Major Internet outage in the UK affects thousands, including W.Media’s Editor

A major Internet outage in the UK is affecting thousands of users across the country, including W.Media’s Editor.

The tracking website, Downdetector, indicated a huge spike in connectivity problems from 10:15am UK time for providers including British Telecoms, Sky Broadband and more.

Problems for the Internet provider, TalkTalk, had reached a massive 31,617 reports by 11am on Downdetector.

W.Media’s Editor, Stuart Crowley, who is currently based in the UK, noticed the Internet outage and began to see many others on Twitter share the same connectivity issues whilst working from home.

One user tweeted: “Some of my staff are having speed problems connecting to our site from their home Virgin Media broadband connections this morning. A quick look suggests the problem is around a Telia server. From another ISP, it doesn’t go the same route and works fine.”

Coincidentally, Google also suffered problems on their platforms, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive.

At the time of the outage, both Google and TalkTalk suggested their services were up and running.

Ditly, a Technical Data Analysis provider in the UK, posted on Twitter: “TalkTalk and BT Internet seem to be down. Custom DNS doesn’t seem to fix it and it’s only impacting some online services such as Google, Netflix, Snapchat, not everything. I’m thinking it may just be connections leaving the UK that are having issues?”

If a cause is discovered, the latest information will be provided here, as long as we have the Internet connectivity to do so.

Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta receives Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award

The highly flexible, fast-deployment Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta Electronics has received Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award.

The certification recognises the POD solution’s ability to deliver resilience and reliability for their data center.

Victor Cheng, Delta’s Senior Vice President, said: “We see a growing demand for POD solutions. Since data centers provide the backbone of IT operations, the task of building a reliable and efficient data center is a major focus for most enterprises.”

The TIER III-Ready award is an industry standard for design, construction and ongoing operations, which entail rigorous uptime requirements and long-term viability for IT equipment.

Luca Beltramino, Senior Vice President Global Programs for Uptime Institute, said: “Pre-fabricated and POD solutions that display the TIER-Ready logo assure an enterprise that the design they are considering has been reviewed by Uptime Institute.”

Internet of Things puts demand on enterprise data centers

Digital transformation brought on by the Internet of Things has brought with it huge volumes of data and traffic that can be overwhelming for enterprise data centers. 

Delta’s Point of Delivery solutions feature a fully modular design, flexibility and a pay-as-you-grow system with short installation time to meet rapidly growing needs of data storage and processing.

The POD solution leverages pre-engineered designs of in-house IT racks, aisle air containment, a monitoring system and redundant distribution to support IT loads. 

Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions, powers the Point of Delivery solution with their DPH series modular UPS systems, backed up by lithium battery systems and cooled through a precision system with a variable fan speed control.

Delta also recently helped HTC-ITC, a subsidiary of Hanoi Telecom, to build a TIER III Uptime certified data center in Vietnam.

phoenixNAP unveils plans to launch fully automated Bare Metal Cloud platform in Singapore

Organisations in Singapore relying on high level IT automation will soon have another opportunity to ensure agile scalability with phoenixNAP’s new Bare Metal Cloud platform.

The American-based global IT services provider announced the launch of their new non-virtualised, cloud-native physical server infrastructure which aims to deliver strong performance and improved cost-efficiency for DevOps-orientated companies.

The President of phoenixNAP, Ian McClarty, said: “Bare Metal Cloud strips away the virtualization layer to expose the raw power of bare metal, enabling businesses to take full control over their infrastructure all the while significantly reducing OpEx costs.”

The solution includes automated server provisioning and decommissioning procedures and integration with open source infrastructure management platforms. Similar to that of other open source solutions, phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud solution allows administrators to manage their infrastructure as code.

The upcoming Bare Metal Cloud platform has been designed with the latest hardware to support heavy computation with a 50Gbps per server instance capable network.

To handle data and processing needs that are growing globally, it is also engineered to support rendering of CGI, encode 4K video, launching gaming servers and analysing big data.

phoenixNAP announced on May 26 that the solution will initially be available in Phoenix and Ashburn, with plans to expand into Singapore and Amsterdam.

What is Bare Metal Cloud?

A bare metal cloud server is considered a subset of the Infrastructure-as-a-service category. It is essentially a cloud service where users rent physical server hardware.

The users are given sole access to the entire processing and networking power of this server, similar to a data center. 

This dedicated server allows users to run the systems and configure the hardware in any way they want by managing their own operating system on the server.

Which solution is best for your needs?

Competition in the data center and cloud space is mounting across Southeast Asia, as mainstays are accompanied by a long list of telcos and tech giants like DITO and FPT Telecom, Google, AWS, Huawei, Microsoft and Alibaba.

Whether you’re migrating to a different system or choosing one for the first time, this competition makes for an overwhelming amount of choices when selecting the best data center for your needs.

Should you choose one that’s closer or further away? Will it allow me to scale? Is it reliably powered?

We will answer all these questions and more at our ‘Data Center Selection & Migration in Asia Pacific’ digital event on Thursday 23 July.

Register now to secure your place.

VinGroup’s VinAI to be the ‘first in Southeast Asia’ to deploy the NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution

VinAI Research, VinGroup’s AI research arm revealed, has claimed to be the first in Southeast Asia to deploy the newly-launched NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution.

Vietnam’s first artificial intelligence research lab looks to use the supercomputer to train large AI models for language and videos by enabling more natural human interaction with machines through voices, gestures and biometrics.

VinAI will scale up AI research with NVIDIA’s DGX A100

Dr Bui Hai Hung, the Director of VinAI Research, said: “We have some exciting models and experiments waiting for the new machine.”

Around 70 scientists, residents and engineers will make full use of the new AI system that can reduce the time required to complete an experiment from more than one week to less than 24 hours.

He added: “Our lab’s computing-facility utilisation is always maxed out at 100% so there is no shortage of workload.”

The research lab contributed to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by automatically analysing tweets for COVID-19 events and enabling face recognition of people donning face masks.

VinAI, founded in 2019, is prepared to scale up their research for applied AI projects, enabled by systems like NVIDIA’s DGX A100.

Dennis Ang, NVIDIA’s Director of Enterprise Business for the SEA and ANZ Region, said: “The new NVIDIA DGX A100 will empower VinAI to optimise computing power and resources to accelerate diverse workloads including data analytics, training and inference.”

The investment in AI is part of VinGroup’s long-term strategy of becoming a technology-focused corporation.

The NVIDIA DGX A100 was revealed in May 2020 as the world’s first five-petaflops server that can be divided into as many as 56 applications running independently. The system includes NVIDIA’s new A100 GPU and will cost around US$199,000.

Jensen Huang, NVIDIA’s Founder and CEO, said in a keynote recorded from the kitchen of his California home that the system allows a single server to either “scale up” to race through computationally intensive tasks such as AI training, or “scale out,” for AI deployment.

NVIDIA estimated that a data center powered by five DGX A100s working on AI training and inference can do the work of a typical data center with 50 DGX-1 systems and 600 CPU systems consuming 630 kilowatts and costing over $11 million.

Tencent aims for tech domination with US$70bn ‘new infrastructure’ investment

Tencent, China’s tech giant, revealed it will invest US$70 billion in ‘new infrastructure’ over the next five years in the race for tech domination.

The world’s largest online gaming company plans to spend on cloud computing, big data centers and cybersecurity to compete with the likes of Alibaba Cloud and Amazon.

Tencent joins China’s ‘new infrastructure’ strategy to boost economy

Tencent’s announcement on Tuesday follows China’s ‘new infrastructure’ initiative to leverage on the country’s boom in demand for cloud services and upgrade digital infrastructures to enable growth.

The Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent, Dowson Tong, was quoted by Guangming Daily as saying: “Expediting the ‘new infrastructure’ strategy will help further cement virus containment success.”

China’s economy shrank by 6.8% in the first three months of 2020, ending almost 50 years of consistent growth.

Reuters reported Tencent’s investment will look to expand into business services, as consumer internet growth slows and companies shift number-crunching from their own computers to the cloud.

The WeChat creator’s shares grew by 2.5% after the investment announcement. This growth comes after Tencent saw a slower revenue increase of 22% in their FinTech and Business Services, including Tencent Cloud, in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 39% in Q4 2019.

Mr. Ma Huateng, the Chairman and CEO of Tencent, said: “So far, our businesses have proved resilient and cashflow-generative, enabling us to increase our investment to fulfill our mission of ‘Tech for Good’.”

Tencent’s online gaming revenue grew by 31% year-on-year to US$5.2 billion, and this may increase even more with Tencent’s move into cloud gaming.

Tencent takes on Alibaba Cloud

Tencent had 18% of China’s cloud market in the fourth quarter of 2019, grew by 111% globally and ranked as the third largest Infrastructure-as-a-service provider in Asia Pacific last year.

Tencent also became the first company with more than one million servers in China, the country with the second largest cloud market.

Alibaba Cloud commanded 46.4% of the Chinese market, making it not only the largest in China, but also the rest of Asia Pacific.

In a webcast, Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, identified that the Software-as-a-Service market and wider ecosystem is more mature in the United States compared to countries like China where a developer ecosystem ‘is just starting to get going’.

The data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group achieved a revenue growth of 58% year-over-year to US$1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Alibaba Cloud recently announced a US$30 million SME cloud adoption program along with US$28 billion worth of data center investments covering 21 regions, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to support digital transformation in a post-pandemic world.

Mr Zhang predicted the pandemic will further accelerate digital transformation of enterprises with industries like public sectors choosing to move to the cloud, despite concluding the fiscal year with a quarter impacted by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tencent also expected to see accelerated cloud services and enterprise software adoption from offline industries and public sectors over the longer term.

Tencent’s US$70 billion investment will also focus on key sectors, including artificial intelligence, 5G networks, blockchain and Internet of Things operating systems.

Prepare for a literal game-changer with W.Media’s Tech Talk

Cloud gaming is projected to grow by US$4.8 trillion worldwide and tech giants like Google, Amazon, Alibaba Cloud and Tencent are looking to take on established players in the gaming industry such as Microsoft, Sony, EA and NVIDIA as well as cloud gaming pioneers Vortex, LiquidSky, Parsec and Shadow.

Get in on the action by joining us on Thursday 6 August as we enter the world of GameTech to explore the future of cloud gaming and how digital infrastructure providers can tap into Southeast Asia, the fastest-growing games market in the world.

Register now for GameTech – On the EDGE of your seat

Pandemic fuels billion dollar growth for AWS, Microsoft, Google and more global cloud providers in Q1 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled the growth of global cloud providers, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and more in Q1 2020.

More businesses are moving to the cloud to enable remote working and ensure their operations continue. And that’s not all, cloud computing and storage is also needed to empower our leisure time in the age of lockdowns and social distancing through gaming, watching videos and shopping.

More businesses are expected to adopt cloud computing and providers are aiming to increase investment in constructing infrastructure, including data centers, to enable this growth.

