Malaysian companies boosted private cloud investments: Nutanix survey

Nutanix, a leader in a private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing today announced the findings of the Malaysian edition of its third annual Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) Report. In mid-2020, U.K. researcher Vanson Bourne surveyed 3,400 IT decision-makers around the world to measure the state of global enterprise cloud deployments and adoption plans.

This report is supplemental to the global Third Annual Enterprise Cloud Index master report and focuses on cloud deployment and planning trends in Malaysia.  It highlights key data points gleaned from IT professionals in Malaysia and how they compare to enterprise cloud experiences and plans in both the Asia Pacific (APJ) region and around the world.

The findings point to a digital transformation within the industry, with Malaysia reporting the greatest increase in private cloud as a result of COVID-19. 58 percent of Malaysian respondents reported that COVID-19 caused them to increase their investment in private cloud, outpacing the global average (37%) and their peers in APJ countries (44%).

The pandemic also forced many respondents to strengthen public cloud infrastructure to quickly accommodate large numbers of at-home workers. A total of 67% of Malaysian respondents said they had boosted public cloud usage and 51% said they had increased hybrid cloud usage.

The key findings from the report include:

Hybrid cloud is the ideal IT operating model for the vast majority of respondents in Malaysia and elsewhere. Nearly all respondents from Malaysia (96%) identified hybrid cloud as the ideal infrastructure for their organizations, outpacing those in the APJ region (90%) and in the global response pool (87%). Malaysian respondents run slightly more hybrid clouds than average today with 14% penetration, which they intend to grow to 57% penetration in five years.

Malaysian respondents are particularly bullish about expanding their public multicloud environments. They expect to grow public multicloud use by 6% in five years—the only infrastructure growth area cited by Malaysian respondents other than hybrid cloud. In the next year, they expect to increase their use of two public clouds from 25% to 39% and their use of three public clouds from 13% to 22%. However, they expect their use of more than three public cloud services to remain static at just 5% during that time.

Cost isn’t a primary driver behind IT infrastructure change in Malaysia. The motive for modernizing IT infrastructures mentioned most often in Malaysia is to increase flexibility to meet business needs (74%). From there, three goals tie for second place as inspiring change, with 63% of respondents from Malaysia selecting each of the following factors: 1) gaining better control of IT resource usage, 2) increasing the speed of meeting business needs, and 3) better supporting customers. By contrast, cost savings was cited by just 29% of respondents from Malaysia.

The global pandemic has raised IT’s profile and accelerated cloud adoption. 88 percent of respondents in Malaysia said that COVID-19 has caused IT to be viewed more strategically in their organizations. In addition, 67% of Malaysian respondents said they’ve increased their investments in public cloud, 58% said they’ve increased investments in private cloud, and 51% said they’ve upped their hybrid cloud investments as a direct result of the pandemic.

Despite being slightly behind the curve with private cloud adoption, Malaysian IT pros report above-average progress with hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). More than half (59%) say they’ve deployed HCI or are in the process of deploying it in their data centers, compared to 50% of global respondents. The relevance of HCI is that it creates a foundation for private cloud by virtualizing and integrating data center computer storage, and networking devices in standard, off-the-shelf server hardware. Private clouds built upon this foundation ultimately merge with public cloud infrastructure services into the hybrid cloud setup that most ECI respondents say is the ideal infrastructure they’re working toward.

During the media briefing, Avinash Gowda, Country Manager of Nutanix Malaysia said that with business recovery on the horizon, companies in Malaysia see cloud adoption as a top priority, as revealed in the ECI report.

“COVID-19 has significantly accelerated digital transformation across industries. With digitization as the new business reality, Malaysia’s businesses will look to make strategic investments in technology that will accelerate business recovery and enable them to scale for innovation and growth.”

“Businesses need to look to maximizing outcomes from their investments in IT infrastructure — to ensure their cloud strategies are financially sound, and future-proof,” said Avinash.

Reportlinker’s findings show that Malaysia’s data center market will grow at a CAGR of 8% from 2020 – 2025, reaching $800 million SGD by 2025.

The market for cloud computing in Malaysia is not as mature as Singapore. However, due to land shortage in Singapore and lower cost, Malaysia might attract more and more investments in data centers, according to ReportLinker.

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Equinix invests US$51m in Hong Kong to support digital transformation demand

Equinix revealed it will invest US$51 million to expand their footprint in Hong Kong and support the growing demand for digital transformation by businesses.

