Thumbnail image for KT logo.jpgThe Asia Pacific region is seen as a growth market in cloud services, which makes it an attractive area for service providers. A recent announcement by KT (newssite) involves the launch of a public cloud service that is said to beat comparable services in terms of performance and price.

KT (formerly Korea Telecom) has launched its ucloud Compute Service (ucloud CS), built in collaboration with cloud systems developer Cloudscaling. The architecture used by KT is said to deliver performance that exceeds more established services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), but at a reduced cost -- from which both KT and its clients will benefit.

Reduced Costs

KT cites that ucloud CS is built on commodity hardware, open source software and automated management, which all contribute to bringing down the cost of running the service. This enables KT to offer relatively lower prices for their service. KT says ucloud comes at a more attractive pricing, with about 18% savings for a deployment comparable with AWS.

Apart from this, KT enjoys bandwidth advantages that South Korea offers. Jung-sik Suh, senior vice president of KT's cloud business unit, is confident that ucloud can compete based on its cost and bandwidth advantages.

We have several major strategic advantages that the major public clouds do not. These include network assets, bandwidth, geographic dominance and expertise in billing and services delivery. Combining a commodity cloud approach with our unique assets, we can offer a cloud computing service that is highly competitive with industry leaders like AWS EC2, he says.

The Korean Advantage

South Korea is among the most well-networked countries in the world, and is also the fastest in terms of bandwidth. Korean cities lead the world in terms of consumer broadband speeds, maxing out at 38 Mbps. Meanwhile, the average consumer bandwidth is 16.6 Mbps and th broadband penetration rate is at 100%.

With these advantages, the outlook for bandwidth-heavy services in Korea is positive. The solid broadband infrastructure makes South Korea ideal for establishing services that will put rich media and content into the cloud. Coupled with the low cost that ucloud promises, high connection speeds will set South Korea in competition against Singapore and Hong Kong as the cloud computing hubs in the Asia Pacific region.

Challenges Ahead for the APAC Market

As cloud services benefit from low latency and high speed, KT might set its sights on local and regional clientele initially. The market for cloud services in APAC is projected to grow by 26% annually starting 2011.

Businesses in the region are likely to prefer private cloud deployments than public ones, though, given regional concerns about security and privacy. Also, APAC has a wide divide in terms of the quality of infrastructure, in which developed economies -- like South Korea -- have better than average level of service, while emerging markets still need to improve broadband penetration.