Why Google wants to set up a data cen­tre in In­dia

Mint ST - - TECHNOLOGY - BY SANJAY GUPTA sanjay.g@livemint.com MUM­BAI

In a move aimed at tak­ing a big­ger bite of the coun­try’s grow­ing ap­petite for cloud com­put­ing ser­vices, Al­pha­bet Inc.’s Google plans to set up a data cen­tre in In­dia by De­cem­ber end.

While Google of­fi­cials did not re­veal the in­vest­ment or the size of its Mum­bai data cen­tre, it is part of the $30 bil­lion the com­pany has spent on cloud in­fra­struc­ture that chair­man Eric Sch­midt al­luded to in his speech at a March de­vel­oper con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco (bit.ly/2mbcivc). “Part of that $30 bil­lion in­vest­ment has gone into build­ing our net­work (which in­cludes un­der­sea ca­bles), which is a dif­fer­en­tia­tor for Google Cloud,” Rick Harsh­man, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Google Cloud for Asia Pa­cific, Google Asia Pa­cific Pte. Ltd, said in a re­cent in­ter­view in Mum­bai. He added that Google “owns and op­er­ate that net­work”.

Google, ac­cord­ing to Harsh­man, has been run­ning its cloud in­fra­struc­ture for over a decade. “All our con­sumer ser­vices are in the cloud. So it was an op­por­tu­nity for us to ex­ter­nal­ize it and pro­vide ser­vices to com­pa­nies,” he said.

Re­search firm Gart­ner es­ti­mates the pub­lic cloud ser­vices mar­ket in In­dia to grow 43% in 2017 to to­tal $1.9 bil­lion in rev­enue.

Cloud com­put­ing refers to the model in which com­pa­nies pay for in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) re­sources such as servers, stor­age and soft­ware on a pay-per-use ba­sis rather than up­front pay­ment. The re­sources are made avail­able over a net­work, pri­mar­ily the in­ter­net, via cloud data cen­tres by com­pa­nies such as Ama­zon Web Ser­vices Inc. (AWS), Microsoft Corp., In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Ma­chines Corp. (IBM), Google Inc., and Or­a­cle Corp.

(Iaas, Paas, hosted pri­vate cloud)

Ama­zon

Microsoft

IBM

Google

Next 10*

Rest of mar­ket

8%

5%

11%

“A num­ber of en­ter­prises in In­dia use G Suite and now they are be­gin­ning to use other as­pects of Google Cloud,” ac­cord­ing to Harsh­man.

Google Cloud is an um­brella con­cept com­pris­ing G Suite (a col­lec­tion of col­lab­o­ra­tion, pro­duc­tiv­ity and email soft­ware), Google Cloud Plat­form (GCP), Maps and De­vices (Chrome and Chrome-re­lated de­vices for en­ter­prises), ex­plained Mo­hit Pande, coun­try man­ager, In­dia, Google Cloud. GCP, he elab­o­rated, is fur­ther split into In­fra­struc­ture as a Ser­vice (Iaas), Plat­form as a Ser­vice (Paas) and other ser­vices.

Chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cers,

19%

23%

3%

0%

1%

-1%

-5% or CIOS, in In­dia have wel­comed the an­nounce­ment by Google.

“While Ama­zon and Microsoft are way ahead, Google is one of the most re­spected or­ga­ni­za­tions in the world and a bench­mark for peo­ple in IT. Set­ting up a data cen­tre at this point is one of the best moves from Google,” be­lieves Vi­jay Sethi, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer and head of cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, Hero Mo­tocorp. Ltd, an auto firm which uses G Suite.

To be sure, com­pa­nies also use ser­vices of other cloud ser­vices providers. Con­sider the case of Pur­plle.com—an e-com­merce site for beauty prod­ucts owned by Manash Life­style Pvt. Ltd. “We are hosted by three providers: E2E Net­works, AWS and Google,” says Suyash Katyayani, the com­pany’s chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer. The com­pany uses E2E Net­works mainly for what Katyayani calls “de­fined scale in­fra­struc­ture needs—our data­base and web servers where we can an­tic­i­pate traf­fic well”. The other two, AWS and Google, are used for man­aged ser­vices, which al­low Manash Life­style to tackle “up­swings or down­swings in traf­fic eas­ily and cost-ef­fec­tively”.

Katyayani be­lieves there is “no clear win­ner” between AWS and Google.

“There are cer­tain things that Ama­zon does bet­ter and cer­tain things where Google is bet­ter. We are try­ing to use their re­spec­tive strengths in those ar­eas,” he ex­plained. In terms of pric­ing, how­ever, he feels Google is “def­i­nitely more ag­gres­sive right now”, as it has to “cre­ate a space” for it­self.

The space, as far as Google is con­sid­ered, al­ready ex­ists in the form of hun­dreds of mil­lions of In­dian con­sumers who use Google Search, Gmail, Youtube and other prod­ucts from Google’s reper­toire. But can the com­pany lever­age it for en­ter­prise cus­tomers, who may have a dif­fer­ent mind­set or re­quire­ments?

“CEOS un­der­stand that they have been part­ner­ing with Google on the ad side of busi­ness for years. But you are right, a lot of the time the CIO does not equate that with Google,” ac­knowl­edged Harsh­man. He pointed out that the com­pany has been work­ing on it and mak­ing in­vest­ments in three key ar­eas spe­cific to In­dia. “One, we have been hir­ing peo­ple across sales, cus­tomer en­gi­neer­ing and pro­fes­sional ser­vices, which is crit­i­cal for en­ter­prises. The sec­ond area is around lo­cal chan­nel (dis­trib­u­tors). We have been work­ing with a num­ber of lo­cal and global sys­tem in­te­gra­tors here—rang­ing from com­pa­nies like Searce, Team Com­put­ers and Cloud Cover to part­ners like Wipro, In­fosys and Deloitte—in ad­di­tion to in­de­pen­dent soft­ware ven­dors and en­ter­prise soft­ware com­pa­nies like SAP, In­tuit, Nu­tanix and Piv­otal,” Harsh­man said.

While com­pe­ti­tion in the data cen­tre mar­ket is in­ten­si­fy­ing—microsoft and IBM have al­ready es­tab­lished data cen­tres in In­dia and Or­a­cle plans to do it soon (bit.ly/2k9k1ck)—an­a­lysts be­lieve that tai­lored ser­vices and ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties will de­fine the choices for CIOS. “If you look at AWS and Microsoft, both have started fo­cus­ing a lot on data an­a­lyt­ics and AI (ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence). For a CIO to choose one cloud provider over an­other, what will mat­ter is how they are able to tai­lor the of­fer­ings to end users,” ex­plained Su­nil Chauhan, as­sis­tant man­ager at Aranca, a re­search and ad­vi­sory firm.

“Google will have a chal­lenge ini­tially, con­sid­er­ing the head start AWS has in the In­dian mar­ket,” Chauhan be­lieves, but con­cluded that “con­sid­er­ing the qual­ity of ser­vices that con­sumers have come to value Google for—if Google can repli­cate sim­i­lar ser­vices for en­ter­prises—they might well dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves and make a dent”.

BLOOMBERG

A file photo of Google head­quar­ters in Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, US.

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