Sustaining a Data Driven Digital Economy – When Knowledge is Power

Tony Simonsen
Sustaining a Data Driven Digital Economy – When Knowledge is Power


By Tony Simonsen, managing director, Equinix Australia




Australia’s leading technologists, thinkers and digital futurists have spent substantial brain power on the issues surrounding the Australian data sector lately.

Data, along with its value, sanctity, housing and security are issues that are of concern to most leading and emerging economies at the moment. These issues are not easy to solve nor are they static; instead, they morph as the industry does. In Australia, our strength as a knowledge based digital economy is rising, as we move away from the heady growth of the resources boom to a focus on new power centers of growth.

Late last year, the Australian government passed some of the most significant changes to privacy law since the Privacy Act was created over twenty years ago. These issues around security, managing privacy and data growth have become paramount to government and businesses. From a conceptual level, the Australian business sector had to make the switch from using data in a historical, utilitarian sense to using data to address forward-looking issues. This is an important distinction and calls on businesses to put management of their data’s privacy needs at the core of their future planning.

Today, the role of data centers and cloud provisioning are critical. Australia in particular warmed to the necessity of education in the sector and has been at the forefront of data center and cloud investments.

Specifically, Equinix prepared for the rise in data growth by placing a significant focus on data safe housing. Since opening the first phase of its third International Business Exchange (IBX) data center (SY3) in 2011, the facility has been growing exponentially as a result of high demand from cloud and financial services companies.

Equinix’s data centers have supported the digital economy in a multitude of ways and in emerging technology sectors as well. Innovative cloud service providers, such as Cloud Central and Orion VM were among our foundation tenants with OrionVM emerging from a startup to a leading Australian cloud services innovator in just a few years. In fact, a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) claims that within 20 years, Australia could have 5,600 new tech startups. What’s empowering this growth? A robust cloud-based economy.

As an enabler of cloud services, the Equinix ecosystem allows emerging providers to explore the benefits of colocation, creating a dense cloud ecosystem that accelerates business opportunities. Equinix witnessed this locally late last year when it further expanded its SY3 data center with the launch of the second phase of the facility. This helped to bring Amazon Web Services (AWS) into the Australian market and onboard as one of the first customers to take up residence in the second phase.

To this point, companies such as Amazon are re-defining the future of the digital economy. The Sydney point-of-presence represented Amazon’s ninth data center investment globally based on evidence of strong enthusiasm for the public cloud services delivery model in Australia and New Zealand.

As cloud computing fundamentally changes the way business and society think about technology, delivery and storage, governments too need to brace for this change. In fact, the implementation of cloud services has been estimated to push the Australian economy’s annual GDP to $3.3 billion by 2020.

Last month the Australian government released its anticipated National Strategy for Cloud Computing, which aims to ensure that the tools and information are available for organisations to successfully adopt cloud services. The strategy and dedication by the industry and government alike illustrates the value that has been placed on cloud services to boost innovation and productivity across Australia’s digital economy. In addition, the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout is also underpinning the future of cloud services.

Amongst a raft of initiatives that the government aims to put in place, is a strategy to support a vibrant cloud services sector via competition, a highly trained technology workforce and new regulatory settings that promote growth and foster innovation.

The strategy is also aimed at creating a more agile public sector, advocating that federal agencies scale up their use of cloud services. As part of this renewed government approach, procurement practices will also be upscaled to ensure government agencies consider public cloud services as their renewal cycle allows. Other key action-items include advanced information sharing between agencies and collaboration with industry and education institutions. Ultimately, these initiatives will open the door to a raft of new business opportunities and economic growth, as well as a vast array of technological innovations.

By continuing to place ample focus on cloud services awareness, data confidence and collaboration with partners through colocation, we are also creating a nurturing ground for international players to enter our local market and stimulate this burgeoning digital economy.


Photo above courtesy of William