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VIDEO CALLING, SEE CHANGE? Video sessions are getting cheap, but may not always be the right call PAGE 36

ChannelWorld h STRATEGIC INSIGHTS FOR SOLUTION PROVIDERS | COVER PRICE Rs.50

SURESH R of Navigator Systems (Left) & SAMPATH KUMAR of Value Point Systems are betting on Cloud and Managed Services for future growth

Inside JANUARY 2011 VOL. 4, ISSUE 10

News Analysis The recent verdict on the Oracle-SAP case could prove harmful to both users and third-party support vendors. PAGE 6 Quadroid, like Wintel, could pose challenges for smartphone manufacturers PAGE 16 The Grill: David E Scott, HP StorageWorks’ head, talks about the 3PAR acquisition PAGE 17

Opinion Has Google created a new environment to challenge Mac & Windows? PAGE 19 THE STATE OF THE MARKET 2011 SURVEY

Case Study Medley Marketing bakes a perfect thin client recipe for Domino’s PAGE 39

Don’t Miss... At the dawn of a new decade, partners express their concerns, opportunities, and the way forward >>PAGE 20

The Face Off between Microsoft’s Windows Azure and Red Hat’s Cloud Foundations PAGE 52

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■EDITOR’S NOTE

TM Arun Kumar

Need Transparency

E

VER WONDERED how well the tech vendors are do-

ing in India? Of course as partners of some of these ďŹ rms you would have an idea, but surely would appreciate more details, right? So, typically one would go about asking the senior representatives of these vendors about how well their company is doing and would get a vague answer like revenues are up 50 percent or annual targets have been met with two months to spare or only 80 percent of the targets have been met, etc. Of course the answers help, but don’t give a complete picture. The inability to provide more details would typically be explained away in two ways. First, the representative would say that the company is privately held or a 100 percent held subsidiary and hence ďŹ nancial details can’t be disclosed. And second, the representative would say that he himself isn’t aware of the full ďŹ nancial details. While the second reason is quite believable, the ďŹ rst is just a load of rubbish. For starters, any company that is registered to do business in India has to submit its annual accounts to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). It doesn’t matter if the company is publicly listed or privately held or a subsidiary of a foreign company, submit ďŹ nancial details one has to. In earlier days when the system was mainly manual, accessing these submissions meant visiting

the local MCA (or Registrar of Companies as it used to be called earlier) ofďŹ ce, greasing the palms of the concerned person there just to get a peek of the ďŹ ling, and hoping that the person allows you to take a photocopy. Or, simply put, a messy and time consuming affair. However, thanks to the computerization at MCA, the process of accessing the ďŹ nancial information of any company has become an extremely easy task. For those not aware, MCA has an online ser-

â– For Starters, any company that is registered to do business in India has to submit its annual accounts to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

vice called MCA 21 (www. mca.gov.in/MCA21), which allows any registered user to view and download the ďŹ lings of any ďŹ rm. Of course, this is available for a nominal fee of Rs 50 per company, which can easily and securely be paid online through a credit card. As any individual can register on the website for free, the documents in essence are publicly available for a small fee. So, in a matter of minutes, one can access supposedly conďŹ dential details like a company’s balance sheet and incorporation documents. To make things even more interesting, MCA21 has a service through which one can get certiďŹ ed copies of any of the ďŹ nancial statements – be it a proďŹ t & loss statement or a balance sheet – of any company for an extra fee. Simply select the

documents, pay the fee online, and the certiďŹ ed copies of the documents would be mailed to your registered address in a matter of days. So in just a few clicks and on payment of a few hundred rupees, from the comfort of your ofďŹ ce or home, you can get the complete ďŹ nancial details of any of your principals. Interesting, right? And guess what, the backbone of these services comprises of technologies developed and sold by the same vendors who will not disclose their own India speciďŹ c ďŹ nancial details citing conďŹ dentiality reasons. So, what’s the point in professing to maintain conďŹ dentiality of information when none exists? Is it lack of awareness, or understanding, or just simply a refusal to mend the old ways and change with times? My guess would be a combination of all of the above. So, the next time a vendor representative explains to you that he can’t disclose ďŹ nancial information since they are a privately held company, invest Rs 50 and give him a print out of his company’s ďŹ nancial statements. You never know, it may be the ďŹ rst time that he himself may be looking at them. â– TM Arun Kumar is the Executive Editor of ChannelWorld. Contact him at arun_k@idgindia.com

JANUARY 2011

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INDIAN CHANNELWORLD

1

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FOR BREAKING NEWS, GO TO CHANNELWORLD.IN

Inside INDIAN CHANNELWORLD â– JANUARY 2011

â– NEWS DIGEST 06 Oracle-SAP Ruling Poses Threat to IT | The recent federal jury

verdict awarding Oracle $1.3 billion in its corporate theft lawsuit against SAP AG could prove harmful to both enterprise users and third-party support providers, analysts and IT executives say. 08 Google Takes Heat Over Android Tablet OS | Android

device makers around the world are anticipating great things from the next version of Google’s mobile software, and they need the boost. 08 Falling DRAM Prices May Lower PC Prices | DRAM chip

prices reached a one-year low and approached their cheapest ever due to a post-holiday oversupply. The cheap memory chips are pushing PC prices lower too. 10 Reducing WAN

Costs: No Third Way | Two ways to cut WAN costs - reduce the amount of bandwidth used or buy the cheaper one.

â– NEWS ANALYSIS 12 What’s Beyond 10G Ethernet? | 40/100G Ethernet seen as 2012 phenomena at earliest. What next is the question? 16 Is Quadroid the New Wintel? | Quadroid, like Wintel, could pose proďŹ t, consolidation challenges for smartphone manufacturers today.

â– OPINION 01 Editorial: TM Arun Kumar on the the transparency that is expected from the vendor companies and their obligation to confide in their partners. 19 Michael Gartenberg: Has

Google created a new environment to challenge Mac OS & Windows?

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17 ■THE GRILL 17 David E Scott, Sr VP & GM, HP StorageWorks, talks about the 3PAR acquisition and HP’s storage strategy as well as the plans to increase the connect rate of servers to storage and growing that market share.

■FEATURE 36 Video Calling, See Change? Video sessions are getting cheaper and more convenient, but may not always be the right call. Despite all the advances of past few years, a video call isn’t as practical as a voice call.

â– ON RECORD

22 Eric Hoh, Vice President, Asia South Region, Symantec, talks about the company’s goal to make security simple and inexpensive for all users and highlighs the ďŹ rm’s value proposition through an extensive portfolio and the priorities for the Indian market.

26 â– COVER STORY

26 Future & Options As new opportunities, technologies, and a fresh set of challenges await the industry in the new decade, the ChannelWorld State of the Market 2011 survey approaches the partners to know what they foresee in 2011 and beyond.

â– CASE STUDY

38 Thin & Crispy Implementing thin client architecture at Jubilant FoodWorks was not as simple as delivering a pizza. The management was conscious to keep the IT budget optimized but ensure agile business productivity. Medley Marketing had to bake a perfect recipe.

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FOR BREAKING NEWS, GO TO CHANNELWORLD.IN

CHANNELWORLD

Inside

Geetha Building, 49, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore - 560 027, India

CHANNELWORLD.IN Publisher, President &CEO Louis D’Mello

INDIAN CHANNELWORLD â– JANUARY 2011

â– EDITORIAL

Editor-in-Chief Vijay Ramachandran Executive Editor TM Arun Kumar Assistant Editor Yogesh Gupta Principal Correspondent Radhika Nallayam Trainee Journalists Kartik Sharma, Shreehari Paliath

â– FAST TRACK 40 Dnyanesh Kulkarni,

Director, Dataformatics, says their focus is on both hardware and software,but he maintains that software will remain the lifeline of their organisation for now.

â– CUSTOM

47 â– FOCAL POINT

42 Anita Jain, Director,

47 Business in the Clouds

Trident Systems, asserts that the company’s focus on its customers is the key to success. The ďŹ rm ensures that the customers use and implement the products to the fullest potential.

CLOUD COMPUTING: Cloud services sound

â– MACRO VIEW

attractive, particularly if your resources are limited. It refers to an almost inďŹ nite variety of services. However, look closely at IT needs and limitations before determining which cloud services are right.

44 ‘Business from Public Sector is Big’

49 Clearing up the Cloud Confusions

Q&A: Ivy Rajesh, Vice Presi-

Cloud is a question most are grappling with today. What exactly do you want to shift and what are the speciďŹ c risks and rewards? Here is a primer to clear all doubt.

dent & Country Head, Industry Solutions Business, HCL Technologies, elaborates on the state of Indian market in 2011 and beyond. Rajesh sees a huge scope for systems integration projects in 2011.

CLOUD COMPUTING: What to move to the

â– FACE OFF

52 War In The Clouds: Microsoft is betting big on Azure and ďŹ nds it the most open cloud platform available. Red Hat claims its Cloud Foundations are superior. Whose Cloud story is better?

â– DESIGN

& PRODUCTION

Lead Designers Jithesh C.C, Suresh Nair, Jinan K.V Senior Designer Unnikrishnan A.V Designer Amrita C Roy Trainee Designer Sabrina Naresh Chief Photographer Srivatsa Shandilya Production Manager TK Karunakaran â– EVENTS & AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

Vice President Rupesh Sreedharan Senior Program Manager Chetan Acharya, Pooja Chhabra Program Manager Ajay Adhikari Management Trainee Ramya Menon â– MARKETING

Dell India Pvt. Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 & 21

Smartlink Network Systems Ltd . . . . . . . . .34 & 35

Emerson Networks Power(I) Pvt Ltd . . 29, 31 & 33

Tata Communications Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC

Epson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Texonic Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

HP Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

TVS Electronics Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC

VMware Software India Pvt. Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

NEC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 & IBC

Wep Peripherals Ltd., . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Netgear Technologies india Pvt. Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . 15 This index is provided as an additional service. The publisher does not assume any liability for errors or omissions.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission from the publisher. Address requests for customized reprints to IDG Media Private Limited, Geetha Building, 49, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore - 560 027, India. IDG Media Private Limited is an IDG (International Data Group) company. Printed and Published by Louis D’Mello on behalf of IDG Media Private Limited, Geetha Building, 49, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore - 560 027, India. Editor: Louis D’Mello, Printed At Manipal Press Ltd, Press Corner, Manipal-576104, Karnataka, India.

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AND SALES

President Sudhir Kamath VP Sales Sudhir Argula GM Sales Parul Singh AGM Brand Siddharth Singh Sr. Manager Marketing Rohan Chandhok Manager Sales Dipti Mahendra Modi, Kalyan Basu, Pooja Nayak, Swati Agnihotri, Varun Dev Asst. Manager Sales Ajay S. Chakravarthy Asst. Manager Brand Disha Gaur Associate Marketing Dinesh P Ad Sales Co-Ordinators Nadira Hyder â– FINANCE

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX

PUBLISHING

Assistant Editor Kailas Shastry Senior Correspondent Gopal Kishore Correspondent Deepti Balani, Gopal Kishore

& ADMIN

Financial Controller Sivaramakrishnan T.P Deputy Manager Accounts Sasi Kumar V Asst Manager Credit Control Prachi Gupta â– OFFICES

Bangalore IDG Media Pvt. Ltd. Geetha Building, 49, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore 560 027, India. Tel: 080-30530300. Fax: 080-30586065 Delhi IDG Media Pvt. Ltd. New Bridge Business Centers, 5th and 6th Floor, Tower B, Technolopolis, Golf Course Road, Sector 54, Gurgaon - 122002, Hayrana Tel: 0124-4626256 Fax: 0124-4375888 Mumbai IDG Media Pvt. Ltd. 201, Madhava, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai 400051. Tel: 022-30685000. Fax: 022-30685023

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News

WHAT’S WITHIN PAGE 08: Google Takes Heat Over Android Tablet OS PAGE 08: Falling DRAM Prices May Lower PC Prices PAGE 10: Reducing WAN Costs: No Third Way PAGE 12: What’s Beyond 10G Ethernet? PAGE 16: Is Quadroid the New Wintel?