In Asia Pacific, the demand for cloud solutions is at a record high for Q1 2020, jumping by 25% to a record US$1.7 billion in annual contract value.

Scott Bertch, Partner and Head of Information Services Group Asia Pacific, said: “We continue to see growth in the IaaS segment as more and more enterprises shift their workloads to the public cloud, or to a hybrid cloud environment.”

As a result, we are seeing significant growth and investments in Q1 2020 from global cloud providers, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Huawei Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud and Tencent Cloud.

AWS makes history crossing US$10 billion revenue mark for the first time

Amazon Web Services continues to maintain its position as the largest cloud provider after it crossed the US$10 billion revenue mark for the first time in Q1 2020.

This represented a year-on-year net sales growth of 33%, which has slowed down from 41% in the same quarter of 2019. But the operating income from AWS grew by 38% from US$2.2 billion in Q1 2019 to more than $3 billion after expenses of US$7.1 billion in the first quarter of 2020. 

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Founder and CEO, said: “From online shopping to AWS to Prime Video and Fire TV, the current crisis is demonstrating the adaptability and durability of Amazon’s business as never before, but it’s also the hardest time we’ve ever faced.”

The total operating income for Amazon decreased to US$4 billion from US$4.4 billion in Q1 2019. AWS accounts for a huge 77% of their overall operating income.

Mr Bezos warned: “If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small. Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we’d expect to make some $4 billion or more in operating profit. But these aren’t normal circumstances.”

AWS has helped medical researchers in the fight against COVID-19 with a centralized repository of curated datasets as well as enabling small businesses to use the cloud with an AWS Free Tier.

Mr Bezos added: “We expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe.”

The cloud provider also announced plans for three more AWS regions in Indonesia, Japan and Spain as well as making AWS Outposts available in Indonesia.

AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions.

Microsoft’s solid quarter sees two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months

Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud revenue increased by 27% to US$12.3 billion in the quarter ending March 31 2020, similar to the previous quarter.

The overall server products and cloud services revenue increased by 30%, but Microsoft Azure’s revenue growth slowed to 59% in FY20 Q3 compared to 62% in FY20 Q2.

Amy Hood, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft, said: “In this dynamic environment, our sales teams and partners executed a solid third quarter, with Commercial Cloud revenue generating $13.3 billion, up 39% year-over-year.”

As customers shift to working and learning from home during the pandemic, Microsoft has noticed an increase in cloud usage on Teams, Azure and Windows Virtual Desktop.

Satya Nadella, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, said: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security.”

Microsoft’s cloud services have helped universities like Thammasat University in Thailand continue to teach their students, healthcare providers in creating more than 1,400 bots to assist millions in accessing critical health information and justice systems in the Philippines remain productive.

Google Cloud leads the charge to revenue growth and investment for Alphabet

Google experienced a 13% increase in total revenue, led by the continued strength in their Google Cloud Platform and G Suite offerings.

In Q1 2020, Google Cloud revenues increased by US$952 million to a total of US$2.8 billion. This represented a 52% year-over-year growth. The tech giant’s infrastructure, data and analytics products are said to be the largest drivers of growth for the cloud platform.

With this growth, the most sizeable headcount increases were found in Google Cloud for both technical and sales roles.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said: “We see businesses thinking deeper about the shift to digital … Cloud and productivity software for businesses of all sizes is a deep area of investment.”

In their Q1 2020 report, Google revealed that US$12.8 billion is not yet recognised as of March 31 2020 due to ‘performance obligations associated with commitments in customer contracts, primarily related to Google Cloud, for future services that have not yet been recognized in revenue’.

Google recognises that ‘pricing and delivery models are competitive and evolving’, which could lead Google to not attain ‘sufficient scale and profitability to achieve our business objectives’.

Google is devoting significant resources to develop and deploy their enterprise-ready cloud services by incurring costs to build and maintain infrastructure that supports cloud computing services. 

The cost of revenues in Q1 2020 increased by $2,970 million compared to Q1 2019. This was largely due to a rise in data center and other operation costs. But the tech giant may reevaluate the pace of their investment plans for data centers, servers and network equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and slowing or stoppage of construction.

> Check out the Q1 2020 data center landscape

Mr Pichai acknowledged customers of Google and closing some larger deals have been impacted by the pandemic, but is excited about the longer-term trend, as CEO-level staff are now thinking about shifting to digital in a deeper way.

Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet and Google, said: “With respect to the implications of the global crisis for Google Cloud, we’re proud of the accelerated traction we achieved across sectors.”

Google Cloud has helped governments deliver critical health and social services as well as retailers on demand forecasting, media and communications to enhance customer service and more.

Huawei Cloud boasts faster market share growth among all service providers

Huawei boasted the fastest growth among all cloud service providers, maintaining stable service growth to empower its rapid development.

Overall, Huawei generated approximately US$25.7 billion in Q1 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 1.4% compared to a 39% increase in Q1 2019. Their net profit margin in the first quarter of 2020 was 7.3%, down slightly from 8% in the year before.

Huawei did not publicly release a detailed breakdown of this revenue, but this growth is said to be in line with expectations.

To date, Huawei Cloud has launched over 210 cloud services, operates in 45 availability zones with partners in 23 regions, including recent launches in Singapore and Latin America.

In a press release, Huawei stated: “A seed that survives the storm will sprout and then blossom. Even though it is impossible to know when the tides of this pandemic will turn, we at Huawei believe that this challenge will be overcome by standing together.”

Huawei’s cloud and data center arm continues to make advancements with a data center interconnect solution to help Singapore’s enterprise market cope with huge increases in data flows, especially during the pandemic, as well as innovative power solutions to ensure always-on reliability and efficiency.

Much like other cloud providers, Huawei Cloud has helped healthcare providers using AI, schools and colleges with distance learning and enterprises with free services.

Looking ahead, Huawei Cloud will enhance its AI cloud services, Kunpeng processors and 5G capabilities to increase its market share and help businesses achieve digital transformation.

Alibaba remains the cloud computing leader in Asia Pacific

Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, maintained its leading position in the Asia Pacific cloud computing market for Q1 2020. The cloud provider revealed their revenue grew by 58% year-over-year to US$1.7 billion in the quarter ending March 31 2020 compared to US$1.15 billion in 2019.

Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group, said in a webcast: “Revenue growth of 35% year-over-year was driven by solid performance of our domestic retail businesses as well as robust cloud computing revenue growth.”

Alibaba Cloud’s revenue also increased by 62% year-over-year in the 2020 fiscal year to US$5.6 billion, driven by their public and hybrid cloud businesses. But Alibaba Group’s net income dropped by 99% year-over-year to US$49 million.

“Our overall business continued to experience strong growth, with a total annual active consumer base of 960 million globally, despite concluding the fiscal year with a quarter impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.

During the pandemic, Alibaba Cloud’s business grew rapidly due to an increase in consumption of video content and wide adoption of remote working and learning.

Mr Zhang expects the pandemic will further accelerate digital transformation of enterprises with industries like public sectors choosing to move to the cloud.

Alibaba Cloud recently announced a US$30 million SME cloud adoption program along with US$28 billion worth of data center investments covering 21 regions, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to support digital transformation in a post-pandemic world.

Mr Zhang identified that the Software-as-a-Service market and wider ecosystem is more mature in the United States compared to countries like China where a developer ecosystem ‘is just starting to get going’.

To enhance cloud computing skills and ensure a cloud-ready future, the tech giant offers the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Program. Xiamen University Malaysia is one such organisation to partner with Alibaba Cloud for this program.

IBM sees continued cloud revenue growth to US$5.4 billion

IBM, the American-based multinational technology company, celebrated a total cloud revenue of US$5.4 billion in Q1 2020, which is up 19% year-over-year, but down from US$6.8 billion in Q4 2019.

IBM Chief Executive Officer, Arvind Krishna, said: “Our first-quarter performance in cloud is a reflection of the trust clients place in IBM’s technology and expertise today, and positions us to continue building an enduring hybrid cloud platform for the future.” 

IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software brought in revenue of US$5.2 billion with a 32% growth in Cloud and Data Platforms led by Red Hat for their cloud architecture.

IBM has a strong focus on deepening their understanding of clients’ journey to hybrid cloud and AI to create hybrid cloud as their fourth platform.

Mr Krishna said: “This is why services that clients rely on, to build and manage the hybrid cloud platform, is a massive opportunity for IBM. It’s nearly half of the $1.2 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity.”

IBM’s Global Technology Services, which includes Infrastructure and Cloud Services, pulled in US$6.5 billion, down 6% in Q1 2020.

Mr Krishna added: “I believe we are going through a shift to remote work, automation and application modernisation that will accelerate our clients’ shift to hybrid cloud. This gives me immense confidence in our future.”

IBM has worked with banks, health insurance companies and doctors deal with the pandemic and digitally transform using cloud and AI.

James Kavanaugh, the Chief Financial Officer of IBM, said: “While we expect near-term pressure on transactions, we continue to invest in new development and innovation for our hybrid cloud and AI strategy.”

Over the last 12 months, IBM Cloud has brought in US$22 billion in revenue, as IBM looks to take over the hybrid cloud market.

Tencent experiences cloud revenue growth, but slower than the previous quarter

Tencent, a leading provider of Internet value added services in China, saw a total revenue increase of 26% to US$15.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020 compared to Q1 2019. 

Their revenue from FinTech and Business Services, largely driven by WeChat Pay and their cloud services, increased by 22%. This is down from a 39% growth in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Mr. Ma Huateng, the Chairman and CEO of Tencent, said: “So far, our businesses have proved resilient and cashflow-generative, enabling us to increase our investment to fulfill our mission of ‘Tech for Good’.”

Tencent Cloud’s project deployment and new accounts acquisition for cloud business, which caused the decline in revenue. Tencent expects the cloud industry to remain challenging in the short term, but they will continue to increase investment to encourage digital transformation and greater adoption from offline industries and public sectors.

The cloud provider also recently became China’s first company with more than one million servers and have expanded into 26 geographic areas with 53 availability zones.

Mr. Ma Huateng added: “We are allocating time and resources, including over RMB2 billion of donations, to contribute to COVID-19 relief initiatives in China and globally.”

Tencent continues to expand its market share by growing the business across verticals, including tourism, Internet services and cloud gaming.

Tencent’s online gaming revenue grew by 31% year-on-year to US$5.2 billion, and this may increase even more with Tencent’s move into cloud gaming.

The Chinese tech giant also announced on Tuesday 26 May that it will invest US$70 billion over the next five years in new infrastructure, including blockchain, big data centers, supercomputer centers and internet of things operating systems.

Will global cloud providers maintain this growth in Q2 2020? Or will a more conservative approach towards investment and tech spending by customers take over? Watch this space for a round up of next quarter’s results.

W.Media Tech Talk: Revolutionising industries with OCP open networking

For years, large companies have been disaggregating their data center networks through solutions like open networking, but now this is rapidly moving into the enterprise space as well as telco and public sectors.

