The Asia Pacific region has diverse cultures and technological make-ups. The region features countries with poor Internet penetration rates, but also countries with the fastest consumer broadband Internet access in the world, which is an ideal backdrop for cloud computing services. To help bridge digital divides in terms of how businesses deal with cloud computing technology, major companies with an Asian presence have launched the Asia Cloud Computing Association earlier this month.

An open collaboration forum, Asia Cloud was initially convened by Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, EMC, Microsoft (news, site), NetApp, Nokia Siemens, PLDT, Smart, Rackspace, REACH, Telenor and Verizon. The organization aims to discuss and address regional issues prevalent in the region in hopes for better cloud computing adoption in the region.

Asia Poised for Growth in Cloud Computing Market

Asia Pacific is seen as having a high potential for growth in the cloud computing market. Research firm IDC (news, site) is optimistic about the Asian market for content management services. The industry (excluding Japan) is valued at about US$ 1.3 billion in 2010, and will expand by about 40% per year until 2014. Meanwhile, in Japan, which is the second largest IT market in the world, the market for cloud computing services is poised to grow to US$ 29.2 billion by 2015.

Convenors view Asia Cloud as a platform for addressing needs and concerns by its stakeholders. “With Asia Cloud as a platform, key stakeholders can collaborate on issues specific to Asia and enable faster and more efficient adoption of cloud computing,” says REACH CIO Sundi Balu, who is also Asia Cloud chairman.

Stakeholders Express Concerns and Fears

While Asian businesses are keen on cloud computing, effective implementation will require a reliable infrastructure, as well as adequate security on both client and server ends. These are considered to be top concerns in the Asia Pacific region going forward. Asia Cloud has cited security concerns, regulatory mandates, licensing and infrastructure as concerns that might slow down cloud computing adoption in the region.

Cloud computing in the region has not yet seen its full potential, says Balu. The region has a varied regulatory landscape and different market maturity levels. “Organizations in Asia have voiced several concerns, particularly around security, service levels and regulatory positions. There is a strong sense of urgency to have these concerns resolved by an open industry collaboration focused on the actual market realities and conditions in Asia,” he adds.

Adoption of Region-Appropriate Best Practices

Noting that a one-size-fits-all strategy might not be appropriate to the Asia Pacific market, Asia Cloud has tasked itself to evaluate global standards in cloud computing and determine which technologies will be most appropriate to the region. Initially, working groups will be formed to evaluate regulatory issues, security concerns and infrastructure availability. The organization targets to build formal relationships with other stakeholders and organizations by 2011.

Asia Cloud plans to involve governments, hardware manufacturers, software makers, academic institutions and end users, in order to arrive at a common goal of better adoption of cloud technologies in the Asia Pacific region.