Big names unite to roll out cloud computing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am


The fixed-line network unit of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong has teamed up with technology giant Oracle, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and other major carriers in a consortium that aims to accelerate adoption of 'cloud computing' by businesses across Asia.

Launched yesterday in Hong Kong, the Asia-Pacific Cloud Alliance offers a combined cloud-computing infrastructure from its founding providers that could rank among the world's largest.

'For the first time, we have all the elements ready to roll out this alliance and readily available solutions to enterprises,' said Steve Au-yeung, executive vice-president at Oracle and managing director of the company's Asia-Pacific operations.

'Our focus sectors will be government, education, health care, retail, manufacturing and financial services,' he added.

Cloud computing enables companies and consumers to buy, lease, sell or distribute over the internet as well as private networks a vast range of software, business systems, data and other digital resources, including storage, as an on-demand service, like electricity from a power grid.

Such resources are hosted in so-called data centres. 'Cloud' refers to the internet, which is depicted in that form in computer network diagrams.

Oracle's founding members include network carriers Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) and Australian telecommunications market leader Telstra, plus information-technology services firms VADS of Telekom Malaysia, AAPT of Telecom New Zealand and LG CNS, part of the massive South Korean conglomerate LG.

The United States-based Oracle will serve as the main supplier of information-technology hardware and software applications, such as a cloud solution that brings a virtual Windows or Linux desktop interface to iPads.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is advising the new group on 'best practices'.

Andrew Lee, the commercial director for HGC's wholesale and business market operations, said the alliance 'will be able to bring economies of scale to both large and small enterprises' in all markets that the founding service providers cover.

Meanwhile, Telstra general manager Shehara Viswanathan yesterday put forward the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia as a reference customer for its cloud-computing project called 'Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records', which enables patients to securely check their medical history online.

The technology research firm Ovum has forecast that spending by Asia-Pacific enterprises on cloud services over the internet will reach as high as US$12 billion in 2016, compared with an estimated US$2.89 billion last year.