Cloud computing on the horizon

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=171511

Cloud computing on the horizon
Huawei country chief sees huge potential in Bangladesh
Star Business Report

Bangladesh can become a thriving market for ‘cloud computing’ in the next five years, mainly driven by an upcoming need of e-education for school students in the rural areas, said a top representative of global hi-tech giant Huawei recently.

The internet-based shared computing system, which is the latest buzzword in the global IT industry, can come to bridge the digital divide in the education sector and even change the landscape of the current telecom market, the official said.

In an interview with The Daily Star, Wonder Wang, the country head of the Chinese technology giant in Bangladesh, said he sees good potential for cloud computing in the Bangladeshi market because of its resource sharing capability.

“Despite a new concept, the idea has become all the rage in the global ICT market, as it allows people to share resources based on the distributed computing system,” Wang says.

Cloud computing is location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand, as with the electricity grid. Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualisation, service-oriented architecture and utility computing.

“Globally, the size of the cloud computing market is expected to reach $130 billion in next two to three years and it can start to have the same kind of impact in Bangladeshi context within half a decade.”

The Huawei country head’s view came just weeks after the Shenzhen-based telecom giant unveiled its cloud computing strategy for the global market to leverage efficiency for its client data centre as well as computing and storage resource sharing.

“Our ongoing research regarding the Bangladeshi market shows that education is one area where cloud computing can have the best potential in the local context given the significant gap in educational standards in the rural and urban segments,” Wang says.

Cloud computing against this backdrop can bridge the digital divide in education as it would enable the students to access the same kind of educational resources through the latest and most convenient internet-based computing system.

In a cloud computing system, people pay only for what they use and there is no upfront cost of buying servers. At the same time, no physical proximity is needed as internet connection provides access to everything.

In such a system, it is also cheaper to create space for backing up data as data is on virtual server. Also, many people will be using the same cloud, meaning that the pooling demand will make it easy to cut prices and maximise server efficiency.

The concept of cloud computing has already made the way for a new category of computers called the netbook, which typically weigh less than three pounds with no CD drives and a low double-digit gigabyte hard drive or solid state drive, and can give the average computer user the same functionality as a standard desktop, by using the cloud.

“Access any information you want from anywhere at anytime — this is how we can define the utilities of cloud computing where IT-related capabilities are provided as a service as it allows the users to access technology-enabled services from the internet style of computing,” Wang says.

Globally, cloud computing has already been hailed for avoiding capital expenditure on hardware, software, and services, while the idea is also becoming increasingly associated with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that cannot afford the large capital expenditure of traditional IT.

Apart from education, cloud computing can also have significant impact in leveraging the potential of e-governance, e-commerce and e-banking, the Huawei top official says.

“Nevertheless, it would require strong transmission backbone and bandwidth to make this revolution happen while the government policy must also be friendly,” he says.

“Above all, the perception of people about what cloud computing means has to be precise,” says Wang, whose company has been in the Bangladesh market for the last 13 years.

The world’s second biggest mobile telecom equipment maker currently claims to have a 40 percent share of the local network infrastructure market.

“The biggest advantage of the Bangladeshi market is its huge population where the demand for telecommunication need is always increasing,” says Wang, “while the high SIM tax and low ARPU also make this market a challenging one.”

If the licence renewal expenses and 3G licensing fees remain rational, the path towards 3G would not be costly or complicated, the official says.

The company also plans to invest significantly in providing environment-friendly green technology solutions, its chief in Bangladesh says.

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