More than 100 delegates joined W.Media’s and Open Compute Project’s most recent digital event to shed light on open networking, one of OCP’s fastest growing projects.

Steve Helvie, the VP of Channel at OCP, described three main reasons for the growth of disaggregation in the data center, which allow for greater flexibility at the enterprise level:

  1. Reduction in data center capital expenditure opportunity
  2. The increase in Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offerings
  3. The rise in merchant-based silicon

Steve said: “When people are moving toward this disaggregation model, they are moving towards an OCP-based switch, which has been open sourced at the specification level and design level.”

OCP’s 0pen networking disaggregates the hardware from the software allowing for freedom of choice to prevent vendor lock-in, creating a flexible combination of software based on workloads. This creates a highly efficient network resulting in significant savings of up to 50% in CAPEX compared to traditional OEM networking.

Open networking for vendors

The number one contributor of open networking in the OCP Community, Edgecore Networks, is a leader in regional vendor communities and has a seat on OCP’s technical steering committee which oversees the various OCP projects like open networking.

Bui Banh, the Business Development Vice President of Edgecore Networks, described OCP open networking solutions as providing greater control for customers by empowering them to choose the right hardware or software and develop an innovative solution for their needs.

While working with OCP, Edgecore Networks has contributed to more than 17 designs accepted by OCP’s Community, including Photonics Switching for data centers, Aggregations and Core switches for telecoms and Open Wi-Fi for enterprises.

Bui said: “A few telcos including Telefonica have decided to use our Cell Site Router for their 5G deployment.”

Bui also mentioned there are many more telco customers working on the Cell Site solution, but he was unable to publicly announce the names of these companies at present.

OPC successfully helps customers transform to open networking

DCConnect Global, a software-defined networking vendor and carrier that has the ability to reach more than 1,500 different data centers worldwide, found success transforming to an OCP open networking solution.

Michael Rascoe, the Head of Solutions at DCConnect Global, said: “We tried to take those same principles and thoughts [of disaggregation] and move them into the telco space where there is not traditionally good penetration of the open source hardware and software.”

Originally, DC Connect Global had more than 120 pops using H3C switches to help hyperscale their network and meet their immediate goals. But they began to suffer from vendor lock-in, as the H3C SDN Controller only worked with H3C switches.

Jonathan Leung, the Head of R&D at DCConnect Global, said: “That leads to a limited feature set, which means that if we wanted to have some features that H3C currently doesn’t support, we will have to wait for H3C’s pipeline.”

He added: “For us, as a very agile company, the speed of development is not acceptable.”

DCConnect Global eventually moved to Edgecore Networks and Linux, allowing them to treat the network more like a piece of software by changing up the source code to add the features they needed.

Michael said: “What we actually found ourselves doing is, instead of adopting another traditional carrier solution and their controller, we wrote our own controller that could talk to our legacy H3C devices as well as the newer Linux NOSes.”

Both Edgecore and Cumulus Linux flew out engineers to DCConnect’s new Hong Kong office to support them and build out their proof of concept in a weekend.

Michael added: “We were really excited and really energised by the amount of attention and focus that we got from both Cumulus and Edgecore.”

DCConnect began to switch around a year ago, and it took just a few months to begin using the Cumulus-Edgecore combo on the new pops. They are now going through to replace hardware on legacy pops, though this has been slowed down slightly due to the current economic state caused by the pandemic.

In total, DCConnect had less than a dozen people work on this project.

Overcoming the challenges of moving to an open networking solution

Michael said the hardest part of the transition was thinking how to get a network engineer to think like a software engineer and vice versa. This challenge eventually became a net positive, as they found their network engineers learnt more about the software world and the same for software engineers learning more about the network.

Another challenge could be the lack of experience on platforms like Linux, but Michael suggested you talk to younger and newer developers on your team.

He added: “They’re straight out of university and they’re still in that learning mode and they know a lot more about the modern architecture.”

Michael has also noticed that the uptake of open networking in Asia Pacific has been somewhat slow due to the fear of the unknown and fear of Linux as well as pushback from those that have traditionally lived in a CCIE hierarchy.

To get started, you could go on to the Cumulus website and spin up a virtual lab, or if you have a hypervisor or a good server that you can do some virtualisation in, you can pull down all the Cumulus Linux demo labs.

Michael added: “There are plenty of people that are happy to talk to you about this because a lot of us are just nerds that really love Linux.”

What’s next after implementing open networking?

Jonathan believes that now that separation of hardware and software is made possible, the data center will become more disaggregated and the cloud will become more important as the place to build virtual network functions or virtual data centers.

Jonathan predicted: “I think OCP technologies are going to open up many markets in developing economies with the idea that the network resources can be bought and sold from anywhere without any physical restrictions, which is going to revolutionize the networking industry.”

OCP was started by Facebook in 2011 with the intention of creating a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology and providing efficient data center designs for scalable computing. 

Since then, OCP has been joined by over 150 companies to work on common problems, developed more than 190 contributions and 6,000 engineers working across 15 to 20 different projects.

Steve was very pleased to announce during the Tech Talk that Google joined the board of the Open Compute Project on May 12 2020.

The Open Compute Project expects to become its own US$5.3 billion business in 2020 and reach US$11.8 billion by 2023.

Keppel DC REIT acquires data center tenant in Netherlands for S$1.55

Keppel DC REIT, the first data centre real estate investment trust listed in Asia, announced the acquisition of Borchveste Almere, the REIT’s tenant at Almere Data Centre in the Netherlands.

The trust purchased the private company for €1 or S$1.55 in order for Keppel DC REIT to hold a direct relationship with a client that was sub-leased by Borchveste Almere at the data centre in the Netherlands.

This sub-lease was Borchveste Almere’s sole business.

The acquisition was completed on the same day as the sale and purchase agreement, which was paid in full and in cash. The pro forma net asset value of Borchveste Almere’s shares was €0 at the time of purchase.

Keppel Data Centres Holding, which is a subsidiary of the REIT’s sponsor Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, has agreed to be responsible for the expenses in relation to Borchveste Almere.

Keppel Data Centres also owns a data centre located next to Almere Data Centre.

The acquisition is not expected to have any material impact on Keppel DC REIT’s financial performance for the financial year ending on 31 December 2020.

As of writing, Keppel DC REIT is sitting strongly at the top of all other REITs in Singapore, with a net property income of more than $55 million in the first quarter of 2020.

In a presentation released this week, Keppel DC REIT expects demand for data centres to hold up during the pandemic along with a rise of 3.4% in global IT spending and a 14% growth in the global colocation market.

Alibaba Cloud and Xiamen University Malaysia look to enhance cloud skills

Students and staff of Xiamen University Malaysia will have their cloud computing skills enhanced after signing a partnership with Alibaba Cloud.

The data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group announced on May 20 that the University’s cloud computing curriculum will be delivered through the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Program.

Jordy Cao, the General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia, said: “As more businesses embark on digital transformation, the demand for IT and cloud professionals is expected to rise exponentially.”

The memorandum of understanding signed by both parties aims to empower more students to stay ahead so they can boost their career prospects in the digital economy. Students will be able to receive a certification from Alibaba Cloud after the completion of the education program.

The President of Xiamen University Malaysia, Professor Wang Ruifang, said: “We aim to nurture high-quality IT talent capable of contributing to the digital transformation of Malaysia, China and the broader region.”

The University currently has 11 ICT labs with industry-leading software and 1,011 are enrolled in three ICT-related bachelor’s degree programs, including Computer Science and Technology, Software Engineering, and Digital Media Technology.

The university will soon kick start a Bachelor of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence and a new Data Science program.

A dozen universities have also joined Alibaba Cloud Academy’s virtual learning community on DingTalk to benefit from certified online training.

The cloud provider launched a US$30 million Anti-COVID-19 SME Enablement Program to accelerate cloud adoption and provide much-needed relief during the pandemic. Alibaba Cloud also opened their first local data center in Malaysia in 2017 and is the largest public cloud service provider in Asia Pacific.

Schneider Electric to deliver innovative solutions for hyperscale data centers after expanding partnership with AVEVA

Innovative solutions are coming for hyperscale data centers after Schneider Electric and AVEVA expanded their partnership.

Announcements to develop hyperscale data centers is a frequent occurrence to meet worldwide demand for more data capacity and cloud adoption. But the complexity in operating at this scale and maintaining these facilities creates unprecedented challenges for hyperscale providers, which require different approaches to power the infrastructure.

This is where the new innovative solutions by Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and AVEVA, the global leader in engineering and industrial software, will come into play.

Philippe Delorme, Executive Vice President of Energy Management at Schneider Electric, said: “At a time when the world’s digital infrastructure is being pushed to its limits, Schneider and AVEVA are delivering a comprehensive solution for hyperscale data centers to operate and maintain their critical environments.”

The solution will integrate Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Data Centers control and monitoring capabilities with AVEVA’s scalable industrial software to enable deep and expansive visibility of day-to-day operations.

Mr Delorme added: “The complete solution will deliver operational efficiency and a more reliable data center fleet.”

Digitally transforming legacy systems

The partnership looks to digitally transform legacy systems by connecting platforms and data sets that previously existed in disparate systems.

Craig Hayman, the CEO of AVEVA, said: “Our joint customers are empowered by the standardized systems and processes resulting in improved workforce efficiency across multiple sites and the entire enterprise.”

The solutions will achieve their aims by taking data that has long been managed at individual data centers and normalising it across multiple sites to inform and provide enterprise level IT/OT/IoT integration that delivers real-time decision making.

Ultimately, the innovations hope to empower data center staff to feel empowered in making faster and more informed decisions as well as optimising assets and operational efficiency by enabling facilities to scale regardless of number of sites or global location.

The hyperscale market is powering up, as Equinix also recently announced they would build three hyperscale data centers in Japan after the data center provider signed a US$1 billion agreement with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Automated partners with Equinix to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific to drive digital transformation

Automated Systems Holdings Limited, a global IT partner based in Hong Kong, has partnered with Equinix, an international data center provider, to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific.

The UOC will look to drive digital transformation for ASL’s global customers in cybersecurity, data centers and Internet of Things related services.

Leon Wang, the CEO and Executive Director of ASL, said: “The global digital transformation continues despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy. ASL’s tenet is to optimize DevSecOps … to help customers manage costs more effectively and boost business.”

ASL expects to invest more than HK$10 million on the UOC in the next five years to meet the growing demand for IT managed services and digital transformation.

The service unifies applications, cybersecurity and omni-channel managed services to help IT operators solve challenges like launching agile software, analysing an avalanche of enterprise data and ensuring data security.

Larry Tam, the Managing Director of Equinix in Hong Kong, said: “It allows ASL’s varied customers to flexibly, promptly and directly connect to any network and cloud providers, while shortening the project implementation time and reducing the Total Ownership Cost.”

The UOC services will support both infrastructure and multiple cloud platforms like private, public and hybrid cloud by implementing the Group’s new “as-a-service” business model and DevSecOps.

