Tomorrow’s IT forecast: Cloudy
  • | | November 19, 2009 03:56 PM

The world of IT is quickly moving from being PC-based to network-based and most major IT companies have come to agree that cloud computing will be the future of IT.  Juniper Network Vietnam's manager Ha Huy Hao spoke recently with Tuan Anh about this inevitable trend.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing can be summed up as a “pool of highly scalable, abstracted infrastructure, capable of hosting end-customer applications that are billed by consumption.” In a cloud computing environment; software, infrastructure, platform and data will be provided as services referred to as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and DaaS (Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Data as a Service).End users do not need to be concerned with underlying infrastructure when developing an application for deployment in the cloud, while the infrastructure provided can expand and contract automatically based on capacity needs. 

Ha Huy Hao

 Why is the cloud computing evolution inevitable? 

The earliest form of IT outsourcing, which still exists widely in Vietnam, is collocation. Under this model, users have to plan for their future usage and pay upfront costs for hardware and services. Setup time can take weeks to months, while scalability and "green" factor are both extremely low. A more developed model is managed service, where setup time can take days to weeks and is somewhat flexible, but users are tied to monthly or yearly contracts and still have to pay for servers and hosting services, whether used or not. Under the cloud model, setup time can be completed in minutes, users pay no upfront costs, sign no contracts, and pay strictly by usage, while a highly virtualised nature allows for maximum power and space saving, which contribute greatly to the environment.

Where does cloud computing stand today and when can it be realised in Vietnam?

Cloud computing has been implemented already in many developed markets. In the US, it has been so mature that it can be called utility computing, when users can really pay for what they consume, just like with other utilities such as power and water. In Vietnam, this is not feasible yet as both providers and users are not  ready. However, some forms of cloud computing have already been provided and others have potential to become a reality in the near future. A prime example is modern data centres that have been set up in Vietnam by global giants such as US's IBM and Japan's NTT, providing data services for local customers as well as local branches of global enterprises. Juniper has also partnered with some local companies to develop localised software such as accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to be provided via the cloud. Trials have been highly successful, reducing annual ERP and accounting costs for participating customers from a hefty $200,000 to a mere $20,000.

Why such drastic reductions in cost?

Looking at a more familiar example of cloud computing may explain these savings.  Real life practises by companies moving from traditional in-house managed office solutions to a Google office solution showed that they abandoned a $3,785 per year price tag including costs for Microsoft office software licenses, storage, sharing and collaboration, instant messaging, antivirus and e-mail; to opt for a $87 price tag including $50 for Google Apps Premier Edition and $37 for administration, training and migration. All software and storage are provided online.

Potential limitations of cloud computing?

Security, performance and availability are the most significant concerns that users have for the model. These are particularly challenging in Vietnam. However, the trend is unstoppable and major IT giants are investing dearly in it, so I expect the challenges to be solved gradually. IDC forecasts that by 2012, customer spending on IT cloud services will grow almost threefold, to $42 billion. In Vietnam, Juniper is confident enough to start providing cloud computing solutions by the end of this year.

Thank you!