May 2010 | Rs 50
Vol 2 Issue 12 | A 9.9 Media Publication
Vendor certifications are an expensive affair for solution providers. But are the returns worth the money?
Security on the Move
Why it is important to secure enterprise mobility initiatives PAGE 26
Need for Speed
Thereâ€™s market demand for USB 3.0 but adoption is still hindered PAGE 34
Store for Sure
Organisations need a cost-effective data retention strategy PAGE 16
Why Certifications Matter
In the real world, customers and vendors often look for partners who already have the requisite expertise to deliver on a particular project
n the hit Bollywood movie 3 Idiots, Rancho (played by Aamir Khan), the most intelligent idiot of them all, is a practical genius. One who can put together a complex electro-mechanical device as easily as he can explain academic concepts that are otherwise dished out with all the wordiness of a pedantic professor. Our daily lives, too, are full of these Ranchos – the auto mechanics, the electricians, the carpenters, the masons, the bone setters…they are all ‘professionals’ in their own right, having earned their ‘reputations’ over years and years of work. These are the people who either do not know or do not care about the theoretical knowledge that really underpins what they do for a living. At the other end are those professionals who, degrees and diplomas in hand, seek out work in a ‘live’ environment. Through a mountain of rotelearning, they have got the specs in their head, all right, but when it comes to actually fixing things, they have to fumble for the right tool or ask somebody who’s got ‘real experience’. In the fast-paced world of IT, both the things – practical experience and academic stamp – are often necessary to make optimum use of human resources and technical knowhow. An engineer whose job is to configure wireless networks, for instance, may be required to recall some basic concepts of radio communication as well as remember not to repeat the antenna-placement errors of his previous installation.
For a solution provider, such a combination of practical skill and academic knowledge can not only save valuable project time but also improve its chances of winning similar business through referrals. Unfortunately, a lot of solution providers find vendor certifications – the academic stamps of recognition for their business – either very expensive or too time-consuming. They usually find it a chicken-and-egg situation: get their people certified first or wait for a project and then look for people who can execute it? In the real world, customers and vendors often look for partners who already have the requisite expertise to deliver on a particular project. In some cases, they are ready to take a chance on a channel partner who has done similar, smaller work for them but who they believe has the potential to scale up. Nevertheless, the solution provider must exhibit the appetite and stomach for investing in technical resources. What about you? Are you really making the most of your Ranchos?
SANJAY GUPTA Editor Digit Channel Connect
sounding board sounding board May 2010 | Rs 50
Vol 2 Issue 12 | A 9.9 Media Publication
Jaideep Kumar, Head - Channels & Distribution, Red Hat India: “Vendor certifications help partners to deliver projects more efficiently, thereby enabling them to not only recover the cost of the certifications, but also ensure quality delivery. Also, in certain tender situations, the customers specify that certified professionals are a pre-requisite for the bidders.”
Ravinder Goyal, Director, IACM (a hardware and networking institute): “Many business partners may feel that having certified professionals on board may lead to better business prospects. But it’s true only in those cases where the clients or vendors are in particular asking for the number of certified professionals available…”
Prakash Advani, Partner Manager - Central Asia, Canonical: “Vendor certification is a process which ensures that the person passing the certification meets certain quality standards set by the vendor. It doesn’t mean that a non-certified professional is not competent. The person may be competent, but how do they prove that they are?”
Vendor certifications are an expensive affair for solution providers. But are the returns worth the money?
Security on the Move
Why it is important to secure enterprise mobility initiatives PAGE 26
Need for Speed
There’s market demand for USB 3.0 but adoption is still hindered PAGE 34
Store for Sure
Organisations need a cost-effective data retention strategy PAGE 16
Write to the Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Snail Mail: The Editor, Digit Channel Connect, B-118, Sector 2, Noida 201301
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
VOL 02 ISSUE 12 | MAY 2010
Managing Director: Dr Pramath Raj Sinha Printer & Publisher: Kanak Ghosh EDITORIAL Editor: Sanjay Gupta Copy Editor: Akshay Kapoor Sr. Correspondents: Charu Khera (Delhi), Soma Tah (Mumbai)
Spending time and money on vendor certification programmes may have become necessary for solution providers to stay competitive. But are the returns they get worth their investment?
DESIGN Sr. Creative Director: Jayan K Narayanan Art Director: Binesh Sreedharan Associate Art Director: Anil VK Manager Design: Chander Shekhar Sr. Visualisers: PC Anoop, Santosh Kushwaha Sr. Designers: Prasanth TR & Anil T Photographer: Jiten Gandhi BRAND COMMUNICATION Product Manager: Ankur Agarwal SALES & MARKETING VP Sales & Marketing: Navin Chand Singh National Manager - Events and Special Projects: Mahantesh Godi (09880436623) Business Manager (Engagement Platforms) Arvind Ambo (09819904050) National Manager - Channels: Krishnadas Kurup (09322971866) Asst. Brand Manager: Arpita Ganguli Bangalore & Chennai: Vinodh K (09740714817) Delhi: Pranav Saran (09312685289) Kolkata: Jayanta Bhattacharya (09331829284) Mumbai: Sachin Mhashilkar (09920348755) PRODUCTION & LOGISTICS Sr. GM Operations: Shivshankar M Hiremath Production Executive: Vilas Mhatre Logistics: MP Singh, Mohd. Ansari, Shashi Shekhar Singh
FOR SPEED 34 NEED
STORE FOR SURE
USB 3.0 offers fast data transfer speeds to consumers, but there are a number of roadblocks that have to be removed before the technology can become mainstream
With the majority of paper work going digital, organisations need an efficient as well as cost-effective data retention strategy
Organisations must make sure that their data centres - the means for supporting and driving their business - are managed effectively
OTHERS EDITORIAL.......................................................... 02 TRENDS.............................................................. 06 MANAGED SERVICES/DATA CENTRES................. 30 SECURITY/MANAGED SERVICES......................... 32 CHANNEL BONDING........................................... 36
SECURITY ON THE MOVE
With better connectivity and higher speeds, almost all organisations today are taking advantage of enterprise mobility. But it is important to secure such initiatives
Samsung......................................................................IFC EMC................................................................Back Cover K7 Computing........................................Inside Back Cover Rashi..............................................................................1 Compuage......................................................................3 IBM..........................................................................5, 11 Pushpam.......................................................................14 iBall..........................................................................7, 35 Fenda.............................................................................9 Gigabyte.......................................................................15 Supertron......................................................................17 Abacus.........................................................................19 Cubix............................................................................25 India Antivirus...............................................................29 Strontium......................................................................33
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trends Symantec enhances partner programme
ymantec has announced areas and providing partners enhancements to its with more resources, tools, partner programme incentives and sales support. at the inaugural Asia Pacific “Asia Pacific and Japan is a and Japan Symantec Partner growing and diverse market. Engage 2010 Conference in We are committed to workSanya, China. The planned ing with our partners to help enhancements would focus on them build strong businesses helping partners differentiate selling Symantec solutions their business, maximise sales and services, providing them opportunities and accelerate with opportunities to differprofitability. entiate themselves in the As per the company, it market,” said Vishal Dhupar, will offer partners additional Managing Director, India & opportunities for growth and Vishal Dhupar, MD, SAARC Region, Symantec provide them with solutions to Symantec India Corporation. solve customers’ complex busi“Our channel vision is to ness issues. Under the enhanced program, deepen the relationships with our partwhich will go into effect at the end of 2010, ners and help them to identify new ways to Symantec will put an increased focus on accelerate growth” said Vineet Sood, Head driving partner competence in key solution - Channels and Alliances, Symantec. n
Indian ICT spend to rise 14% in 2010: Gartner
CT spending in India will reach $67 billion in 2010, an increase of 14.1% from 2009, as per Gartner. The IT market in India is expected to grow 11% from 2009 until the end of 2013, with IT services growing faster than all other segments at 17.6%. Telecommunications will have the slowest growth, increasing 9.1% during the same period. The domestic IT services sector, at $6.1 billion, accounted for more than 10% of the overall domestic ICT market in India in 2009, and is expected to witness the strongest growth at 17.6% among the four sectors through 2013. Gartner estimates the domestic IT services market in India will grow 17.6%, accounting for nearly 19% of the overall domestic ICT market in India by 2013. The Indian PC market is expected to grow by 19% in 2010 and by more than 21% in 2011, with consumers and small businesses leading PC growth. The Indian server market will reach $551 million in 2010, registering a growth rate of 6% from 2009. Software spending in India is projected to grow 12.9% through 2013, compared with the regional average of 10.8% during the same period. The Indian IT security market is forecast to grow more than 20% in 2010. As per Gartner estimates, the Indian telecom services market revenue will reach $41.4 billion in 2013, growing 7% from 2009 to 2013. Data services will be the main driver of the mobile sector from 2009 through 2013, and will grow at 13% through 2013, accounting for 14% of total mobile revenue in 2013. Mobile voice revenue will grow at a steady rate of 9%.n
CORRIGENDUM In the April 2010 issue on Enterprise Mobility, the designation of Sridevi Koneru was missed out (Creating the Wireless Enterprise, page 22). She is Director/Head, Wireless Networking Business Unit, Cisco Systems India.