Mr Tam added: “Equinix IBX data centers bring multiple cloud service providers together.”

Equinix partners with global cloud players to provide enterprises with services like Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

ASL hopes the new UOC will allow enterprises to achieve digital transformation with more agility, efficiency and security.

Huawei to digitize your power with reliable data center solutions

The pressure is rising for data centers to be reliably powered, as any outages could cost providers hundreds of thousands per hour.

And data centers are only becoming larger and more complex in a world where technology is advancing at a rapid rate with AI, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

This requires power solutions that are reliable and can deal with high consumption. Huawei has produced two game-changing innovations that facilitate greater data center utilization and increased revenues.

Experts and customers of Huawei will welcome industry peers at their next webinar to share a deep dive teardown of these game-changers on Thursday 21 May at 10am SGT.

Digitizing data center power to ensure always-on reliability and efficiency

As an innovator in the power supply and distribution sector, Huawei integrated electronic and intelligent digital technologies to launch the SmartLi uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solution.

The device slashes power costs and saves energy for customers by using the industry’s most secure battery cells that balance power consumption between the peak and non-peak times.

SmartLi’s unique built-in smart voltage balance technology supports hybrid use of old and new battery strings as well as ensuring systems can run properly even if one battery module is faulty, guaranteeing reliability.

Compared to traditional lead-acid battery UPS solutions, the SmartLi UPS also has a service life of up to 15 years. 

Achieving ultra-high density and halving physical footprints with new UPS power modules

The second of Huawei’s newest power innovations is their 100 kW high power density UPS module, which enables a single module to reach twice the amount of power density of industry standards.

The module helps to achieve the principle of one rack supporting one MW of power set forth by Huawei’s FusionPower 2.0 data center power supply and distribution solution, halving the physical footprint and improving data center utilization.

A data center could raise up to around US$570,000 of additional annual revenue and save 40 rack spaces by deploying 10 sets of Huawei’s FusionPower2.0 1200 kVA system.

Aaron Wang, the Managing Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Singapore, said: “We keep pursuing higher power density and more advanced li-ion battery energy storage technologies in data centers, to meet the new requirements of simplified architecture, high reliability, and simplified O&M for power supply system of cloud data centers, and helps customers accelerate digital transformation.”

Huawei’s SmartLi intelligent li-ion batteries can be combined with their ultra-high density FusionPower2.0 to reduce customers’ physical footprints by 70% and enable digital transformation by giving more space for other IT devices

How does Huawei reduce the size of their UPS modules? 

The technical ability of Huawei to reduce the size of their UPS modules is impressive. 

The size is reduced through two patents. Their topology pooling patent reduces the size of the module by 40%, compared to traditional topologies. Huawei achieves this with a multiplex, combining the DC/DC charger and the rectifier topology.

A magnetic integration patent is then used to reduce the size of the inductors in the rectifier and inverter by 20%.

You can dive deeper into the technical details of Huawei’s innovations and hear success stories for a power hour full of energising talks on Thursday 21 May.

Register now for Huawei’s ‘Digitizing Your Power’ webinar

By Stuart Crowley, Editor, W.Media

Data center providers Digital Realty, Equinix and Keppel Data Centres see results in Q1 2020, despite pandemic

Data center providers Digital Realty, Equinix and Keppel Data Centres have reported revenue growth or stability in Q1 2020, despite damaging effects from the pandemic on the global economy.

This growth is likely due to the greater demand for connectivity throughout the world, especially with more businesses forced to go digital and data center operations categorised as an essential service in many countries.

Digital Realty pulls in US$823 million for Q1 2020

Digital Realty celebrated a revenue of US$823 million in the first quarter of 2020, with a net income of US$229 million.

This revenue success resulted in a 5% increase from Q4 2019 for one of the leading global providers of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions.

The CEO of Digital Realty, A. William Stein, said: “Our business is highly resilient, and we remain confident that our global platform will continue to deliver sustainable growth for all stakeholders.”

Digital Realty also signed bookings in Q1 2020 expected to generate US$75 million in annualised GAAP rental revenue, which includes US$9 million from interconnection solutions.

Mr Stein added: “Despite the challenging environment, we continued to execute on our strategic plan, closing our highly strategic combination with Interxion.”

The combination agreement with Interxion, a European provider of cloud-neutral colocation data centre services is predicted to generate US$10 million in rental revenue following total bookings signed in this quarter. 

This agreement is expected to ‘significantly enhance the ability to create long-term value for the customers, stockholders and employees of both companies’.

Equinix increases revenue by 6% to US$1.445 billion

Equinix, the global interconnection and data center company, delivered their 69th consecutive quarter of revenue and interconnection growth, with an increase of 6% to US$1.445 billion.

The company achieved a net income of US$119 million and an operating income of US$253 million, representing a 19% decrease largely due to the sale of assets to the EMEA xScale joint venture last quarter.

Equinix’s interconnection revenue was a highlight with a growth of 14% in Q1. To keep up with the demand for interconnected products, Equinix added 6,800 interconnections, fuelled by content video streaming and unified communication services.

The President and CEO of Equinix, Charles Meyers, said: “The Equinix business continues to perform well and show resiliency through these times of uncertainty, enabling us to remain focused on the clear set of priorities we laid out at the beginning of the year.”

The data center provider looks to invest in its people, evolve their platform, simplify their business to drive operating leverage and expand their go-to-market engine to fuel long-term growth.

As part of the company’s hyperscale initiative, they signed a second US$1bn venture with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, to develop and operate xScale™ data centers in Japan.

Equinix also reinforced their commitment toward 100% renewable energy use and revealed their Internet Exchange traffic had increased by 44% since last year, reflecting the sudden global shift to remote and work-from-home practices and highlighting the need for reliable data centers.

Keppel Data Centres stays strong and increases interest amid the pandemic

The Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corporation announced their data center and connectivity solutions stayed strong and saw increased interest for new data center capacity amid the pandemic.

Keppel Data Centres saw a net profit of S$4 million in Q1 2020, amongst a total net profit of S$174 million for Keppel Infrastructure.

Loh Chin Hua, the CEO of Keppel Corporation, said during a conference call: “We are still

very bullish about the data center space. The business model we have with using private funds to work with investors to build this and then of course, we can then hopefully, when it is derisked, monetise it by selling it to Keppel DC REIT.”

Recently, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation sold a small 2.33% stake in Keppel’s data centre real estate investment trust to realise the profits from their data center business and release the funds to seize other opportunities. The transaction is expected to gain about S$46 million.

Mr Loh Chin Hua added: “ After the sale, Keppel T&T continues to be the single largest unitholder and sponsor of Keppel DC REIT, and we remain committed to the long-term growth of the REIT.”

As of writing, Keppel DC REIT is sitting strongly at the top of all other REITs in Singapore.

Keppel Data Centres is also continuing to explore innovative and energy efficient data centers with its recent partnerships to investigate the feasibility of a Floating Data Centre Park and liquefied natural gas power solutions.

Organisations in Asia Pacific switching to third-party support for Oracle and SAP products, amidst 10-year legal battle between Rimini Street and Oracle

Businesses across Asia Pacific are switching to third-party support providers for Oracle and SAP software products, despite an ongoing legal battle between Rimini Street and Oracle concerning copyright infringement.

South Korea’s Kakao, a leading Internet and mobile messaging service, recently reported it has taken back control of its IT roadmap by switching to Rimini Street’s third-party support for its Oracle Database.

The announcement stated Kakao will now receive ‘ultra-responsive’ support for its mission-critical Oracle Database for at least 15 years, despite being happy with Oracle’s robust database system.

The Internet company that provides gaming, music and mobile messaging services to tens of thousands of customers every day reportedly saved 50% in support fees as a result of the switch.

In a time when businesses are constantly looking for new ways to digitally transform their businesses, Tonny Yi, the Head of Kakao’s data platform team, said: “My team is now free to focus on other initiatives to improve our business, like database migration.”

The 10-year legal battle surrounding Oracle and Rimini Street

Oracle and Rimini Street have been caught in a legal battle since January 2010. Oracle filed the suit against Rimini Street alleging software copyright violations. 

A jury ruled in favour of Oracle in 2015 on one count of “innocent infringement” meaning that Rimini Street did not deliberately infringe on copyright laws. 

A United States District Court in Nevada handed Rimini Street a permanent injunction in August 2018 ordering Rimini Street to not reproduce or distribute Oracle software. This court battle has led to Rimini Street paying out more than US$100 million to Oracle.

The legal battle also determined that third-party support is a legal service. But the rivalry continues between Oracle and Rimini Street, as both list comparisons between their services on their websites.

Oracle claims that Rimini Street is ‘incomplete’ and ‘lacks real security’, as it ‘relies primarily on firewalls’ and ‘can’t take advantage of new technology to drive business innovation and growth’.

While Rimini Street purports to provide ‘support with 15-minute guaranteed response time for Priority 1 issues’ over Oracle with ‘no forced upgrades’ and ‘strategic vendor-neutral security guidance’.

Malaysia’s first national car company drives the switch to Rimini Street

Malaysia’s first national car company Proton also made the switch from SAP’s support of their ECC 6.0 applications to Rimini Street in May, as the manufacturer looks to expand their plants in Perak to enable increased production volumes.

Tough economic conditions in Malaysia led to the switch, which forced Proton to reduce its overall operating expenses by 30%, so annual fees from technology providers were scrutinised and a decision was made to switch support providers.

Andrew Seow, Regional General Manager for Southeast Asia and Greater China at Rimini Street said: “During times of economic uncertainty, companies must act quickly to focus on reducing risk, optimizing budgets and improving efficiency.”

The Australian Government establishes agreement with Rimini Street

In February, Rimini Street announced it has agreed to a whole-of-government volume sourcing agreement with the Australian Government.

The agreement is part of the Government’s agenda to transform ICT procurement to make it simpler, clearer and faster for agencies and industry to transact services.

The CEO of the Digital Transformation Agency for the Australian Government, Randall Brugeaud said: “[We] continue to expand whole-of-government volume sourcing agreements to ensure that agencies have ready access to the best pricing, terms and conditions that leverage the buying power of government.”

Rimini Street works with a number of government agencies in Australia, including the NSW Department of Family and Community Services as well as the Victorian Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Emmanuelle Hose, Regional General Manager for Australia and New Zealand at Rimini Street, said Government agencies of all sizes now have ‘more options to consider in support of the GovERP Initiative’.

Australia’s Department of Finance has already chosen SAP’s S/4HANA platform for its new common enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This cloud-based system will consolidate HR and financial data from across federal public service and deliver a range of standardised corporate and financial services.

This decision by the Department of Finance came before the timely announcement that Rimini Street will provide global support for SAP S/4HANA. 

There are a lot of advancements in the third-party software support. In February, Garner predicted that the market would grow by 200% by 2023 to US$1.05 billion, which could be inline with Rimini Street’s recent record quarterly revenue achievement of US$78 million.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Oracle and SAP respond to the disruptor that is Rimini Street and the moves they make to react to the growing third-party software support market.

