Cloud computing bonanza forecasted for Taiwan

Taipei (The China Post/ANN) - The pre-show conference for Taiwan's Computex expo took place yesterday, with organisers forecasting Taiwan's cloud computing market - the main focus of the trade show this year - will be worth NT$15 billion (US$504 million) by 2015.

Featuring some 1,700 exhibitors and 5,000 booths, this year's Computex will showcase the latest developments in cloud computing and information communications technology (ICT), and is expected to attract more than 36,000 international buyers.

According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the global market for cloud computing is expected to reach US$63.84 billion by 2015 from the US$29.75 billion recorded in 2011.

"We hope to contribute a quarter of Taiwan's 2013 ICT exports through the matching of buyers and providers made possible by Computex," said Walter Yeh, executive vice president of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

During his keynote speech, Dr. Tzi-cker Chiueh, general director of the Cloud Computing Center for Mobile Applications at the ITRI, explained the fundamentals of cloud computing, and illustrated its importance in the mobile device era.

Cloud computing business models include infrastructure as a service (Iaas), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).

IaaS includes the operation and maintenance of infrastructure and assets, but its required systems management software remains a challenge for Taiwan-based cloud computing providers, Chiueh said.

PaaS represents the delivery of a computing platform to facilitate operating systems, programming languages, Web and data servers, and according to Chiueh is a vital aspect of promoting the proliferation of cloud computing as each computing platform seeks to attract a critical mass of developers to adopt its standards.

SaaS entails the use of cloud-based applications on the client side, and represents the largest revenue possibilities for Taiwan's cloud computing providers, explained Chiueh. However, Taiwan's cloud computing providers will face stiff competition from Amazon's Web Services (AWS), he said, citing the company's success in the Japanese market.

Chiueh recommended that Taiwan's cloud operators adopt the Open Stack, Open Compute and Open Networking standards, where open-source core and pre-defined application program interfaces (API), and common standards such as AWS's Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2), may be supported. This will help them keep up with international competitors in the field, due to the prohibitive cost of utilising licensed solutions.

He also commended a number of Taiwan-based hardware manufactures for their efforts in transitioning toward the role of providers of cloud computing software solutions, and a number of public sector bodies and private enterprises for developing over 10 separate "clouds" in Taiwan.

Chiueh concluded by expressing the ITRI's wish to participate in the governing bodies' decision-making process, as opposed to the model of build-according-to-specs seen in the previous policy to adopt the waning WiMax standard. He also remarked that it has taken 20 years of occasionally hasty and impulsive investments for Taiwan's ICT industry to mature.

Regarding the future of the industry, Chiueh said he supports the "mobile device + backing cloud" model, in which hardware manufactures play an increasing role in supporting their branded mobile devices through cloud computing.




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