"Crowd Cloud" Brings Asia-Pacific Emerging Markets into the Cloud
August 30, 2017

Asaf Zamir

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Asia-Pacific is at the forefront of the cloud revolution. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2015 – 2020, Asia Pacific is projected to generate 1.5 zettabytes of cloud traffic, or a trillion gigabytes. To put it into perspective, that’s equivalent to about 375 billion DVDs. Yet while developed APAC countries, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, are leading the way in cloud adoption, emerging markets in the region are trailing behind. The decentralized cloud – or the "Crowd Cloud" – will bring these markets into the 21st century by making the cloud accessible to all.

Growth of the Cloud in Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region in terms of hyperscale data center locations, and is expected to grow more rapidly over the next five years. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, announced its plans this year to open two more data centers in the region – one in Malaysia and another in Singapore. Meanwhile, Microsoft Asia Pacific has recorded triple-digit growth year-on-year for Azure in the first 10 months of 2016, providing cloud services to everything from IoT systems to monitor oyster farms to patient records for healthcare providers.

However, the very nature of centralized cloud services stymies growth in the cloud. These data centers are slow to build and costly to run. They are also vulnerable to cyber attacks, system failures and power outages. While Singapore and Hong Kong have made significant investments in the necessary cables, power and broadband for supporting the cloud, emerging APAC countries often lack the necessary infrastructure investment to support the cloud. For businesses, disruptions caused by systems failures can be costly; a recent outage of one of the largest cloud service providers in the US paralyzed a number of cloud-dependent businesses and cost S&P 500 companies $150 million USD.

The lack of competition between hyperscale cloud providers also means that costs are unnaturally high. The top 24 "hyperscale" companies operate over 300 data centers across the world, and account for almost 60 percent of cloud-hosted software services. By mid-2018, operational expenditure for cloud services will account for 80 percent of company’s IT budgets, according to Intel Security. This prices many businesses out of the cloud economy.

Crowd Cloud in an Emerging Market

The traditional model of centralized cloud services provided by a few hyperscale providers is outdated. To keep pace in the internet-based economy, Asia-Pacific emerging markets need to adopt a new model for the cloud: the "Crowd Cloud." Rather than storing and processing data in a centralized data center, the Crowd Cloud harnesses the unused processing power and data storage from millions of home and office computers worldwide. This will solve many of the issues in cloud scalability in Asia-Pacific emerging markets by bypassing the need for significant infrastructure investment in data centers, and creating a more secure and stable cloud network.

While there are already a number of decentralized solutions out there, these only provide solutions for a single vertical within the cloud – storage, computing (CPU), bandwidth, applications or payments – aimed towards niche markets, such as 3D graphics rendering or scientific research. Until now, there has not been a fully-integrated decentralized cloud service solution. The solution to this is through a decentralized infrastructure that utilizes a blockchain-based gateway to integrate between all these cloud components.

Within a new decentralized cloud ecosystem, it is necessary to have a standard cryptocurrency based on blockchain-Ethereum to govern exchanges automatically. By creating a running receipt of the cloud services used, it will enable the clearing and distributing of payments to Crowd Cloud providers. This could still include big players like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, alongside individual – anyone who is a part of the Crowd Cloud.

The introduction of decentralized cloud services will revolutionize how emerging markets access the cloud. Rather than relying on infrastructure which is slow, costly to build and prone to failure, the Crowd Cloud will provide instant access to high-power computer processing (CPU), data storage and other cloud services. This will ensure that these emerging markets are not left by the wayside as demand for online services continues to grow in Asia-Pacific.

Asaf Zamir is Co-Founder and CTO of Cloudwith.me
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