W.Media Spotlight Digital Event: A promising post-pandemic future for digital transformation in Southeast Asia

Businesses across Southeast Asia are looking to rapidly initiate digital transformation strategies after being forced online to continue operations during the pandemic.

More than 180 top executives joined C-level speakers from a broad spectrum of industries to hear a promising outlook for our digital transformation future in a post-pandemic world during W.Media’s Spotlight digital event.

We kicked off our pre-show with Tran Viet Hoan, the Group CIO of Vietnam’s second largest company and leading automaker, THACO Group. He noticed digital transformation is happening fast with banks, microfinance and life insurance industries pioneering DX strategies during the pandemic.

Mr Tran warned: “If you don’t transform your business digitally, you will die faster.”

Telcos in Southeast Asia is just one example of where digital transformation is happening constantly, moving from traditional landlines and cell phones to a digitally connected platform.

Mr Tran said: “VNPT, the biggest telco service provider in Vietnam, only moved to the platform for agriculture. You could not believe that 10 years before, a telco company did agriculture.”

A Gartner study revealed around 50% of successful digital transformation strategies focus on people issues and 37% on process issues. Mr Tran advised listeners to focus on customer experience, operational efficiencies, business model transformation and pain points, with the customer coming first.

Mr Tran added: “No digital transformation is successful without investment throughout the business, this includes every single staff in the organisation, including the Chairman or CEO.”

We were then joined by Nelson Tan, the Director of InfoComm Infrastructure at Nanyang Technological University, who shared a fascinating case study on how NTU digitally transformed their operations during the pandemic.

Thriving through automation and digitisation

In our first panel session, we explored how startups and enterprises can overcome the challenges of digitisation.

Maximising sustainability is crucial for companies going through these unprecedented times. Jae Lee, CTO of online travel agency WorldRoamer, believes applying process automation is one initiative that could achieve sustainability.

At WorldRoamer, they focus automation on business operation and product development workflow to find areas where they can reduce the lead time in communication and resolution time for product delivery.

Aik-Phong Ng, the Managing Director for Fave, a leading lifestyle app in Singapore, believes the outlook for digital transformation is a positive one with a lot of opportunities to increase business and reduce costs.

Mr Ng said: “I think one of the reasons is because there really is no choice. You’re forced [to go digital] by regulation or because your revenue drops to zero.”

Before the pandemic, Fave would physically onboard around 1,000 merchants a month for their cashless payment product using QR codes. Now, during the Circuit Breaker period in Singapore, they digitally onboard merchants, leading to an increase in efficiency and sales productivity.

Mr Ng added: “Those who can adapt and thrive in this new environment and work remotely are going to be the winners.”

The Chairman of the global professional body of IT architects, IASA, Aaron Tan Dani noted that case studies of successful digital transformation have applied an enterprise architecture model by understanding how the changes to operations have impacted internal and external stakeholders.

Creating a innovative culture through technology leadership

Digital Transformation efforts often require a transformational culture in their people, processes and technology, but many separate the business teams from the IT teams. Transformation strategies require strong commitment from senior management to enable both teams to collaborate and work closely on strategy.

Axel Winter, the CTO for Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Group, said: “Empowerment is important, but you need the CEO, CIO, CTO, CMO to be in the day to day perspective going into the details.” 

He added: “This is not something you can have a traditional people manager looking at your report once a week. There has to be instant messaging, there has to be daily touch points across the bottom to the top.”

Wilbertus Darmadi, the CIO of Toyota Astra Motors, started digitally transforming the business by setting a technology benchmark against large companies like Microsoft and AWS to open the mindset of C-level staff and showing them examples of how businesses can change using technology.

Mr Darmadi also highlighted one way to digitally transform staff and help them become digitally ready was by modernising the physical environment of their offices and promoting an innovative culture with competitions.

Stay tuned for more insights from our Digital Transformation Spotlight Digital Event

In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the sessions from the digital event, including answers to your unanswered questions!

Thank you to our supporting partners across Southeast Asia. We will be back on Thursday 21 May to discover how Open Compute Project Foundation’s open networking solutions can transform legacy data center systems.

Watch Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners on demand.

Interview: A young cybersecurity pioneer’s dream for a safer Singapore

At the age of 18, a young cybersecurity pioneer named Ben Chua established Cyber Youth Singapore in 2019 and became its CEO with the dream of creating a safer Singapore.

Cyber Youth Singapore serves to empower and educate younger generations as well as exchange knowledge through cybersecurity events and competitions.

He said: “Cybersecurity is so important that it should be as simple as teaching a child how to cross the road safely. It’s as essential as that; to use that phone they have in their hands safely.”

The non-profit is a collective of youths who will be the IT professionals of the future, striving to advance the country’s cyber resilience and pave a future for youths looking to break into the industry.

Mr Chua shared his dream with over 370 experts and peers in the technology industry during W.Media’s first Power Talk: “The big dream is to have at least one cyber defender in every household to ensure that their family is safe.”

What inspired the dream for a safer Singapore?

The need for Cyber Youth Singapore to educate Singaporeans on cybersecurity came after seeing technology and smart devices become so prevalent in most households.

Mr Chua said: “Almost every household in Singapore has internet connectivity. It’s a digital door into every household in Singapore and that’s actually a cause for concern for us because there’s no definite way we can defend against that perfectly.”

This need for an education in cybersecurity is increasing during the pandemic, as the current situation is forcing more businesses and households to digitise. This has enabled threat actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities like those in Virtual Private Networks and video-conferencing tools like Zoom.

Mr Chua added: “This virtual backdoor for hackers will be almost everywhere. The only way we can do security well is to educate every single citizen of the nation where the whole nation becomes digitally resilient together.”

How did you get involved in cybersecurity?

The story of how Ben came to be a young leader in cybersecurity is one of proactivity and aspiration.

When he first pursued cybersecurity, Ben did not have much background in technology, but he was inspired by an outreach talk at his secondary school.

Mr Chua said: “I made the right decision and I never looked back since.”

How can younger generations break into the cybersecurity industry?

The cybersecurity industry is growing rapidly and there is likely to be no shortage of jobs.

Mr Chua reassured his peers with an inspiring message that breaking into the industry isn’t too difficult as long as you never give up despite any challenges and rejections.

He added: “We faced many rejections and people didn’t take us seriously because we are a bunch of youths. It’s really the perseverance and strength of us banding together that made everything work”

Since founding Cyber Youth Singapore, it has gone on to be backed by the National Youth Council and Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore.

How can we help younger generations succeed in cybersecurity?

When Cyber Youth Singapore first began, the young pioneers went to other corporations, agencies and individuals to rally support.

Ben appealed to established generations in cybersecurity to serve as mentors and give direction to the teenagers who want to be a cyber defendant of the future. 

The CEO of Cyber Youth Singapore added: “I would also appeal to older generations to keep an open mind to give us a chance to show you what we can do. That opportunity goes a long way.”

Ben is working right now on educating secondary school students by giving outreach talks on cyber awareness and going beyond career guidance to show what cybersecurity can really offer.

Mr Chua said: “With how prevalent technology is today, cybersecurity education is something all children in the world should be entitled to.”

Cyber Youth Singapore has almost 400 members and hopes to reach 10,000 by 2021.

Mr Chua said: “When I look back at what we have accomplished I feel very humbled by what we have accomplished so far.”

Ben’s journey and bright future has only just begun. He will certainly be a leader to watch on the global stage as the cybersecurity industry continues to grow.

Check Point uncovers cyber espionage operation targeting governments in Asia Pacific

Cybersecurity specialists at Check Point have uncovered an ongoing cyber espionage operation targeting several government bodies in Asia Pacific.

The Advanced Persistent Threat group known as Naikon used a new backdoor attack named Aria-body. This allowed hackers, who are believed to be based in China, to bypass security measures and gain remote access to a victims’ network.

The APT group targeted Southeast Asian government ministries in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand to spy on them, gain sensitive geo-political information and exploit diplomatic relations between departments.

The Manager of Threat Intelligence at Check Point, Lotem Finkelstein, said: “Naikon attempted to attack one of our customers by impersonating a foreign government.”

Check Point’s investigation of the cyber espionage operation began when they found a malicious email was sent from a government diplomat, thought to be from the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, to the government of Western Australia

When this email was opened, the victim’s device downloads Aria-body from servers used by Naikon.

Naikon was able to evade detection by impersonating government officials in emails using victims’ servers as command and control centers to launch new attacks. Researchers found one server belonged to the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology.

Naikon was thought to have gone silent since ThreatConnect and Defense Group exposed them in 2015, until Check Point discovered they have been active for the past five years and even accelerated their activities this year.

In the past, Naikon was known as one of the most active APTs in Asia, attacking attacking civil and military organisations around the South China Sea.

Mr Finkelstein said: “We’ve published this research as a warning and resource for any government entity to better spot Naikon’s or other hacker group’s activities.”

This warning is particularly pertinent for governments to heed. Thailand recently approved funding for a Government Data Center and Cloud service, which must have strong cybersecurity protocols to avoid vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

To remain secure, government’s should advise staff to check emails carefully, manage user privileges, monitor and analyse logs, and make sure you’re only downloading files from trusted sites.

Coronavirus pandemic creates lucrative cloud application investment opportunities for Asia Pacific

The coronavirus pandemic has created lucrative investment opportunities in the global cloud application industry for the Asia Pacific region.

The rise in remote working across the globe has forced businesses to go digital and adopt several cloud applications to access data, maintain operations and work efficiently.

Rapid annual growth of 18.5% is expected in the Asia Pacific market until 2026 owing to a growing awareness of cloud application benefits, including cost reductions in deploying IT infrastructure, hiring skilled professionals and mobile accessibility.

But market growth could be impacted by weak digital infrastructures with limited bandwidth and high-speed internet in underdeveloped and developed economies. 

Increasing cyberattacks, which are more prevalent than ever before during the pandemic, could also hinder the success of the market.

A new report by Research Dive revealed the cloud application market will deliver a revenue of more than US$450 billion. The majority of this market share is held by small and medium-sized enterprises and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 19.2%.

The pandemic has also brought significant adoption by the healthcare sector to maintain huge databases and assist governing bodies. But the retail and consumer goods sector will dominate the market, generating a revenue of US$36 billion.

Keeping up with the demand

The Malaysian cloud-based grocery service MyGroser saw a massive increase in demand of over 1000% and spikes in revenue during the past two months, as it stayed available during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order.

The CEO of MyGroser, Stephen P Francis, said: “We are accelerating our expansion plans to better meet the demand for everyday essentials and groceries that we are seeing from our consumer and business customers.”

The grocery service has announced it will raise its first public funding round to support their growth and implement new technology enhancements like machine learning based supply chain management to keep up with demand.

Research Dive’s report revealed that the supply chain management segment is anticipated to reach up to US$67.9 billion by 2026.

