Many public sector organisations are considering or are already going through the process of data centre consolidation as a means to reduce their capital and operational expenses. These data centre consolidation efforts often involve the use of OS virtualisation solutions to enable resource consolidation. Because server consolidation using virtualisation and cloud computing share some common technologies, customers may think that having an OS virtualisation strategy is equivalent to a blueprint for cloud computing. It is not.
Cloud computing implies a level of dynamic, flexible resource sharing and allocation of assets, but these services are generally not necessarily provided through virtualisation alone. Gradually, customers start to think beyond virtualisation by standardising and consolidating at the PaaS (application server and database) level.
Yuri Wahab, managing director for Malaysia, Cisco:
2011 was a difficult year for our community as we struggled with the economic recovery from the crisis of the previous years, and in our region, the wrath of nature in Japan, Thailand and Philippines. In our industry, the focus on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cloud computing and network security were trends that came to the fore this year and I see them playing a critical role in the next twelve months. As a result, 2012 will be a year where decision makers need to balance innovation aspiration with business reality.
Business today is fast paced, with market opportunities transcending time zones and locations. By 2013, there will be an estimated 566 million knowledge workers around the world, with about half expected to be in Asia Pacific – it is imperative that businesses start implementing solutions, such as collaboration and unified communications tools in 2012. Those businesses that enable employees to work better together, can accelerate the innovation cycle and get to market ahead of their competition.
Of the 3,000 respondents of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report 2011, which analyses behaviour and expectations of the world's next generation of workers, one of every three believes the Internet is as important as air, water, food, and shelter. So the new workplace is anywhere, anytime and on any device. These and the proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace have changed the nature of communications on a global basis.
The consumerisation of IT has resulted in a record number of personal devices at the workplace at work. According to the same report, more than three of every four employees (77 percent) have multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone or multiple devices and one in three employees globally (33 percent) use at least three devices for work. More than half of all employees surveyed wanted access to information over corporate network using their home computers (63 percent) and personal mobile devices (51 percent) and this will mean businesses need to manage these devices on the corporate network, providing secure access and remote control in the case of device loss.
These trends will have a critical impact on the security measures an organisation has to implement to secure their network as we have learnt that seven out of 10 young employees frequently ignore IT policies (Chapter 3, Cisco Connected World Technology Report 2011). The desire for on-demand access to information is so ingrained that many young professionals take extreme measures to access the Internet, potentially compromising the company and even themselves.
That said, each new device is a potential cloud service consumption point resulting in a huge demand for cloud computing services. In addressing this, there is a real need for a thoughtful and strategic approach in adapting IT and security policies to enable mobility and productivity while still managing risk. Businesses also need to consider the established processes and culture to create stronger, trusted relationships between employees and IT departments.
Cloud Readiness and Beyond
2012 will be an exciting year for cloud computing development, as Malaysia moves steadily towards a better understanding, preparedness and adoption of the technology.
The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2010-2015) estimated that the global cloud computing traffic will grow 12-fold to reach a total of 1.6 zettabytes annual by 2015 – equivalent to 22 trillion hours of streaming music, or 5 trillion hours of business Web conferencing with a webcam. The rapid growth of cloud traffic reinforces the need for cloud applications and services, data centres and network integration.
In a recent Cloud Computing Readiness Index 2011 study conducted by the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Malaysia comes in seventh following leaders Japan and Hong Kong. Organisations are recognising the tectonic shift in the way services can be delivered through the cloud. Both the business community and government agencies understand the significance of ICT to economic competitiveness and are active in promoting a conducive regulatory environment for emerging technologies like cloud delivery models. Even in its relative infancy, cloud services certainly have a lot to deliver. If we can cut through the hype and focus instead on addressing the challenges and opportunities in simple business terms, Asia has every reason to continue to lead in adopting the new world vernacular.
Damien Wong, general manager, Red Hat ASEAN:
For 2012, we see the continuous role of middleware software as a crucial component of automating businesses. However the ways in which it plays a part in automating businesses will inevitably change. New platforms, technologies and ideologies will present themselves, and enterprises' needs and demands for middleware will evolve further. We predict to see an increase adoption of middleware technology leveraging on mobile technology and cloud architecture.
As for Cloud Computing, it was labeled as the talk of the town in 2011. For 2012, the outlook of cloud computing seems to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. We predict that we will still see a lot of learning, influence and attention giving to cloud computing. The reason behind this is that the cloud computing term is often used to broadly cover large swaths of “next generation IT,” which is very much a still-evolving topic.
Furthermore, as the global economy continues to be uncertain, in 2012, we will see IT organisations faced with the pressure of doing more with fewer resources. However, this would not be a setback as it has always been a driving force in organizations for the past decade. The economic challenges mean that IT budgets will likely remain flat or grow modestly, creating situations where new initiatives can only begin if costs are removed from other business areas. Hence, business will have to mind their resource utilisation improvements through continued consolidation and virtualization, automation and self-service in areas such as provisioning and identity management and initiatives that reduce the costs for power, cooling, and physical facilities.
In addition to that, we see three irrefutable requirements continuing to drive the IT organisation – the ever-growing demand for increased compute capacity, application performance, and data volumes. As a whole, IT initiatives tend to either promote long-term efficiency or growth. In 2012, we at Red Hat see technology advancements trending to drive efficiency while providing the foundation for new business growth initiatives.
Andy Khoo, country manager, NetApp Malaysia & Brunei:
There is no denying that 2011 was another challenging year for businesses. The current economic uncertainties in the US and Europe has been casting a gloom over all global markets in 2011, and Malaysia is not spared. Although Malaysia has been relatively shielded from the brunt of the global uncertainties, aided by the ongoing efforts of the government to sustain the country’s growth through these testy times, the outlook for the Malaysian economy has the potential to swing either way in 2012.
This is precisely why organisations need to take a good hard look at their business to ensure that it is innovative and flexible enough to weather through the potential storm. If organisations want to remain competitive – even in the good times, the onus is for them to transform themselves to deal with the volatile and dynamic business landscape that is increasingly susceptible to global uncertainties.
Many will find it counter-intuitive to change and spend during uncertain times, but history has shown that during downturns or recessions, organisations that are innovative and continue to stay innovative get back on their feet much quicker than those that are afraid to do so. A key enabler of change and innovation is technology. Organisations should be evaluating technologies such as cloud computing that can help them ensure that their business is more efficient, cost effective and agile to be better prepared for whatever that lies ahead.
The journey ahead in 2012 will be one filled with challenges and roadblocks. On top of the glum economic outlook, businesses are also facing disruptive IT challenges such as the unabated growth of data and the proliferation of trends such as mobility, social/digital media and cloud computing. Thus, we foresee that technology vendors such as NetApp will be playing an integral role to aid businesses get more out of their IT for the business.
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