Is Asia behind in the Cloud Computing game right now?

Why more focus on IaaS might be really good for the Far East

According to the Cloud Readiness Index (a pool of data which measures the state of cloud computing in all of Asia’s developed countries based on 10 different attributes), virtually all Asian countries are falling behind when it comes to cloud computing. This is not to say that countries like Japan, South Korea or Taiwan don’t have the ability to take advantage or the cloud, only that they’re certainly not emphasizing it enough it would seem.

The overwhelming reason that these Asian nations are avoiding addressing the “cloud conundrum” is due to their commitment to other issues. In fact, it would appear that many leaders in these countries are placing cloud-based infrastructure development (and ICT in general) very low on their horizons right now. This doesn’t mean that some of the key countries in Asia aren’t developing their cloud technologies and infrastructure though; Japan and South Korea in particular are very well aware of the significance and have been steadily investing in it.

The problem is really more widespread in countries like China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Simply put, it appears that these nations simply don’t see the long-term value in updating and exploring advancing forms of Information and Communications Technology. Right now, there’s not really a well defined cloud computing market in Asia at all, and this will certainly have an impact on the way they do business in the future – which in turn, could have a negative effect on global markets.

One of the biggest hindrances to cloud computing in Asia is a lack of broadband services for most regions; however, this is expected to be remedied by 2013 as more and more of these countries address this issue. Likewise, it would appear that cloud computing simply isn’t as well known in Asia as many would like to think, so educating the public and tech communities is also an important factor that must be addressed soon. Additionally, many Asian countries have strict policies when it comes to information sharing, specifically, some nations won’t allow for its citizens to personal information / data in other locations (outside its borders). Given that cloud computing derives its power from remotely positioned assets; these issues of personal/national sovereignty in certain Asian countries will have to be more closely inspected if they are ever going to begin utilizing this new technology.

While North America and Europe are definitely ahead of the game when it comes to the cloud, it should be noted that the general pace and volume of development has been steadily increasing. In fact, cloud computing has experienced some dramatic growth in recent times; which will make it that much more difficult for Asian nations seeking to “catch up”. Simply put, there is a giant gap in terms of North America and Europe’s ability to implement cloud computing vs. that of Asia’s, with the Western countries pulling even further ahead with each passing day. While this might seem like great news for those of us in the West, it might actually have a negative effect in many areas of business due to the nature of global trade in which technology is becoming increasingly intermingled.

IaaS appears to be one of the most powerful tools when it comes to control, options and business. Since it is generally either governments or businesses that are exploring and developing cloud computing in these Asian countries, it only makes sense for IaaS to be pushed. Through IaaS, these Asian businesses could effectively “lead the way” by means of developing solid cloud computing platforms for commercial use. In fact, focusing on IaaS could very well allow many of these higher-level organizations to begin establishing certain types of platforms which smaller businesses and individuals could in turn begin utilizing. All that’s really required is the investment in infrastructure (including storage), the initiative / drive for change, and cloud / IaaS certified IT personnel who can make it happen.

The reality in Asia however, is that it is governments that are truly pushing for cloud adoption, not businesses. Depending on how you look at it this is either a bad or good thing. On one hand, governments have the ability to actually enact the changes required when it comes to certain areas like data sharing / sovereignty across borders, which is something that absolutely must be addressed if positive change is to occur. However, on the other hand, these same governments may or may not decide to open up cloud development for businesses, which may severely restrict their ability to progress on pace with Western nations.

It could also be argued that businesses are among the best groups in existence for fostering and adhering to international standards with regards to cloud computing. Nevertheless, forward-thinking governmental bodies really have all the power when it comes to educating the public about new technological concepts like cloud computing.

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