RealTime IT News

ASP Alliance Chapter Sets Up IDC Workgroup

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's non-profit ASP Alliance Chapter (AAC) has set up an Internet Data Center (IDC) workgroup under its Working Policy committee to generate awareness of Web-hosting services, address key IDC-related issues and help IDCs export their services within the region and globally.

Headed by Eric Yip, Service Provider marketing manager of Cisco Systems, the IDC workgroup joins the Legal, Survey & Research, and ASP Case Studies workgroups operating under AAC's Working Policy committee. Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority will act as advisor to the new workgroup.

AAC was formed in late August last year under the auspices of the Singapore IT Federation. It has 14 executive committee members: Alcatel Internetworking, CalendarOne.com, Cisco Systems, Ecpod.com, eGain Communications, HP, iASPire.net, Microsoft Singapore, Symix Singapore, PWR Powerlan Singapore, Progress Software, Solomon Software, Sun Microsystems, and StarHub.

Said Yip, "While there may be more and more Singapore-based businesses accepting the packaged application solutions in lieu of the traditional brick and mortar model, they lack the time and resources, or have the perception of huge cost in infrastructure setup.

"It is for this reason that the IDC workgroup is set up to help local IDC players network and forge alliances within the infocomm industry in Singapore and the region."

Cisco estimates that there are 20-25 IDCs in Singapore based on equipment installation at IDC customer sites. Most of these, according to Yip, are already on board or have at least expressed interest in joining the new workgroup.

The IDC workgroup will comprise core and associate members; the former being "pure" IDC players, while the latter are "ecosystem" partners such as hardware, software development and services providers like HP, Sun and Cisco.

Yip added that the first workgroup meeting will take place in a month's time to form a task force that will look into developing a comprehensive IDC review system, and defining the reference framework for service level agreements. It will also look into standardizing terminology and developing an IDC selection checklist.

Other short-term deliverables include marketing and business development projects, online promotions and the formation of an industry portal to raise awareness. However, he stressed that the key deliverable will be the IDC review system even though "no concrete body has been identified yet." The workgroup may subsequently implement a rating system based on the review system, but it remains to be seen if the industry would require it, according to Yip.

Longer term objectives of the new workgroup include providing a platform to highlight and discuss IDC-related issues such as government policy, real estate, telecom costs, technology development and power supply, and presenting a collective voice of the IDC industry to propose recommendations to relevant government agencies.

Plans are also in the pipeline to promote IDC players in Singapore and help them export their services to the Asia Pacific region. According to AAC chairman Leong Han Kong, who is also general manager of HP's Business Customer Sales Organization for Southeast Asia, AAC is already in "fairly advanced discussions" with Japan and Korea to present a united Asia Pacific front when dealing with other ASP organizations in Western countries.

"We would also want the IDC workgroup to act as single point of reference for cross-border tie-ups, where companies from the U.S. or Europe can approach the workgroup for partnership opportunities with local IDCs," Yip said.

The workgroup has also produced an IDC and ASP Handbook that promises to help the business community understand and make informed decisions on what IDC-related services will meet their particular requirements.

To be made available via direct mail and technology roadshows, the handbook comprises three sections: trends in IDC growth, services and adoption, and a matrix of major IDCs in Singapore that illustrates the services they offer; a similar matrix of services provided by local ASPs; and typical scenarios of how Web-hosting and application services help businesses become more efficient and competitive. Leong added that the handbook may be made available in softcopy at the AAC Web site in future.