CenturyLink rebrands as Lumen to light the way for enterprises in 4th Industrial Revolution

Leading global IT solutions provider CenturyLink has announced it is rebranding and repositioning the company to Lumen Technologies, or Lumen for short. 

According to FAQs on their website, the name Lumen pays homage to their global fiber network foundation and serves as a reflection of the company today. 

“Lumen is all about enabling the amazing potential of our customers, by utilizing our technology platform, our people, and our relationships with customers and partners,” said Lumen president and CEO Jeff Storey.

Lighting the way for enterprises

The company will look to help light the way for enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where smart, connective devices will be ubiquitous.

“This new age requires companies to effectively acquire, analyze and act upon their data to stay ahead of the curve and to be competitive,” said Lumen in a statement

There will be three distinct brands under the Lumen Technologies corporation: Lumen, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber. 

Lumen will serve as the company’s new brand for its largest business segment: enterprise and wholesale, which will be the company’s focus moving forward.

“The Lumen brand is focused on supporting our enterprise business customers. It alludes to our network strength and to the incredible capabilities powered by our platform to help transform how businesses operate,” according to Lumen CTO, Andrew Dugan. 

Under Lumen, the company launched the Lumen Platform, which combines their global fiber network infrastructure, edge cloud capabilities, security, communication and collaboration solutions to empower customers looking to capitalise on emerging Industry 4.0 technologies. 

“All of our futures will be driven by smart things, applications and digital services that use data for transformational purposes,” said Shaun Andrews, Lumen’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. 

The Lumen Platform will serve a range of applications across smart cities, retail and industrial robotics, real-time virtual collaboration, automated factories, as well as applications requiring high-performance networking and security.

As part of Lumen, the existing CenturyLink brand will continue to represent the company’s residential and small business segments, for legacy services delivered over traditional networks. 

Lumen also announced another new entity, Quantum Fiber, which will be considered a CenturyLink service. It is a digital platform that will aim to deliver premier fiber-based connectivity to residents and small businesses under Lumen’s fiber network and infrastructure. 

Quantum Fiber will target the same customer segment as CenturyLink, but it will be delivering services via an automated platform the company is developing, but specific roll out plans are yet to be confirmed.

The Quantum Fiber brand will eventually be available in all markets where Lumen offers fiber-based internet services.

With this announcement, the company will formally change its legal name to Lumen Technologies, Inc. upon the satisfaction of legal and regulatory requirements. 

There will be no structural change in leadership, responsibility or financial strategy. However, it will be changing its stock ticker from CTL to LUMN, effective with the opening of the trading day on September 18 2020. 

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The Philippines’ third telco DITO appoints Fortinet as cybersecurity provider

Philippines telecommunication company, DITO Telecommunity, announced it has chosen US cybersecurity firm Fortinet to serve as its primary provider.

DITO will leverage on the network security infrastructure provided by Fortinet to protect the data of its customers. 

The telco will utilise Fortinet Security Fabric, Fortinet’s flagship cyber intelligence platform that uses an array of cloud-based security solutions to allow businesses to better detect and manage cyberthreats.

Although the company delayed its plans to launch as the Philippines third telco due to COVID-19, DITO has been making strides to better equip itself for its debut in 2021.

Enhanced cybersecurity measures could add to DITO’s competitiveness in the Filipino telecommunications market and contribute to the industry’s expected growth

Headquartered in California, Fortinet offers cybersecurity solutions to large-scale enterprises and government organisations across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

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The Philippines’ third telco DITO appoints Fortinet as cybersecurity provider

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Jie Yee Ong

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Court rules mostly in favour of Oracle during Rimini Street copyright infringement battle

The District Court in Nevada, USA, has ruled in favour of Oracle on a number of motions during the Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle International battle.

The Court found that certain past Rimini Street third-party support practices infringed at least 17 Oracle copyrights. On top of that, certain support practices that Rimini Street described as ‘new’ were also found to continue infringing upon Oracle copyrights.

“We are grateful for the Court’s thorough and well-reasoned opinion, which finds that Rimini Street infringed in the past, and continues to infringe Oracle’s intellectual property,” said Dorian Daley, Oracle’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel in a press release by the tech giant.

Oracle stated that the court dismissed various Rimini Street claims and defenses, which means that Rimini Street will have no claims for damages, while Oracle will proceed with numerous damages claims when the case goes to trial.

“Customers considering Rimini Street should understand that this serial infringer continues to disregard Oracle’s copyrights, and we’ll be seeking additional substantial damages at trial for this unlawful conduct,” said Mr. Daley.

Rimini Street retains right to provide aftermarket support

During the ruling, the Court was said to reiterate Rimini Street’s legal right to still provide aftermarket support for Oracle’s enterprise software, which has been adopted by the likes of Kakao in South Korea, Hyundai-Kia Motors and Proton in Malaysia.

“The Court also resolved some of the issues the parties have disputed, ruling in some instances for Rimini Street and in some instances for Oracle. Rimini Street is continuing to evaluate the order and looks forward to a jury trial on the remaining issues,” said Rimini Street in a press release.

In total, Oracle stated the District Court for the District of Nevada ruled in their favour on seven separate motions for partial summary judgment, granting in full or in part every Oracle motion and denying in full every Rimini Street motion.

The Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle International lawsuit was officially brought by Rimini Street against Oracle in 2014, and the summary judgements delivered yesterday (September 15 2020) had been pending with the court since December 2018.

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.

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Is cloud hosting right for your business?

Hosting websites and applications on the cloud is becoming a popular choice for businesses, as it is believed to offer greater flexibility and speed in scalability as well as reliable uptime to keep your services live even if a server goes down.

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UOB Singapore freezes wages but continues to hire for tech roles after ‘one of the worst’ economic outlooks in decades

Singapore’s third largest bank, United Overseas Bank (UOB) announced a freeze on hiring, pay and promotions, but the company will continue to hire in new tech roles that are deemed essential.

The hiring freeze will be in place until December 2021. However, UOB’s Head of Group Human Resources, Dean Tong, said new appointments will have to be approved by senior level employees.

“We will need to continue investing in and hiring for roles essential for strategic priorities,” said Mr. Tong.

In response to what positions are essential, Tong responded that roles in the digital space would be considered as such, including technology and data analytics.

This hiring practice shows the growing importance and marketability of digital expertise in a sector that increasingly relies on tech to upscale their banking and financial services.

“Given the transformational times we are in, we remain committed to seeing our people through to better times and will continue to invest in their reskilling and upskilling. This will ensure that our people, and the bank, will emerge stronger when these difficult days are over,” Mr. Tong reassured.

The economic outlook was described as ‘one of the worst in the decades’ after UOB was hit by a 26% decline in stocks and a 40% fall in Q2 net profits to $703 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other banks in Singapore, including OCBC and DBS are also said to be reviewing ways to cut expenses.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

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CDO Foodsphere cooks up digital transformation with Globe and AWS in the Philippines

As the trend towards cloud kitchens intensifies, CDO Foodsphere, one of the largest food enterprises in the Philippines, has worked with Globe Business and AWS to migrate the company’s warehouse management system from on-premise to cloud.

Prior to the migration, CDO Foodsphere was experiencing unexpected downtimes, which took longer than expected to restore.

“Our on-premise legacy system had become too tedious to maintain. A few days or even hours of downtime would have had a significant impact on the business,” said Ria Vidal, the Assistant Vice President of CDO Foodsphere.

Since migrating, there has been no application downtime and the business was able to reduce the time to resolve system incident reports from 150 days to a single day.

CDO Foodsphere reported a significant improvement in the performance and stability of the system amid the pandemic, a stark improvement from their experience in previous years.

“It was a good thing Globe came in to help us migrate our workloads to the Cloud, just before the pandemic otherwise it would have been more difficult to restore on-ground applications,” added Vidal.

Globe identified that aging hardware, performance issues, and scalability concerns are among the common challenges their customers face when dealing with applications developed in-house or stored on-premise.

“Add the complexities brought about by the pandemic – fixing systems on-ground becomes even more problematic,” said Peter Maquera, the Senior Vice President for Globe Business.

CDO Foodsphere’s migration is said to have paved the way for more digital transformation in Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.

Globe said in a statement that it will continue to prioritise helping large corporations become cloud-first through their collaborations with AWS and Cascadeo.

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Is cloud hosting right for your business?

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Is your country a Digital Riser? ESCP study reveals surprising results

While countries like the USA and Sweden may be losing their position as digital champions, the Philippines and Singapore have both been labelled a digital riser that is capable of taking on the competitive technology landscape.

The European Center for Digital Competitiveness found that mature digital hubs are facing new and dynamic competition from around the world.

