Mega, the seven-month-old file storage service that rose from the ashes of Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload, is one of first cabs off the rank in seeking New Zealand CloudCode signatory status.
The CloudCode register, which was opened last week, will list companies that meet cloud service criteria devised by the Institute of IT Professionals. Aside from Mega, another dozen companies — including Revera, OneNet, Xero and Catalyst IT — have applied to become code signatories.
Although providing a storage service rather than the “on-demand scalable” access to networking, servers or applications specified in the code’s cloud computing definition, Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar says signing up to the document is important for the company.
“We could spend days arguing about what cloud computing is,” says Kumar, who contends that “on-demand” and “scalable” are the key words and are as relevant to storage as to platforms and infrastructure.
The code’s significance to Mega is that it reinforces the company’s commitment to transparency, he says.
“Mega strongly believes in openness and transparency. For example, we publish guidance on our website about how we react in response to law enforcement takedown requests.
“The code, as a document that provides transparency, is something Mega supports on that basis.”
There’s an element of good corporate citizenship in becoming a signatory, but also of helping customers understand cloud computing, Kumar says, because the code answers questions deemed important by the industry.
Whether the majority of Mega’s four million customers — who have collectively entrusted the company with 300 million files — care is another matter. However, among them are professional and small business users who Kumar suggests are more choosy about their service providers. Mega is a cloud computing provider without facilities of its own. Kumar says it started out renting storage capacity in Germany, to which it has added capacity in Luxembourg and New Zealand, where its provider is Telecom.
Customers are uploading files at a rate of five to six million a day, which calls for peak bandwidth of 120Gbit/s.
“That’s more than New Zealand’s total international bandwidth.”
Along with the country’s small population, lack of bandwidth and distance from the rest of the world make New Zealand unsuitable as Mega’s main data hosting location, Kumar says. And the impending passage of the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill, companion of the new GCSB law, will throw another spanner in the works.
In a submission on the bill, Mega objected to its potential to give the relevant government minister “absolute and untrammelled discretion to ban any cloud-based service delivered over the internet”.
Kumar says that would lump New Zealand in with the US “as being a place not to do cloud business from. Just as many politicians talk darkly about how Chinese [networking] equipment comes with government back doors, that’s what we’re going to be clubbed together with.” The bill is due to be reported back to Parliament in about a month.