I l l u s t r a t i o n s BY U N N I K R I S H N A N AV

F I N D M O R E A R T I C L E S AT CHANNELWORLD.IN

SOFTWARE

Oracle-SAP Ruling Poses Threat to IT

T

HE RECENT federal

jury verdict awarding Oracle $1.3 billion in its corporate theft lawsuit against SAP AG could prove harmful to both enterprise users and thirdparty support providers, analysts and IT executives say. SAP indicated that it will appeal the award, which several analysts called excessive in light of the small size of TomorrowNow. “The business that they were in was to ďŹ x glitches in [Oracle] software and make some compliance updates,â€? said Paul Hamerman, an an6

alyst at Forrester Research. “They weren’t trying to resell any of the software that they were downloading.â€? The acrimony between the companies could cause significant problems for the many enterprise IT operations that run a mix of products from both suppliers, said John Glanville, IT Director at Ideal Stelrad Group. There is an “ever increasing needâ€? for the products to work together so that IT departments can “develop solutions quicker, more robustly and with inďŹ nite scale,â€? he added.

Frank Scavo, Managing Partner of Strativa, an IT consulting ďŹ rm, speculated that the excessive damages award could blunt the willingness of third-party support providers to offer the pricing and other advantages they extend today. “Some of us have been advocating for software customers’ rights to receive legitimate third-party support as a counterweight to the OEM’s ability to charge unreasonable fees for maintenance,â€? Scavo said. The 11-day trial captivated Silicon Valley with the drama of a battle between the world’s two biggest business applications software vendors. Wellknown executives like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Oracle co-President Safra Catz and SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott appeared in the witness box. SAP had already agreed to assume liability for Oracle’s copyright theft claims, and in court the company estimated that it owed Oracle $40 million. Ellison testiďŹ ed that SAP should pay up to $4 billion to cover the cost of the stolen software. The jury apparently bought Oracle’s argument that SAP should have to cover the cost of a “hypothetical licenseâ€? — or whatever it would have had to pay Oracle to license the stolen software at fair market value. — Jaikumar Vijayan Computerworld

SOFTWARE

Firefox Tops IE in Europe Firefox was the mostused browser in Europe in December, edging out Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the ďŹ rst time, according to new data released by the Web analytics service StatCounter. The opensource browser held a 38.11 percent market share in Europe, while IE had a 37.52 percent share . Firefox may have secured the top position due to the strong gains

made by Google’s Chrome browser in Europe.Chrome had a 14.58 percent market share in December. Another contributing factor to IE’s decline may have been the European Commission’s antitrust settlement with Microsoft that resulted in consumers being given a clearer choice when selecting a default browser, StatCounter said. — Jeremy Kirk IDG News Service

INDIAN CHANNELWORLD JANUARY 2011

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Short Takes

â– NEWS DIGEST SOFTWARE

Google Takes Heat Over Android Tablet OS

A

NDROID DEVICE

makers around the world are anticipating great things from the next version of Google’s mobile software, and they need the boost. Apple has a strong head start with sales of its popular iPad, while the App Store and iTunes give it apps and content, to boot. But after a year of prodding Google, device makers think they’ve ďŹ nally won with the upcoming “Honeycombâ€? upgrade to Android, which is expected by the end of the ďŹ rst quarter and is supposed to be the ďŹ rst version of the software designed for tablets instead of smartphones. Google’s decision to make a tablet-friendly version of Android became a must after Apple launched its groundbreaking iPad, analysts say. “Earlier in the year,

Google probably thought that Chrome OS might be the right platform for tablets. However, the importance of the compatibility of apps across smartphones and tablets has created this need for Google,â€? said Martin Bradley, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. The importance of tweaking a version of Android speciďŹ cally for tablets and putting tabletonly apps on the Android Market cannot be overstated as tablet sales are expected to reach up to 60 million devices in 2011. Market researcher Ovum expects Android and Apple’s iOS to take about 71 percent of the total market for tablets and other mobile Internet devices by 2015. But inďŹ ghting in the Android camp could be the worst problem at the moment. Companies gripe about a number of issues

in working with Google. However, don’t mistake this frustration for mutiny. Nobody is talking about dumping Android. “Android is not yet ready for pads and the user experience on currently available products is suffering,� said Tim Coulling, analyst at Canalys. He also predicted it will become a leading OS in the pad/tablet space once Honeycomb is out. The lack of camaraderie in the Android camp has hurt Google and device makers alike. While Google mulled a decision on Android versus Chrome OS in netbooks, Windows ran away with that popular device category. In tablets, Apple has run off to a huge head start, while the Android camp nearly failed to put out strong rival devices before the holidays until Samsung pushed for app support in the Galaxy Tab. Now if the Android camp can find a way to work together better, they may give Apple a run for its money in the tablet market. — Dan Nystedt IDG News Service

SEMICONDUCTOR

Falling DRAM Prices May Lower PC Prices DRAM chip prices reached a one-year low and approached their cheapest ever due to a postholiday oversupply. The cheap memory chips are pushing PC prices lower too, a Taiwan-based trading platform said. Prices for commodity 1-Gbit DDR3 DRAM chips dropped to an average of $0.84 per unit from historic highs around 8

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$2.80 in April and May last year, said Ivan Lin, Editor of DRAMeXchange. DRAM began losing value most recently in December as the western holiday shopping season wound down, Lin said. Major manufacturers such as Elpida Memory, and Samsung Electronics kept pumping out chips to stay competitive,

STEEP FALL: DRAM prices heading southwards

he said. Increased factory capacity has also held prices in check despite warnings of a DRAM shortage due to problems obtaining equipment and

■Cisco announced the launch of Borderless Profithon partner programme aimed at accelerating borderless networks business in the SMB and mid-market segment for routing, switching, security, and wireless technologies. It is designed to reward partners, and to drive awareness for Cisco’s borderless networks architecture.

HCL announced its partnership with Astaro, an European UTM security provider. The partnership intends to add protection through advanced security to mitigate possible network threats. The collaboration will enable customers to access highly secured cloud framework of HCL’s O’zone solution offering.

â–

â– Compuware Corporation ofďŹ cially launched CloudSleuth in India. CloudSleuth is a partnerdriven cloud community speciďŹ cally built to spotlight the performance of the cloud’s “federated infrastructure.â€?

phasing in new technology. From December, PC makers chose to discount some of their stock, said Helen Chiang, Research Manager with IDC in Taipei. “They had some space to do promotions,â€? she said. That trend stands to hold through the ďŹ rst quarter of this year, Lin said. “It’s seasonal,â€? said Eric Tang, Vice President of Taiwan-based Powerchip. “We usually don’t see much sales in the ďŹ rst quarter.â€? — Ralph Jennings IDG News Service

INDIAN CHANNELWORLD JANUARY 2011

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â– NEWS DIGEST NETWORKING

Reducing WAN Costs: No Third Way

T

HERE ARE basically two ways to cut WAN costs — reduce the amount of bandwidth used or ďŹ nd somebody who sells cheaper bandwidth. There are of course a lot of subtleties that fall under these two categories, but those are the basics, says Robin Layland, President of Layland Consulting and author of “The Ultimate Guide to Gaining Control of the WANâ€?. “It’s nice to believe there’s sexy ways to do this,â€? he says, “but those are really the only ones.â€? The most common way of reducing the amount of bandwidth used, he says, is by using WAN optimization gear made by Blue Coat, Cisco, Expand, F5, Riverbed, and others. While different vendors have different features, all of them cover the basics. “Pretty much all of the established brands can do it,â€? he says, adding that all to a greater or lesser degree reduce the number of bits crossing WAN links. That degree depends on each business’s mix of trafďŹ c and how well each vendor can optimize that mix. Some vendors are mixing in other technologies, such as security and monitoring, and these may sway buying decisions but not affect WAN costs, Layland says. With WAN bandwidth requirements increasing for most businesses, the best some customers can hope for is slowing the need to buy it, not actually being able to cut band10

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width, he says. The cost of deploying WAN optimization gear has to be factored in because its price can affect how quickly the gear will pay for itself. For example, using WAN optimization may require new WAN router interfaces or entire routers, he says, an additional capital expense. Businesses using VoIP should consider SIP trunking, which puts all IP trafďŹ c onto a single trunk into the carrier network. This can dramatically reduce the costs of trunks for businesses using separate access lines for voice and data, says Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar.

Around

TheWorld Rackspace Buys Cloudkick Rackspace Hosting has bought cloud management company Cloudkick to bring new dashboard service to its customers. Its new purchase offers what Rackspace calls a cockpit for managing complex environments and the company hopes that Cloudkick, which is part of the Rackspace OpenStack initiative, will enable it offer improved management services to its customers. Cloudkick has 1,500 customers, offers a dashboard that allows customers to manage a hybrid infrastructure across both multi-tenant virtualized servers

Caching may help reduce WAN costs depending on how much and the type of video a business uses. The other big way to save on WAN costs — cheaper bandwidth — leaves few options, Layland says. In general, less expensive bandwidth is less reliable bandwidth, and that can limit the choices

and dedicated hardware. — Techworld.com

Red Hat, Eucalyptus Join Hands Eucalyptus Systems has struck a partnership with Red Hat that should ultimately ease the deployment of Eucalyptus private cloud platform on Red Hat software. With this arrangement, Eucalyptus, with the help of Red Hat, will make its platform easily accessible through Red Hat’s Deltacloud. The companies will also incorporate into Eucalyptus some of the management features of Red Hat’s virtualization package, RHEV, which is based on the open source KVM hypervisor. — IDG News Service

businesses have. The bottom line on reducing WAN costs is that bandwidth demands are relentlessly increasing, so businesses looking to reduce have to accept that the best they can do is slow down the rate at which those costs increase, he says. — Network World

Tibco Acquires Loyalty Lab Middleware vendor Tibco is stepping toward the world of business applications announcing that it has acquired CRM provider Loyalty Lab for $23 million. Tibco is interested in delivering a customer-relations package that “supports not only customer transactions but also real-time customer interactions or events, and a platform that scales to billions of such events across an increasingly social and mobile marketplace,� said Ram Menon, Exec VP, Worldwide Marketing. — IDG News Service

INDIAN CHANNELWORLD JANUARY 2011

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â– NEWS ANALYSIS

What’s Beyond 10G Ethernet?