“We are in the middle of a digital revolution that is very likely being accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Professor Philip Meissner of the European Center for Digital Competitiveness by ESCP Business School in Berlin.

The ESCP’s Digital Riser Report 2020 revealed that the Philippines was one of the top Digital Risers in the world due to the country showing strong digital transformation results encouraged by Government policies like the Innovate Start-up Act and Start-up Venture Fund.

Amongst the other top risers in Asia include South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.

Digital Riser Rankings for East Asia and the Pacific
Digital Riser Rankings for East Asia and the Pacific

The rankings were by two dimensions: ecosystem and mindset. The ecosystem dimension includes venture capital availability, cost and time to start a business, the ease of hiring foreign labour, and the skillset of graduates. While the mindset dimension focuses on digital skills among active populations, attitudes to entrepreneurial risk, workforce diversity, mobile broadband subscriptions, and companies embracing disruptive ideas.

Dropping in the rankings were India, Vietnam and New Zealand, which declined in the ecosystem dimension, despite their digital aspirations and future-forward plans.

The report also shed light on the two global digital superpowers, namely the United States and China. Analysis found that China has gained in digital competitiveness while the United States lost strength over the last three years. 

What makes a Digital Riser?

Top Digital Risers share one thing in common. They have displayed a deliberate and comprehensive government programme with top-level support around digitalisation and entrepreneurship. 

“The way that governments manage and navigate this transition will significantly determine how competitive and prosperous their countries will be in the decades ahead,” said Professor Meissner.

Interestingly, country size is not a limiting factor. The report saw countries of all sizes enhancing their digital competitiveness in the short to medium term by taking effective measures like emphasising the importance of digital education, encouraging entrepreneurship and making huge investments in digitalisation.

Digital Riser Rankings for South Asia
Digital Riser Rankings for South Asia

“While the top Digital Risers come in very different sizes and have their unique economic histories, there’s a lot that governments can learn from them,” said Dr Christian Poensgen from the ESCP.

Breaking down the commonalities in top Digital Risers, Dr Poensgen identified that they tend to emphasise the importance of digital education like Indonesia’s institutions that seek to build a strong tech talent pool in which the Government invested US$7.7 million to provide certifications to 20,000 digital talents.

Next, he identified that huge investments in digitalisation are common, as countries like Thailand announced a  $570m venture fund for startups in ten supported industries, including digital, next generation cars and smart electronics.

And finally, a digital riser shows commitment to entrepreneurship, with many following the example of China’s government, which has made it a focal point of the ‘Chinese Dream’.

The Digital Riser Report was published for the first time this year, and will now be distributed annually, so it will be interesting to see if any of the countries that ranked low this year will rise up in 2021.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Malaysia

Malaysia is an exciting emerging market in the cloud and data center industry, but how can you tap into this lucrative market?

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Singapore to be regional hub for Tencent after US and India setbacks

Tencent, China’s largest social media and gaming company, has picked Singapore as its beachhead for Asia, joining rivals Alibaba and ByteDance in setting up a Southeast Asia hub.

The decision has come after setbacks in the USA and India where products and companies from China are being banned from doing business.

According to people familiar with the matter, management at Tencent had reportedly been discussing Singapore as a potential regional hub and shifting business operations like international game publishing outside of China after geopolitical tensions accelerated their plans.

Tencent said in a statement that it will open a new Singapore office, in addition to their current ones in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to support their growing business in Southeast Asia and beyond.

The tech giant is recruiting for various positions, including tech and business development, cross-border commerce, cloud computing and e-sports.

Political tensions causing technical difficulties

Tencent’s decision to expand in Southeast Asia comes in the face of US President Donald Trump imposing bans on American companies dealing with Tencent’s super-app WeChat from September 20, much like the ban on TikTok in the country. 

Meanwhile, in India, Tencent’s hit games PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor were banned in India, leading to PUBG Corporation cutting ties with Tencent in India.

But Tencent is not alone in this predicament. 

Rising border tensions has prompted the Indian government to ban 118 Chinese apps, including top social media platforms and applications like Helo, Alipay, and Baidu due to security concerns. Many of these apps are operated by the largest Chinese internet companies like Tencent, ByteDance and Ant Financial. 

Across the Pacific, the White House has led a campaign against Chinese technology giants from Huawei to ByteDance, alleging that these companies are collecting American user data for Beijing, a claim several firms have denied.

Why Singapore?

China’s tech behemoths are increasingly turning to Southeast Asia, with its 650 million increasingly smartphone-savvy population, in the face of growing hostility from the US and other major markets.

Singapore is particularly attractive as a regional base for tech companies across the world, with its advanced financial system, low tax, sophisticated digital infrastructure and highly educated workforce.

Amidst rising tensions between the economic powerhouses of the USA and China, Singapore has sought to remain neutral, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledging last year to remain “good friends” with both countries.

For Tencent, this venture into Southeast Asia will be a slightly newer experience, as the dominant entertainment provider has largely run its operations out of Shenzhen, though it does store some user data in Singapore.

Tencent also announced a new digitalisation strategy to boost economic recovery in the post-pandemic era, which could be brought with it to Singapore.

“We will become a ‘digital assistant’ that facilitates a transformation and upgrade for all industries and walks of life. Together we can build an open, innovative and secure ecosystem,” said Pony Ma, the Chairman and CEO of Tencent.

Tencent will invest US$1.4 billion (RMB10 billion) to assist SMEs and provide them with 100 Software-as-a-Service solutions as well as 100 training courses by collaborating with 100 partners to tailor the solutions for each enterprise customer.

“Industries that embrace digitalisation will develop and evolve into mutually beneficial ecosystems,” said Dowson Tong, the Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent and President of the Cloud and Smart Industries Group.

As for Tencent’s competitors, ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, was said to be planning to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds in Singapore as part of its global expansion strategy. It has also applied for a digital banking license from the city-state’s central bank, alongside Alibaba-backed Ant Group and Tencent-backed Sea Ltd.

Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, has also made significant investments in Singapore by taking full control of local e-commerce platform Lazada for US$4 billion, buying half of Singapore’s AXA Tower for US$1.2 billion, and just this week, Bloomberg reported that the tech giant is looking to invest US$3 billion in Singapore’s ride-hailing giant, Grab.

With the city-state seeing an influx of foreign investments from tech companies in recent years, it appears that Singapore’s approach has served the nation’s interests well.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

Singapore has one of the most dominant tech industries in Asia, with advancements happening almost daily.

So, what can you expect from a hub market, the downstream opportunities to the edge markets, and the innovation of technology in the space of Cloud Computing, connectivity, cybersecurity and data centers?

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Singapore’s Mapletree to buy another US data center for up to $262m

If the 14 data centers bought by Singapore’s Mapletree Industrial Trust wasn’t enough, the real estate investment trust has agreed to buy another US data center for up to $262 million.

The acquisition of the Virginia-based data center is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, Mapletree said in a statement.

The data center is fully leased on a triple net lease basis, meaning that the tenant is responsible for the maintenance and insurance costs of the facility as well as certain property-related taxes.

The tenant is said to be a ‘multinational company with a strong credit standing’, which has a lease term of more than five years.

The data center was valued by Cushman & Wakefield at between US$205 million (S$278.8 million) and US$266 million (S$361.8 million). Under the agreement, Mapletree will purchase the property for between US$200.6 million (S$272.8 million) and US$262.1 million (S$356.5 million).

The acquisition is in line with Mapletree’s investment strategy to acquire data centers globally beyond Singapore, as the Trust expects global demand for insourced and outsourced data centers to grow at an annual rate of 2.2%.

Cloud computing is also predicted to grow at a CAGR of 14% until 2024, with an accelerated growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided favourable tailwinds for the data centre segment,” said Mapletree.

The Trust has seen strong leasing demand for data center space from content, social media, e-payment, Software-as-a-Service and other information technology firms during the pandemic. Mapletree also justified their strategy by recognising that data centers were seen as essential infrastructure throughout the pandemic.

Upon completion of the sale, Mapletree’s assets under management will increase from US$4.8 billion (S$6.6 billion) as of 30 June 2020 to $5.06 billion (S$6.9 billion).

The Trust’s data center portfolio accounting for their total assets will rise from 38.5% as of 30 June 2020 to 41%, with 35% of its data centers located in North America.

Back in August 2020, Mapletree sold their Singapore data center to Equinix for US$91.2 million (S$125 million), which gave Mapletree the ability to fund other investments, reduce existing debt or make distributions to unit holders.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

Singapore has one of the most dominant tech industries in Asia, with advancements happening almost daily.