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Managed services market to reach $3.8 billion in 2013
he latest “Indian Managed IT Services Market” report from Springboard Research has said that the IT managed services market in India is expected to reach US$3.8 billion in 2013 from US$1.6 billion in 2009, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 22.8%, higher than the growth rate of overall IT services market. Springboard noted that although managed infrastructure services dominate the market in 2010, the highest growth will be recorded by managed application services with a CAGR of 26.2% from 2009 to 2013. According to Springboard, the key reason for managed services market growth in India is not just cost savings, but the use of managed services as a business optimization and growth driver. Managed services provide opportunities for enterprises to focus on their core business competencies while leaving day-to-day IT operations to a third-party service provider. ‘Flexibility’ is yet another key outcome that managed services provide to enterprises. It gives enterprises the option to convert “Capex” to “Opex” and allows enterprises to convert traditionally unpredictable, reactive and costly IT services to a single tangible cost. Furthermore, enterprises gain access to high-quality, expert support and best-of-breed management tools with a minimum investment. n
HCL Tech in a $500 m deal with Merck H
CL Technologies has signed a five-year, $500 m strategic engagement with New Jerseybased MSD (also known as Merck & Co, Inc) under which, it will provide IT solutions, remote infrastructure management, engineering and business and knowledge process services to the pharma giant. HCL already has an existing relationship with MSD that goes back to 2004. “This is a landmark win for HCL, and we are proud that our growing leadership in pharmaceutical and healthcare, coupled with our previous delivery for MSD has positioned HCL as a strategic partner for MSD,” said Shami Khorana, President, HCL Americas. MSD will leverage HCL’s near-shore delivery network in the US comprising its operations centre in Raleigh, North Carolina, and its global data centre delivery ecosystem, powered by its partner footprints across the globe. n
trends Rashi concludes meet for its sales champs
ashi Peripherals recently concluded a 2 days sales meet for its all India sales team at Mahabaleshwar. The Rashi Champions Meet (RCM) is organised on an annual basis, focusing on the all round development of the all India sales team. Every year, RCM is built around a specific theme that provides the roadmap to the sales personnel on the way business has to be done. RCM 2010 revolved on the theme – “I M Possible” – working around self belief, enhancing confidence, team building and ultimately achieving a higher level of performance. Day 1 kicked off with product training and updates on all brands distributed by Rashi.
Vendors like ASUS, SanDisk and APC were present at the event, conducting sessions that included technical and business updates on
Grassroots to market Hi-Tech products
rassroots Channels, the newly launched venture of channel veteran Sharad Srivastava, has been appointed by Bengaluru-based Hi Tech Solutions as its global marketing partner. Hi-Tech develops and manufactures products that are touted to increase the personal and corporate productivity of computer users. Without revealing much detail, Srivastava said, “The first product that we propose to bring to market from the Hi-Tech portfolio will soon be in the hands of every professional. We are working closely with Hi-Tech to launch it quickly, maybe by early June.” He further informed that the product will address the basic needs of working executives as well as students, and could be compared in pricing to a mid-range cell phone. P S Moorthy, MD, Hi-Tech Solutions, said that besides India, the products will be available to users in other parts of the world as well. Grassroots Channels, a unit of dStor Technologies, also offers the Build-OperateTransfer (BOT) model for setting up clients’ businesses in India and South Asia. n
HP launches gaming console
ewlett-Packard (HP) has launched the ‘HP Swing’ – a motion sensor gaming console, which is bundled with every HP Pavilion Desktop PC to deliver real life action gaming, with games like tennis, bowling, basketball, pool and more. Available in stores across all key markets, the console includes seven interactive games and a wireless controller. While conventional gaming action is based on the press of a set of buttons on the controller, the gaming action on Swing is based on a player’s body movements. The gameplay with the new console requires holistic body movements, hence delivering a realistic visual and
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gaming experience. Accoridng to Vinay Awasthi, Director (DTO), HP PSG India, “The HP Swing all-inone package enlivens real life gaming in the comfort of your house.” n
products, services and business planning sessions, sales and marketing training. On day two, the teams were involved in outdoor challenges, which consisted of physically demanding activities structured with strategy building, team bonding and leadership skills. The key outcome of the programme was to build confidence in individuals, bring the teams closer and solve mentally and physically stimulating problems. The event culminated with a gala night wherein more than 50 lucky draw prizes were given away, including a TATA Nano Car, a Honda Bike and an Apple i Phone to the champions. n
AMD launches desktop computing platform
MD has come out with its latest desktop computing platform, which features the AMD Phenom II X6 processor and AMD 890FX chipset. The company has also announced the availability of the flagship AMD Phenom II X6 1090T black edition processor and the upgradation option to ATI Radeon HD 5000 series graphics, which promises 3D entertainment and high definition multi-monitor display. AMD Phenom II X6 processors feature new Turbo CORE technology that transfers performance to three dedicated cores operating at higher frequency. AMD Phenom II X6 processors can shift to Turbo mode for demanding games and productivity software which may employ two or three cores, or shift back to six real cores for the demands of core-hungry content creation and immersive 3D applications. “With AMD Phenom II X6 processors, discerning customers can build an incredible, immersive entertainment system and content creation powerhouse,” said Bob Grim, director of Client Platform Marketing at AMD. n
trends HP unveils OfficeJet 4500 all-in-one printers
ewlett-Packard India has launched the OfficeJet (OJ) 4500 all-inone series printers, which are designed for users looking for convenience of a multifunctional, yet compact device. The two variants of the new allin-one include the HP Officejet 4500 Desktop and the network-enabled HP Officejet 4500. The OJ 4500 series is designed to address consumer preference based on their consumption of mono (black and white) and color printing. Ideal for small offices, these energy-star qualified devices promise impressive print quality at low cost per page, and provide users with the convenience
Compuage launches new range of UPS solutions
ompuage has launched an entire range of UPS solutions under the Energ brand that address customer requirements in total power management solutions across home, business, and, industrial applications. The solutions are available in two variants - Prima and Optima. The Prima range of products provide power backup when mains power is not available. Available capacities start from 400VA and goes upto 30KVA. The different types of UPS’s under Prima range are RE & RP series UPS for homes and small office applications, BP series UPS for business applications and IP series for industrial applications. The Optima range provides power backup when mains power is not available, but in addition also ensures clean power to the connected load, without any voltage fluctuations, spikes, and surges when mains power is available, thereby ensuring that clean power is available to the connected load at all times. Available capacities start from 600VA and goes upto 30KVA. n
Dax launches Ethernet switches
ax Networks has launched DX-509MG Series, a range of high-performance Layer 2 managed Fast Ethernet switches. Starting from Rs49,000, the products are targeted especially for retail applications and broadband distribution. The DX-509MG Series comprises three models - the basic model (DX-509MG), the enhanced model (DX-509MGE) and the POE (Power Over Ethernet) model (DX-509MG-POE). The products are designed for networks where the number of users to be connected is small. There are eight 10/100 ports, eight RJ45 connectors and one Gigabit combo uplink port incorporated into the product. The new range adopts full Access Control List
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(ACL) policy. The switch also supports 802.1X authentication and RADIUS, providing the ability to network securely. It has a Security IP function restricting unauthorized users from accessing and altering configurations. SSH protocol and HTTPS/SSL connection guarantees maximum security of switch configuration. The enhanced version supports IPv6/IPv4 dual stack, helping protect the customer’s investment. This version also supports IPv6 host, manager and application. The POE model supports a full load for connecting all ports to POE-enabled devices like IP cameras, IP phones, access points, etc. All products come with a three-year carry-in warranty and online support for customers. n
of a multifunctional (Print/ Scan/ Copy/ Fax) device. Additionally, the multifunctional devices come equipped with the HP Smart Web Printing, which lets users control and select what they want to print from the internet, and save paper and ink by bringing it together on one page. According to Rajkumar Rishi, Director – Inkjet & Web Solutions, Imaging & Printing Group, HP India, “The OJ 4500 series is designed to fulfill the imaging and printing needs of customers, and help them have access to affordable technical expertise.” n
New version of eScan Antivirus Toolkit launched
Scan has announced the launch of its free Antivirus Toolkit version 12.x, which can also clean malware infections. The earlier free version of the eScan Antivirus Toolkit provided only the option of scanning systems for infection. T h e n e w ve r s i o n e n ab l e s computer users to scan and clean viruses, spyware, adware and any o t h e r m a lwa r e t h at m ay h ave infected their computer systems. It requires no installation and can be run directly from anywhere on the computer hard disk, USB drive or from a CD ROM. It can also be run even if there is antivirus software installed on the computer. It also gets updated on a daily basis with the latest updates to detect recently released spyware and adware, plus the engine has been improvised for faster and intelligent detections and cleaning. According to Govind Rammurthy, CEO and Managing Director, eScan, “We have also provided the option to clean malware in this new version. Users can also schedule a startup scan by adding the eScan Antivirus Toolkit to the Windows startup list of programs.” n
trends D-Link unveils wireless USB adapter
-Link has announced that it is going to ship its Wireless N Nano USB Adapter (DWA131), which combines fast speed and a greater range of 802.11n wi-fi technology with a tiny form factor and ease of use. It provides an easy and cost-effective way to upgrade the wireless network performance of a desktop or notebook computer. The Nano Adapter connects to a wireless 802.11n network, so users can access high-speed internet services, transfer files and stream media from virtually anywhere in their home or office. The Nano Adapter’s Wi-Fi Protected Setup
(WPS) feature enables it to establish an easy, onetime, single-click secure connection with a WPS-enabled access point or wireless router, eliminating complex encryption codes. WPS automatically sets advanced security features using WPA2 encryption. As an alternative, D-Link’s Quick Setup Wizard also provides an easy way to set up the USB adapter and the included Wireless Manager helps to keep track of recently accessed networks. DWA-131 will be available across the country at an estimated street price of Rs1,850 and carries a 1 year warranty. n