To keep up with the demand, cloud service providers like Google, Microsoft and AWS by enabling scalability for customers, monitoring and maintaining reserve capacity, prioritising essential customers, and offering free hardware and software.

Transforming legacy systems with open networking

As we move into a new cloud-enabled world, the need for flexibility and lower networking costs in data centers is increasing, along with rapidly changing network requirements across various applications.

The Open Compute Project, a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology and providing efficient data center designs for scalable computing, has a solution: Open Networking. This will be the focus of our next Tech Talk with OCP.

The solution involves disaggregating bare-metal hardware from the software layer, allowing for freedom of choice through flexible combinations of software. The open networking switches enable a highly efficient network that can save up to 50% in CAPEX compared to traditional systems.

Started by Facebook in 2011, the Open Compute Project shares best practices for data center design with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Alibaba Group, IBM and more.

Since its production in 2013, OCP’s switches have grown rapidly and now account for 55% of bare-metal switches sold in the data center market. And this is continuing to grow, as hyperscalers, enterprise data centers, telcos and campus WiFi are adopting the open networking switches. Why? Because open networking can achieve lower operating costs, improve performance and empower scale-outs in smaller increments.

Following a successful first Tech Talk, OCP will return on 21 May 2020 at 11am for Open Networking – A look at the growth and transformation of networks across Asia and Oceania.

Register now to join OCP and end users who have transformed their network from traditional legacy systems to agile open networks using OCP switches. Attendees will also get the chance to explore how they can embrace open networking with a question and answer session with industry experts.

Open Networking in telco and data centers

After an introduction on Open Networking by OCP’s VP of Channel Steve Helvie, attendees will learn about the key benefits of open networking and overcoming transformation challenges from Edgecore Networks’ Business Development Vice President Bui Banh.

Bui is a veteran who has worked for more than 30 years in the telecommunications, media and technology industries. He is a top contributor to open source groups, including the Open Compute Project and Open Networking Foundation.

Transformation from a traditional legacy system to an agile open network

We will also hear from Jonathan Leung of DCConnect, an end-user that has successfully transformed legacy systems into an agile open network using OCP’s solutions. DCConnect Global is a pioneer in innovating on-demand global cloud connectivity.

Jonathan leads a team of talented developers to enable telcos to be free from vendor lock-in and allow their networks to migrate to an OCP-based infrastructure.

This will be a chance to hear about the benefits of taking the journey to an open networking system that can help reduce costs and improve performance. You will then get the opportunity to have your burning open networking questions answered by our experts.

There are limited spaces for this digital event, so get registering to secure your space for ‘Open Networking – A look at the growth and transformation of networks across Asia and Oceania

W.Media Spotlight Digital Event: Surviving the challenges for a thriving digital transformation plan

Digital transformation has become a necessary step for businesses, with 70% of companies either having a strategy in place or working on one. 

For our next digital event, we will explore the importance of digital transformation, particularly in a time where industries have been forced to go digital due to the pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, Asia has been leading the way in digital transformation, as businesses have moved to implementing digital tools like artificial intelligence, cloud technology and the Internet of Things to enhance their processes. 

The signs of Southeast Asia’s digital transformation are obvious from small enterprises, to its impressive fleet of tech unicorns like Grab, Lazada, Shopee, Agoda, Tokopedia and Shopee. 

These advancements, along with increasing Internet traffic and social media usage, are driving a high level of interest from the region’s governments who are implementing various strategies to grow the digital economy.

But despite the growing interest, 70% of digital transformation plans are known to fail in reaching their goals. Why are so many businesses failing and how can we overcome the challenges?

You are invited to join industry experts and peers to explore the benefits of digital transformation and ways of overcoming the challenges on 14 May 2020 from 11am SGT at our next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners.

Key executives and digital transformation decision makers from various industries throughout the world have already registered to experience one of the largest technology and market digital talk shows in Asia. Register now to secure your virtual place.

Digital transformation roadmap, change management and the common approach that are applicable to all organizations

Join the Director of InfoComm Infrastructure at Nanyang Technological University, Nelson Tan, as he shares a case study on how NTU implemented a cloud strategy that helped the university during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nelson will discuss the key benefits and challenges of digitally transforming their education offer as well as complying with COVID-19 regulations through cloud services.

[Leaders’ Discussion] Key challenges in enterprise digitization. How much process automation exists in your organisation today?

Automation through machine learning and artificial intelligence are being used to speed up processes and free up staff time to focus on more complex issues. 

From Grab Financial Group using automation to quickly check a customer’s identity and Thai fintech Forth Smart Service implementing an autonomous data warehouse generating real-time insights, to AirAsia using cloud planning tools to centralise financial operations and Toyota investing in autonomous vehicles and connected cars.

Aik-Phong, the managing director of Fave and award-winning leader, will share how you can navigate the complexities of enterprises to achieve a successful digital transformation plan. Aik-Phong’s vast experience working for Groupon and being part of Fave’s acquisition of Groupon South-East Asia’s businesses will provide some fantastic insights.

Joining Aik-Phong on the panel will be Jae Lee, the CTO of WorldRoamer, an online travel agency built from scratch by local travel enthusiasts in Singapore. Jae will share insights on how WorldRoamer digitised their operations in the face on the pandemic. His 15 years’ experience in developing cloud native and mobile-first services for global organisations will provide attendees with a strong knowledge base to get their questions answered.

[Leaders’ Discussion] Technology Leadership in your organization

The role of C-level staff, including CEOs and CIOs, are crucial in the success of digital transformation to lead an organisation’s strategy.

The failure of a digital transformation strategy could lead to the ousting of CEOs in the case of General Electric Digital or bankruptcy for Kodak when they overlooked the opportunities provided by the digital age.

The Chief Intelligence Officer of Toyota Astra Motors, Wilbertus Darmadi, will share the importance of leadership and team cohesion in achieving a successful digital transformation strategy in the automotive industry.

Axel Winter, the CTO for Thailand’s largest retailer Central Group, will also join the panel to present his experience of creating a new technology team and implementing digital transformation across Thailand, Vietnam and Italy.

Moderating the panel is the highly esteemed and experienced Chairman of the global professional body of IT architects IASA, Aaron Tan Dani. His extensive knowledge of the technology landscape makes Aaron the perfect moderator to quiz the panellists and put your questions to them.

Join more than 250 industry peers to discover the keys to a successful digital transformation strategy

Explore how you can lead your businesses’ digital transformation on 14 May 2020 at 3pm SGT/HKT. Get your questions answered and hear from the experts on how to implement successful digital transformation strategies.

A big thank you to our supporting partners Oracle, OPEN-TEC, IASA, Vietnam Internet Association, Quang Trung Software City, iCIO Community, eBusiness Association of Malaysia, APTIKNAS and the Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Don’t miss out on discovering digital transformation best practices. Secure your space for ‘Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners’.

Malaysia moves closer to edge data centers with new projects by Bitglass, GDC and Vertiv

Malaysia looks to be moving closer to edge data centers and computing capabilities with new projects announced by Bitglass, Green Data Center LLP (GDC) and Vertiv.

A recent survey by Schneider Electric indicated that countries like Malaysia may lag behind the rest of Southeast Asia, as there was only a 9.1% interest level for edge facilities in the country, despite high awareness of edge data centers indicated by Frost and Sullivan.

But interest levels in Malaysia may be growing with the new initiatives announced this year.

Global cloud security provider Bitglass has announced edge data centers in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The new edge data centers look to provide faster performance of Bitglass services, which implement a ‘unique’ four tier Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.

David Shepherd, Area Vice President APAC at Bitglass, said: “Our four tier architecture of Global Core Data Centers, Local Edge Data Centers, CDN caches, and SmartEdge endpoint agents uniquely combines security and performance across the globe.”

In comparison with direct access to Software as a Service (SaaS) apps like Office 365 or Salesforce, tests show ‘significant performance boosts’ via local edge data centers, according to Bitglass.

Secure Access Service Edge began emerging as a concept in 2019 after an increase in remote users, SaaS applications and data migration from data centers to cloud services led to greater network security concerns.

SASE combines wide area networking with security solutions like Cloud Access Security Broker, Firewall as a Service or Zero Trust into one cloud service model, allowing for a flexible, global application with a single user interface.

The Malaysian based Green Data Center LLP (GDC) also reportedly has an ambitious four year investment strategy to rollout 85 edge computing data centers throughout Malaysia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In April, the global digital infrastructure provider, Vertiv, announced a partnership with Innovix Distribution to provide edge infrastructure solutions to Malaysian customers in Government, retail and healthcare.

Teoh Wooi Keat, Country Manager of Vertiv in Malaysia, said: “Malaysia’s digitisation efforts are gaining momentum and businesses are seeing the value of investing in solutions that will enable their critical infrastructure to address customer expectations.”

Taking Southeast Asia to the Edge

The Asia Pacific edge data center market is predicted to expand at over 22% annually with enterprises investing heavily in Singapore, Japan and China. Gartner predicts the percentage of enterprise-generated data will rise to a huge 75% by 2025 from 10% in 2018.

Schneider Electric also revealed future interest in edge facility projects is growing exponentially with the advent of 5G and the Internet of Things.

Leveraging on the growing interest, Schneider Electric produced a number of edge computing solutions and partnered with companies like HP, Dell and Cisco. 

The EcoStruxure solutions aim to support the challenges that come with bringing IT systems closer to where data is created, including the unstaffed environments that are under-optimised for IT systems and cybersecurity.

Glen Duncan, Associate Research Director with the Asia Pacific Domain research group for the market intelligence provider IDC, indicated there is significant growth for edge computing markets in Southeast Asian countries that may be lagging behind like Malaysia.

Countries that were far behind in digitisation should not fret, as many countries are capitalising on newer technologies to leapfrog those that are slowed down by legacy infrastructures.

Mr Duncan added: “All it needs is good politicians who are technology and economic-focused.”

Moving to the edge could be the key to successful digital transformation

More and more businesses are expected to spend money on Internet of Things technology, artificial intelligence and 5G connectivity to digitally transform their operations. 

All these advancements require greater compute power and data storage. And one of the most effective ways to achieve this is through edge computing. 

But digital transformation strategies require effective management teams, buy-in from C-level staff and strong communication between departments. How can this be achieved and what does successful digital transformation look like? These questions will be explored at our next digital event on Thursday 14 May.

Choosing the right data center for your digital transformation needs also requires a lot of thought, as the options and competition in the market continue to grow. 

Join us on Thursday 4 June for our next Power Talk to explore how to choose the best data center for your business and tips on successfully migrating your data to a new facility.

TCC Technology Interview: Is there any light at the end of the pandemic tunnel?

We need to admit that the pandemic situation is very intense and unlike any previous crisis. It has impacted more or less all companies around the world, including vendors, customers, and even ourselves.

With lockdowns and work from home orders, businesses have been forced to digitise and go online. 

In an interview with Mr Teerapan Luengruamitchai, Managing Director of TCC Technology, we find out how key stakeholders have been affected by the pandemic, how digital transformation might help and our post-pandemic future. 