40/100G Ethernet seen as 2012 phenomena at earliest. But, is 400G coming before Terabit Ethernet? By Jim Duffy

12

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S

O 10G Ethernet is

now taking off — 10G accounts for roughly 25 percent of the overall $18 billion Ethernet switching market and the growth trajectory is only up from there. Which begs the question: What’s next? Even though 10G has hardly reached maturity or saturation, its uptake will undoubtedly usher in the next wave of Ethernet switching. And that will be 40G/100G and eventually Terabit Ethernet, though there may be intermediate steps in between. Indeed, the 40/100G Ethernet standard was recently ratiďŹ ed and products are now emerging on the market. Extreme Networks,

Force10 Networks and BLADE Network Technologies have all announced switches supporting 40G Ethernet ports for data center, applications. And Cisco, Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent have all announced or begun shipping 100G Ethernet interfaces on their service provider routers. Verizon and the Internet2 research network are using Juniper’s, while AT&T is evaluating Cisco’s. On the chip side, Broadcom unveiled devices for 100G Ethernet interfaces, but designed to scale up to Terabit Ethernet across the backplane. Fulcrum announced a 40G Ethernet chip design at the Supercomputing show in Nov 2010 that it claims supports

more than 1 billion packets per second of performance — or enough for up to 72 ports of 10G Ethernet at full line rate. And Intel plans to put 10GBase-T directly onto standalone and rack-mount server motherboards next year, bringing even lower cost 10G connectivity directly to the server. This will signiďŹ cantly ramp 10G adoption and increase demand for 40/100G. “Everybody is talking about (40/100G Ethernet) as a datacenter future and they want to know what our plans are,â€? says Bill Seifert, CTO of Avaya’s Data Solutions business. “In 2011, most CIOs are going to be picking their vendor for 10G switching in the datacenter. They’re going to need some aggregation trunks to feed from the top-of-rack to the core switches.â€? Aggregation of 10G is one requirement for 40/100G Ethernet. Others are virtualization and network convergence. Datacenters are implementing server virtualization to increase utilization and resource efďŹ ciency, share workloads and decrease power consumption. Server virtualization is putting more application load on fewer servers due to the ability to decouple applications and operating systems from physical hardware. And, as virtualization and the movement of virtual machines around the infrastructure accelerates, so too must the network. More application load on less server hardware requires a higher-performance network. In concert with this is a migration to a uniďŹ ed datacenter switching fabric that

INDIAN CHANNELWORLD JANUARY 2011

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â– NEWS ANALYSIS consolidates LAN data with storage trafďŹ c. In service provider networks, demand for 100G Ethernet is being fueled by video. According to Juniper, two-thirds of consumer trafďŹ c on networks will soon include some form of video. And Cisco says that 90 percent of Internet trafďŹ c will be video by 2014. Using 100G, HD movies can be downloaded in seconds and terabytes of scientiďŹ c data can be simultaneously shared by laboratories in two different hemispheres. But these are not overnight sensations. Vendors say it will be 2012 or 2013 before 40G ďŹ nds sustained uptake in datacenters. “The driver for 2011 is a continuation of server virtualization that’s driving 10G interfaces at the edge, which will drive 40G connectivity at the core layer,â€? says Stephane Robineau, Vice President of Product Management at AlcatelLucent. “In 2011, probably some will start [on 40G]. But I’m expecting [growth] in 2012.â€? To get a jump start, Alcatel-Lucent may unveil a 40G Ethernet module for its OmniSwitch 10000 in 2011, according to Robineau. A competitor agrees on the timeline for 40G adoption. “I don’t think [40G] will be mainstream until 2012,â€? says Saar Gillai, Vice President for Advanced Technology and CTO of HP Networking. “We’re seeing massive growth in the cloud of 10G at the edge. The price has to be reasonable and the density has to be useful. Until you have that, you have things that are gimmicky.â€? Gillai says HP will have offerings in the 40/100G Ethernet area in the next 12 months. 14

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Extreme Networks says it is offering four-port 40G modules for its Summit X650 switch at $1,000 per port, but that does not include optics. With optics, prices for 40G Ethernet on single mode and multimode ďŹ ber approach $8,000 per port, industry players have said. For 100G, those prices can be as high as $100,000 to $800,000, vendors have said. After 40G will be 100G, even though some users could use 100G now. The New York Stock Exchange is looking to reduce latency and increase bandwidth as much as possible to expedite delivery and dissemination of market trading data. NYSE has just begun testing 100G Ethernet for

cuss 100G Ethernet prices with its vendors, Juniper and Force 10. Pricing of 40/100G Ethernet will play a key role in datacenter demand, almost as much as the need for the raw bandwidth. “For this part of networking, Moore’s Law completely applies,� says Dhritiman Dasgupta, Product Marketing Director in Juniper’s Fabric and Switching Technologies Business Group. “We wanted to time this in such a way that it’s an economically feasible product that we can sell.� Juniper is looking to sell 40G Ethernet at a “small premium� over what the company charges for 10G Ethernet ports, Dasgupta says, without disclosing

We’re seeing growth in the cloud of 10G at the edge. The price has to be reasonable and the density useful. Until you have that, you have things that are gimmicky. SAAR GILLAI, CTO, HP NETWORKING

its datacenter network. “We’re going to be very early adopters if we roll this out,� says Andy Bach, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Communications for NYSE Euronext, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange. “We’ll use 100G to go between switches in the datacenter and then (we may) use 40G to go to the servers. That’ll be next on our docket. “If you look historically, we have grown bandwidth roughly on the order of 20 percent per year, compounded,� Bach says. “You just follow that line out and it continues to grow, and you get to terabit fairly soon.� But NYSE has yet to dis-

when Juniper will have 40G and 100G Ethernet on its switches. Cisco too would not discuss when it will ship or how it will price 40/100G Ethernet on its Nexus 7000 datacenter switches. It did demonstrate four-port 40G Ethernet line cards on its Catalyst 6500 switch at the Ethernet Alliance and Supercomputing conferences. But the transition from 10G to 40G “will take some timeâ€? because 40G will come in at ďŹ rst generation prices, says Martin Hull, Product Marketing Manager, Cisco Data Center Solutions. Force 10’s CTO John D’Ambrosia chaired the IEEE

802.3ba task force, which deďŹ ned the 40/100G Ethernet standard, and says the building blocks, such as 25Gbps electrical signaling, are in place to extend the current 802.3ba standard to other media and then to higher speeds. D’Ambrosia started a new study group last month to investigate 100G Ethernet backplane and copper cable interface applications that could lower the cost of 100G and then provide a schematic for boosting speeds beyond 100G. “There are a lot of initiatives underway right now to come out with technologies related to making a lower cost, higher density 100G that will then be leveraged to the next speed,â€? D’Ambrosia says. “There will be a huge debate at the next speed. The question is, how are we going to do it? Plain and simple.â€? The 25G signaling and 100G copper backplane work might make 400G Ethernet the next logical step, D’Ambrosia says, citing conversations he’s had with system and component vendors. Using 25G signaling over 40 ďŹ ber pairs to get to terabit is just too unwieldy, he says. “There’s no study group for Terabit Ethernet,â€? D’Ambrosia says. “And there are no projects underway right now to do 50G electrical signaling.â€? But cost is still the big driver in growth of highspeed Ethernet. People will not jump to 100G if it doesn’t make economic sense, D’Ambrosia notes. “It’s only going to be higher capacity at the right cost. It’s nice to say all of this stuff but in the end everybody wants to make money,â€? he says. ■— Network World

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CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP HP STORAGEWORKS

PARTNER SPEAK V. MURALI, Founder Director, Precision Infomatic

HP’S TRAINING EMPOWERS PRECISION INFOMATIC The partner community needs to continuously invest in people, process, and training to reap long term benefits. They should look at training programmes and certifications to evolve into a mature and sustainable business.

Q

You have been awarded the Best Commercial Reseller (TN & Kerala) by HP. What made this possible? At Precision Infomatic we have always invested in training. That is one of our key differentiators. Be it pre-sales or post sales certification, or updating skill sets of our employees constantly to keep up with the evolving technologies and standards, we have always looked at training and certifications to evolve our business into a mature and sustainable model in the long run. This has helped us build brand image and earn customer satisfaction.

Q

As far as storage is concerned, what are the current pain points for both SMBs and large Indian companies? The industry is just beginning to recover from the recession. However, companies are still cautious about making new investments. The IT investments are characterized by priority and the companies are making selective purchases based on business needs. Let me talk specifically of the SMB sector. These companies are constantly under pressure to not only acquire the right information for business needs, but also securely store the same. Once the data is stored, the next challenge is in accessing it quickly, easily and effectively. For the larger organizations, there are a number of laws that they need to comply with, when it comes to data storage. The absence of a clear value proposition creates confusion for the customer with respect to the apt solution for their specific needs. They are not sure where to look for a solution, or even what kind

of solution they should deploy. They also grapple with the compatibility issue of the implemented solutions.

Q

Do you think companies are paying enough attention to concepts of backup and DR? Currently, most of the companies in the SMB space do not have a structured approach to backup and Disaster Recovery (DR). They do have rudimentary systems which may meet some of their requirements, but these will certainly not be enough in the long run. With the economy on the upswing and businesses witnessing high growth, the need for better storage infrastructure will increasingly take centre stage and dominate their IT purchases.

Q

How has HP helped you penetrate into newer markets? I think HP and Precision Informatic have been traditionally leveraging each others’ strengths, and together, this partnership has built on the capability matrix through strong engagement on pre-sales and post sales levels. HP imparts a structured and high quality training programme, in line with what we believe is a key differentiator to our business.

Q

what kind of training and marketing intiatives has HP provided? HP trains the sales teams on how to engage with clients, communicate value and give them an overview on the solutions. The joint marketing encompasses customer visits, technology conferences, seminars, sharing of white papers, demo units, and proof of con-

cept on solutions, thus enabling us to demonstrate their capability to our customers. I believe their process of tutoring, mentoring the technical pre-sales people are the best in the industry and makes us feel part of their own system.

Q

How can SIs and VARs convince their clients on the need for a next generation storage solutions? The customers’ lack of product awareness is an issue for resellers and vendors alike. One reason for this is that many partners are not aware of, or do not use the training opportunity provided by the vendor. The partner community has consistently ignored the need to invest in people, process, and training. Unless this trend is corrected, the industry will have only a few partners delivering value and others only riding on the brand image of the vendors. My suggestion to the aspiring channel partners is that they should invest on people, process and technology to reap long term benefits. There is no scope for short term gains in the solutions space.

This Interview is brought to you by IDG Custom Solutions Group in association with


â– NEWS ANALYSIS

Is Quadroid the New Wintel? Quadroid, like Wintel, could pose proďŹ t, consolidation challenges for smartphone manufacturers. By Matt Hamblen

W

INTEL� IS the

term that for years deďŹ ned Windowsbased computers running Intel chips. Now a similar expression is emerging for smartphones: “Quadroid.â€? Quadroid is a term that refers to the Qualcomm chips used inside smartphones running the Android mobile operating system. The term, recently coined in a report by the PRTM consultancy, could catch on, largely because Qualcomm provides 77 percent of the chips in 16

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Google’s Android phones. And the Quadroid alliance is expected to grow. Like Wintel has been for PCs, Quadroid could push down proďŹ t margins for smartphone manufacturers, some analysts said. Android itself is getting bigger each quarter. The platform is growing fast, having increased to 25 percent of all smartphones in the third quarter of 2010, up from just 4 percent in the third quarter of 2009, according to market research ďŹ rm Gartner. Many analysts believe Android will be the number two smart-

phone OS by the end of 2010, behind Nokia’s Symbian. In its report, PRTM questioned whether the Quadroid combination could become the new Wintel, which is not necessarily a good thing for phone manufacturers. PRTM believes that the emergence of Quadroid and other factors will drive down gross proďŹ t margins for handset makers to new lows, in the 8-10 percent range, that major PC makers such as Acer or Lenovo have seen. “Some handset companies may not sur-

vive,� PRTM said. Dan Hays, a partner at PRTM, said that it is natural for industries with multiple players to consolidate down to a few. With Quadroid, he said, “it’s becoming hard to tell one Android-based phone from another, and while app developers love that fact, it raises the bar for the minimum features a phone needs to do well. Standardization on Quadroid is driving in the exact same direction as occurred in the PC industry.� Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, also foretells smartphone vendor consolidation, although not right away. “Will all the Android vendors ultimately survive? Probably not, but I don’t expect to see much fallout for the next two to three years.� After another two years, however, “there very well could be that fallout and/or acquisitions and mergers, but that is the way of tech.� At the chip level, Gold said Qualcomm clearly has the advantage in selling ARM-based chips used in smartphones and other devices, and it should continue to dominate for the next one to two years. But Gold said not to count out several contenders, such as graphics chip maker Nvidia in tablet computers, as well as Marvel, Samsung, and TI in smartphones and other devices. Gold agreed with PRTM that the Quadroid alliance will ultimately mean that vendors will “compete brutally to win customers,� and Hays added that it’s hard to say who would lose. Several Asian makers of Android devices such as Samsung, HTC and LG have come on strong in a market that also includes Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Acer, and Dell. ■— Computerworld

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Dossier Name: David E Scott Designation: Senior Vice President and General Manager, StorageWorks Organization: HP Present Role: Lead the HP StorageWorks organization worldwide Career Graph: He has 27 years of experience in the enterprise storage, software and server markets. Most recently, he was the President and CEO of 3PAR and joined HP as part of the 3PAR acquisition. Before that he was General Manager of the XP enterprise storage business for HP StorageWorks.

