest and fastest commercially available IP (Internet Protocol)-over-fibre service.
But despite its early successes, industry observers and market players have noted that Jaring would have become a much bigger entity in the Malaysian ISP space if it were not for several factors, including its inability to venture into the fixed broadband space as much as it would have liked to.
With the dominance of TM in fixed-line space and that of cellular players in the wireless arena in both the consumer and corporate markets, Jaring found it hard to compete and expand its market. The fact that the Jaring was a tightly-run division of Mimos and not an independent company on its own didn't help either.
In an interview with Star In.Tech on the occasion of its 10th anniversary in 2001, the then CEO, Dr Mohamed Awang Lah (pic), candidly conceded that despite all that those distinctions, Jaring had "slipped" behind in terms of being a leader in the Internet business.
Noting that Jaring in 2001 was ahead of many other countries in terms of the adoption and use of the Internet, Dr MAL as he was affectionately known in industry circles said, "But somehow over the years, we've lost the edge."
Mohamed also attributed this loss of edge to Jaring's inability to share its infrastructure the way it had planned, ostensibly alluding to its inability to capitalize on TM's last mile access for its ADSL service, as well as the lack of local human resources with the right skills to understand and run the business effectively.
Finally, in April 2005, Jaring was finally spun off as a separate entity and is now known as Jaring Communications. Later in December 2006, the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia, officially took over Jaring from Mimos.

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