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Ralf Hundertmark




Data Center Trends and
an Outlook for Asean

Google’s data center in Oklahoma, US

Just recently four major data center companies, from Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia have signed an agreement to form the Asia Data Center Alliance(ADCA), which aims to be a one-stop shop for governments, enterprises, banks and telcos, and offer attractive and state-of-the-art packages on
more than 500,000 square feet of combined space.

This is good news for the regional markets, which actually already have a strong presence in the data-center world, even though that is most widely only known to multinational companies, who have their regional DC’s usually located in places like Singapore or Malaysia.

Domestic companies who are operating on different cost levels do not feel the commercial need to off-load their data and applications. As a matter of fact these companies are often reluctant to trust the providers with their data and have concerns over the reliability of the offered service. Next to security issues, these concerns are based on the available bandwidth and the reliability of both, national and international internet cables. Often enough, and especially when using a DSL service, the smallest hickup, such as strong wind and rain can bring the local internet to a freeze, which is most unfortunate if you are in the middle of closing your books for the last month, quarter or even year.

But I am sure these concerns will go away with having trustworthy entities, like ADCA and the fast pace at which new infrastructure is deployed in ASEAN. In only a short while we will see the first, long-awaited 3G-operator take off in Thailand, which will be followed by others in no time. This is a big step for Thailand’s telecommunication segment and will likewise happen in many other countries in the region, if they do not yet have 3G providers in place. 3G is especially promising in the ASEAN markets, where high speed internet access in up-country regions still is a hot topic and the last-mile issue has not yet been resolved.

3G will drive the demand for data services and applications and with that regular users will get more comfortable with using services originating in a cloud. You neither know from where you receive the service, nor where your data is actually stored.

Single-click actions will upload pictures to picassa, facebook, flickr and the like. A vast amount of games and other applications will emerge and also here, you have no idea where such services are coming from. I am, however, sure you will appreciate the fact that you can access those from wherever they are. Furthermore, fast access to the internet and with that high download speeds, even better than your average DSL service in many places, might result in a situation that you download larger attachments to your phone first, before syncing your phone with your laptop.

Modern mobile phones are in my opinion amazing devices. Most of them are already combining three different devices into one. Your old mobile is now a digital camera, a media player and – I am sure you have guessed that - a phone. Actually, you can also use your phone as a rudimentary internet device for checking e-mail and simple browsing. That makes it four devices in one.

Now knowing all that, would it not be great to use only one device for all? Why carry the clumsy laptop around, if your phone can perform all basic functions already?

Well, today the answer is, that your phone is not yet capable of providing large enough displays, does not have enough processor power, memory and storage capacity to hold all your data, pictures and other multi media content.

Typing a lengthy document is, even though we have thumb keyboards, still too complicated and time demanding.

Having said that, earlier this year, Samsung has released its first version of a projector-phone, called PICA – and Samsung is not alone, there are similar developments now coming from China already. With that, I could image a foldable screen sitting in front of you and the phone projecting a full-size display onto the same. Processor power will come, I am certain, and with today’s technology it should be very possible to attach a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to your phone. Voila!

And storage and heavy applications? Right, storage would be in the cloud, as already available today through services, such as, MS Skydrive and many others. As far as applications are concerned those will be delivered through your browser. Just look at Google - Gpps, Eyeos and others for some ready-to-go examples. And the yet-to-come internet OS from
Google is already shaking the market.

Let’s go back to where we started. In Asean, mobile phone penetration is very high, especially in the business world and new technology adoption rates are among the fastest in the world. I am convinced that with all these new technologies on our doorstep, consumers or better to say employees will play a big role in driving the way companies operate.

It will become very natural to use the phone as the key enabling and access device and combined with the efforts of most medium to large scale companies to encourage teamwork, collaboration and more and more improve efficiency, the transition to off-premise or cloud storage of data is only a question of time.


Ralf Hundertmark is currently working as Senior VP Business
Development with Advanced Information Technology (AIT), a
public listed IT Company. He has a long history in regional IT,
Consulting and Airports going back almost 20 years. Ralf was
formerly Executive Vice President at Transport and Communication
Agency, a German Project developer, General Manager
Airports at ABB Limited, VP Airport IT for ABB Airport Technologies
and VP at Computer Communications Software GmbH
(later ABB). He has worked mainly in the IT and airport arena in
Asia, Ralf has been in Thailand since 1995 and has been working
regionally ever since. Today, Ralf looks after the international
business development of AIT. Read the Complete Article Subscribe to ASEANAFFAIRS Magazine

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