SINGAPORE (Aug 27): Over the last 60 seconds, 40 million instant messages were sent over either WhatsApp or WeChat; four million Google searches were conducted around the world; a million Facebook logins were done; and 2.5 million Snapchats and half a million Tweets were sent. Indeed, more than 90% of the data in the world was created over the last two years. All that data is being stored somewhere, ready to be sliced and diced using data analytics tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Cisco Systems estimates that data centre storage will grow to 2.6 Zettabytes (or 2.6 trillion Gigabytes) by 2021.

At the centre of this phenomenon is the rise and rise of cloud computing, which provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the internet. By accessing the “cloud”, companies save money by avoiding large upfront investments in servers on their own premises and spending a lot of time and money maintaining them. Basically, they get the ability to access resources in the cloud as and when they need it, and pay for only what they use. “Cloud is a massive, still expanding market that will reach US$300 billion [$410 billion] by 2021,” says Brent Thill, internet analyst for investment bank Jefferies & Co in San Francisco.

There are three kinds of cloud services — Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) — although RBC Capital Markets’ Amit Daryanani argues that there is no limit as to what can be delivered “as a service”. Think of things such as “Storage as a Service” or “Desktop as a Service”.

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