So, what can you expect from a hub market, the downstream opportunities to the edge markets, and the innovation of technology in the space of Cloud Computing, connectivity, cybersecurity and data centers?

Register now to explore what the future holds for cloud and data centers in Singapore at our Digital Summit

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Singapore’s Mapletree to buy another US data center for up to $262m

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Stuart Crowley

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Google sets unprecedented goal to power data centers with 100% renewable energy by 2030

Google announced on Monday 14 September it will aim to power all of its data centers and offices with 100% renewable energy by 2030.

The new goal has positioned the tech giant as the biggest company in the world to commit to ditching coal and natural gas power, according to Reuters

“The problem is so immense, many of us need to lead the way and show solutions. We’re one small player in this but we can set an example,” said Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Google will be forced to move beyond the tech industry norms of offsetting carbon emissions from electricity use, requiring technological and political breakthroughs to achieve this stretch goal. But Mr. Pichai is confident they will reach it by 2030, but declined to share the cost of achieving the goal.

“To plan 24/7 hourly being carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see an enormous logistics challenge, which is why we’ve been hard at work modeling the last year how to get there,” Mr. Pichai said.

Wildfires burning a record area in the western United States this month have increased public awareness of climate change, Pichai said, and Google wants to bring further attention through its new goal as well as product features.

Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61% of Google’s global hourly electricity usage last year, but in Singapore, only 3% was fulfilled by carbon-free sources.

But Google has grown optimistic that it can bridge the renewable energy gap with batteries to store solar power overnight, emerging sources such as geothermal reservoirs and better management of power needs.

Rivals, Microsoft and Amazon, have also targeted removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the coming decades, but none of them have publicly set a goal to stop sourcing carbon-based energy.

But the companies share a common goal of encouraging businesses and governments to curb climate pollution before 2030, when scientists say global warming could become catastrophic if unchecked.

Jennifer Layke, global director at research group World Resources Institute, which has received Google funding, said the company inspired others in the United States and Europe over the last decade. However, Google efforts must now spur action in crucial polluting regions such as China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, where Google has just opened a new cloud region.

“If we can’t shift from carbon, we will suffer the firestorms and the droughts,” Ms. Layke said.

Google has been carbon-neutral since 2007, meaning it has planted trees, bought carbon credits and funded large amounts of wind power in places where it is abundant to offset its tapping of coal and natural gas power in other regions. It also said that its estimated one million metric tons of emissions between 2006 and its 1998 launch now have been offset.

Google has introduced new goals, including a plan to bring five gigawatts of renewable energy near some suppliers, funding tree planting beyond its offset needs and sharing data or forging partnerships with 500 governments around the world to try to cut one gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030.

Google said it would continue to offset carbon emissions unrelated to electricity use, such as from employee travel.

Its carbon-free electricity goal satisfies one demand of 2,000 Google employees who last November petitioned the company to stop selling data storage and other cloud computing tools to oil companies.

Pichai said the company would continue to ‘support everyone’ with its cloud services and help oil and gas companies transition to tapping other sources.

Google also recently announced new plans to build their third data center in Taiwan, but plans to use renewable energy sources have not been confirmed.

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Discover the future of data center sustainability

Just as data centers transformed the power of computing, so is sustainability transforming the power of data centers.

Sustainable design will impact professionals in all sectors of the industry—from colocation providers to hyperscalers to end users—so register today and join the conversation!

Join the Schneider Electric team for a power hour discussion of the latest insights, groundbreaking solutions and best practices for building a sustainable future in a more electric world.

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Microsoft Vs. Sony: Xbox cloud gaming to launch tomorrow

Microsoft is set to launch its Xbox cloud gaming service tomorrow across 22 countries, including the US, Canada, South Korea and more in Europe.

With the promise to empower gaming anywhere on any device, the new service is a major drive to attract less competitive, casual gamers.

Low latency up in the air

Content is king for gaming, which is why a games library is key for cloud gaming success.  Subscribers will be able to play more than 150 games, including hit titles like “Sea of Thieves” and “Gears 5” via the cloud on Xbox consoles, Android (not Apple) devices and PCs. 

But with the games running completely on the cloud, it will be crucial to have digital infrastructures that ensure fast Internet connections, low latency and lag for the best user experience.

“We built this experience so that it requires as little bandwidth as possible,” said Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s Head of Cloud Gaming. 

Microsoft is working with Internet Service Providers around the world to ensure strong connectivity between gamers through their Azure data centers.

In South Korea, Microsoft partnered with SK Telecom to enable the cloud gaming technology through their leading 5G technology, which is predicted to be a significant driver in speeding up cloud gaming adoption – even Globe Telecom in the Philippines is getting in on the action by successfully testing their 5G technology for cloud gaming.

Analysts are expecting demand for immersive experiences through better sound and graphics to drive sales of next-generation consoles released by Microsoft and Sony this year, which are predicted to be released in time for the highly competitive Christmas period.

According to Guilherme Fernandes, an Analyst at gaming analysis firm Newzoo, Cloud gaming revenue is expected to grow to $4.8 billion by 2023, with nearly $600 million this year.

Sony already provides a cloud gaming service on Playstation Now, but this is not yet available on mobile devices.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many into their homes, leading to a huge uptake in gaming to pass the time, Microsoft is banking on offering users many ways to play through the cloud service and consoles at different price points to give it an edge.

The Xbox Game Pass service currently has more than 10 million members. More countries are slated to get the Xbox cloud gaming service at a later date, though specific details have not been given at this time.

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How will cloud gaming impact the future of game design?

As we discovered in W.Media’s first GameTech digital event, our speakers from Tencent Cloud and OVHcloud revealed the critical importance of IT infrastructure and edge data centers in enabling a cloud gaming future with almost zero latency and lag.

In our next GameTech digital event on Tuesday 27 October, we will focus on how cloud infrastructures and cloud gaming will transform the way games are designed.

Register now to explore how we can work together to create your next favourite game on the cloud!

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

ByteDance drops TikTok US sale, rejects Microsoft bid, partners with Oracle

Oracle is set to the “trusted technology partner” for TikTok after ByteDance abandoned the sale of its US assets and rejected a bid by Microsoft.

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, hopes the partnership will spare the social network from being banned in the United States.

In a statement on Sunday 13 September, Microsoft said: “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests.”

TikTok data Born in the USA to be Living in America

Microsoft said they would have made significant changes to TikTok in order to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation. This would have included localising all American data in the United States and deleting the data from servers outside of the country.

“We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” the statement added.

Under the proposed deal, Oracle will assume management of TikTok’s user data in the States, which is currently stored in Google Cloud. Oracle is said to be still negotiating the acquisition of a stake in TikTok’s US operations, Reuters reported.

“User data protection and assurances around how the company’s algorithms push content to US users are thoughtful components of a substantive solution, but whether they can change political outcomes is a much more difficult question,” said John Kabealo, a regulatory lawyer uninvolved in the deal discussion.

In order to enable the deal to go ahead with Oracle’s third-party oversight of TikTok data, ByteDance will argue that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ approval of China Oceanwide Holdings Group’s purchase of US insurer Genworth Financial offers a precedent.

Trump Approved

Beijing-based ByteDance had been in talks to divest TikTok’s US business to either Oracle or a consortium led by Microsoft after President Donald Trump ordered the sale last month and threatened to shut down the popular app in the country.

Trump signed two executive orders last month targeting TikTok and ByteDance, including one to ban US companies from transacting with them to come into effect on September 20, and another requiring ByteDance to sell TikTok by November 12.

President Trump was believed to be in favour of Oracle’s bid back in August, but it is still unclear whether he will approve the deal. If he does agree, then he must rescind his order calling for TikTok to be divested.

During an August press conference, President Trump said: “I think Oracle is a great company, and I think its owner is a tremendous guy. He’s a tremendous person. I think that Oracle would certainly be somebody that could handle it.”

However, sale talks stalled, as China issued new export control rules last month that would bar TikTok from transferring its algorithm to a foreign buyer without explicit permission from the Chinese government. 

Reuters reported last week that the Chinese government would rather shut down TikTok in the United States than let it be part of a forced sale, as it would make ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing that the United States was abusing the concept of national security, and urged it to stop oppressing foreign companies.

But ByteDance could still press ahead with a sale without approval from China’s Commerce Ministry if they sell the assets without key algorithms.

Retail giant Walmart, which had joined Microsoft in its bid, said on Sunday it is still interested in investing in TikTok, and that it would have further discussions with ByteDance’s leadership and other interested parties.

“We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns,” Walmart said.

Jeffrey Towson, Professor of Investment at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, said Oracle’s deal was ‘bad news for Walmart more than anyone else’ since this has hampered their plan to catch up with Amazon as an entertainment giant.

