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Thursday, 16 August 2012 20:29

Fujitsu spends $millions to float WA cloud


Fujitsu is spending “tens of $millions” upgrading its Malaga data centre in order to offer Western Australian prospects a locally based instance of its cloud services, and also provide clients around Australia with access to a second geographically remote instance of the local cloud in order to reduce risk.

Mike Foster, Fujitsu’s ceo who is currently visiting Western Australia, said that there was a strong business case for a WA based cloud – partly to meet the needs of clients in that state, but also to step up business continuity capability. Mr Foster said that if the business case stacked up, there was no reason why more instances of Fujitsu’s local cloud might not be launched in the future.

He said that having a second cloud instance in Australia was increasingly important to existing users. Mr Foster said that a manufacturing and transportation business using cloud services delivered out of Fujitsu’s two Sydney data centres had specified that it wanted disaster recovery capabilities located at least 500 km away from the primary cloud site in order to reduce risk.

According to Fujitsu the new instance of the cloud should also address Western Australia customer concerns regarding latency for applications which would otherwise be run out of an Eastern Seaboard data centre.

For most organisations however latency issues across the Nullarbor aren’t really that much of a problem.

In 2010 Perth based Curtin University announced that it had deliberately selected an Optus cloud service based in a data centre in NSW in order to explore the issues associated with latency and bandwidth. It turned out to be not much of an issue at all.

Earlier this week Ninefold, a cloud storage provider owned by Sydney based Macquarie Telecom, also announced that it was extending its programme of making storage available for free to start-ups based in the Eastern States to WA.

Mr Foster said that although Fujitsu itself did not think latency had been a major problem, there had been a customer perception that it was. “Early on we missed out on a couple of deals because of the issue of latency,” he told iTWire.

Improved communications networks increasingly meant latency was less of an issue he said. “Cloud is absolutely dependent on having a good robust network.

“Gas and mining – their core requirements are in more diverse locations. Having good high speed communications is essential to the cloud,” said Mr Foster, adding that the national broadband network would further benefit cloud users.

What is possibly more enticing – particularly for WA Government agencies - than a latency trim is the prospect of being able to store data in a locally based cloud. Under the recordkeeping legislation of most states it is technically illegal for government agencies to store records outside of the home state.

While workarounds have been created in some jurisdictions, the fact that WA Government users will be able to point to their data still being held in the state will probably give some comfort to cloud sceptics. Mr Foster said that Government clients were one of the target markets for the new cloud instance.

“The reason our local cloud is successful is that organisations want to use the cloud’s elasticity but they want to know where their data is. We’ve sold that hard,” he said.

Fujitsu’s WA cloud service should be operational by November.


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