Hybrid cloud and the changing horizon of Asia-Pacific enterprises

  • Hybrid cloud deployment models are gaining traction as a viable IT infrastructure choice
  • Asia-Pacific organisations remain uncertain about the model’s true potential and implementation measures
Hybrid cloud and the changing horizon of Asia-Pacific enterprises

The Asia-Pacific cloud services market is on the rise, with 60% of companies' IT assets predicted to be off-site in colocation, hosting, and cloud datacentres by 2020, heralding a move towards the full integration of cloud technology into business IT frameworks. In order to stay ahead, IT decision makers in the region have embarked on the application of hybrid cloud infrastructures.

Gartner predicts that nearly half of large enterprises worldwide will use hybrid cloud by 2017, because of the continued pursuit of optimised IT infrastructures. As the move to hybrid cloud deployments continues to pick up pace, there is a need for data centres to support this growth and growing enterprise requirements.
The hybrid cloud landscape in Asia-Pacific
In the global arena, Asian economies lead in cloud adoption, with two-thirds of countries having begun the cloud journey with government-connected cloud projects. IDC reports that as of 2016, 65% of Asia-Pacific enterprises have begun to incorporate hybrid deployment models within their overall IT portfolios. A Frost and Sullivan report reveals that more than half of organizations surveyed wish to transit internal IT infrastructures to a hybrid model in the next 12 to 18 months.

Hybrid cloud deployment models are gaining traction as a viable IT infrastructure choice, because of the scalability it affords, as well as the provision of increased visibility and control. Gery Messer, CenturyLink’s Asia-Pacific Managing Director, shared that the flexibility offered by hybrid cloud models is a big advantage in service provision. Versatility and adaptability is a significant draw, because IT infrastructure demands increase as workloads move from simple back-end functions to more complex core business processes.

In the same discussion, Anish Malhotra, Asia-Pacific Head of Sales Engineering for the Cloud Platform at Google, highlighted that in terms of security enhancement, hybrid cloud models allow critical data to reside in a private environment, while applications can be hosted and run from a cloud service provider. Organisations, gaining the ability to shield private data while still remaining connected to a larger network via this two-pronged approach, are thus able to mitigate security and privacy risks while ensuring greater reliability.
Factors affecting hybrid cloud adoption
Despite growing hybrid cloud successes, many Asia-Pacific organisations remain uncertain about the model’s true potential and implementation measures. There is a lack of proper understanding about the potential productivity benefits as well as the absence of concrete strategies to incorporate hybrid cloud models. While discussing barriers to hybrid cloud adoption during the roundtable, David Wirt, Vice President of Global Services, Asia-Pacific & Japan, at EMC observed that IT decision makers have the tendency to consider investing in hybrid cloud from a cost perspective, rather than a value-adding one – a characteristic unique to Asia, with the US pulling ahead.

In Asia-Pacific, cloud adoption trends have been facilitated by local regulatory bodies and government approaches to embracing what IDC terms as “the third platform” – social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. For example, Indonesia, a growing indigenous outsourcing nation, offers companies high ability to deliver “locally brewed” cloud, while Malaysia has a low appetite, largely because of the relatively high internal connectivity cost. According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s 2016 Cloud Readiness Index, a number of markets in Asia have made great strides towards cloud readiness, indicating a possible shift to superceding perceived barriers to adoption.

Different workloads need to land in different places, and the question businesses should be asking themselves right now is whether they are agile enough to address this. The ones that can are the ones that will survive. For businesses to sufficiently develop an IT framework that can react with promptness and efficiency, any hybrid cloud strategy needs to be supported on two fronts.

Firstly, the implementation of government-led initiatives can establish a country-specific base framework, conducive for the transition of businesses into hybrid cloud. Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) considers cloud tech a key component of its Smart Nation Platform. Measures include a Cloud Service Provider Registry and the 2014-established Multi-Tier Cloud Security Singapore Standard, enhancing user understanding about cloud service security.

Additionally, tailored strategies can be facilitated by external data centre vendors, who provide an easily accessible platform for cloud adoption. The growing importance and presence of data centre facilities in Asia-Pacific is an indication of the data centre landscape’s increasing ability to support cloud services and provide a base framework for businesses to take their IT processes to the cloud.
Leveraging on data centres to facilitate cloud adoption
In its list of top cloud computing myths, research firm Gartner says the idea that every organisation should have just one cloud vendor is wrong. Any cloud strategy should be about aligning business goals with potential benefits, and this is likely to involve making use of multiple cloud providers that offer different resources.
Thorough due diligence must be undertaken to ensure infrastructure is capable of providing the level and standard of service required. The data centres from which cloud services are provided must be scalable, resilient and secure. They should also be tier certified and comply with applicable regulatory requirements.

For data centre operators, meeting these requirements will position them well to take advantage of future opportunities. A hybrid cloud (or any cloud for that matter) creates demand for more data centre space and connectivity to support growth. The challenge for operators is to ensure the quality of their underlying data centre infrastructure enables rather than restricts these opportunities.

A hybrid cloud infrastructure can deliver big benefits to an organisation and big opportunities for operators. However, it is critical that proper planning and research is completed before any adoption takes place.

Elisa Wong is Digital Realty's regional director, colocation and connectivity, Asia-Pacific

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