Some of ByteDance’s top backers, including investment firms General Atlantic and Sequoia, will also be given minority stakes in TikTok’s US operations, Reuters reported.

Amidst recent setbacks in India, Britain, and the US, ByteDance has been ploughing ahead with plans to take its social media services deeper into Asia. It is reportedly planning to make Singapore its beachhead for the rest of Asia, with plans to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds in Singapore over the next three years.

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ByteDance drops TikTok US sale, rejects Microsoft bid, partners with Oracle

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Nicole Ong

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NVIDIA buys chip designer Arm from SoftBank for record $40 billion

NVIDIA has agreed to buy chip designer Arm from SoftBank in a record US$40 billion deal. The purchase could reshape the highly competitive semiconductor and data center landscape.

By combining the American multinational technology company and the British chip designer together, NVIDIA will target the age of artificial intelligence by accelerating innovation and expanding into high-growth markets.

“Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education,” said Simon Segars, the CEO of Arm.

NVIDIA will utilise Arm’s CPU ecosystem to advance computing in cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars, robotics and edge computing. Arm’s designs have also started to play a larger role in the data center chip market through Amazon’s cloud industry and a number of startups, posing as competition to Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices.

NVIDIA will reportedly pay SoftBank US$21.5 billion in shares and US$12 billion in cash as well as a possible US$5 billion in cash or shares depending on Arm’s business performance. 

SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company, will remain committed to Arm’s long-term success through its stake in NVIDIA, which is expected to be between 6.7% and 8.1%.

“This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time,” said Masayoshi Son, the Chairman and CEO of SoftBank.

After acquiring Arm for US$32 billion four years ago, the sale marks an early exit for SoftBank. A source told Reuters that SoftBank have held early stage talks about taking the Japanese technology group private, which could gain momentum after the sale of Arm.

While Arm has long been a neutral technology vendor of its chip architecture to Apple, Samsung, Amazon and other portable device providers, the sale will put these licenses under the control of a single player in the semiconductor market.

With the deal’s potential to cause unfair advantages over other licensees and conflicts of interest, NVIDIA’s Founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, assured that the neutral licensing model by Arm will be retained, and NVIDIA’s GPU and AI intellectual property will be licensed out for the very first time.

“Arm’s business model is brilliant. We will maintain its open-licensing model and customer neutrality, serving customers in any industry, across the world,” said Mr. Huang.

On top of this, NVIDIA will establish a new global center of excellence in AI research at Arm’s Cambridge campus in the United Kingdom by investing in an Arm-powered AI supercomputer, training facilities for developers and a startup incubator.

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time … trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today’s internet-of-people,” said Mr. Huang.

Powered by computing chips, AI supercomputers can write software, scale up workloads and reduce the time required to complete a task.

“While AI began in the data center, it is moving quickly to the edge … where smart sensors connected to AI computers can speed checkouts, direct forklifts, orchestrate traffic, and save power,” said NVIDIA in a statement, comparing the new research facility to a a Hadron collider or Hubble telescope for artificial intelligence.

NVIDIA predicted ‘there will be trillions of these small autonomous computers powered by AI, connected by massively powerful cloud data centers in every corner of the world’.

This signifies NVIDIA’s move to push beyond the data center and into the edge, which could continue their success in data center sales, which surpassed NVIDIA’s gaming revenue for the first time in August 2020.

“The computing unit is an entire data center now. We believe that the future computer company is a data center-scale company,” said Mr. Huang.

In April, NVIDIA completed its purchase of Israel-based Mellanox, which makes high-speed networking technology used in data centers and supercomputers.

The deal between NVIDIA, SoftBank and Arm is expected to close in approximately 18 months following regulatory approvals in Britain, the European Union, United States and China.

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NVIDIA buys chip designer Arm from SoftBank for record $40 billion

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Microsoft awards Enfrasys for digital transformation efforts in Malaysia during pandemic

When Malaysia enforced a month-long Movement Control Order in June, many enterprises were hit hard, but tech company Enfrasys Consulting was one of the few that prospered.

As Malaysians began to work remotely by the time the country entered lockdown, problems arose. Businesses needed to upgrade existing softwares, and organisations that were underprepared became vulnerable to cybercrime.

This is where Enfrasys stepped in. During the MCO, the company worked closely with organisations under Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance and in the financial services industry. 

As a partner of Microsoft, Enfrasys introduced clients to new tools such as Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft Azure Advanced Threat Protection and Microsoft Cloud App Security that provided efficiency and security in the workplace. 

In recognition of their digital transformation efforts and their outstanding year-on-year business growth of 138.6%, Microsoft awarded Enfrasys with the title of Microsoft Partner of the Year for Malaysia.

“Winning the Microsoft Partner of the Year award for Malaysia is an incredible accomplishment for us, and we remain committed as always, to empowering Malaysian businesses and accelerating digitalization in the country,” said Beh Chor How, Managing Director of Enfrasys.

Enfrasys also made commendable progress in cloud computing and automation.The homegrown tech company in Malaysia introduced Azure CycleCloud and Azure Arc to promote hybrid cloud, boost the scalability of data servers and enhance computational power.

“These partners go above and beyond, delivering timely solutions that solve the complex challenges that businesses around the world face,” said Gavriella Schuster, the Corporate Vice President for One Commercial Partner at Microsoft.

This is the second time that Enfrasys has been awarded Partner of the Year. The first was in 2018.

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Microsoft awards Enfrasys for digital transformation efforts in Malaysia during pandemic

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Jie Yee Ong

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NTT looks to the cloud to digitally transform businesses in Thailand

NTT has announced its business direction to deliver cloud services to help businesses in Thailand accelerate their digital transformation.

The global technology services provider will implement its Digital Solution, Managed Service, and Intelligent Cybersecurity as part of its key strategy to penetrate the Thailand market along with a new Client Experience Center to showcase their innovations from across the world.

“It’s now a crucial time for digital transformation and we see that technology is a crucial part to help businesses achieve the goal, differentiate themselves from competitors, and develop in-depth information to generate higher incomes and profits,” said Sutas Kongdumrongkiat, the CEO for NTT in Thailand.

NTT predicts the cloud market in Thailand shows high potential, as demand and growth continues in the country, giving the country the opportunity to leapfrog more mature economies due to improvements in connectivity and data center risk.

“We think from now on, the use of the cloud in Thailand will grow higher. And it is expected that the total market value of the cloud in Thailand will continue to grow,” added Mr. Kongdumrongkiat.

And NTT might be right as the Government approved a US$146.6 million state cloud, AWS has expanded their services in the country and cloud computing may generate more than 24,000 jobs in Thailand.

The solutions NTT will aim to provide Thailand with data center interconnectivity across the world through their SD-WAN solution, a cloud system to ensure stable and fast connections and a cybersecurity system to remain safe from cyberthreats and compliant in protecting data.

NTT’s new 393 square meter Client Experience Center located on 17th Floor, Column Tower in Bangkok will also showcase innovations, including advanced digital technology used in the Tour de France, a Robotic Process Automation system, and Realwear – the wearable voice operated Android computer.

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NTT looks to the cloud to digitally transform businesses in Thailand

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TikTok owner ByteDance to invest billions in Singapore, but new data center reports untrue

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is reportedly planning to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds in Singapore as part of its global expansion, according to people familiar with the matter.

However, contrary to reports by Bloomberg, plans by ByteDance to set up a new data center in Singapore is untrue, a source said to Reuters.

The source also said that the Beijing-based firm has ‘stepped up the purchase of cloud computing servers in Singapore to backup data based in the US for contingency in the event of an incident.

The investment by ByteDance is expected to span over the next three years, coming at a time when the Chinese multinational internet technology company is being forced to sell their US operations of the hugely popular social networking service, TikTok. 

But it is unlikely they will meet the deadline of September 20 to sell their assets imposed by President Donald Trump, as new Chinese regulations have complicated negotiations with bidders Microsoft and Oracle.

Southeast Asia is a primary target for Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, as the region has 650 million smartphone-savvy population where competitors Alibaba and Tencent are making significant inroads.

“Singapore is highly attractive to tech firms looking for a hub to address the Southeast Asian markets due to geographic proximity. The workforce is highly educated, tech savvy and multilingual,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling.

ByteDance, the world’s most richly valued startup, currently has more than 200 job openings and 400 current employees in Singapore. And a company source reported to Reuters that TikTok had started to move some of its engineers from China to Singapore this year.

In other news, Chindata Group, a carrier-neutral hyperscale data center solution provider in Asia Pacific, confirmed on 9 September 2020 it will publicly file an initial public offering in the United States of America. 

