Edwin: My Fave 5 of 2014: Page 2 of 2

The wireless giant in Telekom Malaysia awakens

Edwin: My Fave 5 of 2014: Page 2 of 2

The third story on my list is a commentary I wrote last August on how incumbent Telekom Malaysia (TM) was making a comeback as a wireless player.
It’s personally significant to me because there were a number of good industry sources who were willing to comment on such an audacious move, and for any journalist, having good sources who are willing to talk – albeit anonymously – is of paramount importance.
A story like this is also noteworthy as it impacts the national telco landscape, not the least because another operator – and I might add, an incumbent near-monopolistic player – is entering an already-crowded wireless space in Malaysia.
To the man on the street, this seems to be another launch of a mobile broadband service by yet another operator, albeit in suburban and rural locations.
But as I argued, two things are important about such a move by TM: Why it wants to get back into the game, and more importantly, how it is doing so.  
Suffice to say, TM's re-entry into the game is best summarised by what an industry executive told me. “When the deal with Packet One is completed and with the 850MHz LTE cell sites in place for coverage, TM can then roll out its 2,600MHz [courtesy of the takeover of P1] LTE sites where P1 has its existing WiMax [2,300MHz] cell sites for capacity purposes.
“Additionally, the cost of retaining existing P1 customers and converting them over to TM customers is cheaper than having to acquire subscribers from scratch,” the industry executive familiar with the deal explained. “With other advantages, such as the easily available fibre backhaul for P1 at a favourable lease price, TM is expected to come out a winner.”

With such a move, TM may not only be defending its near-monopolistic hold on the fixed-wireless game in Malaysia, but is also possibly spreading its tentacles into the wireless game. But is this necessarily good for the industry in the long run? 

Network virtualisation and VMware's quest for the holy grail

Edwin: My Fave 5 of 2014: Page 2 of 2

Next up was the interview I had with someone whom many credit as the founder of Open Flow protocol, which powers software-defined networking (SDN).
It is true that Martin Casado (pic, above), cofounder of Nicira Inc, a company that has been voted as one of 50 most disruptive companies by MIT Technology Review, has pioneered a new way of networking that strives to be more cost-effective and efficient.
More about how and why he started Nicira and what his company stands for can be read here.
But the first thing that struck me is how the 38-year-old’s hard work and sacrifices for his PhD project finally paid off and effectively turned him into a millionaire when VMware Inc bet big on SDN by forking out US$1.3 billion to buy a relatively unknown startup in 2012.
The second thing was how SDN has the potential to change how networking has been done for the past three decades.
Casado best summarises this: “Because the software layer lives on the server and is very close to the virtual machines and the apps, you can actually obtain information from the apps, something that traditional networking gear has never been able to do before.
“This is a paradigm shift as we can do networking services at a higher layer and we have semantically meaningful policies and security services – all of which are the holy grail of networking.”

Can Amazon Web Services serve enterprises effectively?

Edwin: My Fave 5 of 2014: Page 2 of 2

This story may seem like an overlap with my second choice, but only because it is about AWS. I’ve been to quite a few enterprise conferences in my day, but last year’s AWS re:Invent conference was by far one of the best I’ve attended.
To begin with, it was my first time attending and there’s always an air of excitement that surrounds that.
But more than that, I had good access to all the executives who mattered – Andy Jassy, head of AWS; Steven Schmidt, its chief security information officer; Terry Wise, director of its worldwide partner ecosystem; and Rick Harshman, head of AWS Asean.
Jassy’s press session was particularly insightful as he gave a good view of how the company is ready to seriously serve enterprises and how it planned to grow its business.
And while they are quite new to this, having only started this in 2012, the overall atmosphere of the event was pretty charged, especially at the plenary sessions, where Jassy, Vogel and the rest spoke of how AWS plans to make inroads into enterprises.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed writing this story because I had enough to picture what AWS has going forward, and I discovered first-hand what made this company tick and how it was planning to change the world through its AWS-powered public cloud, as well as the challenges facing it.
My conclusion after the event? The cloud has indeed come of age and is here to stay.
Read Also:
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