Alibaba Cloud: accelerating enterprise cloud adoption
In an announcement made by Alibaba Cloud - Alibaba Group’s digital technology and intelligence arm - the company reports its revamp of its hybrid cloud strategy. The new strategy will focus on bringing compatibility, security, compliance, scalability and reliability to its upgraded products and .
The revamp forms part of the company’s efforts to help businesses - particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) - to transform digitally, taking advantage of public cloud’s features.
As part of its revamp, Alibaba Cloud launched a physical server to integrate with its solution to support timely and cost effective hybrid cloud backup. Acting as a bridge between on premise servers and the public cloud - without compromising network security and efficiency - the appliance has a dual power source, network ports and a hot backup disc to ensure a safe and stable operating environment for users.
"A key observation from 2020 is that hybrid cloud deployments will accelerate in the time to come as it expedites the digital transformation requirements of businesses everywhere. At Alibaba Cloud, we are committed to making it easier for enterprises of any scale to accelerate their digital transformation requirements. We want to create an ecosystem for hybrid cloud partners so that together we can allow businesses to compete in the digital era,” commented Kevin Li, Hybrid Cloud Business General Manager, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
To drive joint innovation and service delivery, Alibaba Cloud launched its Hybrid Cloud Partner Program to provide an ecosystem for partners to plan, design and resell services to accelerate the adoption journey.
"Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has successfully collaborated with Alibaba Cloud since 2018 to deliver the next generation of hybrid cloud and drive customer success in sectors such as telecommunications, financial services, aviation and the public sector. We are pleased to take our partnership with Alibaba Cloud to the next level as an Alibaba Hybrid Cloud Partner. Through our Global Channels ecosystem and innovation portfolio, we will accelerate collaboration with Alibaba Cloud Solutions and create new synergies to help customers accelerate their digital transformations, harness the full power of their information, wherever it resides, and benefit from a modern cloud experience on-premises through our unique consumption offering and as-a-service vision,” added Christanto Suryadarma, Senior Director and General Manager - APAC Channels, Mid-market & SMB, Alibaba Cloud Partnership, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Why Alibaba Cloud is doubling down in Southeast Asia
Alibaba has announced expansion of its cloud business within Southeast Asia, with the introduction of a digital upskilling programme for locals alongside acceleration of its data centre openings.
This doubling down of its cloud business in Southeast Asia comes as the company faces stiff competition at home in China from rivals including Pinduoduo Inc and Tencent and seeks to up its game in a region considered to be the fastest-growing in cloud adoption to compete with leading global cloud providers AWS, Google and Microsoft.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and second biggest revenue driver after its core e-commerce business, finally turned profitable for the first time in the December 2020 following 11 years of operation, thanks largely to the pandemic which has spurred businesses and consumers to get online.
Southeast Asia growing demand for cloud
In 2020, there was a noticeable increase in interest towards cloud in SE Asia, with the population embracing digital transformation during the pandemic and SMEs across the region showing increased demand for cloud computing.
Such demand has led to the expectation that Southeast Asia is now the fastest-growing adopter of cloud computing with the cloud market expected to reach US$40.32bn in Southeast Asia by 2025 according to IDC.
And there are plenty of players vying for a slice of the cloud pie. While AWS, the cloud arm of Amazon, is the leading player in Southeast Asia (and across all of APAC apart from China), Microsoft and Google are the next two most dominant players in Southeast Asia with Alibaba coming in fourth.
“There is no doubt that during the past year we have seen the acceleration of digital transformation efforts across all industries,” explains Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. “Asia now accounts for 60% of the world’s growth and is leading the global recovery with the digitalization of business models and economies. Cloud will continue to be a core foundation empowering the realization of Asia’s ambitions, enabling co-innovation across industries, government and community, to drive inclusive societal progress.”
Alibaba’s commitment to Southeast Asia
At its annual Alibaba Cloud Summit, the Chinese company announced Project AsiaForward, an initiative designed to upskill local developers, small-to-medium-sized companies and connect businesses with venture capital. Alibaba said it would set aside US$1bn over the next three years to develop digital skills in the region, with the aim of helping to develop 100,000 developers and to help grow 100,000 tech startups.
But that’s not all. The company, which recently opened its third data centre in Indonesia, serving customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services, also announced it would unveil its first data centre in the Philippines by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, that it would establish its first international innovation centre, located in Malaysia, offering a one-stop shop platform for Malaysian SMEs, startups and developers to innovate in emerging technologies.
“We are seeing a strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. As the leading cloud service provider and trusted partner in APAC, we are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure,” says Jeff Zhang, President, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
What other cloud providers are pledging in the region
This pledge by Alibaba to upskill both individuals and businesses follows Microsoft’s announcement in April that it was planning to upskill Malaysia’s population and would invest US$1bn over the next five years to build a new data centre centre in Malaysia.
This is the latest in a long line of pledges to the region by the US tech giant, which is fast accelerating the growth of its cloud datacenter footprint in Asia, expanding form seven 11 markets, and recently adding three new markets across Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Back in February, it announced plans to establish its first datacenter region in Indonesia and to skill an additional 3 million Indonesians to achieve its goal of empowering over 24 million Indonesians by the end of 2021.
And recent research by IDC shows that Microsoft’s most recent datacenter expansions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan alone are set to generate more than US$21bn in new revenues and will create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years.
Also last month, Tencent announced it has launched internet data centres in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo to add to its second availability zone opened in Korea last year and plans to add an internet data center in Indonesia, and Google has also been pushing into the enterprise space in Southeast Asia for several years now.
Expanding data centers allows cloud providers to boost their capacity in certain countries or regions.