Taking a direct path to the cloud in Malaysia

Today, the cloud is becoming a critical tool for all types of businesses, resulting in almost every major enterprise in Malaysia using cloud services in one way or another. What many do not know is that there is more than one way to connect to the cloud.

According to a study by IDC, Asia-based organisations have been accelerating their digital transformation journey and cloud adoption in recent years, taking on various cloud operating models as the core foundation to help them pivot towards a digital-first economy. With strong headwinds on the horizon and recessionary pressures rising, businesses tend to look for greater benefits from their cloud deployments beyond typical gains such as IT productivity.

Considering that most organisations in the Asian region are maturing in their use of cloud, data and new technologies, the need to improve efficiency while also enhancing innovation and value creation for the business continues to become more demanding. However, there are still growing concerns of placing greater pressure on budgets, which would require organisations to ensure greater alignment and collaboration between IT and business operations in order to achieve company goals.

This is why in recent years, many IT processes have been outsourced to the cloud. It is important to note that the more workloads and data that are migrated to the cloud, the greater the need for reliable connectivity for these resources. With the IT infrastructure rapidly moving towards the cloud, the issue of connectivity now plays a much more significant role in IT departments.

But what are the actual benefits for companies of having a direct and dedicated connection to hyperscale clouds? First and foremost, such connections are more reliable and have lower latency compared to the longer and potentially more risky path over the public Internet. Direct connectivity is becoming increasingly important in the IoT sector, for example, where large amounts of sensor data need to be transmitted and processed. Some applications here require latency times in the low millisecond (ms) range, others less than 35 ms. Another important aspect of a direct cloud connection is network security. Data and network resources can be shielded from some of the attacks on the public Internet (IP hijacking and DDOS attacks) from the outset.

The implementation of a direct cloud connection should be conducted by an interconnection service provider such as DE-CIX, which offers both the chance to peer (connect directly to exchange data) with a large number of networks and an abundance of connected clouds. For example, DE-CIX’s service DirectCLOUD is a dedicated connection between a company’s infrastructure and a chosen cloud service provider that bypasses the public Internet and thus offers lower latency, higher performance, and increased security. It enables customers to access the services of multiple cloud service providers, including not only large, global players – such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure – but also many niche, specialist, or regionally relevant cloud service providers via their own private, direct connection. Traditional direct connection to the cloud provider requires each user to implement a dedicated link to each cloud provider. With DE-CIX’s multi-cloud platform, the user only needs to implement a dedicated link to the DE-CIX platform, via the platform the user can interconnect to multiple cloud providers, hence reducing cost and improving the scalability and versatility of their infrastructure. Diversification in terms of connecting to and using multiple cloud providers is not only important to enssure constant availability, but also to be not dependent on and locked in to one single provider.

But it’s not just about directly connecting the company to critical cloud services or SaaS solutions. It’s also about directly connecting the chosen clouds or cloud workloads to each other, to ensure even lower latency and greater security for cloud-to-cloud communication. This can be achieved by using a cloud routing service like the DE-CIX CloudROUTER, a service which does not require any additional hardware and can be implemented in minutes. Cloud-to-cloud communication is important for ensuring that data can be safely and reliably shared between applications on different clouds (such as the ERP and the logistics systems) at low latency. It is also key to having a cloud-based back-up and disaster recovery (DR) strategy. Data can be continuously backed up to a separate cloud service (a “failover”), and in the event of an outage of the primary cloud service, applications can continue to run on the failover cloud service until the incident is over, thus ensuring business continuity.

In order to get the most out of cloud computing and as-a-service offerings, it’s important to understand that it’s not just within the cloud that performance and security matter: The path that the data takes to get there is equally important. And with a modern, distributed interconnection platform like the DE-CIX Asia platform, enterprises can not only connect to their preferred clouds at the closest Internet Exchange (IX) but also at any of the interconnected IXs of that platform – even across national borders, and without long detours to the nearest cloud on-ramp. For example, a company based in Malaysia and connected to DE-CIX Kuala Lumpur can simply and easily connect directly to a cloud that is only physically present in Singapore, reducing the latency and increasing the security in one go. By Weng Yew Wong, Board of Management at DE-CIX Malaysia BusinessToday