Seagate announces Q3 2010 financial results
eagate Technology has announced its financial results for the quarter ended April 2, 2010 of 0.3 million disk drive unit shipments, revenue of $3.05 billion, gross margin of 29.6%, net income of $518 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.00. The financial results for the quarter include $9 million of purchased intangibles amortization expense and $4 million of restructuring charges. The aggregate impact of these expense items is $13 million or approximately $0.03 per diluted share. For the nine months ended April 2, 2010, the company reported 146.5 million disk drive unit shipments, revenue of $8.74 billion, gross margin of 28.3%, net income of $1.23 billion and diluted earnings per share of $2.38. The financial results for the nine months ended April 2, 2010, include $29 million of purchased intangibles amortization expense, $50 million of restructuring costs and a write down of long-lived assets of $64 million. The aggregate impact of these expense items is $143 million or approximately $0.28 per diluted share. “Consistent with our expectations at the beginning of the March quarter, we achieved strong operational and financial results,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate CEO.n
HCL Infosystems Q3 revenue at Rs2,842 crore H
CL Infosystems has reported a consolidated revenue of Rs2842 crore for the quarter ended 31st March 2010. While the consolidated services revenue for the quarter was Rs176.5 crore, consolidated profit before tax for the quarter was Rs89.3 crore, and consolidated profit after tax for the quarter was Rs60.1 crore. The revenue from computer systems business for the quarter was Rs960.4 crore, up 10% Year on Year, and up 33% sequentially. The profit before interest and taxes for computer systems business for the quarter was Rs52.9 crore, up 30% Year on Year; and up 89% sequentially. The revenue from telecommunication and office automation business for the quarter was Rs1884.7 crore. The profit before interest and taxes for telecommunication and office automation business for the quarter was Rs53.5 crore. The consolidated EPS for the quarter ended 31st March 2010 was Rs2.8 per share. Commenting on the results, Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman and CEO, HCL Infosystems, “This quarter, we took significant steps towards technology accessibility for masses with collaborative efforts to introduce 100% finance schemes for PC users across India.” n
McAfee launches next gen firewall solutions
cAfee has announced the release of its next generation firewall – McAfee Firewall Enterprise version 8. It gives security administrators visibility, recognition and policy enforcement of over thousands of applications that are invisible to conventional firewall technology. By integrating with McAfee’s real-time, cloud-based global threat intelligence, McAfee Firewall Enterprise and McAfee Firewall Enterprise Profiler provide increased visibility into external and internal threats and vulnerabilities, protecting customers more efficiently and reducing both compliance and operational costs. McAfee Firewall Enterprise appliances combine
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application identification and user awareness to provide network enforcement that map easily to corporate security policies. Next generation capabilities include significant advancements in firewall management, application discovery and protection, and integrated layers of threat protection. According to Charles Kolodgy, Research Vice President, IDC Security Products, “McAfee Firewall Enterprise provides comprehensive application threat and malware blocking, as well as industry-leading URL filtering and reputation-based blocking capabilities. With this new release, McAfee is expanding the level of application protection customers can receive from their firewall.” n
trends Matrix launches security solution
Strontium appoints Smartlink as service provider
emory maker Strontium Technology has appointed Smartlink as its national service provider to manage the after-sales support and service programmes for all consumers in India. With this tie-up, Strontium customers from any part of India can get faulty products replaced by sending them to a Smartlink service centre. At present, these centres exist in 27 cities across India. Effective 10 May 2010, customers can also get after-sales support via email. Speaking on the occasion, Ajay Kogta, Country Manager, India Sub-continent, Strontium Technology, said, “We have extended our association with Smartlink for providing set services and support to our valued customers for the entire product range in India except multimedia flash cards for which the service will be provided through the existing service centres of the company.” According to Balgond Chougula, AVP - Services (RMA), Smartlink Network Systems, “We are proud to be associated with Strontium Technology. Strontium branded memory modules are tested very rigorously and have low failure rate. We look forward to delivering superlative customer experience for Strontium Technology.” n
atrix Comsec has launched a range of time-attendance and access control solution to ensure effective security and higher productivity for any organisation. Known as Matrix COSEC, it is an adaptive, modular, scalable and function-rich time-attendance and access control solution designed for Small Office Home Office (SOHO), Small and Medium Businesses (SMB), Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Large Enterprises (LE). These products will be launched nationally across different cities, starting from Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, H yd e r ab a d , C h e n n a i , Bengaluru and Kolkata. According to Dhiren Jani, Product Manager for Security Products, “The idea was to design a unique solution that offers fool-proof security, flexibility, as well as reduces the implementation cost drastically. Its modular design offers a unique scalability option and supports up to 10 -1 million users. Unlike traditional solutions, Matrix access control solution is based on IP back-bone and master-slave architecture. This ensures that the access control installation is no more a pain area for any integrators but will prove to be an important utility tool for medium and large enterprises.” n
ESET India appoints Xell Networks as platinum partner
SET India have appointed Xell Networks as one of their platinum retail partner for the distribution of ESET retail box packs. ESET in India will leverage on the strong and extensive channel network of Xell Networks in South India that includes VARs, SIs, corporate partners, retailers and other categories of channels under its fold. Xell Networks team comprises of certified technicians, engineers, and customer service representatives. According to Amit Misra, Country Head, ESS Software Distribution and Consulting, “To strengthen our channel network & fulfil the growing demands of our customers as well as channel partners, we have appointed Xell Networks as one of our retail platinum partner, who would be basically focusing on the southern region. Xell Networks has local presence, market knowledge and technical expertise which make us confident enough to expand our reach as well as penetra-
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tion in the Southern market.” “With our distribution network, we will ensure that ESET products are made easily available for the channel partners as well as the end users,” said Sunil Kumar, Director, Xell Networks. n
storage Data Retention
STORE With the majority of paper work going digital, organisations need an efficient as well as cost-effective data retention strategy VIVEK ANAND
ur technology-driven digital climate continues to experience considerable change that is causing some big downstream effects. In 2009, IDC reported that there were nearly 500 exabytes of digital content in the world (that’s 5 billion gigabytes). Technology is enabling organisations to transact business faster than ever with more insight. It’s also enabling data growth of 50-60 percent Year-over-Year (YoY), a trend that IDC projects to grow by a factor of five between 2008-2012. The majority of digital data—95 percent—is unstructured (emails, files, documents, images, music files, video). End users generate about 70 percent of this content, which they easily share beyond the boundaries of the enterprise business walls. End users are also storing per sonal data (music files, documents,
wedding albums, etc.) on network file shares, where they know it will be backed up. A large portion of any organisation’s unstructured data is likely to be stale with little business relevance and furthermore, a significant amount of that data is redundant. Simply put, most storage environments are a concoction of active, inactive, irrelevant, and aged data. IT and storage managers have to deal with this as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible in the face of consistent yearly data growth of 50 to 60 percent. One thing in their favor is the fact that the cost of raw storage continues to decline by 50 percent YoY. When retention is affected by many factors, including business, regulatory (e.g., compliance), historical, and end-user driven requirements, cheaper storage is often seen as the solution to the data growth challenge.
Problem areas and solutions Retention polices can be very difficult to assign because the retention
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storage Data Retention requirements can be conflicting. For example, businesses operating in the U.S. and Europe will have to deal with the demands for email monitoring and retention for compliance versus privacy. Also, depending on the country where the data was created, longterm retention requirements can range from a few years to one hundred years (e.g., patient data). As a result of this conflict, many businesses are applying long-term retention durations of “forever” across their digital data pool of active, inactive, irrelevant, and aged data. But when an organisation applies lengthy retention policies broadly across its environment without knowing its data characteristics or existing storage capacity utilization, it will lead to considerable inefficiencies. With the doubling of the number of bytes every 18 months and the fall in IT budgets, buying more storage to retain the data of differing values is an expensive proposition that won’t solve the problem of data management that a company faces. Additionally, long-term retention without insight into data characteristics does not allow for accurate forecasting of storage capacity needs; it increases reactive storage acquisition. In fact, the cost of managing the storage is increasing by 30 to 40 percent YoY. Management inefficiencies and complexities grow as heterogeneous storage devices are added to a firm’s data center, which then suffers because of it. Storage is the key consumer of power and cooling, especially as virtualization reduces the footprint of the servers. Overall, the biggest challenge that IT and storage managers face is not data growth. It’s how to develop long-term data management practices specifically for the different types of data (active, inactive, irrelevant, and aged) in the work environment. For IT and storage managers, the ideal solution will address an organisation’s challenges by enabling it to increase utilization of existing storage resources, only adding such assets where absolutely necessary. The ideal path to cost efficient storage is actually a three-part data reduction strategy that will allow a company to consistently reduce its data volume and move data to the most cost-appropriate storage tier. This type of holistic data reduction strategy will enable it to: exploit its existing storage
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resources; eliminate reactive acquisition by deferring storage purchases; align storage retention and location with the business value of the data; and continually monitor production data for the application of consistent retention policies. To be of maximum value, a data reduction strategy must begin with analysis, wherein a firm would get to know what it’s got, to be able to leverage data reduction technologies in a comprehensive way.
