Recent natural disasters in the Asia Pacific region have proven that, no matter how technologically advanced an economy is, damage from disasters might result in data losses. As such, this might be a factor that can encourage enterprises to move to the cloud, for better assurance of data safety.

The recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, as well as the New Zealand earthquake and Australia floods, are likely to push companies in the APAC region into adopting cloud deployments to mitigate the risk of losing data through physical means. According to Ovum (news, site) analyst Kevin Noonan, natural disasters have put a strain on government resources and are leading ICT development toward efficiency rather than simple effectiveness. "[W]hen government says they are going to have to cut services and start to think creatively, then there are some interesting options for IT," says Noonan.

Reducing Risks

Ovum's director for government services in APAC, Steve Hodgkinson, adds that putting up commodity-type applications in the cloud will help reduce cost and risks. Hodgkinson highlights the telecom sector in both Australia and New Zealand, citing Telstra and Gen-i, respectively. These firms effectively combine their expertise in IaaS deployments, as well as wide-area networking. He also cites IBM, Microsoft, Verizon, HP and Unisys as international firms that are likely to be major players in the APAC market.

Several service providers have announced new cloud initiatives in the APAC region. HP is setting up a US$ 60 million datacenter in Waikato, while IBM has recently completed a US$ 80 million datacenter in the Auckland and Wellington areas. Meanwhile, Akamai has announced aggressive expansion throughout the APAC region, apart from its Singapore home base in Asia.

Focusing on Reliability

Asia Pacific businesses are generally not too concerned about reliability and disaster recovery, as Symantec has recently found out. Because of a lack of a reliable data recovery plan, almost half of APAC businesses are likely to lose 40% of their data, which can result in US$ 45,000 per day in losses.

A move to the cloud, however, might not be a 100% guarantee that data will be secure. For instance, as an aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, a dozen or so data centers and cloud facilities in the country have reported some damage, which include connection issues and loss of power. Still, a well-planned approach to disaster mitigation might help reduce potential losses should disaster strike. For instance, the Japan Data Center Council is offering a facility standards specification white paper to its members, which specifies designs that datacenters can use to withstand certain disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. With important data, it's better to be safe than sorry.