“With more and more companies embracing digital transformation, we have seen demand for interconnection continue to grow,” said Larry Tam, the Managing Director for Equinix Hong Kong.

The acceleration of digital transformation brought by the pandemic as well as the advent of Industry 4.0 technologies like 5G are driving the demand for data centers and interconnection in Hong Kong.

Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index Volume 3 recently revealed that Hong Kong is expected to see the second fastest interconnection bandwidth growth in the region, increasing at 55% CAGR from 2018 to 2022.

A separate survey showed 46% decision-makers in Hong Kong believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation, with 45% believing interconnection can help their business gain a competitive advantage. 

The global interconnection and data center company also announced the completed third phase expansion of HK4, one of Equinix’s five International Business Exchange™ data centers in Hong Kong.

The expansion added 1,000 cabinets to the 500 currently stationed at the facility, with a further 3,000 expected to be added in future phases.

Equinix’s current colocation space totals approximately 34,500 square meters in Hong Kong, with the aim of supporting digital edge and business continuity strategies along with digital transformation of local and international enterprises.

Their US$51 million investment in Hong Kong follows a second US$1 billion joint venture with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, to build hyperscale data centers in Japan.

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Ingram Micro announces Advanced Solutions and growth investment strategy for Asia Pacific

Ingram Micro has announced a series of growth investments spanning the Asia Pacific region as part of its global Advanced Solutions Strategy.

The cloud and supply chain solution provider punctuated its commitment to the region by expanding its Singapore-based value-added solutions approach.

The Vice President of Global Partner Engagement and IoT at Ingram Micro, Sabine Howest, said: “The markets across Asia Pacific continue to be a growing opportunity for Ingram Micro and our channel partners.”

The investments will expand Ingram Micro’s presence in Asia Pacific and provide the technology sales channel with better support and more sophisticated solutions development. 

The team will focus on a new level of service around cybersecurity, hybrid technologies, cloud solutions as well as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

“Building on our longstanding presence in Asia Pacific, Ingram Micro is now further differentiated by our Advanced Solutions go-to-market sales, technical and vendor management,” said Ingram Micro’s ASEAN Vice President and Country Chief Executive, Francis Choo.

The rapid expansion of their Advanced Solutions technology and value-added services portfolio across Asia Pacific will include the formation of a Center of Excellence, which will support channel partners doing business or looking to expand their expertise in cybersecurity, data center and IoT solutions.

Mr. Choo said: “The investments we’re making are impactful and will help our channel partners simplify the complexity of IT and deliver an exceptional service experience to their customers.”

Mr. Choo will expand his role to lead the expansion of the Advanced Solutions and Global Partner Engagement team, while continuing to oversee the leaders who run Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We will continue to invest in and expand our capabilities across all of the countries where we do business in Asia Pacific,” said Diego Utge, Group President for Asia Pacific at Ingram Micro.

The growth investments by Ingram Micro come at a time when countries across Asia Pacific, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are looking to digitally transform businesses and societies through IT spend increases and digitalisation strategies.

Image credit: Ingram Micro

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Singapore Government looks to accelerate digitalisation and tackle COVID-19 with $3.5 billion ICT spend increase

The Singapore Government has announced it will spend $3.5 billion on information and communications technology in 2020 to accelerate digitalisation and support businesses.

This is an increase of 30% from 2019’s spend of $2.7 billion. The money will be used to help citizens and workers in Singapore resume normal activities, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a press release on Monday 8 June.

Mr Kok Ping Soon, the Chief Executive of GovTech, said: “As we take on the new normal of COVID-19, we are re-engineering our back-end digital infrastructure, which underpins the delivery of front-end government digital services to citizens, businesses and public officers.”

The movement to digitally transform Singapore has been going on for quite some time by developing plans for the Future Economy and investing heavily to upgrade workers through SkillsFuture, digitalising the public and private sectors and building innovation capabilities. 

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, addressed the nation on Sunday 7 June: “All this has enabled us to stand out in Asia and the world. Nobody can predict what exactly the world will look like after COVID-19 but however things turn out, these Future Economy strategies will stand us in good stead.”

Singapore’s modernised digital infrastructure helps to fight COVID-19

The Singapore Government’s investment in digitalisation, focusing on leveraging cloud and modernising ICT infrastructure, has been instrumental in the country’s technological response to the pandemic.

