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Making the Shift Into the Cloud for Even the Most Sensitive Data – AVM Cloud Event in Kuala Lumpur
August 22, 2023 Blog


Written by: Andrew Martin, Group Publisher, AOPG.

Last week I attended SHIFT: Into The Zone, an invitation-only event hosted by AVM Cloud to discuss cloud in general and sovereign cloud in particular.

The event took place at Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur and was attended by C-suite executives working in IT, DevOps and technology transformation.

Before jumping into the details of the event it is worth giving some background on AVM Cloud, a company that has been pushing the boundaries of technology since the virtualisation revolution began. More accurately, they were ahead of the curve, forging a relationship with VMware before people even knew what virtualisation was and pioneering that technology in Malaysia.

Today, the roots of that relationship with VMware run deep, and they are one of only two Malaysian companies that are able to deliver VMware’s sovereign cloud.

The day began with AVM Cloud’s CEO, David Chan, welcoming the attendees and setting the scene for speakers from VMware, Veeam, IDC, and, of course, Time (AVM Cloud is a subsidiary of Time) to share thoughts, market dynamics and, most importantly, discussion points about cloud adoption.

Speaking to some of the attendees, it was clear that despite how ubiquitous the cloud has become, they still had concerns, doubts, and questions about the next stage in their cloud journeys. Especially as they start to seriously look at moving increasingly critical and sensitive data to the cloud, trust and compliance become more important than ever.  One attendee who preferred to remain “uncredited’ explained to me that whilst technically everyone is now comfortable with the concept of cloud, the compliance and laws governing the data and applications you run on the cloud are becoming increasingly more complex to navigate.

James Sivalingam, Senior Program Manager at IDC Asia/Pacific, confirmed that this concern is prevalent in Malaysia, citing research his organisation has carried out, which highlights that staying on the right side of privacy, compliance and sovereignty laws and guidelines is a concern that impacts most companies.

James also explained that when it comes to protecting your cloud-based data, privacy and data compliance are only one of the concerns addressed by sovereign cloud. The other major concern is resilience. As companies increasingly move critical data into the public cloud, it becomes more important to them that the platform they choose is robust, stable and reliable. Sovereign cloud services offer the resilience that checks that box.

In terms of what continues to drive Malaysian companies to cloud technology, James shared that generating insights from data, improving time to market on new initiatives and offerings, and enhancing IT productivity are high on the list of priorities for Malaysian organisations.

With this in the minds of those in attendance, Surendra Kumar, Regional Head, Cloud Solution Architecture, Cloud Providers, South East Asia & Korea at VMware, took some time to delve much deeper into exactly what VMware’s sovereign cloud is.

VMware Sovereign Cloud providers are helping enterprises continue reaping the benefits of the cloud from availability to accessibility, and better security to scalability, without compromising the control to deploy sensitive and regulated workloads to the right cloud and confidence that the integrity of data is kept secure and within the borders of Malaysia.

At its core, that’s what sovereign cloud is about. VMware picks a select few partners with the skills, experience and infrastructure to build a VMware-based cloud that sits entirely within a country’s jurisdiction. When you place your applications and data into AVM Cloud’s sovereign cloud you know that from data residency through to the laws impacting that data, it remains within the jurisdiction of Malaysia.

On the question of resilience, AVM Cloud leverages another long-term partnership. Tay Teck Sze, Systems Engineer Manager, ASEAN at Veeam, was on hand to explain how their long-term relationship with AVM Cloud and VMware meant they were the only viable choice to provide the technology to build data protection and business resilience into the AVM Cloud’s sovereign cloud platform. Not only that but because the total package is so robust, it’s not just about building resilience into the AVM Cloud itself. Together they offer a service where your on-premises data can be backed up and protected as a service in the AVM Cloud environment.

Teck Sze also shared insights on a very important concept, which he referred to as the “reality gap.” Simply put, this is the gap between what companies think is their “recoverability” capability and what is their actual recovery capability. In short, most companies THINK they can recover from a crash more quickly than is actually the case, and they also think less data is at risk of loss than is actually the case.  When you move to the sovereign cloud, these are important issues that you will need to address head-on to ensure maximum resilience.

AVM Cloud’s CTO, Kenny Lim, did a great job of pulling the discussion points of the various presentations together.  He explained that AVM Cloud will continue to develop increasing self-service capabilities without ever compromising that important sovereignty. He also pointed out the “people” factor, highlighting that everyone who works on their cloud and hence on their customers’ cloud instances is employed by AVM Cloud and based in Malaysia. Hence the visibility and accountability, even down to the people that run the infrastructure, will always be clearer than is possible with the hyperscalers.

Kenny also explained how AVM Cloud is helping to “SaaSify” traditional applications created by Malaysian ISVs, with the aim of having Malaysian ISVs in the AVM Cloud marketplace. (Note: We believe this to be a great initiative, which will extend that idea of Malaysian cloud sovereignty with SaaS apps from Malaysian providers sitting in a Malaysian sovereign cloud.)

The final words of the day were provided by Kit Au, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Business at Time, who not only did a great job of confirming Time’s commitment to AVM Cloud but also painted a picture of his vision for how Time will continue to expand its enterprise capabilities. They are unique in that they provide every aspect of the cloud picture. From connectivity and network to cybersecurity and cloud platforms. While they already possess an impressive roster of renowned companies that rely on Time for their business-critical applications, he intends to dedicate more effort to spreading the message and making these resilient cloud-based services accessible to a broader market, both within Malaysia and internationally.

For the audience in attendance, it was a productive morning well spent. Both attendees and presenters agreed that AVM Cloud’s offering is not in competition with the hyperscalers; both serve a purpose. However, when sovereignty and accountability come top of the agenda, the only option is to look at offerings like those that pioneers like AVM Cloud are bringing to the market.