THE GRILL

David E Scott Sr VP & GM, HP StorageWorks, talks about the 3PAR acquisition and HP’s storage strategy What was the rationale behind HP’s 3PAR acquisition? There are some tectonic shifts that are occurring in the IT industry — one in the IT architectural level and the second in the IT delivery model level. At the architectural level it’s the evolution from distributed computing to virtualized or utility computing based on virtualization and

automation allowing customers to build shared, exible, multi-tenancy infrastructures and allowing people to do more with less. 3PAR was speciďŹ cally designed for that new utility computing building block. And the second shift is the movement from the traditional IT deployment to deployments of IT as a

service either in the form of private or public clouds. And the 3PAR platform was designed to enable this IT as a service and gives HP an unmatched offering in the industry. Seven out of the top 10 global hosting service providers delivering enterprise IT as a utility service use 3PAR as their storage platform of choice. Another reason HP acquired 3PAR was really from a storage portfolio perspective. 3PAR was the technology that fundamentally allowed HP to build this tremendously strong portfolio that will allow us to go attack and increase market share. In hindsight, would you say that it was an expensive acquisition considering the bidding war that HP had with Dell?If you look at the fact that EMC just paid $2.4 billion for Isilon and if you compare the richness and scope of the 3Par platform, I think HP got a much better bargain than EMC did. The reason why one saw a bidding war between two players who represent by far the large majority of server market share today, was the fact that both of them recognized that if you wanted to become a dominant storage player in this new IT as a service world, 3PAR was the only alternative to spending a few hundred million dollars and four years to building your own competitive product. JANUARY 2011

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■THE GRILL | DAVID E SCOTT bn) seems to be disproportionate with the market share (about 0.75 percent) that 3PAR has. That’s always true when you try and compare the value of a company against its current size. However, with the global reach of HP, which 3PAR as an independent stand alone company couldn’t have achieved, this [acquisition] allows for dramatically higher revenue attainment [from 3Par products]. When you look at it from that perspective, the price paid is going to look extremely reasonable over a period of time.

With strong storage portfolio now there is a drive to increase the connect rate of our servers to storage and start growing that market share.

So, I don’t think that the acquisition of 3PAR will prove to look expensive at all once you understand the ability for HP, with its massive global reach and supply chain advantages, to leverage the 3PAR technology to grow very rapidly. I think you will subsequently look at it as one of the bargains of the century. But the amount of money paid ($2.34 18

If the ability to take 3PAR products across the globe were the prime consideration, then wouldn’t an OEM arrangement like the one you have with HDS have sufďŹ ced? I think the other element is that HP feels very strongly that as a technology company its greatest success has been where it has its own intellectual property. It [acquisition] allows you to achieve greater gross margins; allows you to take control of your overall destiny; allows you to make design decisions that are holistic across the service network and take market share, which is the right play and is the other reason why it was valuable to acquire 3PAR rather than just enter into an OEM relationship. With the 3PAR acquisition, will you take a re-look at the OEM deal with HDS as 3PAR was competing with HDS in that segment? When I was last at HP over 10 years ago, I was responsible for bringing the Hitachi relationship [to HP] to replace EMC’s Symmetrix range, which we had been reselling then. And now that I am back in HP running the overall StorageWorks business, I have to say that I love all of my children equally. We have some very happy XP, EVA, and MSA customers who want to be serviced by HP with ongoing commitments. And that is the reason why we introduced the P9500 as a continuing commitment to the XP product line. And for those people who want to go through their natural tech refresh cycles, we will continue to support that and have an ongoing relationship with Hitachi. But, for the market where we haven’t yet penetrated — new opportunities in

existing accounts or new accounts completely — we will use our four lead with products [the 3PAR platform, the P4000, X9000, and D2D backup systems]. What kind of an impact does a strong foothold in the server market have on the storage market? Does it give any speciďŹ c advantages? I think the answer to that question is how well a company executes in attaching its storage to its servers. If we are honest, HP may not be as successful in attaching its storage technology to its server platform as it would have liked to in the past. Today in APJ we have around 12 percent external disk market share, according to IDC. HP’s server market share in APJ is in the high 40s. So, you can see a deďŹ nite dichotomy in the attach rate of storage relative to the server rate. But, there is a huge opportunity. If your storage portfolio is not as strong as your server portfolio there is a great temptation to sell the servers and then let whoever attaches the storage be. That’s all changed. Now that you have an incredibly strong storage portfolio, there really is a drive to increase the connect rate of our servers to storage and start growing that market share. In the last year or so, HP hasn’t exactly had a good time in the storage business. Your market share has been stagnant at best whereas the independent storage vendors [like EMC and NetApp] seem to be doing well. So, what is ailing HP in the storage business? Your assessment is probably true for the overall market share worldwide, but if you look at APJ, the ďŹ gures are slightly different. In the last 3 quarters we have been increasing market share. Fundamentally, I think we had a situation where we had a number of product lines that may not have been very highly differentiated as we would have liked. This is really the reason that HP has gone out to acquire companies like Left Hand Networks and now 3Par to turn around and build out one of the strongest portfolios in the industry where each of the portfolio element members are now growing at a very fast rate. So, this would allow us to start to reclaim market share that we may have lost in the last few years. ■— TM Arun Kumar

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â– OPINION

Michael Gartenberg

And Then There Were Three

A

YEAR AGO, Google began discussing the idea of

offering a full operating system based on its Chrome browser. Now it has revealed further details of its plans and began shipping a ďŹ rst run of test units so that developers, reporters and analysts could begin to evaluate it’s efforts. I’ve been testing one of these units for some time and I found Google’s efforts impressive.

The question is whether Google has created a new environment that will challenge more traditional PC operating systems such as Mac OS and Windows, or whether Chrome will be the latest challenger that ends up with niche success at best. Chrome OS isn’t a new idea. The idea of network computers that deliver all their functionality from somewhere other than the hard drive has been around for more than a decade. Efforts from Sun and Oracle to jump-start this market failed, but the world is a very different place than it was a decade ago. This is the cloud era, and Google has wholeheartedly embraced it. The company’s OS foray arrived on a laptop known as the Cr-48, but I’m not going to get into the tech-

nical aspects of the hardware. Google has made it clear that this is speciďŹ cally test equipment and was not designed to ever be sold to consumers. Booting Chrome OS takes about 15 seconds, and resuming from sleep takes about a second. Those are pretty impressive times -though they would be even more impressive if Apple ‘s latest generation of MacBook Airs, running a fullblown computer operating system, didn’t perform the same trick. The experience is en-

â– The world is a very different place than it was a decade ago. This is the cloud era, and Google has embraced it.

hanced greatly if you have Chrome on the computer, set to sync. That gives you all your bookmarks, extensions and apps in one place. Of course, this is Google, so you will need a Google account to make it all work. So, how well does it work? Overall, performance was acceptable if a little slow. Flash-heavy sites suffered the worst, with Hulu little more than a slideshow until I turned the resolution settings all the way down. On the plus side, the magic of HTML5 means there’s a plethora of apps in Google’s Chrome store that work well. With apps running the gamut from Google Docs for productivity to enhanced versions of sites like The New York Times and Amazon. It’s also clear that Google has spent a lot of time re-

thinking use models. For example, the Caps lock key has been replaced by a search key (a hidden setting let’s you change it back if you wish). But it’s the simplicity of Chrome OS that could make it powerful. With this, those situations won’t result in lost data and programs. You just have to log onto a new machine, and all your settings, content and apps will be ready and waiting. This type of zero conďŹ guration and management has long been pursued. Google has delivered on an appliance-like computing experience that could have a lot of appeal. Google has given us a glimpse of something that remains more experimental than ďŹ nished, and what it and its partners will deliver next year .But Google is clearly envisioning a future where more value for more users can be delivered via the Web in a way that makes it all easier to use and manage. Chrome notebooks aren’t going to take over the market anytime soon, but this platform is going to push things forward as businesses look to simplify the computing platforms they support. The trend that Chrome OS represents will only accelerate as more HTML5 apps deliver richer experiences over time. â– Michael Gartenberg is a Research Director at Gartner. The opinions expressed are his own.

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ON RECORD â–

Eric Hoh Vice President, Asia South Region, Symantec, highlights the ďŹ rm’s value proposition through an extensive portfolio. By Yogesh Gupta B 22

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With an extensive security portfolio, what is Symantec’s approach for Indian enterprise market? HOH: From enterprise partner perspective, tier I partner companies like Wipro, TCS are extremely skilled and have the muscle to cater to enterprise needs. They can scale manpower from coverage perspective to offer Symantec’s end to end solutions starting from end point, DLP, compliance and all the way to governance.It’s all about information and adhering to our strategy of secure, protect and management of Information. These three areas are well covered by large SIs. Symantec story is around how we can integrate solutions from information point of view. A channel partner cannot sell security alone and leave the storage piece for competition channel folks to sell to same customer. Many security partners mainly play in two ďŹ elds today– security and storage .We led the market with concept of convergence in late nineties when we acquired Veritas. Now, most storage players are going after security market. Symantec strategy is ďŹ rm and correct but the one piece missing was Identity Management. Identity Management is a big concern with enterprises today. What is Symantec’s vision? HOH: It is all about people and information with trends like social media and consumerization of IT invading enterprise infrastructure. Apart from Verisign’s SSL certiďŹ cate business for websites, we have a strong authentica-

tion technology. Traditionally, identity management has been hardware token based which is extremely ‘dinosaur era’ kind of solutions. Verisign authentication technology allows two-factor authentication regardless of platform (iphone, ipad or any device). The one thing we believe which will drive future of enterprise IT will be authentication of devices. On last count, Symantec acquired over 23 IT companies from May 2005 till date. What are the beneďŹ ts of acquisitions for customers and partners? HOH: Security has always been complex and to be honest the biggest challenge for any organization. Enterprises spend millions of dollars on security but security breaches still exist. By acquiring and developing new security solutions, we would like to be more of a consolidator than a consolidatee. We have taken out the complexity out from our security solutions. Our goal is to make security – simple, invincible and inexpensive. Your competitors like McAfee, RSA, Websense, seem to have a focused strategy for DLP. After Symantec acquired Vontu, what’s the DLP roadmap for India? HOH: You are only as strong as your weakest link. When it comes to information loss – it can be static or in motion. For some of our competitors, because of the incompleteness of their portfolio, they will preach DLP at start from network level, while some will start at end point. If you want to prevent information loss, you need

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DIRECTIONS 2011

CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP VMWARE

Partner Focus helps VMware Bring Cloud to its Customers From clearing the air on security concerns with cloud computing, to gaining technical expertise, partners can do lots to increase the uptake of cloud computing in India. core applications secure and then move non-core ones to a public cloud service provider if required. Thus, the enterprise customers have a hybrid cloud environment, which offers greater business optimization. In the case of SMBs, they look at public cloud for most of their applications since it is cost effective. Also, there may be community based public clouds, set up by associations, for the consumption of their members

GANESAN ARUMUGAM Director - Partners VMware Software Ganesan has spent over 15 years in leading technology companies. His experience spans areas of Direct Sales, Channel and Global partner management. He has been with VMware since November 2009.