In the filing, ByteDance accounted for 68.2% and 81.6% of Chindata’s total revenues in 2019 and for the first six months of June respectively. In 2019, the revenue from ByteDance was at US$82.3 million, and in the first six months of 2020 along, ByteDance accounted for US$93.6 million of Chindata’s revenue.

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Vietnam’s TPBank says goodbye to legacy technology to become digital-first with Backbase

Vietnam’s Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has joined forces to accelerate their digital transformation and say goodbye to their legacy banking systems with the help of Backbase.

Backbase, a Netherlands-based digital banking software provider, transitioned TPBank to an omni-channel digital platform, enabling agility and scalability for the next generation of digital banking where a cashless society could be made possible.

“Technology is the critical driver in transforming our bank and ensuring we stay ahead of the competition in the next digital banking revolution,” said Nguyen Hung, the CEO of TPBank.

The birth of a digital bank in nine months

The bank transformed its decade-old mobile and Internet banking system in nine months, migrating nearly three million customers to the new platform.

“Now more so than ever, banks need to respond swiftly to greater customer expectations while implementing digital transformation with minimal disruptions to remain competitive in the current marketplace,” said Riddhi Dutta, the Regional Head for ASEAN and India at Backbase.

Backbase’s digital banking architecture runs either on-premise, in a Platform-as-a-Service setup or fully cloud native.

“Legacy channels and outdated core systems are cumbersome and one of the factors which hinders banks from scaling at a pace that keeps up with evolving customer demands,” added Mr. Dutta.

Thanks to their work with Backbase, TPBank saw success in its digital transformation efforts by being recognised as the ‘Best Digital Bank’ at the The Asian Banker Vietnam Country Awards 2020.

Elsewhere in the banking industry, India’s largest bank introduced digitally transformed their payment system to 440 million customers using ACI architecture and DBS Bank in Singapore joined forces with AWS to digitally transform 3,000 staff with AI training.

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Equinix suffers ransomware attack, data centers fully operational

Equinix is investigating a security incident involving ransomware, the world’s largest data center and colocation provider said in a statement on Wednesday 9 September.

Their teams took immediate action to address the cyberattack by contacting law enforcement.

“Our data centers and service offerings, including managed services, remain fully operational, and the incident has not affected our ability to support our customers,” said Equinix.

As most of their customers operate their own equipment within Equinix data centers, this attack is said to have had no impact on equipment or data.

“The security of the data in our systems is always a top priority and we intend to take all necessary actions, as appropriate, based on the results of our investigation,” the statement reported.

Equinix has promised to provide any more updates as it becomes available.

Earlier this month, cybersecurity specialists Trend Micro revealed your on-premise and cloud servers could be compromised by criminals using cryptocurrency mining software.

And while your servers are sitting idle, criminals may be monetising your assets whilst plotting larger money-making schemes like extracting valuable data, selling server access for further abuse or preparing dangerous ransomware attacks.

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What is the weakest link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

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VMWare upgrades cloud solutions in the Philippines to support businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 infection numbers continue to fluctuate and lockdowns put a strain on businesses in the Philippines, VMWare has introduced a series of new work-from-home cloud solutions to provide support during the pandemic.

The new innovations come at a time when the Philippines is adapting to a mobile and digital-first economy in order to cope with the evolving situation.

“In this new normal, customers need employees who are able to work seamlessly in a secure environment, anywhere, anytime,” said Walter So, the Country Manager of VMware Philippines.

Since the COVID-19 numbers began to rise, at least 100 establishments in the country and more than 10,000 employees across education, retail and commerce have benefited from VMWare’s Workspace ONE remote working solutions.

Adding to the solution, a number of new features have been announced to provide employees with more secure digital workspaces across any devices, which is becoming increasingly important as cyberattacks are becoming more common during the pandemic.

“Whether it is for work-from-home, on cloud or on security, all these solutions are relevant for all sectors,” said Sanjay K. Deshmukh, VMWare’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia and Korea.

The US-based cloud solutions company also announced VMWare SD-WAN by VevoCloud, a new cloud solution that would provide businesses with increased bandwidth. This means that businesses would be able to access cloud services and private data centers at greater speeds, enabling enhanced network scalability.

In partnership with Google Cloud and AWS, VMWare has expanded its access and lowered the costs of migration to their solutions for businesses in the Philippines by delivering the full stack of software on the cloud giants’ engines.

“In the past few months, [our partners] have helped to set up remote working capabilities, architect cloud and app infrastructure, and deploy intrinsic security solutions for many in a matter of weeks, and sometimes sooner,” said Mr. So.

VMWare’s new innovations will be delivered through their partner ecosystem across the Philippines.

“We are extremely grateful for their tireless efforts,” added Mr. So.

To upgrade security measures, VMWare introduced Carbon Black Cloud, a cloud native endpoint protection platform that would allow IT teams to detect, respond and prevent malware threats in real-time.

Following reports earlier in the year that VMWare vRealize Automation Cloud Service had been released in Singapore, the service is now available in the Philippines, too.

Some of the top companies in the Philippines are using VMWare’s cloud solutions, including local telecommunications giant Globe Telecommunications, Metrobank, the country’s second largest bank as well as Integrated Computer Systems, AMTI, MDi and VST ECS Phils Inc.

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New Microsoft partnership and cloud solutions: 4 biggest announcements from Nutanix global conference

Nutanix, a leader in enterprise cloud computing, has revealed a number of major announcements at its .NEXT Conference, including new strides in its partnerships and multicloud and hybrid cloud service offerings.

1. Nutanix partners with Microsoft Azure

Nutanix released the news they will be working with Microsoft Azure on a partnership that will allow a seamless delivery of hybrid and multicloud solutions, bringing about increased agility and unified management across on-premises and Azure environments using Nutanix Clusters.

“We know customers are looking for solutions to truly, and simply, advance their cloud journey. This partnership helps us deliver a single software stack across public and private clouds,” said Tarkan Maner, the Chief Commercial Officer at Nutanix.

As part of this collaboration, users on Nutanix Cluster will be provided with a security upgrade along with the option to deploy and manage Microsoft’s cloud computing platform from Nutanix Cluster’s management interface. 

“Many companies face complexities when managing hybrid cloud environments across private and public clouds,” said Scott Guthrie, the Executive Vice President for Cloud and AI at Microsoft Corporation.

With the aim of streamlining these processes, customers will be empowered with the ability to manage servers, containers, and data services on Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure software (HCI), on-premise or in Azure through the Azure Arc control plane using Kubernetes.

“I envision this hybrid cloud solution will accelerate our teams’ ability to try new innovative ideas and bring them to our customers, by increasing agility, scalability and reliability while reducing risk,” said Ken Shaffer, AVP Technology at CarMax.

An improved sales and support experience is also part of the deal. Nutanix customers will be able to port their existing term licenses to Nutanix Clusters on Azure or get on-demand consumption of Nutanix software through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace; while Microsoft Azure customers will be able to use their existing Azure credits to purchase Nutanix software.

The flexibility of solutions makes unified hybrid cloud an appealing option for organisations where technology is critical for their daily operations.

“At United Network for Organ Sharing, technology is vital in support of our mission. Technology makes it possible to match life-saving donor organs to transplant candidates,” said Tiwan Nicholson, the Director of IT Service Operations at the United Network for Organ Sharing.

A unified hybrid cloud solution was ideal for the United Network for Organ Sharing by bridging private and public clouds to create a reliable, scalable and flexible IT infrastructure.

2. Nutanix launches a new Kubernetes multicloud PaaS

And on the topic of Kubernetes, Nutanix announced a new multicloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) based on open-source system.

The service, known as Karbon Platform Services, is designed to accelerate the deployment and development of microservices-based applications like Grab, Netflix and Amazon across any cloud platform.

“IT resources are the engines that power digital enterprises. But as a company scales, adopts hybrid cloud, and manages an increasing number of applications, supporting engineering needs can be challenging for IT,” said Rajiv Mirani, the CTO at Nutanix.

The offering provides a turnkey managed services experience along with automated security and multi-tenancy​ for software developers looking to build cloud native apps whilst decoupling them from underlying infrastructures.

“We were looking for a single PaaS platform that could host our Reflex and Vision Insights on both the edge and in our private cloud, to take advantage of both a distributed architecture as well as support software development and machine training on the public cloud,” said Damien Pasquinelli, the CTO at Hardis Group.

With IT resources being the engine that powers digital enterprises, the infrastructures need to keep up with businesses scaling up and adopting new technologies without compromising their ability to manage data, applications, and IT resources simply and effectively. 

