This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine.
Rajender Singh Bhandari, Director – Systems Engineering, NetApp India
On redefining to align with demand for the digital:
The ongoing digital revolution is highlighted by the rapid adoption of new technologies to scale up businesses, reduce costs and achieve operational efficiencies to ‘level the playing field’ for enterprises. Increasing penetration of smartphones, last mile network connectivity, adoption of social media are guiding the ways enterprises connect and interact with customers. Mobile technologies have enabled businesses to access ‘data on the go’. Initiatives such as Digital India and Smart Cities have accelerated storage market growth. Analytics is helping businesses decode consumer behavior and as technology becomes a strategic priority, it is completely transforming the way businesses run and operate.
The massive growth of data has led to challenges of storing and retaining large volumes of data efficiently. We are seeing the shift towards adoption of cloud solutions not just to cut costs but also to explore new markets, gain efficiency and increase productivity. There is no “one size fits all” cloud solution – it’s different for every organization. This is where, storage and data management service providers can help tailor cloud-based solutions that are efficient and cost-effective. Hybrid Flash arrays (HFA) meet both capacity and performance demands in a single box. Technologies like software defined storage and virtualization are getting increased acceptance to achieve optimization and productivity enhancement. We believe that the hybrid cloud will become the preferred cloud adoption model for future enterprises.
On digital technologies that are of immediate relevance for Indian enterprises:
The nexus of ‘Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud computing and Sensors’ (SMACS) or the 4th platform as some call it is shaping and driving a lot of behavioral changes in the market place. While mobile technologies enable businesses to devise ways to connect with target customers, analytics helps businesses understand consumer behavior. Cloud computing enables businesses to respond to market dynamics. It would not be correct to call out one as the greatest as each serve their own purpose.
On how enterprises should transition to the digital paradigm:
Technology has completely transformed the way businesses are run and operated now. Demand for faster access to information, greater transparency, and improved risk management from customers and enterprises alike is driving this change. SMBs need to modernize infrastructure and adapt their business models to support the rapid pace of change as those who are not agile enough to do so simply won’t survive the transition.
That said, we are cognizant of the fact that migration to digital platforms does not deliver instant growth or cost efficiency. It takes time to digitize at scale – it is a gradual process. Therefore, the best way is to integrate legacy solutions with digital processes rendering the benefit of end-to-end digital transformation.
On digitization framework for a smooth transition:
NetApp’s Data Fabric is our vision and framework that helps organisations optimize their workloads, and prepare for a hybrid cloud future. For example, “NetApp Private Storage for Cloud” (NPS), is a solution that brings the concept of Data Fabric to life. It combines local IT resources (on premise) with managed cloud services, and allows the IT infrastructure to use data and data processing (compute) separately. This makes it possible for the data to be extended into the cloud and to move around freely. With NetApp cloud storage systems, mobility of data, in particular the ability to restore it, is guaranteed throughout the entire duration of the processing from the “cradle to grave” i.e., from the first “computing job” out of the cloud to return transmission and “residue-free” deletion from the cloud provider’s systems. Thus, the Data Fabric framework for hybrid cloud helps customers seamlessly manage, move and protect data across IT resources spanning flash, disk or cloud. It provides, consistent data management, efficient data transport and the visibility to leverage the right IT resources, when and where enterprises need them.
On effectiveness of off-the-shelf tools for digitization:
With increasing digitization, enterprises today are faced with solving new and complex IT challenges, requiring them to evolve their solution offerings and consumption models. The gap lies in transforming technology and existing infrastructure at a pace that can match the growing digital needs of the end consumer. Enterprises need to be cognizant of the changes in customer behavior and put in place processes to constantly evaluate their business models. It is unlikely that all requirements can be met in an off- the -shelf manner at least in the near future. Just as enterprises are embarking on their digital journey, technology providers both existing and new ones are working on their offerings to fulfill enterprise aspirations. This ecosystem will evolve.
On awareness-related issues that are holding enterprise from harnessing digital benefits:
Technology adoption in general and digital technology in particular has risen exponentially in the recent past. This has led to significant amounts of data being generated daily. Coupled with the rise of mobile devices and applications, the challenge for enterprises is to manage this unstructured data efficiently. There is still some awareness/understanding-related issues around undertaking this that enterprises need to sort out.
The key here is data analytics. Data is the new gold and enterprises not on the right side of data are likely to succumb to “Digital Darwinism”. The key to turning data into gold is predictive analytics and this will become the single largest competitive determinant in winning the market place. An entire digital ecosystem is taking shape in India and the world over and the interplay within this ecosystem will determine the progress.
On relevance of emerging technologies like AI and IoT vis-à-vis cloud, big data, et al
Technologies like artificial intelligence & IoT (M2M) are gaining momentum in India due to growing digitization but, compared to cloud and big data there is still time for these technologies to gain mainstream mileage. They are at entry/mid-level stages with limited use cases in niche industries.
Most enterprises today are using some form of cloud based storage solutions which helps in storing and management of the data, in a cost effective and efficient manner. In doing so, they are deploying big data analytics to boost performance and gain useful insights. Forward-thinking leaders across sectors are aggressively building their enterprises’ big data capabilities.
There is still scope to build an understanding of how intelligent and innovative storage solutions in virtualization, cloud, business applications, big data, and converged infrastructure can help enterprises derive significant business benefit.
On adoption of business process automation and its benefits:
Automation will be unavoidable as the reasons are compelling. By design, automation aims to improve efficiency and productivity of the organization particularly those which are large and their business models lend themselves to automation.
On impact of digital on data center strategies:
With the ever-changing and ever-rising demands of the cloud, and hyper scale data center operators in play, prominent data center technology suppliers are looking to develop cost-effective and energy-efficient products. The impact of cloud computing on the data center industry has been well documented and its effect on the supplier ecosystem is rather far-reaching. Taking this into account, technology suppliers are adjusting their strategies and products accordingly.
We are expecting a surge in the adoption of All-Flash Data Centers. It will become a reality, as we can see a steady increase in the usage of flash in the next few years. It is inevitable for enterprises to transition to the next-generation data center.
On leveraging big data for strategic business benefits and competitive advantages:
Enterprises are taking a fresh look at their data architecture since about 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. Everything can be analyzed and captured – whether it’s about products, services, buyers, suppliers or consumer preferences. IT administrators and decision makers are realizing the various possibilities that Big Data technologies present, and are choosing the right implementation to serve the business objectives of their enterprises.
There are a few minor challenges such as acquiring the talent/ training to operate with big data analytics, centralizing coordination for analytics, tying analytics work to decision-making, and planning and implementation of analytics driven strategy in enterprises. However, new age challenges and businesses demand new age IT infrastructure and Indian enterprises are working towards it.
(This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine)
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