Storage resource management Understanding data is the first step for a company to effectively reduce the amount of storage it has to manage and the amount of data to backup and archive. Analysis via Storage Resource Management (SRM) can help it to make the right business decisions about retention, tiering, and capacity planning. SRM identifies and reports on access, modification, and usage characteristics for file systems and applications, and helps find unused and over-provisioned storage capacity. Finding unused storage capacity and resources that can be exploited helps an organisation eliminate reactive acquisition by reducing costs or deferring capacity upgrades. It can also help establish an efficient practice for storage tiering. Also, SRM should be leveraged for continuous monitoring of a firm’s production data stores to ensure that end users do not consume storage capacity with personal data on network shares. Leveraging SRM tools to ascertain data and file system access and modification characteristics can help a company identify which content is active, inactive, irrelevant, and aged. This will help it determine and apply the most efficient retention (i.e., deletion and archiving) policies across storage tiers. For example, analysed file systems found to have many recently-modified files are good candidates for backup, whereas backups of data discovered to be inactive should be avoided to reduce cost. However, file systems discovered to have many inactive/unused files that have not been accessed or modified recently are excellent candidates for archiving. Once an organisation has identified archived candidates, optimized archiving rules can be created to move inactive data off primary storage to cheaper storage for long-term retention. This is a natural extension
The ideal path to cost efficient storage is actually a three-part data reduction strategy that will allow a company to consistently reduce its data volume and move data to the most costappropriate storage tier. With no slowdown in sight for digital data growth and the continued limitations of IT budgets, development of an integrated data reduction strategy is key to reducing a company’s costs for long-term data retention.
of SRM because archiving enables alignment of data retention duration and location with the business value of the data. When inactive or aged data is moved into an archive, a small stub is usually left in place of the original, providing access by the business application and significantly reducing storage use on the production system. End users don’t see any difference, as access to the archived content is transparent to them. The retention rules applied by the archive enable subsequent movement of data to even cheaper tiers of storage for longer-term retention. Finally, to complete the data reduction strategy, an organisation should apply deduplication technology that is integrated with its SRM and archiving capabilities. Deduplication is a data reduction technology that is increasingly being utilized to reduce data for backup and archives where there is more data redundancy than in primary storage environments. One way to maximize effectiveness of deduplication is to leverage a software-based approach that is “global” and “embedded”. The software-based approach allows a firm to leverage its existing storage systems. The “embedded” approach, whereby the deduplication software is embedded in a comprehensive backup and archive solution, allows duplicates to be captured during transfer, reducing backup windows and network bandwidth. The “global” approach extends these capabilities by allowing an organisation to dedupe across data types, sources, platforms, and multiple storage tiers.
Significance of storage With no slowdown in sight for digital data growth and the continued limitations of IT budgets, development of an integrated data reduction strategy is key to reducing a company’s costs for long-term data retention. By integrating SRM to identify data usage characteristics, an organisation can develop and apply ideal archiving strategies for all data types that will start to reduce storage costs. When a firm takes that one step further and integrate global, embedded deduplication software into that strategy, it can significantly reduce data across disk and tape, reduce its storage acquisition costs, and greatly reduce the its-site/ tape storage spend. n Vivek Anand is Regional Director – India & SAARC, CommVault Systems (India) Pvt Ltd.
cover story Certifications
Vendor certifications are an expensive affair for solution providers. But are the returns worth the money? SOMA TAH
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cover story Certifications
s IT solutions are getting increasingly complex in nature, one requires a greater amount of skill and expertise to advise the right solution to the customer s. This makes solution providers spend a greater deal of resource and effort to get their persons trained and certified in the technologies they sell. Simultaneously, a greater importance is attached by the vendors to the certifications, by making it a prerequisite to maintain a specific partner status with the vendors for their respective solution sets. This has also made the channel increasingly spend on the vendor-run certifications and training programmes. But, the problem is that there is no one-stop solution to suit their requirements, and thus, they need to go for
specific technology, does it necessarily help one to sell better or do better justice to any product or solution? “Vendor certifications help partners to deliver projects more efficiently, thereby not only recovering the cost of the certifications, but also ensuring quality delivery. Also, in certain tender situations, the customers specify the availability of certified professionals as a pre-requisite for the bidders,” says Jaideep Kumar, Head-Channels & Distribution, Red Hat India. “The chances of bagging projects certainly increase for
“Vendor certifications help partners deliver projects efficiently, thus not only recovering cost of certifications, but also ensuring quality delivery.” JAIDEEP KUMAR, HEAD-CHANNELS & DISTRIBUTION, RED HAT INDIA.
different certification and training programmes to sell diverse products from different vendors or similar products from different vendors. Specializations on some advanced solutions certainly endorse the solution provider’s ability to advise and deploy a solution at the customer’s place, but once the investments starts burning their pockets, they need to find out whether their investments are justified or not.
Impact on business While the levels of certification or the certification status might validate one’s proficiency in relation to a particular vendor’s product or any
partners with cer tified professionals and it also provides them an edge over competitors. With products and services becoming a ‘commodity’, the major differentiating factor that customers/end-users look for is the strength of experienced and certified personnel employed with the service/solution provider. However, this perception may have more to do with the ‘stamp of approval’ of the principal vendor rather than the actual mode of delivery, “coun-
“The chances of bagging projects increase for partners with certified professionals and also provides them an edge over competitors.” SUBHENDU PANDA, LEAD ANALYST, IT SERVICES RESEARCH PRACTICE, IDC INDIA
ters Subhendu Panda, Lead Analyst, IT Services Research Practice, IDC India. Vendor certification can be considered your ticket to selling a particular product by that vendor and can even bring an increased business and revenue opportunities for some of them, but it does not necessarily certify you as a better player in the market. As Ravinder Goyal, Director of hardware and networking institute IACM, says, “Many business partners may feel that having certified professionals on board may lead to better business prospects. But it’s true only in those cases, where the clients or vendors are particularly asking for the number of certified professionals available, which could give one an edge over all other contenders.” So, do the certified professionalso handle the projects better than the non-certified professionals? According to Prakash Advani, Partner Manager - Central Asia, Canonical, one can use certification as a tool to establish their competency in any particular solution. “Vendor Certification is a process which ensures that the person passing the certification meets a certain quality standard set by the vendor. A non-certified professional doesn’t mean that they are not competent. The person may be competent, but how do they prove that they are. Certification gives them the tool that they can use to prove that. This provides confidence to the customer that if they are engaging with a solution provider with certified professionals, they know the product well.” he explains. “Though becoming certified means you have a certain amount of product knowledge, however, that does not make you better than other contenders or a better professional. The litmus test of certifications is one’s ability to implement them when and where it’s required,” says Goyal. However, “certified professionals have much more convictions on product and technologies and of course it helps partner organisations to do a value added selling as a true consultant,” says Jitendra Gupta, Country Manager, Extreme Networks. Also, IT being a dynamic and fast changing market, certification and training programmes become extremely important to deal with the
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cover story Certifications technology obsolesce. Therefore, it becomes vital for the solution providers to choose the right certification programmes which will best serve their purpose.
Considerations before investment To take the right investment decision, solution providers need to have a grip on the current technology trends and of movement of the associated products/services. It’s important for them to watch their steps carefully before they decide to take on any vendor training or certification programme. As Nitin Nistane, COO, Infospectrum India, advises, “Before allocating resources for any certification and training programme, partners need to understand the market requirement for that particular technology or a solution, and the possible returns they might get on it. While the basic certification programmes might certify you to sell, but its the specializations on advanced technology which actually gives you an edge. They also need to find out how fast they can recover those costs before they actually start making profits on it.” “In my view, par tner s should invest on those vendors where they have a consistent product portfolio, and then use the vendors’ market development funds (MDFs) towards training and cer tification cost,” advises Gupta. Specializations on the core along with some related or complementary technology also creates up selling and cross selling opportunities for the partners. But it’s very important for the partners to be completely focused on the particular domain
they prefer to work and then choose their solutions accordingly.
Challenges While it’s a debatable matter that whether certification should be a paid exercise for the partners or should it come as a free product consultation package, many partners feel that vendors should not treat certification as a primary source of revenue and they should not charge a premium for that. One vendor who does not want to be quoted in this matter says, “It has been seen that the paid certifications are always valued more by the partners than the free training and certifications. We tried to experiment with the free training model initially, but failed miserably.” There are two ways a vendor can help partners ensure a better ROI on their investments - by offering pre and post sales support for the partners. They should offer measurable benefits to substantiate the costs through ensuring backend discounts on the specific product line that they are certified to sell, and discounting the re-certification costs so that it does not become a prohibitive cost. Customers often pick partners who are at higher level of partnership with the vendor where certified partners do get an opportunity to generate more business for them. “We encourage partners who are interested in working in a particular technology domain with us or do advanced specialization on that particular technology. We treat them at par with our premier partners in terms of back-end rebates, presales and post sales support,” says Samir Mishra, Regional Manager – Advanced Technologies Channels
“Vendor Certification is a process which ensures that the person passing the certification meets a certain quality standard set by the vendor.” PRAKASH ADVANI, PARTNER MANAGER CENTRAL ASIA, CANONICAL
“Certified professionals have much more convictions on product and technologies and of course it helps partner organisations to do a value added selling as a true consultant.” JITENDRA GUPTA, COUNTRY MANAGER, EXTREME NETWORKS
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Cisco - India & SAARC . But unfor tunately, except the big enterprises and corporates, the customers’ awareness on technology certifications in India is still very low. Very few customers actually ask for it, especially when they work with a trusted implementation partner. Vendors that have a bigger role to play should take an initiative to make customers aware about the benefits of working with a certified partner, feels Nistane. There are other challenges also regarding the design of the course ware and flexibility of the training modules. Instructor lead programmes are much more beneficial as they expose the learner to real time problem solving scenarios. But vendors also need to develop a flexible training and certification model, as instr uctor-led training often consumes more time and resources than online training.
