Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event


Data sovereignty will be key if cloud vendors around the world are to maintain their industry leadership, Garrett Ilg, Oracle executive vice president and general manager for Japan and Asia Pacific, told The Nation in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Oracle Cloud World Tour 2024 in Singapore on Tuesday.

The remarks stemmed from his discussions with various parties and his personal observations of the current digital transformation landscape.

As the world's largest data management company, he said that data sovereignty and the ability to maintain it are critical factors in Oracle's continued leadership following its transformation into a cloud company and the launch of Oracle Cloud infrastructure in 2016.

Meanwhile, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology gathers pace, companies around the world are realising the importance of integrating AI via the cloud.

According to a study commissioned by Oracle last year, 97% of Asia-Pacific businesses are using or plan to employ at least two cloud infrastructure providers as reliance on a single cloud infrastructure provider is neither wise nor practical since some clouds are better suited for specific tasks than others.

Furthermore, businesses are looking for the right cloud infrastructure to make AI available to the masses, while also demanding more cloud security and resilience, with strong encryption, authentication, and disaster recovery among the required trusted functions in cloud computing.

Garrett Ilg


Data sovereignty and security

Citing his travels throughout Asia and the ASEAN region, Ilg pointed out that while everyone understands that AI and cloud computing are essential tools for their businesses to unlock new opportunities and thrive, the majority are still unsure of how to begin, which one to use, and which tools best fit their needs.

He also observed that many executives are reluctant to employ cloud technology and AI because they are concerned about data sovereignty.

Ilg stressed that each additional set of hands that touches the company's data may leave security access open, change something inexplicably, and increase the risk of the data being compromised.

"Once you give people the confidence that your data is secure and solely in your control, they feel comfortable and ready to move forward on their cloud journey," he said.

As data is now wealth, business owners understandably place a high value on their data and restrict access to only themselves.

Tidaporn Santimanawong

Tidaporn Santimanawong, Oracle senior director of ASEAN Technology Cloud Engineering, pointed out that Oracle approaches security differently from other cloud providers.

The security should always be on, and it should not be prohibitively expensive, she said.

"The reason that customer's systems are breached is not because they don't have enough security tools but because vendors have made security too complex by not baking it into their software and hardware," she said.

Security cannot just be a statement or a feature, it had to be the architecture, she stressed.

As businesses worldwide see more and more benefits from cloud technology and AI integration, Ilg believes that, in the end, enterprises and governments will want their own cloud, which would mean that no one else can access it and their data could not be stored elsewhere.

Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event

He further said that businesses and governments are looking for one potential partner who can provide a sovereign ecosystem for the cloud, including AI chips, infrastructure, architecture, and services.

It is a trend that the industry is discussing, but only Oracle currently has that capability and is now delivering in multiple places around the world, he noted.

"While others (cloud service providers) say bring your data to AI, we say we will bring AI to your data. It is a different paradigm. It gives customers control and gives them confidence [to implement AI and cloud]," Ilg said.



Spend less, gain better capabilities

Another pain point for many companies considering employing cloud technology for their digital transformation and accessing the best AI services is cost.

While AI in itself is very resource intensive and many think a big data centre must be built to run AI, Oracle believes that it should be building smaller data centres for more efficient and higher performance.

“If you just build a big monolithic infrastructure, you're going to waste a lot of resources. You are going to suck a lot of power out of the grid. You are going to use a lot of coolant, whether it's water or something else. We don't think that is the answer either for the economy or ecology," Ilg said.

That’s why Oracle reduces the size of the data centre while increasing the power's accessibility. Meanwhile, the customers' data can be kept inside their firewall.

Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event

"The average company is not going to build a data centre the size of a hotel. They will want to build a data centre the size of a hotel room instead. And we can do that because we have shrunk the footprint of the data centre," he said.

Meanwhile, due to its long foundation in data management, Oracle can provide AI on demand through its infrastructure, allowing a company to be more efficient while spending less money.

According to Tidaporn, the move aligns with the latest trend in cloud technology adoption in businesses, which is to reduce the total cost of ownership, improve efficiency, strengthen operational resilience, and improve operational agility.

"Given our unique differentiation and price performance capabilities, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is now the default choice for AI workloads. Our AI focuses on real-world business-use cases to enable widespread adoption in enterprises," she said.

Ilg added that lower costs, fewer machines, fewer resources, and lower power consumption all have a significant positive impact on sustainability.


Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event

Potential of Thailand
The enthusiasm for the digital dynamic in the ASEAN region makes Thailand one of Oracle's potential markets, not least because the country has a burgeoning Internet economy and application development is growing at a rapid pace.

"Your modernisation is advancing rapidly, not only in your major cities but also in farming and agriculture. Oracle is fortunate in that we have other businesses, such as our database and applications, and we work in a variety of environments throughout Thailand," Ilg explained.

Noting that Oracle is currently working with several segments in Thailand, including micropayment systems, banking databases, and the government sector, he said the company plans to enhance its partnership with the country.

"There needs to be a partnership to go through the transformation journey and Oracle is fortunate enough to have enough of a relationship with all those areas," he said. "I just talked about government, financial, transportation, and agriculture but we're there for much more than just delivering a cloud or a chip. We're there because we understand the data, the infrastructure and the application needs."

Ilg believes Thailand has become a much more important technology development hub in recent years.

"Many companies are investing their resources there. Developers are becoming more skilled. We are well aware of it. I'm very excited about visiting [Thailand] because I'm sure I'll not only learn a lot and see a lot, but I'll also get a lot of ideas about where Oracle can improve and cooperate with Thailand," he said.

Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event

At a time when businesses across Asia explore their own approaches to implementing and integrating cloud technology and AI, the Oracle Cloud World Tour 2024 aims to raise awareness among partners and customers about the technologies and innovations the company is bringing to market.

This one-day event aims to foster a community in which people can learn and keep up with the fast-paced changes of the digital economy.
This year's event took place in major cities around the world, including Milan, London, Mumbai, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo, and Mexico City, prior to its annual major event Oracle Cloud World in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September.

Oracle talks up security in cloud technology and AI at Singapore event

In Singapore, Oracle demonstrated the world's next future, driven by data and artificial intelligence. The event highlights included Oracle's most recent achievement with the Premier League, in which its AI-integrated cloud assisted the British football league in projecting real-time player performances and personal statistics, as well as Oracle's collaboration with Red Bull, the world's leading Formula One racing team, to assist in the creation of precise simulators for training racers and exploring the best racing strategies.