In a statement by Nutanix, the company identified Kubernetes as a rapidly evolving ecosystem of cloud native technologies that brings with it difficulties to implement without extensive technical resources.

“The complexities of Kubernetes and multicloud infrastructure management can not only overwhelm IT operations teams, but also limit the resources and tooling available to modern application software developers,”  said Bob Laliberte, the Practice Director and Senior Analyst at ESG Research.

A recent survey by ESG revealed that 70% of customers prefer a combination of public cloud and private data centers for containerised applications, making flexible multicloud solutions ideal.

Nutanix’s Karbon Platform Services represents a significant milestone for the company, as it looks to expand offerings aimed at accelerating enterprises’ cloud native journeys and simplifying application lifecycles.

3. New major HCI software capabilities

During their NEXT Conference, Nutanix also announced enhanced capabilities in its existing HCI software by extending its stack to the public cloud.

“HCI has become the standard for powering modern private clouds … Today’s announcement highlights Nutanix’s commitment to innovation to meet emerging customer requirements and further disrupt the industry status quo,” said Nutanix in a statement.

By utilising the latest storage technology, including NVMe based SSDs and Intel Optane SSDs, customers are purported to be able to reduce latency and power up workload performance by 50%.

“The advanced performance capabilities … will deliver our joint customers with the HCI solutions they need to support their most intensive applications, allowing them to more readily innovate and develop new business models,” said Chris Tobias, the General Manager for Optane Solutions Division at Intel.

On top of this, the new HCI improvements will support the increasingly common Zero-Trust security strategies through Nutanix’s Flow Security Central.

Rather than automatically trusting users, these strategies require granular network policy controls and the ability to monitor and update those controls in real-time to verify all that attempt to connect to a system.

However, many organisations struggle with application visibility and unified security management, according to Nutanix. To solve this, Security Central aims to provide a security hub for greater network visibility that can help IT teams assess the overall security of their deployments.

On top of that, Nutanix has made significant investments in research and development of their core software, with Flow Networking to simplify the creation of software-defined networks that connect apps running in private data centers and in the public cloud as well as Prism Ultimate, a solution used to troubleshoot application-related infrastructure bottlenecks and resource consumption visibility.

4. A New Global Partner Multicloud Program

To bring together all of Nutanix’s partner ecosystems for the very first time and further enable innovation using the above solutions, Nutanix launched its new global partner program known as Elevate.

Through a significant double-digit increase in investment by Nutanix, their partners, from service providers, telcos, hypersales and vendors, will come under one integrated architecture using a consistent set of tools, resources and marketing platforms.

“Our vision has always been about simplicity, from the technology we innovate to the way we do business, and Elevate will deliver that vision to the entire partner ecosystem – enabling them to leverage market shifts toward subscription-based, multi-product, multicloud delivery of IT for their customers,” said Christian Alvarez, Nutanix’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels.

Nutanix partners include Berca in Indonesia, CTC Global in Malaysia, Questronix Corp in the Philippines, StarHub in Singapore, Fujitsu in Thailand, and Terralogic in Vietnam.

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India’s largest bank introduces digitally transformed payment system to 440 million customers using ACI architecture

India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI) has introduced a new payment system to its 440 million customers.

The bank adopted ACI Worldwide’s open service-oriented, cloud-based architecture to enable SBI’s network of over 58,000 ATMs in acquiring Visa, Mastercard and RuPay cards. 

On top of that, ATM networks can now manage ATM and point-of-sale authorisations.

“Size need not restrict adaptability and agility, which will be critical to meeting more than 440 million customers’ needs in the years ahead while staying ahead of security and regulatory requirements,” said Kaushik Roy, the Vice President and South Asia Country Leader of ACI Worldwide.

With 22,000 branches in India and a presence in 32 countries around the world, one would expect the migration process to be challenging, but Dhananjay Tambe, the Deputy Managing Director and CIO for the State Bank of India said it was seamless with minimised risk, downtime and impact for customers.

The SBI sees over 30 million transactions per day. Such an upgrade would thus enable the processing of higher transaction volumes.

To achieve this, ACI collaborated closely with SBI, implementing code consolidation and technology upgrades using public cloud or through ACI’s private cloud.

In addition to payment infrastructure upgrades, SBI will also be mitigating fraud and tightening its payment protection with ACI’s fraud management solution for debit cards, mobile banking, internet banking, pre-paid and UPI payments.

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What does the future hold for India’s data center market?

The need for data centers in India is growing exponentially, as data consumption by half a billion digital users is reaching unprecedented levels.

But how can you tap into this exciting market? And what is the best practice for data center operators and cloud service providers in the country?

Stay tuned for more fascinating webinars taking a deep dive into the data center and cloud markets in India!

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NTT helps 1,000 employees at Indonesia’s WOM Finance move to the cloud with Google’s G Suite

Indonesia’s Wahana Ottomitra Multiartha (WOM Finance) has successfully migrated to Google’s cloud-native platform G Suites with the help of NTT.

The global technology services provider NTT helped more than 1,000 employees at the Jakarta-based financial services provider move from their legacy mail server to G Suite within a month to accelerate their access to intelligent cloud-based apps. This signals the company’s commitment to implementing digital transformation in the workplace. 

“By going digital, we can make faster decisions in a safe and secure manner that will translate into better customer experience,” said Anthony Y. Panggabean, Director of WOM Finance.

Prior to the transition, WOM Finance’s daily operations were restricted by a mail server that was unable to handle scaling up to meet growing business demands. The lack of a centralised communications platform also meant that correspondence between employees were carried out independently “without explicit IT department approval”.

With Google G Suites being introduced to the workplace, WOM Finance’s business activities are now condensed in a single platform. 

Felix Priscellius, IT Division Head for WOM Finance, said they have experienced cost savings, less downtime and greater security, enabling them to scale up as quickly as the business grows.

In a time where remote and mobile-first working environments are more common than ever, WOM Finance’s digital transformation is a prime example of how cloud-based technologies are being adopted at a rapid pace with the help of cloud-based experts.

“We are truly excited about empowering WOM Finance on their workplace transformation journey to discover more dynamic ways to collaborate securely,” said Hendra Lesmana, the CEO for NTT Indonesia Solutions.

NTT has made many strides this year to expand their digital footprint and strengthen their cloud strategies through partnerships with Megaport and Microsoft.

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Chinese hyperscale data center operator Chindata confirms public offering in USA

Following reports last week, Chindata Group has confirmed on 9 September 2020 it will publicly file an initial public offering in the United States of America.

The number of American Depositary Shares and price range of the offering has not been determined, but it is speculated that the carrier-neutral hyperscale data center solution provider in Asia Pacific will look to raise US$400 million.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. will act as joint bookrunners when Chindata Group goes live on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ‘CD’.

The fifth largest Chinese IPO in the US this year

According to unnamed sources close to the Bain Capital-backed hyperscale data center operator, the firm plans to be publicly listed as early as the third quarter of 2020.

As a result, the market value of Chindata is forecast to reach US$3 to US$4 billion as long as the IPO proceeds.

The decision to list in the US as opposed to Hong Kong was made because fellow Chinese data center owners 21Vianet and GDS Holdings saw success in the NASDAQ stock exchange, with a 209% and 106% respective jump in performance in the last year. 21Vianet also raised US$353 million last week in a follow-on offering.

With a target of US$400 million, the listing in New York is expected to be the fifth largest Chinese IPO this year, suggests Refinitive data. The data also identifies Chindata as the 20th Chinese company to list in the US in 2020, despite threats of delisting and geopolitical tensions between the US and China.

So far this year, even with the economically devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the 19 current Chinese IPOs have raised US$6.96 billion, which is more than double the US$3.42 billion raised in 2019.

This Chindata public offering will be filed by submitting a registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s SK Holdings reportedly paid US$300 million for an 8.9% share in Chindata Group. And in 2019, Bain Capital acquired the Group with US$570 million in strategic financing, valuing Chindata at US$3.1 billion.

Chindata Group also merged with Bridge Data Centres to continue hyperscale expansion plans into China, Malaysia and India.

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Is India ready for a hybrid cloud future?

Multinational tech company IBM published its September report on hybrid cloud market in India, revealing that the country’s businesses are ready to embrace hybrid cloud driven growth. 

IBM projects that spending on cloud systems in India will increase by 49% in 2023. But currently only 20% of organisations have moved their workloads to the cloud, despite 90% of global companies adopting a form of the technology.

What is hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud is essentially a combination of public cloud and private cloud systems, allowing data to be shared between them. Using a hybrid cloud system accelerates key business operations by harnessing data for improved decision making, enhanced process automation and higher cost efficiency.

