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Cloud hub an Australian opportunity: report

MacTel, Fujitsu, vendors set up OzHub

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Data “residence” in cloud computing is again in the spotlight, with Macqurie Telecom, Fujitsu ANZ, InfoPlex and VMWare joining together to create the OzHub alliance.

The group launched by commissioning a report from Lateral Economics, called The potential for cloud computing services in Australia, which has identified a variety of constraints to the development of the cloud in this country.

These constraints include the high latency between Australia and much of the rest of the world; high costs imposed by our relatively immature market, small scale, and high costs to access overseas markets; and suitable regulation to cover off issues such as privacy, telecommunications interception rules, and notification procedures.

The report was authored by Nicholas Gruen – famous in Australia for leading among other things “government 2.0” efforts here – and Simon Molloy.

OzHub hopes to create a self-regulation framework for the cloud sector, something which would, if successful, reduce the need for government regulation. It will be working with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network to help “develop a framework and a set of protocols” to address consumers’ cloud computing needs.

A particular opportunity identified by Lateral Economics is the US Patriot Act, which it says “brazenly declares the US Government‟s right to access anything it wants from any cloud infrastructure over which it can claim jurisdiction. That creates a demand for cloud computing services that are not subject to such capricious hazards.”

The report identifies government as a crucial “anchor tenant” for cloud computing, because of the government’s prohibition of its agencies storing data offshore.

While the Lateral Economics report welcomes the National Broadband Network (NBN), the group is worried about whether backhaul stands as a constraint: “A question mark remains, however, over the extent to which Australia’s domestic backhaul capacity and international links to points of interconnect with the NBN which will hold back communications performance and limit the development of the cloud computing industry.”

The Lateral Economics can be found here. ®

Update: ACCAN not on board? A report in the Australian Financial Review says the consumer body ACCAN is not involved in OzHub, and that the original report "sounds like a PR company gone mad". That could never happen, could it? ®

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