4 May 2010 - Opening Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, At CloudAsia 2010, Singapore Management University

Opening Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, At CloudAsia 2010, 4 May 2010, Singapore Management University

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. Welcome to the official opening of CloudAsia 2010.


1. In the infocomm realm, there has been a paradigm shift, from the traditional model where infocomm applications are delivered and consumed within the enterprise environment, i.e. "on premises", to a model where these applications are delivered and consumed via the Internet as services, i.e. "in the cloud".

2. These services are typically "pay-as-you-use". Just as in the energy sector, where end users consume power without owning or operating power plants, cloud computing enables end users to consume infocomm services without the need to own IT infrastructure or operate IT support teams. This enables a lot more businesses to adopt infocomm.

3. Grid services trace their origin to the scientific community, where there is a need for high performance computing, increasingly achieved by harnessing commodity hardware through aggregation and virtualisation of infocomm resources. Over time, concepts of utility business models, software-as-a-service, advancement in virtualisation together avail grid services to a larger community beyond the scientific users, to industry and business users, in what we refer to as cloud computing.

Why Cloud?

4. There are compelling value drivers for the adoption of cloud computing.

5. For larger enterprises, basic IT support services are increasingly seen to be non-core functions. The adoption of cloud computing avoids upfront capital investment in fast depreciating IT hardware, reduces operational cost and most importantly frees up staff and management talent. Enterprises are expected to accelerate their cloud computing migration plans due to immense cost-pressure in the current economic climate.

6. For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, besides cost savings, cloud computing also reduces the need for in-house IT teams. These teams require diverse skill sets that the companies find difficult to develop or retain. By leveraging professional cloud providers, SMEs can enjoy a wide range of IT services at lower cost.

The Potential And Size of Cloud

7. Gartner1 has projected that storage-as-a-service, one of the services offered by Cloud, could be up to 10 times cheaper than the current "on-premise" mode, and bandwidth connectivity cost could be halved and processing cost could drop by as much as a third.

8. Beyond cost reduction, cloud computing also offers new "Internet scale" business-to-business, and business-to-consumer strategic opportunities for companies. Well known B2C examples include Google and YouTube. Examples of B2B transformation include Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com, which reported, amidst poorer industry performance last year, a 21 per cent revenue jump to US$1.3 billion for fiscal year 20102.

9. IDC has projected that the global cloud computing market would grow from US$17.4 billion to US$44.2 billion in 20133. Of the US$27 billion in net new IT revenue in 2013, 27 per cent is expected to come from IT cloud services. IDC also sees that Singapore cloud services are expected to be worth US$42 million this year and US$177 million by 20144. Beyond 2012, Saugatuck has predicted that less than 40 per cent of business software would be sold under the traditional licensing scheme. With these projections, industry analysts such as IDC and Gartner have identified cloud computing as a disruptive technology over the next three to five years.

We Have Made Progress

10. As a result of IDA's Grid Service Provisioning Call for Collaboration, several companies launched commercial services in Nov 2008. Hence Singapore has already started to build some industry capabilities in these areas.

11. To ensure that aspiring Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have access to help in adopting the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, a SaaS incubation centre was established in September 2008 to render business and technical consultancy services to these ISVs. The centre, operated by AkSaaS, also provides training and hand-holding in SaaS-enablement. Software that has been successfully ported is hosted by cloud service providers.

12. There are several government applications using cloud services. Depending on its needs to scale up resources as and when required, the Web Archive Singapore project from the National Library Board harnesses the capabilities of cloud providers to crawl web sites to preserve materials relevant to the cultural and heritage aspects of Singapore and to index the digital materials. As the number of such web sites continues to grow, the agility in provisioning of the needed compute, storage, and network bandwidth is easily provided on a utility basis.

13. More recently, in September 2009, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced its decision to leverage on Google Apps to provide email, Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools to more than 30,000 teachers and staff in over 350 public schools in Singapore. The goal is to adopt innovative technologies within the education profession to drive Next Generation learning and communications.

14. To build knowledge capital in cloud computing, IDA has collaborated with Yahoo!, HP and Intel in the Open Cirrus Cloud Computing test bed. Through this three-year partnership, we seek to further research and development in this nascent field by nurturing local researchers to undertake collaboration in Internet-scale data-intensive computing with their counterparts from other countries and industry partners. Besides providing researchers access to the cloud test bed, we also seek to identify projects that can potentially benefit from Internet-scale data-intensive computing and undertake their proof-of-concept. There are now 10 such research projects undertaken by our local universities, NUS, NTU and SMU. Over 250 people have been trained to use Hadoop by Yahoo! instructors.