As a cloud enabler, what trends are you foreseeing in cloud adoption amongst Indian companies? Is the situation different in enterprises and SMBs? VMware witnesses that cloud adoption has become imperative for both enterprise and SMB customers, thanks to the compelling cost savings and business agility it offers. They have started virtualizing their datacenters as the first step in their ‘journey to the cloud’. To begin with, customers go in for a private cloud and then move on to the public cloud. The enterprise customers set up their own private cloud for their critical applications. This approach helps keep the

various security solutions from VMware like the vShield and the solutions from our alliance partners like RSA, Trend Micro and Symantec. This will help gain our customers’ trust and assure them that we keep their requirements in mind when we build our solutions. Apart from security, what are the typical challenges to private cloud implementation or taking to public clouds? What can the channel community do to address them? The typical challenges for any type of cloud implementation are : New technology adoption as Cloud changes the way of computing, Application readiness Cloud Computing Skills availability. The channel community should avail ready help from the solution vendors, in the form of trainings and certifications, so as to equip themselves to take on these challenges.

``Partners need to position themselves clearly as a Cloud Enabler or a Cloud Provider.”

Technical expertise on cloud computing is not as abundant as enterprise IT heads want it to be. How is VMware going about training its channel partners, who can deliver this expertise to their customers? VMware offers comprehensive education programs through authorized education partners. We conduct regular ‘partner enablement program’ for our partners to build their technical skills. VMware recently launched ‘Solution Enablement Tools’ for partners, which helps them offer end-toend solutions to their customers. We also offered a 50% discount on VMware Certified Professional (VCP) which is one of the most sought after recognitions in the IT industry today.

Security concerns often come in way of the cloud journey. What is Vmware’s suggestion to its partners on clearing the air on this? Security remains a major concern for customers in cloud as well as a non- cloud environment. We continuously suggest that partners educate customers on the

If you could list three things the channel community could do to better communicate the value of cloud computing to their customers, what would those be? Partners need to build their skills on Cloud technology, so that they can articulate and demonstrate the benefits of cloud to the customers more effectively. Build success stories as proof points, this helps build customer confidence. Partners need to position themselves clearly as a Cloud Enabler or a Cloud provider. They also need to build their service capabilities to offer cloud solutions to their customers.

This Interview is brought to you by IDG Custom Solutions Group in association with


ERIC HOH | ON RECORD â– to touch all three areas network (gateway), end point, and shared storage. If a solution is only touching networking but not preventing plugging of devices like iPad at end point, the weakest link is out. An enterprise’s conďŹ dential data could be residing at shared storage and a DLP solution needs to identify conďŹ dential data, allocate access, and make them secure at storage level too. Symantec Vontu solution covers all three areas needed for a complete and robust DLP solution. Many large companies in India have deployed Symantec solutions on DLP. India is a large outsourcing hub, hence enterprises need to convince their clients about compliance issue and ensure their conďŹ dential data is well protected with DLP at all three areas. How can solution providers excel in enterprise space with Symantec DLP as it is a long term journey than one time product sale? HOH: Technologies like DLP can only reach a certain level, but partners need to have technical ability and adequate knowledge about policies. The biggest failure in a lot of DLP projects is because people do not know what policy to enforce and in what manner. Proper data classiďŹ cation is another big thing. Besides structured data, the unstructured data in enterprises needs to be classiďŹ ed accordingly. Symantec has a complete integrated solution for DLP as we understand the policy, enforcement and data classiďŹ cation. The importance of unstructured data over 24

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Symantec has taken out the complexity from security solutions. Our goal is to make security simple and inexpensive for all users. time with access controls and other attributes becomes critical with storage growth. The acquisition of PGP and Guardian have helped us tremendously. As we have integrated PGP solutions, we are able to encrypt the conďŹ dential data before it leaves the network. This is total strategy of Symantec which is taking best of breed solutions from across the world and integrate into a whole suite to addresses real world problems. Our DLP will differentiate partners from competitors. With MessageLabs, Symantec is now offering SaaS for email and web? How cloud ready are Symantec offerings? HOH: Symantec hosted services is offered through Anti spam service. However, we have extended the SaaS suite as we can archive the critical information and also back up the emails for an enterprise customer. Symantec offers customer option as it does not matter about form factor - On Premise or Cloud based solutions. We are working with

selected few partners who can double as reseller of our cloud offering as a service. Apart from existing customer accounts of partners, cloud will reach to newer markets like SMBs where telcos are focusing to a large extent. What opportunities lie for channel partners selling to SMBs and enterprises for Symantec versus competition? HOH: Our competitors have point solution vendors in security space as opposed to our broad suite of solutions. Being a partner centric organization, we want partners to lead services business. For less complex deployments, the services are deliberately provided by our partners than just sell product. Our clear vision for partners is they should not just sell products but deliver services. Our partners make margin in designing the entire solution around security posture of enterprise customers. Upsell across an enterprise account through our extensive portfolio is a big plus for a partner. What is the plan from Symantec to capture SMB market in India? HOH: The partners are looking for quicker wins which are relevant to business of SMBs like end point security and DLP solutions. Symantec has created a suite for SMB partners. It is easy to use, easy to implement and does not require high skills. Symantec end point protection suite includes end point security, back up and light version of DLP. Some SMB channels are only interested in backup solutions. We feel SMB space is highly underserved espe-

cially in tier 3 cities. Apart from Symantec coverage through distributor, SIs and managed partners, the distribution managed partners are covering tier 3 cities. We have redesigned partner program towards working with more focus through distributors who will leverage, educate partners, and in turn make more money. What according to you will drive market for Symantec and its partners in India as we enter 2011? HOH: We believe compliance framework and regulatory requirements will be major driver which will include end point, encryption, DLP and so on. Virtualization vendors have created a large market for security vendors like us. When applications on physical work are transported on virtual landscape, it is difďŹ cult to track particular area. We also see adoption in high availability Veritas cluster server. With consumerization of IT and server virtualization, enterprises will accelerate to manage storage cost down through technologies like archival, backup, and dedupe. List three priorities for Indian market in 2011. HOH: The number one priority is to win customer mindshare through education of the market through customer and partner events .Secondly we are aligning our go to market strategy with our channels correctly. We want transactional partners to move to next level through new partner program by achieving specialization in speciďŹ c solutions. If we accomplish ďŹ rst two, we will grow our existing majority market share in security and storage software. â–

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CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP TATA COMMUNICATIONS

CHANNEL DIRECTIONS

Cloud Brings a Rain of Myriad Opportunities for Channels The scope is endless with cloud computing. The channel players only need to identify potential customers and convince them to give cloud computing a try.

SUMEET WALIA Senior Vice President - Sales (India) Tata Communications. Sumeet, a telecom industry veteran with over 18 years of experience, has been responsible for building & strengthening Tata Communications‘ Enterprise Business in India and has guided the company to market leadership. What are the different opportunities that are available with Tata Communications for channel partners? Tata Communications’ solutions around network services, datacenters and cloud offerings enable our partners to provide their customers with a complete set of services required for achieving business growth. This enables our partners to move towards being end-to-end technology provider to their customers. To us, the channel partners are the best medium to take regular services like network as well as path breaking services like cloud to a wider audience instantly. How do these opportunities help realize better profits for channel players? Tata Communications’ partners don’t need to lock up funds in inventor y as we are in the ser vices business. The partners earn commissions for servicing the existing customers and for acquiring new customers. Also, our partners get the opportunity to provide many value-added ser vices to the customer along with the offerings from Tata Communications. This enables our partners to augment their core business.

The freed up capital can be used to grow their business and expand services portfolio. Our services are annuity based – hence the partner is assured of continuous revenue streams as customers increase their consumption pattern over the years. What is Tata Communications’ roadmap around cloud? In 2010, Tata Communications became the only telecom service provider to launch an integrated cloud services portfolio under the theme “Instant Performance”. Instant Performance denotes our commitment to leverage technology to create solutions that quickly bring enhanced business performance to our customers. Our InstaCompute and the InstaApps portfolios provide growing organizations with a set of tools that enhance business productivity and efficiency. These solutions, along with the host of network, infrastructure and collaboration solutions that we already have in our portfolio enable us to provide end-to-end business solutions. What industry verticals should channel partners be focusing on while selling cloud and managed services? While organizations across all industries can leverage the benefits of cloud, high potential exists in the verticals of Manufacturing, IT, ITeS, Education, Media, and Internet Content Service Providers. How would a VAR benefit by working with Tata Communications services? VARs can to expand their service portfolio by associating with us. Some benefits are: They can become an integr ated Communications and IT partner. Move up the value chain and provide end-toend solutions backed by infrastructure and expertise from Tata Communications.

Ability to provide multiple pricing models to their customers. E.g. Our “pay per use” based Managed Hosting & Cloud Computing services enable IT application providers to offer their services on an ASP model (SaaS) to their customers. Opportunity to act as a SI for many service offerings from tata Communications. Cloud computing is an area that many channels as well as customers are bullish on for this year. What role do you see for the channel partners in promoting and selling the cloud services being offered by Tata Communications? Channel Partners need services which are simple to deliver, can sell in volumes and have potential of use across a cross section of industry. The partners need to focus on a goto-market model where they are selling new services like cloud computing to their existing customer base and also put in place a new customer acquisition plan to cover the medium enterprise segment. Tata Communications will continue to work with the channel partners to enhance market presence in the emerging cities in India. The cloud portfolio will enable them to grow their business by increasing customer retention. We are investing in training, awareness and demand generation activities with the partners to enable them build their businesses. Tata Communications has recently come out with promotional offers for cloud services and channel partners could leverage these to their advantage. This Interview is brought to you by IDG Custom Solutions Group in association with


THE STATE OF THE MARKET 2011 SURVEY

At the dawn of a new decade, partners express their concerns, opportunities, and the way forward By Radhika Nallayam

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COVER STORY â– HE year 2010, indeed, was a turning

P h o t o g r a p h b y S R I VAT S A S H A N D I LYA & I m a g i n g : U N N I K R I S H N A N AV

Tpoint, for it marked the end of an extremely action-packed decade — a decade in which we saw the rise and death of many technologies, companies, and industry bubbles. It was also a year of transition, a period that was sandwiched between the ‘global ďŹ nancial meltdown’ and an impending recovery. The list of anticipations that were there in 2010 was long, but many remain unfulďŹ lled because it threw down a lot of unexpected challenges. While struggling to claw out of the downturn, the industry did manage to oat through, without sinking. But it was a signiďŹ cant year of new learnings and novel survival methods. Equally decisive is 2011, as it ags the beginning of another important decade for the IT industry. It’s a phase in which the limping economies are expected to recover, frozen budgets to ďŹ nally melt, and all the hypes to become realities. As new opportunities, new technologies, and a fresh set of new challenges await the industry in the new decade, it is important to see how the partners sketch their future. And, there is no better time than this to approach the partners to know what they foresee in 2011 as it’s the need of the hour to look beyond a list of predictions for next 12 months and observe what the mood of the market actually is. While predictions always carry a risk of going wrong, observations help in preparing and learning new things. Through the ChannelWorld State of the Market 2011 survey, channel partners told us why they are excited, though with a bit of extra caution, about 2011. Read on. JANUARY 2011

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STATE OF THE MARKET | 2011

MONEY MATTERS

28

3% Increase in Market Development Funds

4% Others 0

10

20

30

40

50

19%

is the average increase in proďŹ ts that the partners expect in 2011, compared to a 30% increase in revenues. What is the single biggest challenge you expect to face in 2011?

