SINGAPORE, 29 OCTOBER 2008 -- Government agencies and enterprises seeking cost-effective solutions amid the financial crisis can leverage on a commercial grid computing platform recently launched in Singapore.
Alatum, which resulted from a collaboration between Singapore Computer Systems (SCS) and HP, will deliver computing power, storage and software applications on an on-demand, online basis, SCS said.
The launch followed the Singaporean government's award of the national Grid Service Provisioning project to the SCS-HP consortium in June 2008. According to HP, the award marked the start of local grid services commercialisation and an industry-government partnership to promote wider grid adoption among organisations.
20 global and local grid computing partners currently support Alatum, including Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, SingTel, and Netsuite. The consortium seeks to increase the number of partners to 70 by end-2011, said Alvin Kok, executive vice president of SCS.
Grid computing services
According to Kok, overbuilding of IT assets has resulted in various cost drivers for enterprises. There's a low level of capacity utilisation for servers, desktops and storage, he said. Upfront expenditures and on-going fees for software applications are other cost drivers.
Kok noted that many enterprises are not using investments in the right way and powering and cooling have added to costs.
Users of Alatum would benefit from little upfront capital investment tied down with depreciating hardware and obsolescing software, Kok said. End users should be allowed to focus on running the business rather than managing IT assets.
Kok claimed that Alatum also provides enterprises improved agility, robustness and scalability.
Alatum's grid computing services include software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings such as customer relationship management, accounting and human resource management, Kok said.
Computing-on-demand services are also included, offering internet and proof-of-concept servers. Storage-on-demand services are available for customers involved in backup, business continuity planning and data migration. Additionally, customers may access pay-per-use internet bandwidth services.
Besides MNCs and government agencies, another target customer segment will be small and medium-sized businesses, Kok said. We will also work with independent software vendors (ISV) who seek to develop SaaS solutions for the Asian market.
The consortium seeks to collaborate with ISVs to provide application hosting and data centre hosting, according to Kok. Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore has committed to support up to 40 per cent of the load for application hosting.
Additionally, the consortium will generate marketing awareness programmes to help partners and customers understand more about the benefits of grid computing services. We will provide ISVs with opportunities to cater to a broader customer base, Kok said.
Customers can pay for data centre hosting as their businesses grow without having to invest heavily in hardware infrastructure. Quick startups are possible at low cost, he said. SCS will provide the hardware for data centre hosting.
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