Alternatives As the cer tifications costs are high and ef fect the profitability of an organisation, pre-cer tified employees are often a better choice to avoid the initial investment. But building skillsets needs a considerable recur rent investment. Some might even consider outsourcing or hiring skilled professionals as per their requirements. Sameer Vitkar, Head, Sales and Marketing, Accelera Systems, says, “It always makes sense for the small solution providers to hire an implementation partner instead of spending a dedicated amount on certifications, which might wash away their profits. Retaining manpower is another challenge for them which can be easily bypassed by this.” Admitting that retaining skilled manpower is a challenge that every organisation faces, S Raghavan, Head-Training Services and Consultant, MicroGenesis Techsoft Pvt Ltd, says, “Though it’s advisable to build in-house skillsets, if you can create growth opportunities for them, it always pays you in the long run.” Hiring an implementation partner can also be a good option for the solution providers to deal with a particular project. When asked whether outsourcing skilled professionals can be an alternative or not, as it makes sense for the vendors and solution providers, some partners appreciated the idea, but at the same time,
cover story Certifications they are a bit skeptical on the success of this model in the long run. As Nistane says, “It can be a nice model to experiment with. But I see a greater possibility of clash of interests in the long run.” “It is important for a solution provider to have certified professionals on board from day one of any given project. This approach (outsourcing) might be suitable for pure resellers who are focused only on selling the product and may require some basic technical support which they can source from an implementation partner,” says Kumar. For an organisation, there are other ways to ensure returns on its investments that will not only make its investment justified, but can also open up newer avenues of profits. As Varad Gupta, the Founder
Director of Keen and Able Computers, says, “Being in the solution providing business for the last 13 years, we used to spend a handsome amount of our budget on the regular certification and trainings requirements of our executives. Over the years, we have been able to build a pool of certified and seasoned professionals within our organisation in a way that we could even afford to run a training institute for others. We decided to start an open source training institute, which we have been running parallel with our solution businesses for the last three years and we have been able to convert the costs incurred into a source of profit.” Vendor neutral cer tifications might be a sensible alternative to vendor certifications, as it gives a choice to solution
providers to invest in a single certification programme to avoid the costs of doing multiple certifications for different vendors. “This makes sense, but the issue is then about specific expertise. For instance, I know of LPI (Linux Professional Institute), which is vendor neutral certification for Linux professionals and provides an excellent but broad certification on Linux. For expertise on the specific product, which after all is often what the client is paying for, it becomes important for the vendors to develop product specific courses which will give a certified company a real edge in delivering the solutions,” says Advani. But the challenge with such certifications is mainly the lack of their availability across the technology spectrum and the standardization of the same. n
It’s All About the It is critical for solution providers today to employ and retain technically certified people so that they can handle various projects in networking, storage, software and other domains. In order to determine the current status of vendor certifications and the challenges solution providers face in getting their people certified, Digit Channel Connect conducted an online survey among channel partners. Complete responses came from about 70 people. As one might expect, a lot of partners consider certifications an expensive affair and are not sure if their investments will yield great benefits. Here are some interesting findings
10 to 50
Less than 10
How many vendor-certified people do you have among your staff?
Certification from which vendor, is on top of your priority list?
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coverstory storyCertifications Survey cover Shifting staff from existing projects to the new one
Do not face any challenge
Face some other constraint
Unable to spare staff for certifications
What is the key challenge you face in getting your staff certified?
What is your top technical constraint in bidding for or carrying out a project?
3% 10 to 50
Less than 10 58%
Which vendor certifications offer the best return on your investment?
How many of your staff do you plan to get certified in the next six months to a year?
We get subsidy from vendors
We invest fully 29%
40% We ask staff to share cost 37%
Which vendor certifications take the most time for your staff to complete?
We ask staff to bear full cost
Make it quicker to get certified Improve access to expert trainers
What is the investment norm for certifications for you?
Make the certifications less expensive
What is most important for vendors to do to improve the certification process?
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Less than 2%
Improve quality of material and resources
More than 50
No plans as yet
Lack of adequate certifications relevant to the project Uncertainty whether investment in certifications will yield sufficient benefits
Poor quality of training given
Do not face any constraint
High price of certification
More than 10% 5% to 10%
2% to 5%
2% 3% 31%
What percentage of your revenue do you usually spend on vendor certifications in a year?
SECURITY on the
With better connectivity and higher speeds, almost all organisations today are taking advantage of enterprise mobility. But it is important to secure such initiatives VISHAL DHUPAR
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ver the past decade, India has scripted a highly successful story in mobile connectivity. From 3.6 million Indians using mobile phones in 2000 to largely make phone calls and send SMSes, there are now over 500 million subscribers to mobile services. Out of this, 126.7 million have adopted wireless data services, according to TRAI. The monthly addition to the mobile subscriber base is at over 10 million, more than twice the total subscriber base just a decade ago. It is not just the general public that is now largely connected through mobiles. With better connectivity and higher speeds, almost all organisations today are taking advantage of the cost and productivity benefits that result from data being accessed and modified from anywhere, at any time. This has brought about a sea change in the enterprise information landscape, which has become more complex and more diverse. In fact, more than one-third of respondents to a survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group commissioned by Symantec revealed that employees with mobile devices can access, receive, and store confidential company data, customer data, regulated data and intellectual property. Specifically in India, 43% of respondents to a recent DSCI-KPMG survey felt that mobile, remote and always-on access, is a significant challenge to information security. This challenge is fuelled by the changing endpoint landscape. Information today has exploded beyond the four walls of the organisation. Workers access and edit sensitive corporate information, not just on workstations/PCs, but also from home, in transit, and just about anywhere in the world through their laptops, netbooks, smartphones, etc. In fact, according to an industry survey, 20 percent of metropolitan Indians access the internet on their mobile phones at least once a month. While this has driven a tremendous boost to productivity, rising instances of
security Mobility loss and theft of these devices are endangering the valuable information on them. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, provide greater corporate access and store more data, they become a higher target for theft, and their size makes them much easier to misplace. Furthermore, they have become an increasingly popular target for hackers.
Convergence between mobile security and management To manage and secure mobile devices effectively in today’s complex IT environment, companies need to treat these devices as they would any other endpoint, and managing them from a single console is the next logical step. The fact that a well-managed endpoint is secure is especially true for mobile endpoints. Efficient management of endpoints not only reduces risks significantly, but also reduces costs and complexity, while helping meet increasingly stringent compliance requirements. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, provide greater corporate access and store more data, organisations require greater control and management to protect corporate information and ensure user productivity – all while reducing costs. Today, enterprises need to protect and manage data wherever it resides and automate procurement and provisioning, provide ongoing maintenance and protection, and quickly retire mobile devices if they are lost, damaged, stolen or replaced.
Security and management throughout the mobile life cycle The ideal mobile security and management strategy follows devices throughout their lifecycle and is designed to protect and manage data wherever it resides. The approach should focus on securing not just the infrastructure, or the
SECURITY OF MOBILE DEVICES n Protect against device theft/ loss and data breach n Protect against unauthorized/ insecure access to the corporate network n Protect against emerging malware threats n Ensure compliancy with regulations and internal security policies
mobile devices, but also the precious data that resides on them. By focusing on the data, companies are better equipped to ensure they are compliant and secured to the appropriate level. An effective solution increases IT efficiency with over-the-air deployment of applications and updates, improves end user productivity by managing mobile device health and manages and secures mobile devices throughout their life cycle. Ideally, administrators should be able to centrally define and distribute security policies to mobile devices over-the-air, from a single management console. Apart from protection for mobile devices against malicious threats and unauthorized access to sensitive corporate information, the solution should also help ensure compliance with internal and external security requirements.
Mobile Reputation Security Today, the need among organisations is for a prototype next-generation mobile security solution, much like how the PC security solutions have evolved to be. The premise of Mobile Reputation Security (MRS) is to provide effective security and remediation capabilities on the smart phone without compromising the freedom of the end user. MRS takes the existing reputation-based approach currently used on PCs, and applies it to the expanding market of mobile technology and smart phones to create lightweight security systems for carriers.
Benefits of a comprehensive MRS n A reputation-based security technology for smart phones, aimed to give carriers more control of applications on their networks. nAn alternative security model to existing centralized signing approaches, MRS provides comprehensive security and remediation capabilities while delivering greater customer and developer freedom. n It offers the ability to see what is being sent to the cloud, providing clear visibility of the applications being installed and the timing for each application, to help carriers identify an outbreak or malicious activity on the network.
Representation of a comprehensive MRS system nFile reputation: a scan-free approach to software installation and execution on mobile handsets n Website reputation: protects the mobile handset while it browses the internet by analysing the security levels
MANAGEMENT OF MOBILE DEVICES
As mobile devices become more sophisticated, provide greater corporate access and store more data, they become a higher target for theft, and their size makes them much easier to misplace.
