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APAC public cloud market to surpass $10bn in 2017

Led by growing demand for cloud infrastructure services, the public cloud market is now dominated by Microsoft, Amazon and Alibaba, which is expanding its footprint outside China

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The public cloud services market in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region excluding Japan is expected to exceed $10bn in 2017, according to technology research firm IDC.

Much of this growth will be driven by infrastructure as a service (IaaS), for which spending will surpass that of software as a service (SaaS) in 2017.

The use of public services in APAC is more entrenched today, with even heavily regulated industries like banking and finance turning to SaaS applications for non-core business needs.

These organisations are also using platform as a service (PaaS) offerings to develop apps, along with IaaS to test workloads and new services, said Liew Siew Choon, senior market analyst at IDC Asia/Pacific’s services research team.

“As enterprises are exploring different cloud options for different workloads, most enterprises have hybrid IT strategies with dispersed IT assets and workloads across onsite and offsite datacentres,” said Liew.

“The modern applications that support innovation accelerators such as internet of things and cognitive systems will further increase the adoption of public cloud services.”

The top three public cloud suppliers in the region in 2016 were Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Alibaba, with a combined market share of over 50%.

Microsoft’s growing traction

In a statement, Liew also singled out Microsoft’s growing traction in the APAC public cloud market, noting that the software giant’s IaaS revenue from the Azure cloud computing service has surpassed its SaaS business by the end of 2016.

“Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft’s public cloud revenue is actually gaining more from Azure apart from Office 365,” he said.

Across the region, IDC estimates that IaaS spending will reach $4.8bn in 2017, thanks to a 35.8% year-on-year growth from previous year.

SaaS and PaaS spending in the region are also expected to grow significantly, by 29% and 37.2% respectively.

“With data growing at an exponential rate, a scalable and rapid processing infrastructure from IaaS providers is increasingly demanded by enterprises for better resource utilisation and cost savings,” said Liew.

Data backup and disaster recovery are also fuelling demand for IaaS in the region, along with a concerted push by countries like China, where the government is driving the development of cloud infrastructure services.

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The Chinese public cloud market is being dominated by Alibaba Cloud, which has seen some success in its international expansion plans. The company operates datacentres in Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the US, and plans to open new facilities in India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

According to Ovum, a technology research firm, Alibaba Cloud differentiates itself by offering big data crunching services that are being used by organisations in manufacturing, sales management, government, telecommunication and retail.

Alibaba has also built a big data platform to help customers including the China Taxation Bureau to gather, analyse, and act on the data of commercial entities, enabling it to monitor for fraud and other illegal transactions.

In cyber security, the Chinese company hosts and provides security services for over 37% of websites in China, including its own site, Taobao, an online marketplace that resembles eBay and is easily China’s biggest e-commerce site.

As an attractive cyber target, Alibaba Cloud had prevented the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack – with peak traffic estimated at 800Gbps – on its network this year. In 2014, it helped to protect a gaming app company against another DDoS attack that lasted 14 hours.

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