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Cloud Computing at the Pinnacle

Gerald Wee | Sept. 27, 2011
With well-established and well-defined benefits, moving to cloud computing is not a matter of if, but how. CIO Asia takes advice from a recent CIO forum.

"It is a business model for running IT that delivers value as defined by its customers in a cost effective manner," said Hirosaki. "This means a major shift in everyone's mindset - from IT playing an order taker role to a trusted advisor role."

"IT must use best practices, lessons learnt, and lead businesses to help them innovate as opposed to doing business that it is asked to do," he added.

Some of the key issues discussed from CIOs participating at the thought leadership forum centred on organisational readiness, costs and security.


Readiness and Implementation

Billy Lee, CEO, Free Net Business Solutions: We are trying cloud services for their elasticity, stability as well as upgrade on demand feature. However, there are certain services that are not elastic and we have to be realistic about them. For example, we have storage services provisioned by a service provider, which promises upgrade from 1TB to 2TB on the fly. But when it comes to implementation, there is no way you can do it without bringing down the system and converting the [storage] image to another storage system. 

Charles Tan, CIO of Ambank: From my perspective, it is not about the technology, but skillset issue. What are the challenges of managing the cloud? It is also a process issue.

Hirosaki: Before going to cloud, you first have to standardise, and then consolidate your data centre. The journey from physical to virtual will not happen overnight. Three years ago, one top university in Japan decided to go with the cloud to provide services to students and faculty. They didn't just consider the risk going to cloud, but also the risk of not going to cloud. What is the missed opportunity

Affendi: Even before implementing cloud, you have to get ready. We took time to fix up everything: our datacentre, local and wide area networks, thousands of applications. You have to address these before going to cloud. The greatest challenge is from the business model perspective. How do you convince the users with their own specific needs to accept the usage model.


Costs and Bandwidth

Khan Quay Kin, head of information services, Nottingham University

We do have already services on cloud for database and research, but we are thinking about cloud email services to cut down operational costs. However, we struggle with expensive bandwidth costs. It is a big chunk.

Affendi: In terms of limitations in bandwidth for Malaysia, we are working with telcos in to resolve these issues. There is a benefit if the industry works together on it. There are regional consortiums to bring price down.

Jack Chang, CIO, Heitech Padu: Without the network, you cannot even think about cloud. It means bandwidth and costs increases as well. So, how you balance the two is key. Focus on key benefits and don't let technology get in the way.


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