THE DAT­A­CEN­TER IS THE COM­PUTER

IT or­ga­ni­za­tions are break­ing away from con­ven­tional tech­nol­ogy con­sump­tion par­a­digms and em­brac­ing data cen­ters in a big way

Dataquest - - FRONT PAGE - Shrikanth G shrikan­thg@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

Reimag­in­ing and Rein­vent­ing- the two oftre­peated words one hear of­ten times at this day and age. As we cut through the tech clichés, at the end of rhetoric lies the truth- is it hype or real? When you look at the IT in­fra­struc­ture that is pow­er­ing the on-de­mand ‘every­thing as a ser­vice age’, the data cen­ter is at the epi­cen­ter, it is ac­tu­ally pow­er­ing to­day’s IT in­fra­struc­ture and reimag­in­ing com­put­ing.

MAR­KET DY­NAM­ICS

Set­ting the tone and con­text, San­jay Agrawal, Di­rec­tor of Plat­forms and Solutions Group, Hi­tachi Van­tara says, “ The cur­rent data cen­ter mar­ket in In­dia is grow­ing at an ag­gres­sive pace. The growth in data and dig­i­tal in­tel­li­gent de­vices have paved a new path for the IT in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket.”

What is driv­ing the In­dia data cen­ter mar­ket is the need for agility the IT or­ga­ni­za­tions are look­ing at. Many en­ter­prises have ac­quired het­ero­ge­neous IT as­sets over a pe­riod of time - hard­ware to soft­ware spread across lo­ca­tions. To­day that very tech­nol­ogy plu­ral­ity is a big challenge to them. The panacea to them is ra­tio­nal­iz­ing the IT in­fra­struc­ture to a data cen­ter driven cloud model that can man­i­fest in many dif­fer­ent on-de­mand ways.

The cur­rent data cen­ter mar­ket in In­dia is grow­ing at an ag­gres­sive pace. The growth in data and dig­i­tal in­tel­li­gent de­vices have paved a new path for the IT in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket — San­jay Agrawal, Di­rec­tor of Plat­forms and Solutions Group, Hi­tachi Van­tara

Presently the In­dian data cen­ter mar­ket is at an all-time high. In­dia is poised to be the sec­ond-largest mar­ket for data cen­ters in Asia-Pa­cific by 2020 and the in­vest­ments are ex­pected to reach $7 bn — Ravi Raj, Brand Head, Di­rec­tor Sales & Sup­port, NetRack En­clo­sures

Quips M Muthuku­mar, VP, En­gi­neer­ing, Ju­niper Net­works In­dia & SAARC, IEC, “The In­dia mar­ket is open­ing up to the global trends. From large tel­cos to banks to global fi­nan­cial gi­ants are set­ting up mas­sively scal­able data cen­ters – with com­pute, stor­age and net­work in­fra­struc­ture on equip­ment mounted in 1000+ racks - run­ning their cor­po­rate ap­pli­ca­tions. The mar­ket is in its evo­lu­tion stage and has a huge po­ten­tial for growth in the forth­com­ing years.”

Presently the In­dian data cen­ter mar­ket is at an all-time high. The emer­gence of star­tups and the un­prece­dented growth in data has been in­stru­men­tal in the growth of data cen­ters. Re­flect­ing on this Ravi Raj, Brand Head, Di­rec­tor Sales & Sup­port, NetRack En­clo­sures says, “Presently the In­dian data cen­ter mar­ket is at an all-time high. In­dia is poised to be the sec­ond-largest mar­ket for data cen­ters in Asia-Pa­cific by 2020 and the in­vest­ments are ex­pected to reach $7 bn.”

