It was the 36th day of the Movement Control Order (MCO). An announcement made by the Government recently has led to hundreds and thousands of people to swarm an organisation’s website. The servers have hit the limit. Bandwidth is reaching its maximum capacity. The website had gone down. An upgrade has become imperative and must be done immediately. It is national interest!
Within only 24 hours, an infrastructure upgrade was complete. The system has moved to the cloud, and the system was up and running again, securely, as usual.
The above scenario is real in today’s crisis period. Volatility and uncertainty have become normal. It is clear that this pandemic has become an ultimate test for all organisations across various sectors. For those organisations that have emerged as critical during these challenging times, they need a trusted digital provider who can offer the agility, flexibility, scalability and security to meet their needs within a very short period of time.
At Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), we are currently seeing more than 30% increase in usage trending during the MCO period. Of course, our vast and diverse network connectivity nationwide and worldwide is sufficient to continuously support any sudden spike in demand for internet bandwidth. In the meantime, Malaysia Internet Exchange, MyIX, reported the highest internet traffic peak of 532Gbps at the start of the MCO on 18 March 2020 – an increase of 6.4% from 2019’s highest traffic peak point record of 500Gbps.
This is a worldwide phenomenon. According to international media reports, in Europe recently, Internet Exchange Operator DE-CIX said it has seen average data traffic at its exchange in Frankfurt alone increased by 10%. That includes a 50% rise in video conferencing traffic (including Skype, Teams, and WebEx) and a 25% increase in online and cloud gaming. Meanwhile, all of DE-CIX’s Internet nodes worldwide are reporting a 20% increase in demand for additional capacity since the beginning of March.
As part of MCO, people are encouraged to work from home (if their job function allows) to reduce the risk of them coming into contact with someone who might have the virus, or – if they are infected themselves – passing it on. Some organisations are seeing a spike in traffic or in demand for their services, as a result of government announcements or market dynamics arising from the pandemic.
The challenge for many enterprises and public sector bodies is to ensure their IT infrastructure can accommodate a sudden increase in traffic to their systems when there is a sudden spike in demand, while most if not all of their employees are now working from home.
But it is a challenge we have to rise to, to ensure the business can continue to function in this unprecedented pandemic situation that is affecting everyone across the world, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees.
Many experts say that enterprises that have already gone all-in on public cloud from an infrastructure perspective, or are largely familiar with software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, should be at lower risk of experiencing technical difficulties at this time.
And it must be noted, a key benefit of cloud-based application and infrastructure resources is that they are accessible from anywhere, enabling businesses to gain control of their operations during the MCO. As the scenario at the start of this article has shown, the cloud also offers the scalability and flexibility when there is a sudden change in resource demands, enabling users to upgrade or downgrade anytime.
The reality of the situation, though, is that relatively few organisations out there that are truly “all-in” on cloud, and many others are still highly reliant on their internal IT environment to host their business-critical applications.
According to Global Data, Malaysia’s spending for Cloud Computing – is forecasted to reach RM10 billion in 2020, an 18% increase from 2019. Yet, cloud computing is expected to amount to merely 12-15% of all ICT spending. This is in contrast with data from research and predictions, where cloud expenses are expected to amount to 70% of all tech spending globally by 2020.
Certainly, there is a lot of growth potential here. The global cloud computing market is forecasted to exceed US$350 billion this year, an 18% rise since 2018 and the impressive Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is bound to continue. In Malaysia, Software as a Service (SaaS) accounts for about half of enterprise expenditure on cloud computing, but spending growth in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is expected to rise as enterprises demand more cloud storage and compute capacity, cloud-based database, application development software, and analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.
The resilience of cloud computing is being out for the test as never before as a critical enabler of remote operations and continuous innovation.
Many organisations have moved mostly tactical business functions to either SaaS or public cloud. Those companies that chose to keep business-critical applications in their own data centre – presumably to have lower latency and more control over performance – now find themselves in a quandary as overnight their offices become empty when working from home has become mandatory in most scenarios.
This is where a multi- or hybrid cloud strategy becomes a viable approach for organisations that want the best of both worlds. While the trend towards public cloud especially in SaaS applications is increasing, shifting towards private and hybrid cloud will enable organisations to meet varied business requirements and workloads. With hybrid cloud, they can enjoy gains in speed and efficiency, where certain workloads are kept on-premise or in the private cloud, while public cloud is used for non-mission critical workloads.
Malaysia, as with the rest of world, has changed in the last few weeks. The measures we’re taking to push back against the COVID-19 are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances. A new chapter has begun featuring a sharp rise of digital technology adoption, which will help to illuminate a path forward for our businesses.
When pushed to the wall, most humans can unveil the best and the worst. Fortunately, the majority are united especially bridged by digital tools and services. We will all get through this together.