IBM estimates that the value derived from using a full hybrid and multicloud platform delivers 2.5 times more than a single platform and vendor approach, but only 29% of businesses in India take advantage of a multicloud strategy.

While businesses in India still fall behind in hybrid cloud adoption compared to international standards, the tech giant’s report predicts the size of the Indian market will come to prove in time the importance of turning to cloud management platforms for increased governance and efficiency.

One of the biggest challenges of digitally transforming operations is achieving buy-in from stakeholders and ensuring employees have ample skills to transition to the new technology. But IBM found that 51% of respondents in India understand the business and IT benefits of switching to a multicloud strategy, which might explain why a predicted average of six hybrid cloud platforms will be used by businesses in India by 2023.

Who’s adopting hybrid cloud?

Top companies in India, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Godrej Group and even Century Cement are leading the transformation to hybrid cloud. 

Airtel, one of India’s largest telecommunication services, is currently building a new network cloud to maximise capacity and minimise capital expenses by onboarding services faster with seamless integration with current systems. 

Vodafone Idea’s new hybrid cloud platform allows the company to deliver core network functions and implement edge computing technologies for its 300 million telecommunication subscribers at a breakthrough speed.

Indian conglomerate, Godrej Group, leveraged hybrid multicloud solutions to build a future-ready IT infrastructure, resulting in a 10% reduction of total cost of ownership and 100% increase in disaster recovery coverage.

Even cement shipping company Century Cement adopted cloud technology to connect their electronic billing processes with government systems, saving 60% more time on paperless processing and management as well as reduced operating costs.

What’s next for hybrid cloud?

The next chapter of the cloud is expected to see a shift of core business operations, optimising everything from supply chains to sales, with more investment in hybrid multicloud platforms on the way.

IBM’s advice to Indian businesses consists of five steps. First, businesses should strategise by understanding how digitally transforming to the cloud aligns with their wider operating models.

Next, the task is to design your transformation journey by understanding and coordinating the different cloud platforms available, including public cloud, private cloud and traditional IT environments.

Third, is the matter of moving to a hybrid cloud platform. IBM recommends using containers and unified open platforms to decouple the rate and pace of transformation from specific deployment models or constraints.

After the much anticipated move, it’s time to build a multicloud orchestration platform used to control costs, address security concerns and skill gaps in an organisation. It is important during the build phase to combine data and applications when building multicloud solutions.

Finally, once you have your solutions, it is important for your business to constantly manage and assess the platform with regard to cost, optimisation and regulations.

To achieve a competitive advantage, businesses have to start prioritising operations that can be moved to cloud, then migrate said skills and optimise continuously.

Aligning businesses activities with cloud platforms is the business model of the near future. Indian firms have the drive to prepare for the transition, and should do so in order to keep up with a global market reshaped by COVID-19.

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What does the future hold for India’s data center market?

The need for data centers in India is growing exponentially, as data consumption by half a billion digital users is reaching unprecedented levels.

But how can you tap into this exciting market? And what is the best practice for data center operators and cloud service providers in the country?

Stay tuned for more fascinating webinars taking a deep dive into the data center and cloud markets in India!

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Singapore University of Social Sciences moves to the cloud with Ellucian and Fujitsu Asia

Teaching the next generation of students in a digitally connected world is giving rise to the technological transformation of educational institutions, including the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) who has decided to move to the cloud with the help of Ellucian and Fujitsu Asia.

As the University continues to grow locally and regionally in Southeast Asia, SUSS will adopt Ellucian Banner Cloud, a powerful Enterprise Resource Planning solution designed for higher education.

“Our priority continues to deliver student-centered learning experiences that will empower our graduates to be purposeful global citizens and serve society,” said Gary Teo, the Director of Campus IT Services at Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Digital transformation is at the core of SUSS’ mission to deliver world-class student experiences and operational excellence.

“The cloud can serve as a force multiplier to achieve the goals of today’s educational institutions, improving institutional productivity while mitigating potential data risks from academic processes,” said Uno Motohiko, the President of Fujitsu Asia.

The Ellucian Banner Cloud enables SUSS to securely manage all human resources, finance, and student information processes as well as gaining stronger data-driven insights.

“We are thrilled to welcome SUSS as our first customer in Singapore and look forward to supporting their journey to the cloud,” said Darren Hunt, Ellucian’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director EMEA and APAC.

Before moving to the cloud, SUSS relied on homegrown, on-premise platforms, requiring significant administrative and IT overhead to maintain.

“Across the board, institutions are simply outgrowing their homegrown solutions,” said Ellucian President and CEO, Laura Ipsen.

To ensure a seamless transition, Fujitsu localised the Ellucian Banner Cloud solution to meet the needs of SUSS by integrating backend systems with local government agency services applications and implementing Application Managed Services by Fujitsu’s IT specialists in student management systems to relieve the University of the burden to manage the cloud solution.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

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Delta develops cutting-edge networking solutions for the next generation of data centers with Microsoft and COBO

Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions, has partnered with Microsoft and Consortium for On Board Optics (COBO) to launch a proof of concept open networking switch for the next generation of data center infrastructures.

The switch is said to provide leading transmission speeds and energy efficiency as we enter the nascent 5G era, offering up to 800 gigabytes per second of transmission speed, 12.8Tbps bandwidth capacity, and up to 30% energy savings compared to similar peer technologies.

Powering the future of data centers

As cloud adoption continues to rise, increasing the need for hyperscale and cloud data centers, these facilities will need the support of networking systems that provide faster transmission speeds and lower carbon footprints.

As a result, member-driven organisations like COBO are racing to develop solutions that meet essential data center requirements.

Microsoft’s Principal Network Architect and COBO’s President, Brad Booth, said: “Being capable of integrating COBO and other form factors into a single platform has been an integral contribution to this POC project to enable end users to perform hands-on evaluation and testing.”

The open networking switch integrates five different optical module form factors into a single, compact 4U rack. The system also includes two 400G QSFP-DD, two 400G OSFP and sixty-four 100G QSFP ports as well as Intel’s 8-core 2.0 GHz D-1548 Broadwell high-performance chip, which sits at the core of Delta’s switch.

“We look forward to cooperating with Microsoft and COBO to accelerate the growth of the 5G mega trend with this inventive technology,” said Victor Cheng, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Information & Communications Technology Business Group at Delta.

On top of being a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Azure Cloud Solution Provider, Delta launched a 5G smart manufacturing solution with the tech giant in June.

Earlier this year, Delta also celebrated receiving an Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready certification for their Point of Delivery data center solution, which recognises its ability to deliver resilience and reliability for their data center.

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IMDA hits StarHub and M1 with fines for Internet outages during circuit breaker

Two of Singapore’s biggest Internet service providers, StarHub and M1, have been hit with fines totaling $610,000 from the IMDA for broadband disruptions affecting Singaporeans during the circuit breaker period.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) imposed fines of $210,000 on StarHub and $400,000 on M1 for breaking the 2016 Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience.

“We take a serious view of any service disruption to public telecommunications services, particularly during the circuit breaker period when most people were working and studying from home, and will take firm and decisive action to safeguard our consumers’ interests,” said Aileen Chia, the IMDA Deputy Chief Executive.

The IMDA determined the financial penalties by considering the duration, impact, and customer service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact

“Operators must communicate any service difficulties with their customers and rectify incidents expeditiously, and should provide good service recovery measures to affected customers,” added Ms. Chia.

250,000 StarHub subscribers affected

On April 15, just eight days after the circuit breaker began, StarHub staff made a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise.

The mistake left up to 250,000 StarHub broadband subscribers without sufficient broadband services for close to five hours.

The IMDA concluded the incident could have been prevented if StarHub had better supervised its staff during the migration exercise.

In it’s considerations, IMDA took note of StarHub’s efforts to restore the services as soon as possible, their prompt communication and compensation to those affected with a 20% rebate of their monthly fee for April.

StarHub’s Chief Executive, Peter Kaliaropoulos, said in April they ‘regrettably fell short’ of providing a service experience customers deserve and have implemented measures to prevent future incidents with immediate effect.

Two days of outages for M1 customers

For M1, the broadband provider experienced two incidents on two consecutive days in May.

The first on May 12 affected up to 18,000 customers for 23 hours from 7am until 6am on May 13. This was caused by a corrupted profile database in M1’s Broadband Network Gateway.

A statement by M1 apologies for the inconvenience and said the connectivity issues were triggered by a network bolstering initiative to improve customer experience.

The IMDA found that the incident occured because M1’s staff and vendor had not followed prescribed procedures.

Then, on May 13, up to 20,000 subscribers were affected for six hours after a software fault in M1’s network equipment caused Internet traffic routing problems.