Clearly, the In­dia data cen­ter mar­ket is open­ing up for mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties- right from core com­pute el­e­ments to racks et al. While data cen­ters have been around for many decades, but it was only re­cently that they have taken cen­ter stage due to the ex­po­nen­tial rise in the con­sump­tion of data world­wide. Putting this thought in per­spec­tive, Prasanna Saram­bale, CEO – Data Cen­ter Busi­ness and Head – Group BD, Ster­ling and Wil­son says, “With the ad­vent of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions, the crit­i­cal- ity of data has be­come para­mount, es­pe­cially in terms of sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture for its trans­mis­sion, stor­age, and pro­cess­ing etc. As op­posed to ear­lier, when data cen­ters were seen as phys­i­cal spa­ces to store data, in this age of data over­load, ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion – big or small – re­quires a data cen­ter. It may be lo­cated phys­i­cally in-house or at an ex­ter­nal colo­ca­tion data cen­ter that are used to not only store data but also man­age the process, and an­a­lyze it for var­i­ous busi­ness pro­cesses in­clud­ing CRM, ERP, and other ap­pli­ca­tions to meet tac­ti­cal and strate­gic busi­ness ob­jec­tives.”

In­dus­try ex­perts like Saram­bale be­lieve that around 50 billion IoT de­vices would be con­nected by 2020. The phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture seg­ment, es­pe­cially in In­dia, holds im­mense op­por­tu­nity and presents a huge mar­ket for com­pa­nies in the in­dus­try. “This will re­sult in more web­scale mega data cen­ters, com­ple­mented with edge data cen­ters like mini and mi­cro mod­u­lar con­tainer­ized data cen­ters. The stu­pen­dous in­crease in data us­age has led to per­sonal data pro­tec­tion be­com­ing a crit­i­cal de­mand from the so­ci­ety, which may ne­ces­si­tate the gov­ern­ment to bring fed­eral laws for data sovereignty. This, in turn, will com­pel most multi­na­tional IT ser­vice providers to set up data cen­ters in these coun­tries, and not only from a leg­isla­tive point of view but also for ef­fec­tive func­tion­ing and de­liv­ery of the ser­vices,” adds Saram­bale. BEST PRAC­TICES FOR THE CIO The on­go­ing tech­nol­ogy dis­rup­tion has put the CIOs at the in­ter­sec­tion. The top man­age­ment wants them to rein­vent the IT or­ga­ni­za­tion and roll out a dig­i­tal transformation roadmap, but they are caught in the tech­nol­ogy del­uge. In this con­text what are the key things a CIO should look at be­fore mov­ing their IT as­sets to a data cen­ter?

“Se­cu­rity and ‘Data Loss Preven­tion’ would be #1, the sim­plic­ity of con­trol, pro­vi­sion­ing and man­age­ment sys­tems, high avail­abil­ity of ap­pli­ca­tions, rich teleme­try, with five nines up­time are key things that a CIO should look for,” says Muthuku­mar.

Agrees Saram­bale, he says, “Mov­ing IT in­fra­struc­ture to a colo­ca­tion data cen­ter is an ex­tremely crit­i­cal de­ci­sion. There­fore, the fac­tors that need to be eval­u­ated prior to fi­nal­iza­tion of the data cen­ter would in­clude the ex­ist­ing ca­pac­ity to host server racks and the pos­si­bil­ity of seam­less ex­pan­sion, con­tin­u­ous avail­abil­ity of power and wa­ter, con­struc­tion qual­ity of

phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture, fi­bre net­work avail­abil­ity, and cost of host­ing/man­aged ser­vices. It be­comes eas­ier for a CIO to take a de­ci­sion in case the data cen­ter fa­cil­ity is cer­ti­fied by UTI or TIA-942.”

So clearly CIOs need to do am­ple tech due dili­gence on the in­ter­nal IT or­ga­ni­za­tion as­sets and ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­dun­dan­cies of the data cen­ter ven­dors and must have a phased ap­proach to an off­site IT model.

