Hong Kong unveils government cloud, funding put in

Hong Kong has launched the Government Cloud Platform, joining an array of countries with established cloud computing initiatives.

Yet the scheme, named GovCloud, is different from the US and UK initiatives as it is only for internal government use.

“GovCloud is the government’s first major private cloud computing initiative and is important central information technology infrastructure with full cloud computing functions,” a spokesman for the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) said, adding: “With robust and fully resilient infrastructure, GovCloud provides a stable and reliable environment for bureaux and departments to develop and host their e-government services.”

According to OGCIO, there’s a lot of capital in this venture: a total of HK $242m (US $31.2m) has been set aside to implement GovCloud in the next five years, with the doors opening on December 27.

Hong Kong is of course a major area for growth in cloud, with many companies putting data centres there for Asian expansion, including Rackspace and Amazon Web Services. With China becoming an even bigger crunch zone for cloud initiatives, Hong Kong’s close proximity remains a pivotal factor, although China-based companies may raise a few eyebrows about their data coming from a Hong Kong-based server.

Regardless, those in Hong Kong are certainly knowledgeable about the issues, if the ACCA (Asia Cloud Computing Association) survey from 2012 is anything to go by – nine out of ten IT professionals in Hong Kong claimed to have a strong knowledge of virtualisation.

The big global providers are involved too, but with mixed results.

Microsoft is stepping up its efforts for cloud growth in Hong Kong through 2014, with Microsoft Hong Kong GM Horace Chow Chok-kee telling the South China Morning Post: “We’re hopeful that [adoption] will accelerate next year. We have a strong pipeline to support that.”

Yet back in December Google announced it had pulled the plug on its HK data centre, reportedly due to lack of available development space.

The progress of government clouds have seen plenty of column inches, with the fourth iteration of the UK G-Cloud being released last year, and applicants filling up spaces in October.

But what do you make of this news?

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