How has the pandemic impacted key stakeholders?

For Thailand’s TCC Technology (TCCtech), a leading integrated technology solutions and infrastructure provider, they have three groups of customers that have been affected: the prepared, the unprepared and the potential customers.

Prepared customers can adapt quicker and may only need some support like additional space on the cloud, activating alternative disaster recovery sites and tools like Zoom, Office 365 or VPN access to their servers to help with transitions to remote working.

The second group, unprepared customers, might need more support like early state cloud adoption, training and more customer service attention. These two groups have resulted in a surge in short-term demand for TCCtech.

The third group of potential customers may face adverse impact from the pandemic from a reliance on physical business operations as opposed to the digital space. This group could experience greater loss of revenue, as they struggle to digitally transform their business due to a lack of funds or training to adopt the technology. As a result, some organisations have been forced to downsize or shut down completely. To support these companies, discounts of remote working technology may be necessary.

Mr Luengruamitchai, Managing Director of TCC Technology, said: “We understand our customers’ situation very well and work to meet their expectations, even if we have to utilize extra technology resources to help customers run their businesses smoothly in order to help our customer pass this difficult situation.  We view this as a challenge, which should be manageable with our experienced workforce and growth mindset.”

How did TCCtech respond to the pandemic situation?

In Thailand, a partial lockdown in and out of Bangkok was initiated after a state of emergency was declared on 26 March.

TCC Technology Group had Business Continuity Planning in place and a Disaster Recovery Services Offering to customers since the commencement of business. These are established with the purpose to help customers mitigate risk.

Before the outbreak, the technology group considered a number of risks and planned for various scenarios, including a pandemic. In March, TCCtech reviewed and adjusted to the specific COVID-19 case with more immediate responses like classifying the team to align with outbreak prevention guidelines, plan activation and communication.

TCCtech continues to monitor and evaluate the situation, keeping customers updated every step of the way. And their business continuity plan was activated immediately to ensure their people and customers were safe and the maintenance of essential operations. 

What did TCCtech prioritise?

TCC Technology Group placed a focus on safety and business continuity for their customers.

As a result, most staff are assigned to work from home, but they can use TCCtech’s properties to serve as alternative sites when needed whilst maintaining social distancing and minimising the number of staff working from the office. Accommodation is available for staff to stay at or near sites to be ready in case of a full lockdown.

Most customers require quick responses and advice. TCCtech’s mission critical support teams ensure continuous delivery of services 24 hours, seven days a week while staying safely separated from others.

Quote from Mr Teerapan Luengruamitchai

What are the upcoming trends in the technology industry?

The pandemic and remote working situation has made technology adoption much faster than expected with surges in demand for cloud platforms and secured connectivity. 

Technology is the key component being utilised to take care of customers and businesses. Tools like Cloud Platform as a Service and video conferencing software are quite standardised.

But the delay of decision making and payment by customers due to uncertainty in the current climate could result in deterioration of revenue. Even the majority of revenue in the “As a Service” model offering, which results in “recurring” revenue for TCCtech. 

To relieve suffering from the crisis, programs have been launched to prevent impact on revenue in the short term, though the size of the impact will depend on how long the situation persists and how well they cope with the situation.

The International Data Corporation expects in a pessimistic scenario that IT spending will decline in Asia Pacific to 1.2% growth in the first quarter of 2020, down from the forecast of 5.2%. This growth is predicted to decline even further due to the extended period of uncertainty.

If the pandemic prolongs further, there may be some medium-term impacts on business performance to prepare for, including higher expenses caused by disruptions to supply chains and delayed service delivery timelines for customers, or even cancellation of services.

These delays could also cause opportunity loss and missed partnership opportunities, as informal networking becomes more difficult. With a loss of revenue or higher expenses, there may be a slowdown in tech spending and a weakening of the overall market sentiment. 

Is there any light at the end of the pandemic tunnel?

During the pandemic, people are automatically adopting technology to keep businesses running and stay in touch with loved ones. 

If there are any silver linings to take away from the tragic situation, it is that more are getting ready for digital transformation and preparing well to encounter and mitigate the impacts from this kind of situation in the future.

Digital transformation decision makers may also look for some IT solutions such as a work from home suite, including technology to track employees while working at home, which may result in businesses requiring less dedicated space and the need for tools to manage co-working spaces for their staff instead.

This should be a positive factor which helps accelerate growth in the technology market, especially in areas like cloud infrastructure and business enabled applications over the long-term. The financial performance will depend on how well they can help customers transform and invest in digitisation in the future.

Right after this interview, you may like to find more on how SMEs and CXOs get started in digitally transforming their business. More digital transformation is expected in the future, with investment growing at an annual growth rate of 17.5% and expected to approach $7.4 trillion between 2020 and 2023.

How can SMEs and C-level staff get in on the action? Find out how to implement a successful digital transformation strategy and avoid the pitfalls at W.Media’s next digital event on 14 May 2020.

Register now for Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners. Limited spaces available.

55% of tech CEOs not prepared for an economic downturn prior to pandemic Gartner survey reveals

A survey by Gartner has revealed that 55% of tech CEOs were not prepared for an economic downturn prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey conducted between December 2019 and February 2020 found that 43% of CEOs were worried about an economic recession affecting their revenue growth in the next 12 months. But despite this fear, many delayed taking action to prepare for this situation.

The tech stock markets took a hit near the start of the outbreak and IT spending is expected to decline in Asia Pacific from 5.2% growth to 1.2% in the first quarter of 2020.

Even after the COVID-19 outbreak slows down, funding and available capital will become scarcer in the weeks and months ahead. 

The Senior Research Director at Gartner, Patrick Stakenas, said: “Tech companies will have to survive off existing customers and cash in the bank while the current market persists.”

Gartner recommends two immediate actions for CEOs. The first action is using and measuring cash burn to calculate financial runway. The lack of focus on cash burn rate has led to severe cash flow problems for many during the pandemic, resulting in an economic downturn.

To calculate cash burn rate, add up all operating expenses like salaries, rent and overheads for a gross cash burn, then add all payments from customers for a net cash burn. This will measure the total cost impacts and cash usage.

Mr Stakenas said: “Startup tech CEOs must measure cash flow on a weekly basis. With a ‘worst case’ forecast in hand, they can determine the crunch points and assess the company’s ability to survive COVID-19.”

If a company has less than three months of cash runway, the chances of survival are slim. Those with three to six months of cash will require dramatic cost cutting or even sale of the company. To prevent this, the second immediate action is to determine the critical actions necessary for survival.

Mr Stakenas added: “The reality is that startups strapped for cash will need to run the business very lean to survive.”

Companies with more than six months of cash should try to extend this to at least 18 months to ensure long-term survival and opportunities for funding. Eliminating costs is essential for companies that have less than 18 months of financial runway.

Chris Ganly, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said: “CIOs should inspect their organizations’ current consumption levels on all variable operating expenses – for example, cloud services and voice and data communications.”

To reduce consumption costs, CIOs should reevaluate tech spending on a service-by-service basis to restrict supply or renegotiate contract terms. CIOs are also advised to anticipate spend increases, as businesses have been forced to invest in remote working solutions like cloud services, IT hardware and VPNs.

Gartner’s survey questioned 285 CEOs or equivalent across North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific at organisations operating in the high-tech industry with a 2019 annual revenue of up to US$250 million.

Are SMEs and CXOs ready for digital tranformation in a post-pandemic world?

To keep with the competition, small and medium-sized enterprises will need to look at investing in digital transformation, particularly after being forced online during the pandemic. But many C-level staff implementing digital transformation strategies fail to meet their goals.

Find out how to implement a successful digital transformation strategy and avoid the pitfalls at W.Media’s next digital event on 14 May 2020.

Register now for Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners. Limited spaces available.

Funding approved for a $146m state cloud and data center in Thailand

The Cabinet of Thailand approved a US$146.6 million state cloud and data center service to be funded over the next two years, reported the Bangkok Post.

The Government Data Center and Cloud service will be used by government agencies to ensure safe and secure use of data. The big data facility will make sure state agencies can continue operating when disasters occur and meet the state policy to forge a “digital government”.

The service approved on 5 May will be handled by the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission in partnership with Thailand’s state-owned telecommunications company CAT Telecom.

The Deputy Government Spokeswoman, Rachada Dhanadirek, said the government will employ 2,500 experts in cloud computing to operate the Data Center and Cloud service. The cloud also aims to provide cloud computing courses for more than 2,500 government officials.

With a state-run cloud service, Ms Rachada expects US$154.3 million will be saved on renting cloud services. From 2021, all Government agencies will not be able to rent cloud services with the aim of fully digitising all agencies within three years.

As part of Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society initiative to modernise Government data centers, three types of data centers were defined: agency owned data centers, ministry data centers and cross-agency data centers. The plan looks to reduce overall government spending and cost of operations as well as ensure the Government is future ready.

At our Thailand Cloud and Datacenter Convention last year, Dr Yuttasart Nitipaichit, the Vice President of CAT Telecom representing the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, revealed Government plans to digitally transform the country with 100 smart cities by 2021.

World’s first complete cyber protection solution released by Singapore unicorn Acronis to fight pandemic cyberthreats

Singapore unicorn and global leader in cybersecurity, Acronis, has released the world’s first complete cyber protection solution.

Acronis Cyber Protect integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-gen anti-malware and more into one AI-powered platform to defend clients against cyberthreats. 

The solution also includes COVID-19 URL filtering and total Zoom security, which is particularly timely with the plague of pandemic-related cybersecurity threats like those affecting Zoom.

Acronis Founder and CEO, Serguei Beloussov, said: “Traditional backup solutions are dead because they are not secure enough, and traditional anti-virus applications do not protect data from modern cyberthreats.”

Acronis hopes this solution will empower managed service providers to make security a focal point of their portfolio by eliminating complexity, improving productivity and cutting costs.

The Singaporean cybersecurity unicorn, which serves 500,000 businesses and 100% of Fortune 1000 companies, believes patchwork vendor solutions decrease security and complicates employee training on numerous different softwares.

Mr Beloussov added: “Service providers need to offer their clients integrated cyber protection that covers all Five Vectors of Cyber Protection – safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security.”

The complete cyber protection solution achieved a perfect score of 100% detection rate after scanning 6,932 malicious Windows executable files. But if a threat does slip through the security measures, Acronis Cyber Protect provides business continuity to help restore data and recover systems effectively.

Phil Goodwin, Research Director, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group at IDC, said: “Acronis is among the companies on the forefront for integrated data protection and cyber protection.”

AV-Test, the German security institute known for rigorously resting malware security solutions, found that Acronis Cyber Protect delivered a perfect result in the lab’s false-positive test, causing zero false positives.

Mr Goodwin added: “We believe that Acronis Cyber Protect is among the most comprehensive attempts to provide data protection and cybersecurity to date.”