Unlike the first incident, the IMDA concluded that the software fault was the first of its kind for the equipment, which M1 could not have reasonably foreseen or prevented.

The IMDA found M1 to be in breach of the 2016 Code for only the first incident, and determined the $400,000 penalty due to the length of disruption and M1’s proactive compensation of a full one-week refund to affected users.

Ms. Chia said the IMDA will continue to work with operators like StarHub and M1 to strengthen network resiliency and improve customer communications.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

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South Korean Internet giant Kakao to build first data center for $337m

Ten years after its inception, Kakao has revealed it will build its first data center to cope with exponential growth in data traffic.

The South Korean Internet giant made a deal with Hanyang University and Gyeonggi provincial Government to build the facility on the University’s Erica campus in Ansan for US$337 million (400 billion won).

“This data center will give us a stable foundation for our research and development in technology like big data and artificial intelligence,” said a Kakao spokesperson.

Breaking ground next year

Ground will be broken on the 197,873 square feet plot of land by 2021, with a vision of the hyperscale data center being completed by 2023.

“Our goal is to establish the best data center in the IT industry in terms of stability, efficiency and security. It will be a great opportunity for the AI, big data, and cloud-related industries to develop,” said Yeo Min-soo, the co-CEO of Kakao.

Housing a total of 120,000 servers and a storage capacity of six exabytes (6 billion gigabytes), the data center will be designed with green solutions in mind, including monitoring systems, refrigerators, thermo-hygrostats and rainwater cooling innovations.

Kakao’s new data center comes at a time when increases in Internet traffic and data consumption are seen throughout the country, with an average consumption of more than 122 exabytes, which is expected to exceed 396 exabytes in 2022.

Located 30 kilometers from Seoul, the facility will be built next to a science research complex at the university campus to take advantage of its computing and data processing capabilities.

Kakao Data Center LocationThe Ansan municipality, another partner in the deal, expects the data center to create 2,700 jobs and approximately US$673.5 million (800 billion won) worth of production.

Previous to this announcement, Kakao outsourced its data storage facilities since 2006, while its competitor Naver has a data center in Chuncheon, Gangwon. Now, as Kakao has grown into finance, gaming and the operator of the country’s most-used mobile messenger service, the Internet giant has found a need to construct its own data center.

Last year, the Ansan Science Valley, which is centered around the Erica campus, was designated to become a “technological innovation cluster” by the government.

The campus is also planning to become a base for regional innovation growth by promoting the creation of small high-tech industrial complexes, including Kakao’s data center.

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Lenovo Data Center Group Expands HCI Solutions Offering in partnership with Nutanix, Microsoft and VMware

Lenovo Data Center Group has announced the launch of a new range of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions and cloud services to help organisations transition to the new, smarter norm.

With remote work environments becoming common, businesses have seen demand for cloud services soar. It is more crucial than ever for organisations to adapt their hybrid cloud strategy and modernise existing data center infrastructures to keep pace with evolving business needs. 

“The strategy toward the new, smarter normal is around modernising the data center and breaking down the longstanding digital barriers that many organisations face today,” said Kamran Amini, the Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure at Lenovo Data Center Group.

In partnership with industry-leading hybrid cloud software providers Nutanix, Microsoft and VMWare, Lenovo Data Center Group introduced HCI solutions to enable customers to deploy and manage the full edge-to-cloud environment. Among updated features that customers can expect include simpler updates, easy scalability and a consumption-based delivery model.

These hyperconverged infrastructure solutions support industries like education and healthcare where remote working has been forced upon organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing virtual desktop infrastructures that can be accessed from almost anywhere.

What are Lenovo’s new solutions?

Together with Nutanix and AMD, Lenovo introduced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile HX HCI solutions. With this, customers are said to be able to run virtual desktop workloads at a consistent performance with 50% fewer servers.

“We’ve simplified and enhanced IT operations while cutting energy costs, so we can invest more of time and resources in our primary purpose to provide best in-class healthcare services,” said Bernie Larralde, the Vice President of Information Technology at Miami Jewish Health.

As hybrid cloud solutions start to dominate the market, Lenovo has launched the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center Solutions in partnership with Microsoft.

This one-stop shop provides deployment and management of Microsoft Azure services, empowering customers to modernise and rapidly scale from on-premise infrastructures to the cloud using edge solutions.

“The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX platform has all the features we need as an MSP—high performance, high availability and easy scalability,” said Brian Townley, the General Manager for C3 Group.

In another collaboration with VMWare, Lenovo announced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions, aimed at improving agility and reliability of mission critical applications on SAP HANA databases.

Additionally, Lenovo and VMWare are also expanding software-defined systems management capabilities with Lenovo XClarity, the management console for Lenovo ThinkAgile HCI solutions.

“Efficiency has increased so we can process and ship out more parts faster than we could before, bringing more products, and therefore socio-economic empowerment, to more people around the world,” said Sujoy Brahmachari, the Head of IT Infrastructure and Information Security at Hero MotoCorp.

According to Amini, help is provided to guide business leaders through their cloud strategy and execution. Lenovo offers customers the option to work with Lenovo Principal Consultants, to simplify and streamline options across multiple cloud platforms for ultimate business agility. 

“Efficiency has increased dramatically and we’re now able to cope with customer requirements at a speed that was previously impossible,” said Thomas Rumpf, the CTO for Private Cloud at T-Systems.

All solutions by Lenovo are set to be available by November.

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DCI Data Centers selects former Colt Data Centres Head and CenturyLink Manager Ras Scollay as Senior VP of Business Development

DCI Data Centers has announced the appointment of Ras Scollay as their new Senior Vice President of Business Development in Asia.

The former Head of Sales and Marketing for Colt Data Centre Services and Country Manager for Japan at CenturyLink was selected to continue DCI’s mission to become the preferred partner in the Asia Pacific region for the delivery of secure data center solutions.

“I am pleased to welcome Ras to the DCI Data Centers team,” said Udhay Mathialagan, DCI Chairman and the Managing Director for Brookfield Asset Management.

Ras Scollay, the new Senior Vice President of Business Development in Asia for DCI Data Centers

Mr. Scollay will oversee the development of customer relationships and new opportunities across Asia, aligning with DCI’s strategy to expand into hyperscale markets.

“The expertise of the leadership team coupled with the company’s expansion plans in Asia are unique and will help our customers realise their ambitions across the region,” said Mr. Scollay.

During his 24 years of experience in digital infrastructure, Mr. Scollay launched two new hyperscale data centers in Japan, and acquired land for Colt Data Centres’ expansion into Osaka and Mumbai. Prior to this, Mr. Scollay held roles at CenturyLink in both Japan and Singapore, leading sales and operations.

DCI Data Centers, a fully owned subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, aims to expand their presence in Asia, empowered by Brookfield’s $550 billion assets across infrastructure, real estate, and renewable power.

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Explore the latest for cloud and data centers in Singapore

Singapore has one of the most dominant tech industries in Asia, with advancements happening almost daily.

So, what can you expect from a hub market, the downstream opportunities to the edge markets, and the innovation of technology in the space of Cloud Computing, connectivity, cybersecurity and data centers?

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Google is building its third data center in Taiwan

Google has confirmed it will build its third data center in Taiwan, following speculation last month by the country’s Economic Daily News.

The tech giant made the announcement at a ‘Google for Taiwan’ event held on Thursday 3 September.

“As a country with limited natural resources and a population insufficient to produce the demographic dividend, Taiwan should ‘go smart’ to boost its international profile,” said Google Taiwan’s General Manager, Tina Lin.

Reports made by Taiwanese media outlets in late August suggested Google had purchased a 198,000 square meter plot of land in Yunlin County from local manufacturing firm China Man-made Fiber for US$681 million.

At present, Google has one data center in the Changhua County of Taiwan, and Google announced plans to build a second hyperscale data center in Tainan City last year.

At the event, Google also revealed its ambitions for its Digital Talent Exploration Program, expressing its plans to partner with Taiwanese businesses and the government to build a strong digital economy and a ‘smart Taiwan’.

Taiwan is one of Google’s largest tech bases in the Asia Pacific. And with a third data center, Google would be investing more than US$800 million in Taiwan, highlighting the company’s commitment to expand its presence in Asia, outside of Singapore and Indonesia where its other data centers preside.

Is cloud hosting right for your business?

Hosting websites and applications on the cloud is becoming a popular choice for businesses, as it is believed to offer greater flexibility and speed in scalability as well as reliable uptime to keep your services live even if a server goes down.

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Google is building its third data center in Taiwan

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Nicole Ong

Tech Reporter, W.Media

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