Cloud computing is a model of delivering computing services such as data storage, processing and networking over the internet on a pay-per-use basis
Cloud storage is becoming more popular in Bangladesh as a way of safely and affordably storing and managing data and websites.
The shift from traditional storage systems to cloud storage promises a variety of sectors, including finance, corporate, education, and e-commerce better data loss prevention, maximum efficiency at a minimum cost and uninterrupted IT solutions to businesses.
The market size of the domestic cloud storage is currently around $20 million and is expected to reach $46.3 million by 2025, according to industry stakeholders.
Though international vendors such as Amazon, Google, Huawei and Oracle currently dominate the business with around 90% of the market share, local players now look to grab a bigger slice of the pie.
"The business growth has been good over the past couple of years and the future also looks promising," Toufique Ehsan, head of business of local Mir Cloud, told The Business Standard.
The cloud providers aim to convince businesses to give up building and managing their own data centres and to use their computer capacity instead.
Mir and key local market peers such as Aamra Technologies Limited and Brilliant Cloud offer complete data storage and IT solutions. Their packages include cloud server, storage, auto scaling, data security, disaster recovery, remote access and round the clock customer service.
In a recent development in December 2022, Gennext Technology Limited and state-owned Bangladesh Data Center Company Limited signed an agreement to set up a joint venture named Meghna Cloud – which is also dubbed as "made in Bangladesh cloud".
In 2016, Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced cloud computing to Bangladesh through its local agents. Subsequently, Brilliant Cloud by InterCloud Limited joined the business to become the first local service provider.
Losing online data or files from websites and computers after a server failure is a common occurrence in businesses of all sizes.
In contrast to firms managing their small-scale data storages, data loss is prevented in a cloud storage system because the hosting organization stores data on multiple servers through a mirroring system, according to Md A Abbas Chowdhury, the chief IT officer at a corporate organization.
He added that cloud storage also eliminates the need for purchasing storage equipment, paying for space rent, and reduces the cost of management. As a result, companies and enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud services, which provide users with the added benefits of no additional investment in hardware and no extra capital expenditure during business growth.
A competitive market
The cloud storage market in Bangladesh is currently divided among three types of vendors.
International first-line vendors make up 53% of the market and include Huawei, Google Cloud, Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Oracle.
International low-cost vendors hold 40% of the market and include Cloudflare, Liquid Web, DigitalOcean, and Wasabi.
Local vendors make up the remaining market share and include InterCloud, Aamra, Mir Cloud, BRACNet, PacECloud, Square InformatiX, Plexus and EyHost.
Among international first-line vendors, Huawei Cloud is witnessing rapid growth, particularly in the Bangladesh market.
Md Shajahan Ahmed, sales manager of Cloud Business Development (Bangladesh) at Huawei, said the Chinese tech giant is committed to its cloud services and solutions and is looking to accelerate digital transformation in the region through its presence.
Huawei Cloud currently serves a number of prominent customers in Bangladesh, including Robi, Ifad Autos Limited, bdjobs.com and Rokomari.com.
To have an edge over the global tech giants, local cloud providers offer cheaper packages, unlimited data transfer, data storage inside the country and payment in taka instead of dollars amid the ongoing greenback crunch.
Md Hasibur Rashid, director and chief marketing officer of InterCloud Limited that owns Brilliant Cloud, said it has low latency access and high availability nationwide.
He noted the company has backup infrastructure in Dhaka and Jashore, and customers can enjoy unlimited data transfer without any capping.
Policy support is all they need
As the cloud market grows, the share of international vendors is also increasing, which has negative consequences for the government amid the dollar crunch, according to local entrepreneurs.
They pointed out that when customers use cloud services from international vendors, payment must be made in foreign currencies, which has become a critical issue for now.
Local investors believe that if the government formulates a policy to keep data within the country's borders, it will be a major benefit for the local vendors.
Currently, there are no direct guidelines for businesses regarding the location of the data storage centres.
Besides, if guidelines were put in place mandating banks and other government organisations to store their data in the cloud, it would provide a significant boost to the local cloud industry, said Mir Cloud's Head of Business Toufique Ehsan.