Enterprises need to protect and manage data wherever it resides and automate procurement and provisioning, provide ongoing maintenance and protection, and quickly retire mobile devices if they are lost, damaged, stolen or replaced.
n Track and manage mobile assets and applications n Ensure consistent device configurations and policies n Deploy and maintain approved applications and patches n Manage and assist mobile devices remotely n Adhere to compliance requirements of the websites being visited and indicating if the websites are threat-free or not n White list: specifies an application white list in the cloud so that file reputation can bypass checking for those packages to improve performance and reduce footprint n Clean file cache: allows known good executables to run without submitting a request to the cloud n Anti-spam: filters spam messages by maintaining a user-defined black list, and also utilizes an SMS firewall to block SMS exploits n Remote wipe: data wiping or locking through SMS for confidential data protection n Firewall: resides in the handset and provides stateful filtering for internet access In 2009, Symantec saw smart phones targeted by more malware authors. As smart phones continue to increase in popularity, Symantec predicts that more attackers will devote time to creating malware to exploit these devices. This means that organisations need to stay several steps ahead of those with malicious intent, detrimental to a company’s interests, and innovations such as MRS will be the key. The need for a mobile security and management strategy is especially relevant to enterprises in which mobile devices are an integral part of the company’s daily business operations and companies that are subject to stringent compliance requirements. As these devices begin to play a more significant role in corporate life, they will also be exploited more. It is therefore imperative that companies manage and secure their valuable and confidential information on mobile devices, before they fall victim to the emerging threats they pose. n Vishal Dhupar is Managing Director, Symantec India
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networking Data Centres
Organisations must make sure that their data centres - the means for supporting and driving their business - are managed effectively NAVIN JACOB MATHEW
or any organisation, the data centre is the most critical resource as it is the means for the storage, management and dissemination of data, applications and communications necessary for supporting and driving a business. If these data centres are not performing at optimum efficiency, millions of dollars can be lost within a matter of minutes. Downtime in a data centre has to be cut down to the minimum if businesses want to avoid heavy losses. If an organisationâ€™s data centre is to efficiently support its business, it must be managed exceptionally well to get optimum benefits. When we talk of data centre management, we must understand that good management goes hand in hand with
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ensuring reliability and space savings. Once these three principles are adhered to, an organisation can actually look at lowering their total cost of ownership, supporting future growth plans, reducing risk of downtime, maximising performance and improving the ability to reconfigure. The first step in good data centre management is to properly design the data centre for space savings at the earliest to ensure future upgrades. A sound strategy would be to incorporate high-density solutions which require less rack, floor and pathway space and which leave room for more flexible reconfiguration and growth. Secondly, as networks expand and bandwidth requirements increase exponentially, the data centres must be able
to maintain constant reliability and performance. A good way to do this is to ensure that the data centre infrastructure outlasts the applications and equipment it supports by at least 10-15 years. Again, cabling and connections must be protected along with the maintaining of the proper bend radius. The separation of cable types in horiz ontal pathways and the physical protection of both cables and connections is also recommended. We now come to the actual management of the data centre. While space savings and reliability are important, it is the manageability that is the key to optimising the data centre. Whatâ€™s clear from this is that the data centre infrastructure should be a highly reliable and flexible system that can accommodate disaster recovery, upgrades and modifications. This actually calls for strategic and unified cable management, which is critical as it ensures that cables and connections are properly stored and organised. It also simplifies the process of locating and accessing them as well as reconfiguring them. Once the data centre has been wrongly designed, it is very difficult to manage it for optimum performance. This means that early on, in the design phase, provisions must be made for efficient data centre management. The designers must ensure that the cable routing paths are clearly defined and intuitive to follow while enabling easy deployment, separation, access, reduced congestion, and room for growth. Data centres usually have large volumes of cables, and management is never easy when the space is taken up by messy cables that not only obstruct air flow and increase heating, but also make for a poor aesthetic case. When properly managed, cables improve network reliability by reducing the possibility of cable damage, bend radius violations, and the time required for identifying, routing, and rerouting cables. This is obviously crucial when it comes to rapidly identifying a fault and fixing it quickly to ensure maximum uptime. It is a well known fact that identifying a fault often takes more time than actually rectifying it. Cables that have been well managed lend themselves more easily to fault detection and thus make
networking Data Centres for a well-managed data centre. Today, we have the technology to effectively manage these superb data centres which are the repositories of critical business information of organisations. Central patching locations in a cross-connect scenario provide the data centre manager with a logical and easy-to-manage infrastructure whereby all network elements have permanent equipment cable connections that once terminated, are never handled again. The advantage is that all modifications, rerouting, upgrades, and maintenance activities are accomplished using semipermanent patch cord connections on the front of the cross-connect systems. Why must the data centre manager opt for centralised patching and what are the benefits? A few insights include: n Lowering of operating costs by greatly reducing the time it takes for modifications, upgrades and maintenance. n Enhanced reliability by making changes on the patching field rather than moving sensitive equipment connections. n Reduced risk of down time with the
ability to isolate network segments for troubleshooting and quickly reroute circuits in a disaster recovery situation. Another good strategy is to deploy common rack frames with sufficient vertical and horizontal cable management. This simplifies the rack assembly, organises cable, facilitates cable routing and keeps equipment cool by removing obstacles to air movement. The other reason to opt for cable management at the rack is that it protects the bend radius and manages cable slack efficiently. What must be kept in mind is that connectors must also be easily defined and accessed for maintenance or reconfiguration with minimal disruption to adjacent connections. Today, vendors rely on channel partners for implementation of their data centre projects. The partners are no longer box-pushers. Two things are clear here. Firstly, the onus is on the vendors to ensure that the partners are trained in the latest technologies so that they can effectively market the solutions. Secondly, partners must also be aware of the fact that they have a wide range
NAVIN JACOB MATHEW
The data centre infrastructure should accommodate disaster recovery, upgrades and modifications.
of technologies to choose from when it comes to implementing a data centre, which can then be effectively managed. For both vendors and partners, the market is expected to double in the next 5 years. It is not just the enterprises alone; there are plenty of opportunities in the SME market also. When we talk of enterprises, it is interesting that midsized enterprises are more enthusiastic than large or small enterprises. However, partners neednâ€™t worry about opportunities drying up in large enterprises, as they still need to go for upgrades. Compliance is another key factor driving the growth of data centres, as the clauses of the Indian IT Act make it mandatory to maintain records for seven years and messages for five years. All these augur well for the data centre industry. However, if we are to meet the demands, vendors and partners must rise to the challenge of ensuring that their data centres can be effectively managed for optimum performance. n Navin Jacob Mathew is Enterprise Networks Sales Director, ADC India Communications Ltd.
Keeps your Data, OS,& PC Safe
Admin Console for LAN
Detects, Removes, Prevents Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Spywares & Malwares
Net Protector Maximum Security
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managed services Data Centres
Hand It More and more organisations are taking the help of managed services providers to deal with their IT challenges ANIL KUMAR TV
n the new era of economic revolution, some of the major growth areas are power, natural resources and information, in particular, security and availability, with a clear focus on cloud computing, virtualisation and managed services. IT challenges such as security, network, various domain expertise, geographical spread, increasing operational costs, swift solutions to the problems, adoption of latest technologies, control on assets, and, resource constraints may act as a huge hindrance to an organisationâ€™s core business vision. On the other hand, the positive perception is that these threats are showcasing an enormous growth opportunity to IT Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) industry. Market research projects the growth of IMS services to be explosive. The global market opportunity will be US $53 billion by 2015. By 2012, 70% of companies will have IMS service contracts. 30 percent of the total revenue will be contributed by India alone. Out of 30% of Indian market share against the global market opportunities, majority will be contributed by SMB segment. Some of the managed services which will be on the fast track of the business model growth are server management, desktop / laptop management, storage management, network management, managed security services, data centre management, web hosting and cloud computing. Managed services leverage help desk, service desk, vendor management, application management, asset management, license management, log monitoring, patch management, green computing, change management, performance and availability management, security and vulnerability management, Back Up and Disaster Recovery (BUDR) or Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR), remote management, etc.
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managed services IMS Managed services will be necessitated by various industry verticals like healthcare / pharma industry, infrastructure companies, financial & banking services, government & public services, retail chain of stores, shopping arcades / malls, educational institutions, multi-locational & global organisations, corporates, MNCs, manufacturing units, service industry - IT/ITES/BPOs, telecommunication, mining, automotive, logistics, etc.