By using cloud infrastructure, GovTech engineers were able to build the TraceTogether contact tracing application and wearable technology. 

The wearable technology known as the TraceTogether token has been met with controversy, as some online have labelled this a “GPS tracking device”.

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is in charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, reassured users in a press conference: “It is not a tracking device. There is no GPS chip on the device. There isn’t even any Internet or mobile telephone connectivity.”

The data on the device is ‘only bluetooth proximity data’, which is encrypted and stays on the device. The data is only uploaded to the Ministry of Health if a user tests positive for COVID-19.

Along with TraceTogether, the Government has also used digital infrastructures and artificial intelligence to roll out services, including SafeEntry for a National Digital Check-in System, MaskGoWhere to help Singaporeans find mask collection points and SPOTON to support safe social distancing operations using an AI-powered robot.

GovTech said: “By modernising its ICT infrastructure, the Government enabled the large number of public officers to continue to serve the public by working from home seamlessly, aided by digital tools.”

The pandemic accelerated digitalisation plans in Singapore

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought forward ICT projects by agencies, including tech solutions to the pandemic as well as Sport Singapore’s ActiveSG Circle, which was launched in April 2020.

The Active SG Circle initiative looks to elevate the sporting industry in Singapore by offering a ‘virtual super sport club’ with a ‘rich repository to inspire and enable citizens to live better and maintain their active lifestyles’ beyond the pandemic.

On top of this, the Singapore Government will carry forward digitalisation for the whole nation by investing heavily in projects like the National Digital Identity and Moments of Life, which will integrate public services onto a single digital platform.

Migration of eligible ICT systems onto commercial cloud will continue as part of the five-year Government on Commercial Cloud initiative that began in 2018. The Digital Workplace Programme will also encourage modernisation of ICT infrastructures, which hopes to empower public officers.

Supporting the digital transformation of Singapore’s SMEs

As part of the Government’s increase in ICT spending, small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible to participate in 80% of these potential procurement opportunities.

The Government will put up bulk tenders with a projected value of $1.2 billion with the hopes of broadening the chance for SMEs to participate in and win ICT contracts with government agencies.

GovTech has sought to streamline and improve SMEs access to these opportunities by working with the Ministry of Finance to incorporate dynamic contracting and shortening the ICT procurement process.

Bulk tenders will include services such as User Experience Design, Agile Development, Application Development, Data Science, AI and more.

In the last financial year, SMEs were awarded nearly 70% of the total ICT contracts.

SimplifyNext was awarded the robotics process automation bulk tender for the whole of the Singapore Government. Their work looked to help customers deploy software that automated business processes.

“Unlike larger companies, SMEs like us have limited resources and we used to spend more time trying to win contracts than to deliver them,” said Mayank Gupta, the Managing Director of SimplifyNext.

The bulk tender has since helped SimplifyNext open many doors for the company to do business with Government agencies.

Strengthening the future tech community and digital economy

GovTech has set up a number of initiatives to strengthen the technology community.

The Singapore Government Developer Portal has been soft-launched in order to help developers learn more about GovTech’s products and how they can work to co-create digital solutions with the agency.

GovTech said: “The portal will be a platform for the tech community to engage and share ideas on technology and their possible applications for public good.”

The technology community will also be given the chance to strengthen their engagement through more STACK-X meet-ups, which focus on topics like Cybersecurity, Cloud Strategy, Data Science, User Experience Design and Software Engineering.

To further develop the community and accelerate the pace of digitalisation in Singapore, GovTech is actively recruiting fresh graduates and experienced technology professionals as part of the SGUnited Jobs initiative.

There are currently more than 400 vacancies available in roles such as software engineers, digital business analysts, cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, AI engineers and infrastructure specialists.

This search for talent will be enhanced by GovTech’s five-week recruitment drive known as TechHunt to find ‘applicants who believe in tech for public good’.

Overall, the Government’s ICT expenditure will focus on five key areas to accelerate digitalisation in Singapore:

  • Development of new tech tools to respond to COVID-19
  • Development of citizen- and business-centric digital services
  • Development of ICT systems on cloud
  • Modernisation of government ICT infrastructure
  • Use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors within the public sector.

More details on the Government’s digitalisation efforts and areas for spending will be provided from Wednesday 10 June onwards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tencent takes on Alibaba Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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