Says Srid­har Pin­na­pureddy, Founder & CEO CtrlS Dat­a­cen­ters, “The as­sess­ment process of a data cen­ter would com­prise of the up­time SLAs, low PUE, sup­port en­vi­ron­ment, se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture, car­rier neu­tral­ity, con­tract (terms and con­di­tions), ge­o­graphic spread of fa­cil­i­ties for dis­as­ter re­cov­ery (if there be a need) aligned with the busi­ness needs. The mi­gra­tion process itself would re- quire for­mu­la­tion of a project team, as­sess­ment of re­quire­ments, mi­gra­tion plan­ning, visit the data cen­ter fa­cil­ity, con­tin­gency plan, lo­gis­tics plan for safe move­ment of in­fra­struc­ture, seam­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion, down­time plan­ning dur­ing mi­gra­tion, mi­gra­tion, test­ing, au­dit­ing, and ac­ti­va­tion of in­fra­struc­ture and re­lated ap­pli­ca­tions.”

Adds Rakesh Ku­mar Singh, Dat­a­cen­ter lead, Ju­niper Net­works In­dia, “To­day most of the CIOs are com­fort­able tak­ing the cloud plunge. Most of the tra­di­tional operations are mov­ing to the cloud and hy­brid cloud is be­com­ing a norm. CIOs need to take a sys­tem­atic ap­proach and take a multi-pronged strat­egy and scale con­sis­tently as they move for­ward.”

TAP­PING THE OP­POR­TU­NITY

The mar­ket op­por­tu­nity is big and ven­dors are mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to tap into the op­por­tu­nity. Quips Saram­bale, “In­dia fea­tures promi­nently on the global map with re­spect to data cen­ters, and ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner, is poised to be­came the sec­ond fastest grow­ing mar­ket in APAC. Rapid dig­i­tal­iza­tion, cou­pled with var­i­ous ef­forts from the Gov­ern­ment like Dig­i­tal In­dia, have been the key as­pects that have led to the ex­po­nen­tial growth we are ob­serv­ing in the in­dus­try. Given the pop­u­la­tion, the coun­try is also home to a high num­ber of mo­bile users (ap­prox. 950 mil­lion mo­bile phone users), re­sult­ing in a huge po­ten­tial for data us­age. Data cen­ters be­come ex­tremely crit­i­cal to sup­port the IT in­fra­struc­ture from crum­bling un­der this sheer vol­ume of data. The coun­try is also home to some of the best minds work­ing in the in­dus­try, en­abling In­dian com­pa­nies to de­velop ca­pa­bil­i­ties that match the ex­per­tise of our coun­ter­parts glob­ally.”

Ex­perts like Saram­bale firmly be­lieve that go­ing for­ward, data cen­ter lo­cal­iza­tion might be­come the big­gest growth driver that the in­dus­try is likely to ex­pe­ri­ence in In­dia. Many coun­tries have al­ready im­ple­mented lo­cal­iza­tion laws for data and the same is ex­pected in our coun­try in near fu­ture. Also, due to in­creas­ing data sen­si­tiv­ity cou­pled with reg­u­la­tions, most com­pa­nies will need to set up their data cen­ters in In­dia, fur­ther driv­ing the growth in the mar­ket. We are al­ready see­ing this trend in the tele­com, Gov­ern­ment and BFSI sec­tors, where data cen­ters are fast be­com­ing crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture given the vast amount of sen­si­tive data that needs to be stored and pro­cessed.

To­day most of the CIOs are com­fort­able tak­ing the cloud plunge. Most of the tra­di­tional operations are mov­ing to the cloud and hy­brid cloud is be­com­ing a norm — Rakesh Ku­mar Singh, Dat­a­cen­ter lead, Ju­niper Net­works In­dia

With the ad­vent of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions, the crit­i­cal­ity of data has be­come para­mount, es­pe­cially in terms of sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture for its trans­mis­sion, stor­age, and pro­cess­ing etc — Prasanna Saram­bale, CEO – Data Cen­ter Busi­ness & Head – Group BD, Ster­ling & Wil­son

The In­dia mar­ket is open­ing up to the global trends. From large tel­cos to banks to global fi­nan­cial gi­ants are set­ting up mas­sively scal­able data cen­ters – with com­pute, stor­age and net­work in­fra­struc­ture — M Muthuku­mar, VP, En­gi­neer­ing, Ju­niper Net­works In­dia & SAARC, IEC

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