15. These are examples of how IDA is seeking to harness existing knowledge capital in its collaboration with industry partners, institutes of higher learning, and research institutes, and to attract more cloud R&D to be established in Singapore.

16. However, there exists a gap between R&D and real-world industry usage, which needs to be bridged so that the results of such research can find their way into industry applications. To do this, we would need to see how we can create a platform to link abstract research to the real world development needs of industry and government. Such a platform can identify opportunities in anticipatory demand for Next Generation infocomm technologies, and build strategic relationships with major labs and leading researchers. With its integrative capability, the platform can harness research results, help to create prototypes of promising projects that could be commercialised by interested companies and shorten the timeframe to adoption of these applications.

17. For enterprises that wish to adopt private clouds, a Cloud Innovation Centre operated by Platform Computing was established in April 2009 to help lower the technology and cost barriers in undertaking proof-of-concept and conducting trials when adopting private clouds. To date, several users ranging from government agencies, institutes of higher learning to industry have undertaken proof-of-concept and pilots before deploying them as production enterprise clouds.

18. This year, at CloudAsia 2010, we are happy to announce IDA's collaboration with IBM in its Cloud Lab. We are collaborating with IBM to engage in applied research relevant to IDA's objectives to promote cloud computing adoption in Singapore, with the goal of developing innovative, repeatable, first-of-its-kind cloud solutions that address challenges faced by users in both private and public sectors. I will leave Alan Ganek, the IBM keynote speaker for today, to share with you further details of this Cloud Lab.

IDA's Plans To Leverage On This Paradigm Shift to Cloud Computing

19. With the objective of enhancing the vibrancy and growth of the Singapore infocomm sector, through leveraging on this new paradigm of cloud computing, IDA will work with relevant government agencies to do the following:

  • attract cloud service providers to use Singapore for their data centres as a regional or global hub. Salesforce.com and Amazon Web Services have established data centres in Singapore to provide cloud services to the Asia Pacific region.

  • attract cloud technology companies to Singapore to build private, public, hybrid and community clouds and enhance the range of cloud services. We aim to do this by seeding flagship projects that harness cloud computing in specific domains, such as cloud-based video hosting and streaming, financial services institutions, digital media, and other verticals.

  • enable software companies and infocomm end-user companies in Singapore to transform their solutions to adapt to cloud computing technologies. This is achieved through the initiatives I have mentioned, such as the SaaS Incubation Centre and Cloud Innovation Centre.

  • ensure that infocomm professionals and university graduates in Singapore are kept abreast of advances in cloud computing and address manpower development issues. IDA would be working with our industry and educational institutes partners to put in place the necessary framework and support for companies and workers to upgrade their competencies in the new space.

  • leverage our infocomm infrastructure, such as Singapore's Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, Singapore Internet Exchange to provide the advanced infocomm capabilities needed by companies to quickly develop and deploy innovative next generation services.

20. As part of IDA's efforts on promoting the adoption of Cloud Computing, IDA will be calling for proposals to undertake innovative cloud based projects. We would like to support projects that will help to enable infocomm infrastructure development for iN2015 vertical clusters. We would also support specific lighthouse projects that illustrate and promote the use of cloud computing. We hope to establish Singapore as a Shared Services Hub where local users, especially SMEs, can exploit SaaS, thereby encouraging further infocomm capability development.

21. Government agencies, Institutes of Higher Learning, Research Institutes, and private sector companies are welcome to submit proposals. Depending on the impact and scope of the project, selected projects will be awarded support in terms of compute and storage resources drawn from the cloud services provided by the National Grid Service Providers. More details can be found on the IDA website, ida.gov.sg.


22. IDA sees cloud computing as the next important paradigm in computing that will sharpen the competitiveness of Singapore through its adoption. We will seek to develop a vibrant cloud computing ecosystem and position Singapore as a centre for cloud computing services in Asia and globally. This is characterised by huge scalability and Internet-class scale computing, with businesses meeting their infocomm needs by procuring them as services through a "pay-as-you-use" utility model. Cloud computing can provide a link across the entire infocomm ecosystem, from high value R&D spin-offs to impactful adoption by user industries.

23. The paradigm shift introduces immense business opportunities to Singapore. Local infocomm enterprises can leverage on Singapore's strong infrastructure and trust environment to benefit from this paradigm shift. These infocomm enterprises could extend their reach globally by tapping on the cloud presence in Singapore. The larger Singapore economy would also benefit if businesses are able to adopt cloud computing to reduce cost and increase productivity.

24. On that note, I wish you an enjoyable and fruitful time here at CloudAsia 2010. Thank you.

Related Link:


1 Gartner, September 2008
2 http://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2010/02/100224.jsp
3 IDC, September 2009
4 Business Times, 12 April 2010

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023