35

5

0

24% 4%

10

Others

15

13%

20

Staffing

19%

25

Expanding Product/Service Portfolio

30

Expanding Customer Base

of things to curb this from worsening. “When we sign up with a vendor, we invest some time and money and thus we expect some return out of that investment, in terms of healthy margins. But unfortunately, that has not been the case for a very long time. Our margins have become so low of late that we are struggling for survival in the market. I think that vendors should think beyond fulďŹ llment of their targets and work towards ensuring better margins for their partners,â€? says Manish Tandon, Managing Director of Questa Software Systems. He feels that a lot of vendors are now over-crowding the market by signing up with a large number of partners, resulting in a situation where none of these partners get good margins. And he is not alone. Sampath Kumar HR, CEO, Value Point Systems, adds, “We have to invest substantial amount of money and time during pre-sales as sales cycles lately are much longer. But afterward, ďŹ erce competition steps in and eventually turns the deal into a price war. We think that the vendors should take the initiative to ensure that the deal goes to the partner who puts in serious sales effort.â€? Even partners who maintain exclusivity and choose to work with only a selected set of vendors are not really getting beneďŹ ted with better margins. Besides, a lot of customers prefer to approach vendors directly to ensure better deals, which again compel the partners to compromise on their margins. “We have come across situations where the customer had gone directly to the vendor to settle a deal. In such cases, the vendor hardly

13% Improved Implementation & Technical Support

33%

percent and at times even negative! This might seem like an overstatement, but sadly, appears to be true for many channel partners in the country. This is not just true for hardware players, but applies equally to partners in the software space as well. An increasing number of SIs and VARs are feeling the heat of shrinking margins even when IT budgets across the industries are on an upward swing. Partners are surely expecting their principals to step in and lend them a hand. About 50 percent of the respondents in ChannelWorld’s State of the Market survey projected ‘better margins’ as their biggest wish from their principals in 2011. This clearly shows that a lot more effort is required to tackle this age-old issue. Quite naturally, more than 33 percent of them expect that ‘pressure on margin’ is going to be the biggest challenge that they are going to face in the coming year. Post the recession, companies deďŹ nitely are looking at expanding their IT infrastructures. However, ‘doing more with less’ is a widely accepted and followed mantra. Hence they do expect their vendors to deliver products and solutions at a much lower cost. The economic slump, deďŹ nitely, was a trendsetter in that sense as companies, large and small, are equally conscious about their IT budgets. Thus low-margin has deďŹ nitely become an inescapable scenario that every vendor is slowly getting into. While it’s equally important to thrive in that low margin world, partners do feel that their principals can help a lot

15% Better Training & Certification Programs

7%

M

ARGINS AS low as one

49% Better Margins

Pressure on Margins

As shrinking margins remain a challenge, partners look to vendors for help

16% Generating Sales Leads

Growing Revenue

A Few Dollars More Please

What is your biggest wish from a vendor in 2011?

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COVER STORY â– takes the partner’s margin into consideration. The price they quote, at times, would be so low that the partner ends up getting single digit margins,â€? says Manoj Sharma, CEO, MM9 Information Technologies. He also feels that the vendors should be ready to recommend the right partner with the right capabilities to their customers for a particular implementation. “In most cases, a customer would have an existing relationship with multiple partners. When they approach a vendor directly, that vendor is in a position to guide that customer to the right partner. But unfortunately, that never happens. Vendors usually leave the decision to the customer and a partner who has personal or closer relationship with that customer ends up bagging the deal. He may or may not have the capability to take up that project. But expertise is hardly a parameter in winning a deal these days,â€? adds Sharma. Naveen Verma, CMD, Algort Technologies feels that vendors need to pay more attention in addressing the speciďŹ c requirements of customers in each vertical. “Vendors can develop products based on solutions to speciďŹ c business problems of customers. This helps us to pitch in their products with better margins.â€?

LEADS AND SUPPORT After margins, the next area where partners expect their vendors to improve upon is the lead generation activities. Sixteen percent of the respondents to the survey say that generating sales leads would be their biggest wish from their princi-

A vendor is in a position to guide a customer to the right partner, er, which whhichh never happens. But these days expertise is hardly a parameter in winning a deal.� MANOJ SHARMA, CEO, MM9 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

pals in 2011. Though a few vendors are known well for their lead-gen programs, there still are a lot of vendors who do not make sufďŹ cient investment or take such programs more seriously. Partners believe that the vendors need to take the initiative and pass on high-convertibility leads to the right partners. They also expect their principals to educate the customers about new technologies, especially those related to the cloud. Incompetent lead generation programs could deďŹ nitely be one of the reasons why about 19 percent of the participants felt that expansion of customer base is going to be a tough task going forward. This means that partners would be forced to restrict themselves to their existing clientele, which in turn would bring about bad revenue and proďŹ tability ďŹ gures. Another challenge that the partners expect in the coming year is around an ancient issue — stafďŹ ng. Attrac-

tion and retention of the right talent has always been an issue for channel partners and if the survey results are anything to go by, it might continue to be so even in 2011. At least a good 24 percent of the participants believe that stafďŹ ng is going to be the biggest challenge for them in 2011. AL Srinath, Director of Hyderabadbased Shell Networks, says, “My recruitment is directly related to the amount of money I make. I should be able to generate a healthy top line and bottom line to recruit and later retain people with high salary packages. Single digit margin does not solve the purpose.â€? Partners also expect their principals to provide better training and certiďŹ cation programs, along with improved implementation and technical support. “Improved implementation and technical support from vendors would help us enhance our capabilities. This will not only facilitate customer trust, but also in being less dependent on vendors beyond a point and eventually, in improving our margins,â€? says Rahul Meher, Founder, Leon Computers. Though the new year is expected to bring some good news in terms of faster adoption of technologies and improved IT budgets, partners have very clearly made a stand. It’s quite evident that they are not keen on taking up deals that do not provide promising margins. Some of them do not even hesitate to say ‘No’ to low-margin businesses. This visibly shows the need for both partners and vendors to come together and jointly come up with a win-win proposition. â–

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STATE OF THE MARKET | 2011

FUTURE PEEK 28%

30

9%

12% 8%

3%

IT/BPO

Services

48% 45% Hardware

25% 26% Software

8% 10% Consulting

10% 12%

â– 2011 â–  2010

Managed Services

9% 7%

Others

10

0

20

30

50

40

How do you think the IT Spend will change in 2011? 6%

10%

36%

32%

91%

87%

Cloud Based Solutions

21% 42%

Virtualization

0

Storage

20

73%

40

Hardware Solutions

60

65%

3%

Business Application Software

80

3%

3%

7%

100

20%

16%

120

VIRTUAL REALITY After cloud, virtualization seems to be the next growth area that the channel

8%

Contribution to revenue from the following areas in 2011

84%

Discussions around Cloud Computing reached a peak in 2010. Almost all of those discussions were about whether to ‘Cloud or not to Cloud’. Is cloud computing ďŹ nally going to take off in 2011? While only time can give an answer to this question, a large number of the channel partners in the country seem to be extremely bullish about the opportunities in cloud computing. About 92 percent of the respondents in State of the Market survey think that the IT spends around cloud-based solutions are going to go up in 2011. This is as opposed to the fact that only 35 percent of the respondents in the last year’s survey (State of the Market-2010) voted for cloud computing. Within cloud computing, partners believe that the initial demand is going to be around email services for corporate customers. Though companies may not move their mission-critical applications to the cloud initially, email is deďŹ nitely an area they would start with. Till last year, not many people were receptive to the idea of email on the

0

Security

WILL THE CLOUD BE CLEARED?

cloud. They thought that free email services from the likes of Google would do their job. However, that mind-set is changing as more and more people realized that they can’t expect such free services to be high in quality and reliability. As a result, they are now ready to make investments to get professional email services from third-party providers. After email, ERP, CRM and business intelligence are the other applications that are expected to move to the cloud. While hardware and platform as a service are still at a nascent stage, software as a service is an area that partners want to focus on in 2011. Some have already made investments in offering hosted applications and RIM services to their customers. They also see huge opportunities in setting up private cloud infrastructure for their customers. A number of them have made tie-ups with telcos and other service providers for jointly offering cloud services to enterprise-class customers. And, partners have reasons to believe that they are on the right track. Most industry analysts substantiate this. Gartner has identiďŹ ed cloud computing as one of the four broad trends that will change IT, and the economy, in the next 10 years. “Cloud computing will transform the IT industry as it will alter the ďŹ nancial model upon which investors look at technology providers, and it will change vertical industries, making the impact of the Internet on the music industry look like a minor bleep,â€? says Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Gartner.

38%

concerns for partners, 2011 looks really bright in terms of adoption and growth of new technologies and the opportunities these technologies would bring. There is a prevalent positive mood in the market. Everyone expects that 2011 is going to be better in all respects. While 2010 was a year of transition from recession to recovery, 2011 is expected to be a revival period, especially for the Indian market. Partners hope that certain technologies and industries would fuel the growth of the IT industry in the coming year.

8%

T

HOUGH THERE are business

Retail

5

Telecom

10

BFSI

Government

15

Manufacturing

12%

20

Infrastructure & Utilities

20%

25

53%

Cloud and virtualization, coupled with government spending will provide boost

30

Networking

Opportunity in the Wake of Difficulty

Which sector’s IT Spend do you expect to grow the most in 2011?

â– Increase â– Decrease â– Stay the Same

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COVER STORY â– partners are highly betting on. EightySeven percent of the respondents believe that virtualization will bring more money in the coming year. It was considered a money-spinner even during the days of downturn and continues to be so. Server virtualization is pretty much a matured market and the latest discussions are now around VDI and associated opportunities in networking, storage and security. Gartner, too, conďŹ rms that the IT services space in India will be driven by new projects in areas of business applications, virtualization, and data center consolidation and green IT exploration. Partners who have not yet tried their hands at virtualization are realizing the need to take a pro-active approach in 2011 and build capabilities around virtualization. The investment, they believe, will be justiďŹ ed without doubt. “We have already undertaken the initiative to expand our skills around virtualization and cloud as these technologies are surely going to be in the buying lists of customers,â€? says Arun Sharma, Founder of Netpro. Partners also believe that security is another area where their customers would focus on in 2011. While about 85 percent of the respondents opined that IT spend in security will go up in 2011, it’s interesting to observe that security is the only technology for which not even a single respondent predicted negative growth. Security, offered as a cloud services, is also being looked upon as a proďŹ table business by partners in next 12 months.

SARKAR RAJ Government sector will continue to be a sweet spot for vendors and part-

Almost every government department is investing on automation ti andd iin expanding infrastructure, which is driving a lot of requirement in IT.� YOGESH GODBOLE, DIRECTOR, ACEBRAIN SYSTEMS

ners in 2011, according to the State of the Market survey. About 28 percent of the participants believe that IT spend in this vertical will go up in next 12 months, followed by manufacturing (20 percent). According to Gartner, the government’s infrastructure projects and hypercompetitive ďŹ nancial services will strongly drive IT in India in the coming years. Analysts believe that the current growth in the ICT sector in India can only be sustained by the continuous investment from government ministries and departments to improve their IT infrastructure. E-governance projects are great source of business for partners across all the regions in the country. “Government deals are usually around end-to-end infrastructure requirements. Almost every government department is investing on automation and in expanding their IT infrastructure. Government’s initia-

tive to start single window services is also driving a lot of requirements in IT,â€? says Yogesh Godbole, Director, Acebrain Systems. At the same time, simple automation is not the only prospect that the partners are expecting. Government is also investing in cloud related services, say some partners. “At the taluk level, the IT infrastructure is very limited and hence processing happens centrally at district or state level. This means that a lot of applications will have to be hosted on a central server-resulting in opportunities for us in the areas of cloud and RIM,â€? adds Godbole. Manufacturing segment, which is otherwise considered conservative when it comes to technology adoption, has now started looking up. This segment is investing heavily on virtualization, storage, security, and compliance. Naveen Verma, Managing Director, Algort Technologies, says, “Manufacturing is moving very fast towards total automation to cut costs and improve quality, which demands very high use of IT as an enabler.â€? Government is expected to provide instant opportunities right from the beginning of the year, while technologies like cloud are going to surface only towards the second half of the year. Interestingly, industries like telecom and IT/ITES, which at one point were strong growth drivers, have now moved down in the list. Barely about three percent believe that spend in IT/BPO sector will go up in the coming year, while just eight percent are optimistic about telecom space. â–

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ROUTE MAP

Charting Course for the Future

The top go-to-market strategy for 2011

4%

4%

A balanced focus on products and services expected to bring good fortune

32

28% Offer services on a recurring revenue model ■Improve my customers’ business process ■ Introduce new technologies to existing customers ■ Help customers leverage technology to innovate in their industry ■ Lower my customers’ cost ■ Upgrade and refresh customers’ hardware ■ Help customers attract and retain new customers ■ Others ■

30% 60

Technologies you plan to get into in 2011

54%

is the average business partners expect to get from new customers in 2011.

