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There’s 100 different arguments about how it should be defined, but there’s no doubt cloud computing is suddenly trendy.
And options are suddenly proliferating for New Zealand businesses. Local players like Iconz and Orcon are offering cloud services.
Amazon recently launched an Asia Pacific cloud service centred around a data centre in Singapore.
And last week, so did Microsoft (read NBR’s report here).
Now it’s Telecom’s turn.
The telco’s service’s division, Gen-i, is launching ReadyCloud Server.
Like other cloud services, it lets you rent computer processing power and storage that you access over the internet, rather than running it on computers inside your own business.
Gen-i Australasia chief executive Chris Quin told ReadyCloud as a natural extension to Gen-i's WAN (wide area networking) service.
"Doubt remains as to whether local offerings can truly match the benefits that seasoned cloud providers such as Amazon can bring,” said Mr Kepes.
“Add to that the development capabilities that are on offer from Salesforce, Netsuite and others and the Gen-i offering is by no means a sure thing"
But overall, the commentator sees Gen-i’s launch as a positive.
"Local organisations are becoming more eager to gain the benefits that cloud computing can bring - reduced cost, scalability and agility,” said Mr Kepes.
“This desire is tempered by their concerns over where their data is located and whether or not there is local support. Moves by local players such as Gen-i will help organisations make the move to cloud computing."
Mr Kepes also has a warning for Telecom: with Amazon and Microsoft now targeting New Zealand business for their Singapore-based cloud services, the window of opportunity for local service providers is closing.
(The picture is a little more nuanced that direct competition. Gen-i’s cloud solution runs in part on Microsoft software although, as always, the Telecom services division’s approach leans toward the technology-agnostic).
ABOVE: Gen-i's ReadyCloud Sever monthly pricing.
BELOW: Setup costs (both ex GST).
So far, Telecom is only promoting one hero customer for ReadyCloud - the relatively obscure Hamilton outfit Wild Bamboo, which sells Recordbase, a software tool to manage health and disability service user records, using the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model and hosts the
application on Gen-i’s ReadyCloud Server.
Like others pushing a cloud service, Mr Quin pushes its advantages for start-ups who don’t want to shell out on infrastructure. Cloud computing also suits online marketing campaigns, with their unpredictable lifespan, and applications like online ticketing or financial modelling, which require short bursts of intensive computing.
But Mr Quin sees 30% year-on-year growth for cloud computing for several years to come (off what base he would not say). And the Gen-i chief executive said that in future, cloud services will become the normal way that most businesses handle their computing and storage requirements.
It better be.
The boss is watching.
On Telecom’s otherwise glum April 17 earnings downgrade conference call, chief executive Paul Reynolds went out of his way to flag ReadyCloud as the type of service that would drive future growth.
Mr Quin said Gen-i would launch a similar product into Australia in around six months.
And meantime, Orcon might want to check with the Commerce Commission if local loop unbundling will allow rivals to install their own cloud computing gear inside Telecom exchanges ...