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C lo u d C o m p u t i n g

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Moving to a private cloud To circumvent issues related to public cloud, enterprises are looking towards adopting private cloud. We’ve built a community cloud to provide our dealers access to our system over a private cloud. Similarly, we are working with our vendors to bring them on our cloud.

“I believe that the security measures adopted by most of the public cloud service providers often exceed that of some of the top enterprises.” Vijay Sethi Chief Information Officer, Hero MotoCorp.

Moreover, we are looking at areas within the company where public cloud can be used instead of investing huge amounts in infrastructure. The decision between private, public or hybrid cloud solutions is tied to both the performance, cost and scale needs of the opportunity; as well as to the organisation’s industry sector, geography and executive personalities. While edge adoption is trending towards public clouds and core adoption is remaining private, there is no formulaic answer. “To decide whether an application should go on the cloud or managed internally, we work on a business case with a TCO of at least 3-5 years. Then we look at the requirements of the app—does it require integration with our existing systems, does it contain sensitive data, does it require access from multiple locations etc. Based on the TCO calculation and the business case, we carefully decide whether to deploy an application on public cloud, private cloud or as a standalone application,” Sethi explained. Hero group has deployed both a private cloud and a community cloud, which is like a public cloud accessible only by their dealers. The company is also trying to bring its vendors onto the community cloud for a higher level of integration.

Evolution of Cloud The Chief Technology Officer Forum

cto forum 21 November 2011

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Photos by Subhojit Paul

approved as a supporting investment is the approach practiced by many. Thus, CIOs need to deliver within a stringent budget and also need to take contribute directly or indirectly in revenue growth,” opines Desi S Valli, COO, Net4 India. Cloud helps such scenarios where the capital budget is reduced to zero or minimal, and maintenance of such complex infrastructure is also taken care by service provider. Because of this, cloud not only helps to reduce the capital investment but also the operational expenses. Take for eg. NDTV, for which infrastructure, flexibility and cost were the key drivers to move into the public cloud. “While setting up our video portal, NDTV required a robust platform which could easily scale and be flexible enough to meet the demands of a highly volatile "news" site. We also wanted to drive savings on capital expenses. As we were not sure of how much traffic we would be getting (considering “News” is such a moving target), it was easy for us to start with an initial setup on Amazon Web Services with a rough estimation, and then scale our setup till we understood the perfect configuration for the real traffic,” says Kawaljit Singh CTO of NDTV Convergence. “We initiated the cloud project between December 2008 and January 2009. The exercise took about a month during which the implementation and testing were conducted. As it was one of our first major projects which we hosted on the cloud, we were not sure of how well the cloud could handle the kind of traffic a video news site experiences (fluctuates a lot based on news events) but it turned out to be the right decision. From then on, all our new developments are built on AWS cloud,” Singh added. The public cloud however, also comes with own set of challenges. Security- especially relevant for the public cloud, security is still a biggest concern amongst enterprises. A multi-tenant architecture means that you do not even know where your data really is and it could be residing in the same data centre where your competitor’s data also resides. “I believe that the security measures adopted by most of the public cloud service providers often exceed that of some of the top enterprises. Moreover, there are always risks associated with new technologies. Security is one such risk, which can also be mitigated,” Sethi opines. Lack of cloud operating standards-lack of cloud operating standards in the industry currently makes it difficult for enterprises to switch from one cloud provider to another. This leads into a vendor lock-in which most enterprises are not comfortable with. Bandwidth- Though bandwidth prices have come down dramatically in the last few years, bandwidth cost and reliability still remain a limiting factor for cloud adoption. “To improve reliability of bandwidth and avoid single point of failure, organisations require multiple leased lines which escalates the cost rendering the cost benefits of the cloud useless,” Sethi says.

CO V E R S TOR Y

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