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Govt pushing its agencies into the cloud

Software as a service model to be used; state app centre to be launched in three months

Electronic Government Agency (EGA) director Sak Segknoonthod said that by June, the Government Cloud will provide software as a service (SaaS) to government agencies. The Government Cloud will collaborate with Thai software companies to provide software under the SaaS model.

"By June, we will have four software companies join us to offer 11 applications. We will support the cost of using these software at government agencies for the first two years," said Sak.

Moreover, he said that in the next three months, the EGA also plans to launch the Government App Centre to allow people to download government application forms, from App.go.th and Data.go.th.

"It is an app store that will provide people government services. More than 50 applications will be available by the end of this year. These apps will support three platforms - iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. People can download apps for using the government's services," said Sak.

Thailand's government cloud, launched in May last year, now hosts around 200 systems from more than 100 government agencies. The next step is to encourage more critical government systems, such as the National Health Security Office, to go on the cloud.

"The cloud is the destination that we cannot avoid. Therefore, government agencies should prepare and start to move to the cloud. The beauty of the cloud is its saves the government's huge budgets on ICT, with most of them duplicated. Currently, the systems on the government cloud are not yet designed specifically to serve the cloud model. They are a server-based system that move to the cloud. Government agencies should develop a new system specifically for the cloud platform," said Sak.

He added that the area of concern when moving to the cloud is security and stability. Thailand recently set up the Thailand Chapter under the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), to oversee security related to the cloud.

To support the government cloud, EGA proposed that the Cabinet establish the government data centre with the aim of consolidating all government data centres.

Cloud market:

According to Gartner, the public cloud services market is forecast to grow 18.5 per cent in 2013 to a total of US$131 billion (Bt3.93 trillion) worldwide, up from $111 billion in 2012. And, generally, the emerging markets in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa show the highest growth rates, while representing the smallest overall markets. China is the exception, being both a large and growing market. Likewise, the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and the mature Asia/Pacific countries constitute the larger, but slower-growth, markets.

North America is the largest region in the cloud services market, accounting for 59 per cent of all new spending on cloud services from 2013 through 2016. Western Europe, despite the growth challenges in the region, remains the second-largest region and will account for 24 per cent of all new spending during the same time period. However, the highest growth rates for cloud services continue to come from the emerging regions of Emerging Asia Pacific, led by Indonesia and India, Greater China and Latin America, led by Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.

IDC forecast that worldwide revenue from public IT cloud services will reach $72.9 billion in 2015, increasing from $21.5 billion in 2010. It represents a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.6 per cent.

This rapid growth rate is more than four times the projected growth of the worldwide IT market as a whole of 6.7 per cent. By 2015, one of every $7 spent on packaged software, server, and storage offerings will be through the public cloud model.

According to the Software Industry Promotion Agency and Kasikorn Research, the cloud computing market in Thailand this year is expected to be between Bt2.22 billion to Bt2.33 billion, a growth rate of 16.7 to 22.1 per cent from last year.

Cloud vendors

Microsoft Asia-Pacific Cloud and Platform Strategy senior director Zane Adam said that Asia is the region that is adopting cloud very fast and Asian governments are actively driving cloud use as a strategic investment.

Asia is adopting cloud very quickly because of a lot of new growth. The existing companies are growing fast and the new companies are coming on board.

"The reason for the fast adoption of the cloud in Asia is because the existing companies have to make a decision on their limited budgets, while they are growing very fast, so cloud adoption is the answer. Meanwhile, most of the new companies are going on the cloud from day one, especially adopting SaaS, for example Office 365," said Adam.

He added that government is the key driving factor for cloud adoption.

"The beauty of the cloud is it gives a single user the ability to access the data centre and technologies in the same way as large corporates. Cloud will make the earth flat a lot," said Adam.

Windows Azure is Microsoft's application platform for the public cloud. It provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), web hosting, and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Each of these three approaches - virtual machines, websites, and cloud services - can be used separately. Windows Azure enables customers to build their own applications and IT operations in a secure, scalable way in the cloud. Writing scalable and robust cloud applications is not an easy feat.

Microsoft provides Office 365 under the SaaS model that features the applications customers are familiar with like Exchange e-mail and SharePoint collaboration, delivered through Microsoft's cloud.

Windows Azure harnesses Microsoft's expertise in building cloud-optimised applications like Office 365, Bing, and Windows Live Hotmail. Rather than just moving virtual machines to the cloud, it builds a PaaS that reduces complexity for developers and IT administrators.

Microsoft also brings to the cloud the richest partner community in the world. We have more than 600,000 partners in more than 200 countries servicing millions of businesses. We are already collaborating with thousands of our partners on the cloud transition. Together we are building the most secure, reliable, scalable, available, cloud in the world.

Adam said the cloud is the modern platform for the world's apps. Microsoft is to deliver a consistent cloud application-hosting experience on all Microsoft-powered clouds, providing customers with a common user experience, cloud-optimised services, consistent APIs, and unified development tools.

Meanwhile, recently, Oracle launched Oracle Cloud data centre in Singapore, as the fourth centre in the world. The move is to meet growing demand from customers for cloud-based services, as well as offering SaaS to customers in the region.

At the Oracle Cloud data centre, customers and partners can use Oracle services through the subscription-based and self-service model. The new facilities use Oracle Engineered Systems including Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the company's flagship engineered system for running business applications, and the Oracle Exadata Database In-Memory Machine, which is ideal for high-end online transaction processing, large data warehouses, and database clouds.

Oracle Singapore's managing director Leslie Ong said that the enterprise cloud is helping businesses find efficiency and productivity gains through scalable, agile software solutions. The new data centre in Singapore underscores Oracle's ongoing commitment to offering cloud solutions to customers.

Yen Yen Tan, senior vice president, Applications Sales, Asia Pacific, at Oracle Corporation said that this is its latest data centre investment in the fast-growing Asia Pacific market, where demand is strong for cloud-based solutions.

"We are going to lead in the cloud space in Asia Pacific," said Tan.


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