A personal version of the complete cybersecurity solution is planned for a Q3 2020 release.

The cybersecurity unicorn has done Singapore proud after being founded in 2003 and growing into a global cyber protection leader with more than 1,500 employees in 33 locations across 18 countries.

FPT Telecom breaks ground on Vietnam’s biggest data center

One of Vietnam’s top telecommunication providers, FPT Telecom, has broken ground to construct the biggest data center in the country.

The eight-storey data center will span across one hectare of space, providing 3,600 racks to help the country achieve its goals of becoming a leader in the Southeast Asia digital economy.

The new data center in the High Technology Park based in Ho Chi Minh City is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. 

FPT Telecom will design the facility in accordance with the LEED Certification, a globally recognised symbol of sustainable architecture. The new center utilises DRUPS technology to ensure high reliability for their electrical systems and mitigate any issues they may face due to potential power shortages in Vietnam.

The Chairman of FPT Telecom, Mr Hoang Nam Tien, said Vietnam’s biggest data center will help the country achieve data sovereignty, which is particularly important to comply with Vietnam’s new Law on Cybersecurity.

Much like FPT’s Data Center Tier III based in Hanoi, the new data center aims to achieve an Uptime Tier III certification, the most prestigious evaluation system for data centers.

Along with this new facility, FPT Telecom is expected to open two more centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to provide even more racks, bringing their total data centers to five.

The data centers will support FPT Telecom’s investments in cloud services that will support businesses in transition to the cloud and keep information secure with automated tools and managed services.

Mr Hoang Nam Tien said: “A strong cloud computing platform is the basic infrastructure for digital transformation and the Vietnamese economy.”

FPT Corporation achieved profit growth of 18.9% in the first quarter of 2020, which was largely driven by its global IT and telecom services, which brought in US$18.1 million and US$17.1 million respectively.

Vietnam is experiencing a year-on-year growth rate of 17% in the cloud sector, bringing in US$2.4 billion. The country was also one of the first countries to trial 5G with a vision to launch the technology commercially this year.

The need for more data centers like FPT’s huge facilities is likely to increase to keep up with these advancements.

W.Media Power Talk: Finding optimism and inspiration during the pandemic

More than 370 technology experts and enthusiasts came together for our first Power Talk, sponsored by Keppel Data Centres, to explore the state of our industry and the digital economy in these challenging times.

We kicked off Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moveswith a pre-show interview from young cybersecurity pioneer Ben Chua that was both empowering and gave hope for a bright post-pandemic future.

Mr Chua, the CEO of Cyber Youth Singapore, gave some advice to his younger peers looking to break into the industry: “The key thing is to never give up. When we first started Cyber Youth Singapore, we faced many rejections and people didn’t take us seriously. It’s really the perseverance and strength of us banding together that made everything work.”

Mr Chua added established generations in cybersecurity can help by mentoring and keeping an open mind by giving youths a chance.

In attendance, Rendy Rinaldy, Data Center and Client Administrator at Alfamart, said: “Ben Chua, you give us inspiration that cybersecurity is important.”

A new hope: The digital economy and tech spending post-pandemic

Amongst the negative news surrounding the pandemic, our first panel session, led by DC1st’s Ka Vin Wong, gave us an optimistic outlook for the digital economy’s future.

The Co-founder and COO of Princeton Digital Group, Varoon Raghavan, said it was business as usual, despite the pandemic.

Mr Raghavan discussed a positive view on the data center industry: “ There is extremely high demand that’s not related to the pandemic, that’s just the way that the business is.”

With surges in internet usage from more remote working and data center operators considered essential workers throughout the world, the necessity for data centers is becoming even clearer.

Mr Raghavan added: “We are doing all we can to keep up with that demand to ensure that the digital economy goes on and gives people some diversion in this difficult time.”

And it’s not just data centers seeing increasing demand. Jason Frisch, the CEO of Tsukaeru Group, is finding that cloud services are reaping the benefits from the work from home situations that many of us are currently in.

Mr Frisch said: “Obviously there’s going to be a big shift to cloud services and I don’t see it going backwards.”

But Mr Frisch warned that costs may start to rise with all the new money flowing around, but this is difficult for providers to do when trying to make a profit margin, particularly for non-hyperscale players.

The rising use of cloud applications like Zoom has also brought concerns of cybercrime to the forefront. 

Cybersecurity expert Anthony Lim said: “All these issues make the end user become more aware of cybersecurity and cyber hygiene requirements … which is good because it heightens the awareness of cybersecurity.”

How 5G, Cloud and Datacenter Outlook have been shaped by recent events

In the second panel session, we explored the current state of the 5G, cloud and data center industries and opportunities for investment.

Our panel agreed there will be a slow down in 5G rollout schedules due to the pandemic. But Sachin Mittal, the Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Research at DBS Bank, believed the outbreak will generate new use cases to further enable remote work in industries such as healthcare where there was originally some hesitancy in adopting 5G.

Importantly, 5G will enable much more data creation from faster surfing speeds and more device connectiving, placing greater pressure on data centers. 

There is no doubt that 5G can enable new revenue streams and open up new business opportunities. The new technology is likely to improve smoother accessibility and efficiency for cloud-based applications with its promise of low or zero latency.

Kok Chye Ong, the Head of Global Strategy and Investments at Keppel Data Centres, said: “We look forward to seeing how 5G will evolve, and how data centres will continue to play a critical role to support network latency and network architecture of this new technology.”

Telcos could see a lack of increased revenue when traffic increases due to the rollout of 5G. But we have seen attempts to monetise existing customer bases in the past with Singtel and Grab teaming up for a digital banking venture.

Ajay Sunder, the Deputy Director of Strategy at SC-Nex, said: “There is a use case for 5G which is not being talked about, which is the private networks.”

Private networks allow for non-carriers of 5G to come into the ecosystem and explore monetizable new use cases, splitting the infrastructure spend between non-traditional carriers like industrial and public safety players.

How will new investments and technologies digitally transform business?

Along with the pandemic forcing the world online, advancing technologies in data centers, cloud services and 5G will open the door for organisations to consider or rejuvenate strategies to digitally transform their business.

Explore how SMEs and C-level staff can successfully implement digital transformation plans and avoid common pitfalls at our next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners

Watch this space for more in-depth analysis from ‘Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves’

In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the sessions from our first Power Talk, including answers to your unanswered questions!

Thank you to our sponsors at Keppel Data Centres and our supporting partners across Southeast Asia for helping to make the first Power Talk a huge success. And a big congratulations to Darmadi, the CIO of Toyota Astra Motor, who won our grand prize for asking the best question during the Power Talk.

Watch Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves on demand.

Alibaba, Tencent Cloud and Huawei Cloud named as some of the biggest global IaaS providers

Three of China’s top cloud providers have been ranked as some of the biggest in the global Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market. Alibaba Cloud took third place worldwide, Tencent Cloud took fifth and Huawei Cloud placed sixth.

Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, revealed the results as part of their recent Market Share: IT Services, 2019 report.

The IaaS market expanded rapidly with a year-on-year growth of 40.7%, climbing to a value of US$48.9 billion. The 2019 revenue from the IaaS market grew at a massive 222.2%.

Alibaba increased its global market share to 9.1%, while Tencent Cloud grew by 111% globally and Huawei Cloud was reported to have grown at a faster rate than any other provider, including global giants like AWS and Microsoft Azure.

In Gartner’s latest report, Alibaba Cloud was also named the largest IaaS provider in Asia Pacific, while Tencent Cloud was third across the region and Huawei Cloud placed third in China.

Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said: “We believe our strong growth and leading market position is a testament to the hard work of our teams and the support of our many customers and partners around the world, to whom we are truly grateful.”

How will cloud service providers expand their market share?

Alibaba Cloud announced it would invest an extra US$28 billion in the next three years to speed up recovery from the pandemic and help businesses in their digital transformation efforts.

Compared to Gartner’s previous report, Tencent Cloud rose to fifth place, while IBM took this place last year. AWS took first place in 2018 with a market share of 47.8% and Microsoft Azure came in second with 15.5%.

Tencent’s new ranking is likely due to the company becoming China’s first company with more than one million servers and their expansion into 26 geographic areas with 53 availability zones. The cloud service provider continues to expand its market share by growing the business across verticals, including tourism, Internet services and gaming. Tencent also recently announced their cloud conferencing tool VooV will now be available in Malaysia.

Huawei Cloud increased their market share by launching cloud data centers in Singapore and Latin America, expanding to 45 availability zones across 23 regions. Huawei also increased their offering by developing 2,000 technology partnerships and releasing 3,500 cloud applications in 2019.

Looking ahead, Huawei Cloud will enhance its AI cloud services, Kunpeng processors and 5G capabilities to increase its market share and help businesses achieve digital transformation.

Looking to learn more about Digital Transformation?

Cloud applications are heavily used in digital transformation efforts by SMEs. But many C-level staff find their digital transformation plans fail through mistakes like misunderstanding economics and miscommunication.

How can SMEs overcome the challenges of digital transformation? Join us on 14 May to explore this and more at W.Media’s next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners.

Huawei launches flagship data center interconnect solution for Singapore’s enterprise market

Huawei has announced the launch of their flagship data center interconnect solution to help Singapore’s enterprise market cope with the huge increase of data flows and Internet traffic.

Huawei’s cutting-edge DCI solution, OptiXtrans DC908, features ultra large bandwidths to help enterprise customers reduce the cost per bit and improve their return on investment.

Aaron Wang, Managing Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Singapore, said: “It’s critical for enterprises to strengthen their data center infrastructure to provide consistent digital experience for their customers with reliable network connectivity.”

Huawei has seen a surge of over 50% of online traffic under the current climate, which may be caused by greater remote working brought on by the pandemic.

Mr Wang added their DCI product will ‘help enterprises meet the growing demands of network capacity expansion with an all-optical network foundation’.

The global demand for DCI solutions has surged as a result of expansion to the network edge as well as rapid developments in big data, cloud computing and mobile connectivity. 

To keep up with the demand and cope with the challenges of massive data flows, the Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 features ultra large capacity of 800 Gbit/s per wavelength and future-proof Super C+L technology to achieve 220 wavelengths.

A report by Omidia revealed that revenue in Asia Pacific’s DCI market reached US$1.326 billion in 2019 with a year-on-year growth of 13.8%. 

The demand for network capacity is likely to continue, as businesses plan for digital transformation. Huawei’s Global Industry Vision 2025 predicts 85% of enterprise applications will be cloud-based by 2025, driven by digital transformation plans.

How can enterprises digitally transform their business in Singapore?

In the National Business Survey by the Singapore Business Federation, nine in ten companies recognised the importance of digital transformation to remain relevant and competitive.

While there are countless applications and solutions available to drive digital transformation, many small and medium-sized enterprises fail to keep up with technological advancements or achieve their digital transformation strategies.

Join our digital event Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners on 14 May 2020 to explore how SMEs and C-level staff can overcome the challenges of digital transformation and improve their processes.