Traditional model vs. transitional model IMS involves two types of models – traditional break-fix service model and transitional proactive service model. While the traditional model is used once the damage has happened, the transitional IMS model is pro-active in nature and acts before the damage occurs to the system. In the traditional break fix model, the engineer has to visit or be present at the site. This approach is quite exhaustive, as the engineer needs adequate time to rectify the damage made to the system. This model needs multiple engineers with different skill set. On the other hand, in the transitional IMS, the Network Operations Center (NOC) is already equipped with knowledgeable and skilled engineers who can proactively understand the problem and resolve it using technical skills that are result oriented. In the traditional break fix model, multiple engineers with diverse skills are required to handle multiple vendors. If there are many branches, then the number of engineers and vendors will increase. Whereas, in the transitional IMS model, there is a single window to address all these issues. This single window will be responsible from responding till resolution and reporting. In this model, the client will transfer the difficulty of managing and maintaining complex and multiple domain risk to IT Service Management (ITSM) provider, unlike holding this risk on their own in the break fix model. In today’s world, technology has developed so much that hardly any hardware requires spare replacement. Hardware breakdowns, compared to earlier days, have come down to about 20% and the O.S. and software breakdowns are about 80%. As a result, the need of multiple engineers spread across the branches becomes non-existent. The O.S. and software issues can be sorted out from a central NOC, which provides service support to globally spread
Challenges Managed Service Providers (MSP) should lead the market interests by utilizing and captivating on innovative practices to usher a new dimension to IT infrastructure management. The service should be user-friendly and allow various service level offerings that manage and support IT Infrastructure. But, there are a few challenges that act as an obstacle in promoting the managed services: Investment: Investment is one of the major challenges that comes in way of managed services. It requires few millions of dollars to acquire the intellectual property and to setup a NOC. The competition will be with bigger companies who have a global foot print. IMS needs thorough professional L1, L2, L3 assisters, tech leads, team leads, service delivery managers, back office etc. The NOC should be scalable to cater to the requirements of the client needs. Customer mindset: Customer mindset on accepting the IT infrastructure monitoring, management and maintenance outsourcing is a big hurdle. Customers are skeptical about allowing third party access into their systems and servers. This needs a lot of convincing to customers and getting the acceptance. Security: Security is one more major issue with customers to outsource their IT maintenance and monitoring outside their organisations. Issues like, “How do I trust you? How do I safeguard my data? Will you be having access to my information? Can you destroy my hardware?” are liable to come up, and need to be dealt with.
Remedies n Joint venture is one of the strategies to address the investment and reaching the market segments across the globe. n Have clearly defined SLAs (Service Level Agreements) in place towards the commitment of deliverables. n Deploy NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreement), employee NDAs, security systems in the NOC, secured internet and lot of authentications at every stage. n Educate the customers on security issues. n Execute proof-of-concepts in the client locations to experience the benefits of IMS, as there is nothing like seeing and believing. In today’s world, the foundation of the whole IT environment believes in communication between the devices.
ANIL KUMAR TV
In the transitional IMS, the Network Operations Center is already equipped with knowledgeable and skilled engineers who can proactively understand the problem and resolve it using technical skills that are resultoriented. IMS gives an edge to a company to project itself in the contemporary technology world. It certainly increases the brand value, revenue, bottom line, global presence and an opportunity to grow further and higher.
That is how the technology in the applications is built today. Besides, there is a certain degree of security which is built in the operating system. The operating system and application vendors have taken adequate protective measures. But, the client has to take care of the IT Infrastructure when setting it up as per his need to connect multiple offices with the security devices. With this, the base level security is in place to protect the IT infrastructure and information in the organisation. Now, the organisation should consider the remote infrastructure management tools that work typically on the basis of the manager. This is maintained centrally in the NOC place, wherein, the monitoring and management is done and the agent tool which is installed in the desktop, laptop or a server secures communication with available resources and connection in place. The responsibility of the agent is to carry the health information of the IT infrastructure, which is essential to communicate to the NOC and nothing beyond. Apparently, by understanding the complexity and expensiveness to manage the devices on site with physical skilled resources, all the latest windows operating versions are coming out with built-in features which aid remote management and remote diagnosis. Obviously, these operating systems make sure that there is sufficient security. When the user gives the control to the remote manager for diagnosing the problem in the desktop, the entire transaction happens through a session which the user can see on the screen, and the logs on the performed activity are available. These are the safeguards which are there in the remote management services.
Benefits By venturing into the next generation transitional IT infrastructure model, which is proactive, automated, integrated, secure and remotely operatable, an organisation can aid in the future growth of the industry. IMS gives an edge to a company to project itself in the contemporary technology world. It certainly increases the brand value, revenue - both on top line and bottom line, global presence, and, an opportunity to grow further and higher. So, a firm should deploy IMS to service the client’s IT devices. This strategy has proven to be a massive cost reduction to the company and increase per engineer productivity. n Anil Kumar TV is CEO of Bengalurubased Dhanush Infosol.
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security Managed Services
A New Approach to
SECURITY Using managed security services, organisations can align their IT and network investments with key business objectives KUMAR MITRA
s organisations around the world come to grips with the current challenging economic environment, it is not surprising to see the resurgence of managed services and other outsourced IT alternatives. In the past, economic drivers have led to similar transformative shifts as organisations looked to better manage costs and re-focus on their core business. Forrester Research recently published a report that highlighted how, fueled by global economic recession, the market for managed services is set to explode in the next 24 to 36 months. The research found that 67% of firms used managed services to reduce costs, in many cases switching large capital expenditures – especially challenging with the tightening of global
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credit markets – over to monthly operational expenditures such as lease arrangements. More than half chose managed services to simplify management and nearly half felt that they could get better reliability of service than if they used in-house staff. What is most interesting is that even in the tough economic climate, where most IT and networking spending is being slashed, the growth in security technology remains very strong. In a research note UBS Securities released late last year, it forecast a drop in overall IT spending by as much as 15% in 2008. However, when it came to the security market, UBS expected double-digit gains through 2009. The reasoning points back to the current economic environment and the layoffs and downsizing impacting organisations across all industries, from the energy and manufacturing sectors to financial services, government and telecom. During downturns, the criticality of security grows as organisations need to protect themselves against valuable digital assets, like trade secrets or customer lists walking off with soon-to-be ex-employees. A similar need exists to protect against hackers from taking down operations. The case of the recently laid-off Fannie Mae employee, accused of planting a logic bomb in the network that would have destroyed all of the data on the mortgage giant’s company servers and shut down the company for a week, is a prime example of this ‘insider’ threat.
Innovative solutions Between the growing preference for managed services and the strong demand for security technologies getting implemented to better guard against risk, managed service providers are delivering innovative solutions. Many traditional service providers that provide network services have already started transitioning to security and moving up the network stack to deliver more value to their customers. Traditional network providers have been able to better differentiate their offerings from competitors by adding ‘clean pipes’ services for web protection to existing connectivity packages. Although many offer various types of network-layer security protections such as firewall and intrusion prevention and detection services, these service providers are increasingly moving closer to content and application-specific security, for example, inspecting web contents for abuse, malicious code threats, data leaks or compliance violations. In particular, applying greater security measures to web traffic is growing in importance, especially as more business-critical traffic and applications are using the HTTP protocol. A great example has been the shift from viruses and malicious code previously being distributed as the payload of an email attachment to now being code injected into a legitimate, reputable website. This has been seen by the recent attacks on the BusinessWeek.com, Times of India and Pravda websites. Plus, with the increasing adoption of SaaS (Software as a Service) delivery models for enterprise applications and the larger shift to cloud computing, the reliability of web access is becoming truly business-critical and securing the traffic against the myriad of threats is imperative. Service
security Managed Services providers that already provide connectivity to organisations are in a key position to deliver additional value through managed web security.
Deployment models Largely driven by customer requirements, the deployment model for these managed security services can vary widely. Cloud security models leveraging shared, multi-tenant infrastructure hosted by a service provider, is one approach that is attractive due to the very low cost derived from their inherent economies of scale. These cloud models also make the provisioning of new users very easy. However, significant challenges exist around delegating the right level of policy control to individual end users and protecting against co-mingling of customer-specific reports and other traffic data. A more common approach is where the service provider will host dedicated equipment on a customer-specific basis, which provides greater security and ‘peace of mind’ for the client, as well as greater granularity of policy definition. The third approach – and the option
with the greatest customer value – is the on-premise deployment of the security solution on the enterprise network. In this scenario, the service provider would install the equipment, then provide remote management and administration of system, much like how managed routers are deployed today. The customer gets the greatest control in this situation, even though the equipment may be owned by the service provider and the customer pays a monthly fee for the equipment and related services.
Advantages With the on-premise deployment of web security, service providers can also offer additional managed service addons. For example, with the Blue Coat ProxySG appliance platform, service providers commonly utilize its web caching capabilities to help organisations better manage bandwidth, as well as boost the end-user web experience by caching content closer to the user. Similarly, for large, distributed organisations looking to reduce WAN backhaul traffic, the same on-premise device used
During downturns, firms need protection against digital assets like trade secrets or customer lists walking off with soon-to-be exemployees.
for security at the data center could also be used for in-region ‘direct-to-net’ breakouts with common policy set and managed at a global level. Furthermore, these same devices can be leveraged for WAN optimization to accelerate critical applications traffic, like email and file services, between the data center and branch sites. Clearly, there are a number of ways customers can choose to take advantage of web security to better protect their business. And in the present economic downturn, implementing the right inbound and outbound web security is more important than ever. Managed services represent one approach that can be used in this challenging environment to particularly alleviate the cost and management burden. With the right technology platform, these managed services also offer additional benefits that organisations can take advantage of to further align their IT and network investments with their core business focus and objectives. n Kumar Mitra is Country Head of Blue Coat in India.