50

Cloud Based Solutions

28% Virtualization

0

27%

10

Storage

20

Hardware Solutions

30

Application Software 28%

27%

40

36%

Cloud and managed services are deďŹ nitely in the agenda for many partners. They have either partnered or in the process of partnering with vendors and telcos to offer services on a payper-use model to customers. Leon Computers, for example, has already made investments in providing hosted applications to its enterprise as well as SMB customers. The company will be initially looking at email and sharepoint hosting and remote management services. Its RIM services will include end-to-end infrastructure management and monitoring. Bangalore-based Value Point Systems also has serious plans around cloud. “We already offer cloud-based services to our SMB customers in India. In 2011, our target is to reach out to the enterprise segment. We are in the

2%

Security

AT YOUR SERVICE

process of collaborating with some of the leading service providers to offer white box cloud services to this segment,â€? says Sampath Kumar. MM9’s plan is to drive at least 60 percent of its revenue through its annuity-based service offerings in 2011. The company has already partnered with TCS to offer a few cloud services to its customers. “There clearly is a shift from capex to opex among companies and we do believe that hardware purchase will drastically go down in the coming days. So the best way to tackle issues related to both diminishing top line and bottom line is to have more focus on services on a ‘pay per use’ model. We see an increasing demand for applications like ERP, business intelligence, CRM and data management. We clearly notice less demand for on-premise implementation of such applications today,â€? says Sharma of MM9 Information Technologies. The success of salesforce.com in India is a clear example for partners to follow and they are very conďŹ dent about the growth of cloud services, especially SaaS. As concerns about security and privacy on cloud gradually clear up, partners expect to see an increased adoption of cloud services in 2011. “We are looking at offering ‘simply hire’ services to our customer in 2011. Initially, our idea is to offer security related services on a subscription model,â€? says Inderjeet Singh Maan, Head-Enterprise Business, S. Kumar Computers. Though all partners are planning to get into cloud services eventually, managed services would be something they would start experimenting with. “We have observed that a lot of small and mid-sized companies do not have

5%

32%

deďŹ nitely going to be a tough row to hoe in 2011. At the same time, it’s not an impossible task. A smart strategy and timely execution will undoubtedly ensure success. In view of the new opportunities and to overcome the margin pressure, partners are planning a twin approach – introducing new products and technologies to their existing customers and getting into services business on a recurring revenue model. This is pretty much in line with the State of the Market survey conducted last year, in which 100 percent of the respondents said that they were planning to expand their services business, while about 97 percent were planning to add more solutions to their existing portfolio.

6%

Networking

A

STABLE GROWTH rate is

16%

35%

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COVER STORY â– the right resources to manage their IT infrastructure. As a result, they are actively looking at outsourcing the management part of IT. We are trying to beneďŹ t from this trend and are looking at providing customized facility management services to customers across different verticals,â€? says Sharma of NetPro. Suresh R, Vice President, Marketing, Navigator Systems also has similar plans. “We are planning to offer managed services to our customers in IT and ITES segments. We have seen that a lot of companies in these industries have started outsourcing IT infrastructure management. We want to be a one-stop-shop for such services in the future. We are already in talks with companies like IBM and HP for this.â€? “Everyone wants to focus on their core business due to intense competition in their respective business and thus they need to outsource all the support services, which is the main source of recurring revenue for us,â€? adds Verma of Algort Technologies. Partners who are reselling cloud services from various vendors are however a little apprehensive about this model. “We are currently very optimistic about cloud services. However, our principals can anytime decide to go direct with their cloud offerings. So we are not very clear about how our role is going to evolve in the coming days,â€? says Manish of Questa Software.

EXPANDING THE KITTY While cloud will fulďŹ ll their need to have a recurring and stable revenue model, partners are equally serious about offering new products as part of their portfolio. Their technology

Everyone wants to focus on their core business and thus they need to outsource allll the th support services, which is the main source of recurring revenue for us.� NAVEEN VERMA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ALGORT TECHNOLOGIES

roadmap includes security, networking, virtualization, business application software, storage, and even hardware solutions. After cloud computing, security seems to be the choice for most of the partners. About 37 percent of the respondents are planning to get into security in 2011. This also shows that companies of all sizes would be more alert about security threats and are conscious about the need to invest in security. Networking is an equally important market for channel partners, with about 33 percent planning to get into it in next 10 months. Surprisingly, a number of partners who so far have not focused on hardware believe that it’s important to get into this business. The major reason for this is the hardware requirements for high-value projects in the government and other sectors. However, partners are not looking at selling hardware as a stand-alone product, but at the same time they do not want to miss

out on the large end-to-end integration projects due to the lack of hardware in their portfolio. “We realized that most of the egovernance projects have hardware requirements and they prefer to approach a single vendor for all their requirements. So, it’s important that we get into hardware if we want to cash on these opportunities. Besides, we have also seen the same trend among our other customers who use our software products. They want us to take care of their hardware needs as well,â€? says Nitin Walia, Director, Data Infosys. However, simply adding some products is not the idea for partners. They are looking at expanding into niche areas and looking at adding innovative product lines to their offerings. Data Infosys, for example, has big plans around offering services and solutions in enterprise mobility. The company recently launched Bharat Berry, a mobile communication service targeted mainly at enterprise users. Acebrain Systems is getting into biometrics solutions. Though it’s a volume business, Godbole feels that the new product line will help him improve revenues. The future is very clearly in the services business. However, the survey also shows that partners have not really set ambitious goals for themselves when it comes to proďŹ ts. While they expect an average growth of about 30 percent in their revenues, they don’t seem to be equally optimistic about their bottom lines. The average growth expected in proďŹ ts is only close to 19 percent. However, 2011 hopefully will have more reasons to cheer up and have success in store for partners. â–

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HOTLINE manufacturing and then again testing. We have a full fledged testing facility that can be used for environment testing suitable to Indian conditions of voltage variations, lightening etc. The first series of networking products were released just after one year of de-merger, and these have all been manufactured at our factory in Goa. We are in the process of introducing many products which are under development / homologation and these should cover the entire networking spectrum.

Has this affected your channel strategy? You follow an exclusive regional distributor setup. Do you plan to continue this, or would you also go the ND route? K R NAIK, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN – SNSL ( DIGILINK & DIGISOL )

VIEW FROM THE TOP

Digilink’s Eyes Developing Countries to Expand What USP do your models offer compared to other passive networking products? We are in the passive networking space for more than two decades now. We have always believed making product quality and customer focus our core strengths. When we started our business, we operated as a joint venture with M/S Sapphire U.K. and in those days, we were an OEM supplier to IBM, Thomas & Betts, and Digital. We are also closely associated with Corning USA - in fact, we use only Corning Core inside our optic fiber cables. Today, we have grown to a position wherein our own R&D has patented some of the technologies in copper. We have our own factory in Goa that manu-

factures copper & fiber products. This allows Digilink to customize products for customers like no other vendor in India. We have obtained all relevant certifications and keep our staff well trained.

Apart from manufacturing passive networking products, you have also entered the active range of products.How did you go about building this new focus area? Armed with our own R&D lab and with a two decade experince in the industry, it was only a matter of time before we embarked on active products, be it in networking or IT. In our product development cycle, the entire range goes through an intensive process of selection, testing,

On Behalf of the entire team at Digilink I wish all our channel partners A Happy New Year!”

We look at our partners as our extended family and believe in inclusive growth. The Regional Distributors we have with us today have been part of our family for almost 15 years. We have one national distributor to reach sectors that the Regional Disty can not reach, like, LFR (Large Format Retail), NSI (National System integrators), Multi locations supply, Very Large Corporate customers, Telecom sector, etc. We wish to continue the exclusive RD approach.

How are exports shaping up at Digilink Global? We are already present in many countries, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and also have a relatively smaller presence in Latin America. We plan expand to other developing geographies, but as of now do not want to penetrate into the developed countries.

What is your long term plan for India considering your extensive set up? Are you looking at any acquisitions? In the past, we have had ventures with Gigabyte for motherboards, Lanner for Industrial Products and Mercury Data Systems in ATM. We are now a lot more independent, and are looking at newer business opportunities with acquisitions, or associations, whichever makes sense for business growth. Our established channels will continue to be a core factor.


CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP

PRODUCT LAUNCH

DIGISOL LAUNCHES USB PRINT SERVER DG-PS1010U Any plans to tap the 3G revolution? We are studying all the possibilities for future growth, and this presents immense opportunities. We already have the products required to address the market in this segment and are looking forward to the true opening up of the sector in the coming months. The business here would be split into retail sales and service provider sales. The retail sales would initially be quite small but it is where we aim to excel in the long term.

Are you targeting becoming the leader in SCS any time soon? I do not think it is difficult to become the leader in India in DIGILINK SCS, considering our strengths in having a full fledged

manufacturing and R&D units. The key factors that can make this possible is the fact that we have more than two decades of global exposure, and cost effective development that we are able to manage right here in India.

Have you planed any new business lines? We have fairly healthy reserves and they will be put to the right use for business growth. We are exploring many opportunities, and are trying to align them to our channel, sales and support infrastructure and the growth opportunity in that sector. We are primarily looking to explore segments related to networking and IT hardware as we have our channels equipped to distribute the same.

Mumbai, 21st December 2010: DIGISOL has introduced its compact USB print server DGPS1010U that gets integrated with your LAN using Ethernet or Fast Ethernet. The DG-PS1010U allows wired and wireless stations in your LAN to access and share a USB printer, no matter where they reside on the LAN. The DG-PS1010U has one USB 2.0 interface and supports all major network protocols like TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, AppleTalk, LPR, RAW TCP/IP and SMB over TCP/IP. With its compact design, DG-PS1010U can easily be accommodated anywhere!

NEWS

DIGILINK, DIGISOL and DIGICARE Win Awards at VarIndia Star Nite Award 2010 VARIndia, an IT magazine, in its eighth award ceremony “Star Nite Award 2010”, awarded DIGILINK the “Best Structure Cabling Company”, while DIGISOL received the award for “Fastest Growing Brand” in IT. DIGICARE was also awarded for “Best Post sales Services”. These awards are given every year to recognise IT vendors, solution providers and partners for their relentless and sincere efforts towards the growth of Indian IT industry. These awards are based on feedback from customers and channel partners along with the study conducted by the VARIndia team in various markets covering metros as well as class B and C cities in terms of vendors’ penetration, their level of engagements and commitments with the channel partners. The evaluation is also based on the vendors’ handling of logistics, service support, and product performance.

You can easily manage the DG-PS1010U using a windows-based configuration utility that can automatically discover print servers on the LAN and run a wizard for configuring it. The DG-PS1010U also supports web-based administration. Using a Web browser on a PC simplifies configuration of the print server. Configuration is also possible using Telnet. With its USB 2.0 interface and a simple setup process, the DIGISOL DG-PS1010U offers seamless connection to most printers available on the market. It is the best solution for network based printing for Small and Home Offices, Educational Institutions and Businesses that need sharing of printers across a LAN.

KEY FEATURES NEWS

DIGILINK Organizes its Sales and Distributors meet at Sri Lanka DIGILINK held its Annual Sales and Distributors’ Meet - 2010 between the 11th and 14th of November at Sri Lanka. All Digilink distributors accompanied by their respective families were present for this event. The trip was immensely enjoyable by all the families as they experienced the mesmerizing Sri Lankan countryside along their travel from Colombo to Kandy exploring the beautiful Sri-Lankan country. The trip was a rare combination of business with pleasure!