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focus USB 3.0 USB 3.0 offers fast data transfer speeds to consumers, but there are a number of roadblocks that have to be removed before the technology can become mainstream CHARU KHERA
he amount of data an average computer user needs to transfer among various devices has grown manifold over the years. Users have to spend too much time waiting for large files to transfer between a computer and an external drive. USB 2.0 offers a maximum speed of 480 Mbps. Moreover, one can easily find a USB pen drive that is 64GB in size, and now, even cell phone and PDAs are available with a couple of GB internal storage. With 480Mbps transfer speed of data currently offered by USB 2.0 today, people often complain about the time they have to wait to transfer large files. This is where the new SuperSpeed
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USB 3.0 can play a major role. USB 3.0 offers maximum transfer speed of 5Gbps per second, which is almost 10 times faster than USB 2.0. The high transfer speed offered by USB 3.0 can allow one to transfer heavy files, say a 20GB file in a few seconds. Explaining the technological concept behind the device, Vishal Tripathi, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner says that USB 3.0 achieves its high transfer rates by using four additional wires in the data cable for a total of six wires. It supports fullduplex communication, or the ability to send and receive data simultaneously, and is power efficient. Most importantly, it is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices, wherein the new cable dramatically improves throughput speed.
Market trends Industry watchers believe that USB 3.0 can popularly be called the next generation interface for transferring data and a tremendous surge in its adoption is expected in the next couple of years. “Customers today want fast transfer of data and thus, if they will get an option for USB 3.0, they will automatically want to have the latest technology,” opines Shivratan Agarwal, Branch Head, Rashi Peripherals, Ahmedabad. He further expresses that although there aren’t a large number of products available today with USB 3.0 interface, many are expected to be launched soon, like USB 3.0 flash drives, portable HDDs, etc. “Ultimately, most storage products will see this transition and USB 3.0 would certainly replace
USB 2.0 over a period of time,” he says. Most data storage hardware manufacturers have announced their plans to incorporate the technology in their upcoming product portfolio. Moreover, more high-bandwidth devices are expected to migrate to the new interface and SSDs/HDD devices will benefit the most from the boost in transfer speed offered by USB 3.0. Gulbir Singh Bhatia, Managing Director, Prime ABGB, Mumbai, adds that in future, there will be a lot of video-based devices like cameras and media players, which will come with USB 3.0 interface. Tripathy says that there are motherboards available today with SATA 6Gbps interfaces, which have a PCIe card to provide USB 3.0 capabilities. “In future, the interface will even be incorporated in domains like high-resolution webcams, Blu-Ray drives, motherboards, LCD monitors and digital cameras,” he says. On the same lines, Harikrishnan PK, Alltime Power Technologies, Cochin, says that there are a host of motherboards available today with USB 3.0. Some external hard disks interfaces have also been announced with USB 3.0, though the products are yet to hit the Indian market. External devices like HDDs, modem, and, wireless products will also gain from USB 3.0.
“Though USB 3.0 as a technology is expensive as of now, this is how normally technology gets established well in the market.” HARIKRISHNAN PK, ALLTIME POWER TECHNOLOGIES
Roadblocks Anyone who would be tracking USB 3.0 would have a lot of speculations regarding USB 3.0 and Intel’s involvement in it. As per some recent media reports, Nvidia has confirmed that no Intel chipsets will support USB 3.0 standard until 2011. However, Intel has said that it will have its own USB 3.0 host controller (later in 2010), but that controller will not be part of its chipsets. Also, there has been a lack of support from Microsoft too (Windows 7 too does not provide support to the USB 3.0 interface). The high cost of USB 3.0 is another factor that is expected to restrict the adoption of USB 3.0 among masses; but industry watchers believe that the scenario would change and the reduction in its prices over a period of time would make its adoption much faster, easier and extensive. Harikrishnan PK explains, “Though USB 3.0 as a technology is expensive as of now, this is how normally technology gets established well in the market. However, there would not be much need to create awareness about USB 3.0 as a technology, as USB 2.0 is quite popular among masses. All a vendor would have to do is to explain
“Only a few manufacturers like Asus and Gigabyte have launched some motherboards with USB 3.0 ports.” SANDEEP PARASRAMPURIA, DIRECTOR, IBALL INDIA
to users that USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0.” Currently, not many USB 3.0 products are readily available in the market. According to Sandeep Parasrampuria, Director, iBall India, only a few manufacturers like Asus and Gigabyte have launched some motherboards with USB 3.0 ports, but devices with USB 3.0 are not yet available. He adds that iBall will be launching some USB 3.0 hubs within the next few months. Though most vendors are constantly trying to upgrade their hardware that can support the new 3.0 interface and deliver the speed boosts expected from it, industry watchers believe that it will be a while before they would be able to match up to the potential levels of speed that these interfaces promise. Also, most USB 2.0 devices do not work well with the new USB 3.0 ports and plugging in a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 host will not provide the desired speed. Explaining further, Tripathi from Gartner explains that the cable, the host device (for example, the PC), and the peripheral device - all must be USB 3.0 capable to achieve the USB 3.0 speeds. Otherwise, the connector drops down to the lowest common denominator (i.e. USB 2.0 speeds). He further adds that USB 3.0 will not see widespread adoption until at least late 2011 because of lack of direct support from Intel. As a result, the new standard may not become as prevalent this decade as USB 2.0 has been through most of the past decade. Agreeing with Tripathi, Harshal Tank, Assistant Marketing Manager – Technology, Gigabyte, says that while USB 3.0 is definitely an improvement over USB 2.0. in terms of speed and power management, it would take some time before this technology gains prominence in India. “Even the newly launched Windows 7 does not include any USB 3.0 drivers. However, the scenario today is that one does have access to a USB 3.0 host in a motherboard, but does not have access to a USB 3.0 flash drive and thus, the data transfer speed this scenario would offer consumers, is not even close to the true potential of USB 3.0. But things could improve if steps are taken in the right direction, such as availability of more USB 3.0 flash drives in the market,” adds Tank. One can easily believe that though it will be time before USB 3.0 as a technology will become mainstream in the Indian market, but with time, it is expected to sell like hot cakes – providing channel lucrative business opportunities.n email@example.com
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PCAIT wants federation for Nehru Place Charu Khera
t was back in 2002 when the government allocated Rs38 crore for the development of Asia’s biggest IT hub, Nehru Place, which hosts over 2,000 shops and is visited by over one lakh people every day. Recently, DDA has approved an amount of Rs2 crore for the repair and maintenance of Nehru Place. “As per the authorities, this money shall be utilised to renovate the existing pathways, electrify the region, upgrade footpath, replace old flooring, and improve water drain facilities,” explained V Krishnan, Executive Secretary of PCAIT (Progressive Channels Association of Information Technology). PCAIT, one of the key bodies driving the campaign for ‘Clean Nehru Place’, is busy these days getting the federation for Nehru Place registered. Sharing further details on the federation, Krishnan said that the main aim of this federation will be to maintain the Nehru Place District Centre, and make it a safe, clean and beautiful, environmentfriendly trading zone at par with inter-
national standards. “The name of the society shall be Federation of Nehru Place Associations (FONA). Currently, more than 30 companies in Nehru Place are members of PCAIT. Apart from these, all associations in Nehru Place like NIWA (Nehru Place Improvement & Welfare Association) and others will be invited to be members of this federation and those who are not members of any association can also directly be a member of this federation,” Krishnan said. Further elaborating on the objectives of this society, Krishnan said that the federation will ensure that no unauthorised traders are present in Nehru Place, no encroachments happen in and around the pedestrian pathways or common verandah, clean public conveniences are provided in and around Nehru Place, and, adequate security as well as proper parking is provided to the visitors and the staff employed in Nehru Place. “The federation will also engage in charitable activities to help alleviate poverty in Nehru Place and will be the sole medium to interface with government bodies and other related soci-
eties,” he said. To ensure that all objectives are achieved, the necessary steps will be taken such as procuring contributions by way of donations, subscriptions, membership fees, etc. “We also are expecting grants and contributions from government bodies as well as some international bodies like World Bank,” said Krishnan. Last month, PCAIT announced its executive council members for 2010-11. Among the elected members are RK Malhotra of Velocis Systems as President (for the third consecutive time), Ranjan Chopra of Team Computers as VP, Saket Kapur of Green Vision as General Secretary, Sujeet Narula of Associated Business Computers as Joint Secretary and V Krishnan as the Executive Secretary. PCAIT currently has 89 numbers. The association has also announced the formation of two new committees – ‘Vendor Relationship’ and ‘Legal and Ethical’ committees – which will help address issues affecting the channel community in Delhi.n
AIT organises cricket tournament Charu Khera
engaluru-based Association of Information Technology’s (AIT) Sports and Cultural Committee recently organised a cricket match in the region. The day-long event – AIT Cricket Rolling Trophy 2010 – was held for the second consecutive year. The event was sponsored by Jupiter International (Frontech), APC and Lenovo. Over 16 teams (250 people) participated in the tournament. Though the initial matches were played for 10 overs; semi-finals and the final were played for 12 overs. Each team wore different colour T-shirts and caps, which were sponsored by Jupiter International (Frontech). The tournament winner was the team led by Arakesh Computers, who were awarded the Cricket Rolling Trophy, a memento and Rs9,000 in cash. A thank you memento was also given to all participants. The Man of the Series award was given to Nagaraj of Arakesh Computers team. The runner-up team, Clivesysnet, was given a cheque worth Rs6,000. The Sponsor Memento was presented to Lalit Bhartiya, Director, Jupiter International. Ketan B Shah of Kruti Comp and VP, AIT (also the Chairman - sports and cultural organising committee) said, “Events like these help promote healthy relations among the channel community by providing great networking opportunity. Next year, we plan to hold this event on a bigger scale. This year
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too, 21 teams registered, but only 16 teams were short-listed to play the tournament. Hopefully, next year, it would be a two-day fair with around 25 teams.” n