USB2.0 Compliant Easy to use Setup Wizard Supports Email Alerts Supports DHCP (client) Supports Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) Supports SNMP & Windows Print Monitor Technology Supports 10/100Mbps Auto-sensing UTP port Price: DG-PS1010U is available in the market at an approximate street price of Rs. 3000/- .


Video sessions are getting cheaper and more convenient, but may not always be the right call By Stephen Lawson

I l l u s t r a t i o n by : U N N I K R I S H N A N AV

I

VIDEO CALLING

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N A famous exhibit at the 1964

World’s Fair in New York City, AT&T Bell Labs demonstrated the Picturephone Mode1, a small, oval device with a camera and a screen that allowed two people to see each other while they talked over the telephone network. Six years later, the device was still in trials. AT&T promoted the Picturephone as the telephone of the future, but high cost, inconvenience and a lack of compatible devices turned it into the phone of dreams instead. The same fate awaited many more videoconferencing technologies over the following decades, as systems sprouted up in boardrooms and some ofďŹ ces but mostly were reserved for scheduled meetings and for highlevel executives. In the past few years, the cost and convenience of video calling have made big advances. Smartphones, tablets and PCs fulďŹ ll the promise of the Picturephone with widely available hardware and software, while in higher price brackets, the experience is more immersive than ever. But even though making phone calls with video is now nearly as practical as doing so without, it’s unlikely that the purported phone of the future will ever be the everyday phone of the present. The year 2010 has been a one for video calling, with the introduction of Apple’s FaceTime for the iPhone and Cisco’s UMI TelePresence for

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home HDTVs. Third-party software and services, such as Skype, have made video calls possible with PCs and cheap webcams for years and are now coming to smartphones as well. For people who want to see who they’re talking to, there are fewer barriers than ever to completing the picture. Yet video calling has yet to achieve the worry-free ease of traditional phone calls or even mobile text messages, analysts say. And even if it did, it’s not clear people would want to use the space-age wonder of 1964 for every call. “The research shows people having serious interest in the whole concept of video telephony, but I don’t believe they’re ready to make it ... their constant form of communication,â€? said Tim Bajarin, a longtime technology analyst at Creative Strategies. Part of the problem is that most people just aren’t ready to go on camera every time they want to talk on the phone. In focus groups Bajarin has observed, consumers -- even supposedly tech-loving teenagers -- were concerned about their appearance. “You want to look presentable,â€? Bajarin said. Even in business, that isn’t a given, if telecommuters are included. Video also shows the caller’s location and surroundings, which may pose a problem even in an ofďŹ ce, said Wainhouse Research analyst Ira Weinstein. “Video sometimes reveals too much about a situation,â€? he said. Anyone with a messy cubicle who takes calls from a remote boss might agree with that. But the problems can be practical, too. It’s not really possible to multitask during a video call, as is often done while talking on the phone, Weinsten noted. Video chats while driving can be counted out, too. Despite all the advances of the past few years, a video call still isn’t as easy to make as a voice call, Weinstein said. Users need to ďŹ nd out whether the videoconferencing platforms they’re using are compatible, and often there is a question of how much it will cost. Despite vendors voicing commitments to interoperability, there is still a variety

of speciďŹ cations in use. In enterprise settings, these are not issues that commonly come up about traditional phone calls, Weinstein said. The opportunities to use videoconferencing, however, continue to expand. In June, Apple introduced the iPhone 4 with a front-facing camera and FaceTime, a built-in video chat application that worked on any iPhone 4 over a Wi-Fi connection. CEO Steve Jobs said the company would submit the FaceTime protocol as a standard so other devices could hop on. Samsung’s newly introduced tablet, the Galaxy Tab, also offers video chat capability. And in October, Cisco extended its TelePresence high-end conferencing technology to the home with UMI, a system that uses existing TVs and costs about $600 with a monthly service charge of $24.99. Though somewhat pricey

grandchildren. Despite the fact that those who have the technology typically can use it at all hours, such calls aren’t yet spontaneous impulses. A survey that the Pew Internet & American Life Project concluded recently seems to back up that analysis. On any given day, only four percent of Internet users in the US participate in voice calls, video chat or videoconferencing, Pew said. That was up from just two percent in April 2009, but still a small slice of the whole. Just 19 percent of US adults have ever tried video calling of any kind, according to the survey of 3,001 adults. Perhaps not surprisingly, Internet users in the 18-29 age group were most likely to have done so, but only 29 percent of them had, Pew said.

Despite all the advances of the past few years, a video call still isn’t as easy to make as a voice call. Users need to detect whether the platforms they’re using are compatible, and often there is a question of how much it will cost. for consumers, UMI costs dramatically less than enterprise TelePresence systems. Costs are coming down for large business systems, too, with recent entrants such as Logitech’s LifeSize division. But even in enterprises, video will probably not take the place of oneto-one calls, Creative Strategies’ Bajarin said. “It has its greatest value, in business settings, when you’re involved in collaborative processes,� Bajarin said. For a simple phone call, “You really want the fast process of getting the connection to the one person,� he said. In homes, too, video still tends to occupy a niche, he added. “Video calls tend to be scheduled, and somewhat a special event,� Bajarin said. For example, families may set times for grandparents to see and chat with their

“I think the adoption process is going to be relatively slow,â€? Bajarin said. “If it does get adopted as a mainstream form of communication, I think it will be led by Gen Y,â€? he said, referring to the group typically deďŹ ned as the children of the Baby Boomers, now in their 20s or younger. To some degree, video will make the case for itself as more people experience it, said Andrew Davis, also an analyst at Wainhouse. “Once you get used to video calls, you realize how intimate it is, and how personal, and how rich video is,â€? Davis said. “There are lots and lots of cases where video is inappropriate, but I do think that when it hits the cell phone and it’s literally as easy as making a voice call, I think it will be a lot more prevalent.â€? ■— IDG News Service JANUARY 2011

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â– CASE STUDY

Implementing thin client architecture at Jubilant FoodWorks was not as simple as delivering a pizza. Medley Marketing had to bake a perfect recipe. By Yogesh Gupta

AMITA SHARMA, Director, Marketing, Medley Marketing (Left) & RAHUL PURI, General Manager - IT, Jubilant FoodWorks

&CRISPY

THIN 38

Photograph BY DR LOHIA

T

HE YEAR was 2005. Jubilant FoodWorks (earlier Domino’s Pizza India) was becoming a defacto for food lovers across India. The hundred plus outlets were dishing out thousands of pizzas – double burst or thin crust; as the cash registers were brimming with brisk business. The basic IT infrastructure was expected to perform with perfection to support this growth. However, the standard desktop setup of 5 to 6 PCs per location proved to be a bottleneck. The IT team was spending good amount of time supporting desktop breakdowns. “Apart from productivity loss, it was difďŹ cult to repair the desktop in the store environment due to limited space,â€? says Rahul Puri, General Manager - IT, Jubilant FoodWorks. As outlets multiplied, the management was conscious to keep the IT budgets optimized but ensure agile business productivity. We wanted IT to deliver much more than just provide basic desktop support, adds Puri. That’s when Delhi-based Medley Marketing specializing into IP based technologies advocated thin client architecture (instead of PCs) at Jubilant FoodWorks.

PREPARING THE DOUGH An engineer at Medley introduced

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VXL thin clients to Jubilant FoodWorks on a marketing call. Thin Client was not popular then, recalls Amita Sharma, Director – Marketing, Medley Marketing. After few visits, the customer got interested in the product pitch. Puri emphasizes, “There needs to be a well planned trial and testing when we introduce new technology to the business, ďŹ rst at the corporate ofďŹ ce and then couple of outlets.â€? Four brands of thin clients were tested for their product and related service support. Finally, VXL and one other brand were short listed for ďŹ nal POC. Though thin client was billed as a solution, it wasn’t as easy a deployment as baking a thin crust pizza. “The rugged environment for terminal PCs near a hot oven and our area meant a need for a sturdy thin client,â€? says Puri. For Medley Marketing, this seemed much more than a routine thin client replacing desktop project.

Snapshot Client: Jubilant Foodworks (Domino’s) Locations: 339 + Implementation time : 12 months Project Cost: Approx. Rs. 3 Crore Key Products: Thin Client & Peripherals

Number of Thin Clients: 1750 + Key Vendor: VXL Instruments Main Activities: Desktop replacement with Thin Clients, POC, Software Integration, SLA for delivery & support Post Implementation ROI: Hardware capex reduced by 60 percent, Less Opex, Lower software license cost, Less down time, Greener IT

EXTRA TOPPINGS During POC, both models – Windows and Linux-based were tested. Linux had the obvious advantage of saving on license fee and conďŹ guration costs. The Jubilant IT team wanted the best of both. “We wanted to standardize on Linux environment and still ensure a familiar, fast, and easy to use interface,â€? says Puri. This was an exigent task for both Jubilant and Medley teams. When the switch was made from Windows CE to Linux, the order form opened quite slowly. Windows CE model had a better option for bit map caching. Medley conducted debugging and engaged with VXL technical team. After two months, a special ‘bit map caching’ feature for Linux was created. Cost went down by almost 8 to10 percent per thin client using this tweaked Linux model, says Puri. Few problems with settings like user accidentally deleting the pre-deďŹ ned connections was resolved by restricting default settings by putting password in the thin client setup, says Sharma.

OVERHEATING ISSUE After a couple of months, another dilemma cropped up. Cooling in a furnace like operating environment at Domino’s led to the thin clients behav-

ing erratically. This meant thin clients with external power supply were ineffective. Medley proposed a thin client with internal power supply. This new model was better suited as it reduced one external failure component, agrees Puri. It was tested across six branches across Delhi. After the power issue was solved, the fan in the thin client was creating chaos in a our ďŹ lled environment. A fan less design was needed to ensure that the machine didn’t pull in dust from the external environment, especially in a production area. Most brands could not give a fan less model. Medley approached VXL team to introduce a fan less product with no moving parts.

DELIVERY ON TIME Finally the model was decided after a six month long POC. The initial order of hundred odd thin clients were installed successfully across Domino’s. But Medley faced a major challenge. Sharma says, “There is a three weeks delivery procedure after an order is placed with VXL, while customer gave us a week’s delivery notice. � With outlets opening fast and thin clients becoming standardized, this was a tough task. Medley maintained

an inventory of 20 to 30 systems (complete with monitor, keyboard and mouse) at all times to avoid any delivery delays. The end customer was forced to take systems from other vendor. “That was a one -off order but we streamlined the delivery and the customer is procuring from us since 4 years,� adds Sharma.

THE GREAT TASTE With a series of tweaks in hardware and software over a 12 month POC, Medley Marketing found the right formula. “We had to offer the latest technology without much increase in contract rate,â€? says Akshay Kumar Sharma, Director – Technology Solutions Group, Medley Marketing. The beneďŹ ts of thin client architecture are evident as Puri at Jubilant FoodWorks says, “Capex spent on desktops went down by almost 45 percent and the service support calls have reduced drastically.â€? Besides, the major difďŹ culty of repairing desktops at outlets has been eliminated to a great extent,â€? says Puri. The initial small order for Medley has today rocketed to 1700 plus thin clients across 339 locations in India. Medley is maintaining SLAs for timely delivery, support, and logistics. “Spending so much time and resources during POC was a concern, but we were conďŹ dent of providing the solution demanded by the customer,â€? adds Sharma.

ON THE MENU A year ago, Jubilant team was keen for handhelds to offer better service to customers waiting in long queues at outlets. “There was a clear directive for a solution which is easy to deploy, scalable, and independent of frequent software updates. New software would also mean software AMC overheads,� says Puri. Such product was not easily available in the market, recalls Amita Sharma. Medley Marketing sourced a special 4.6 inch LCD device and a Zebra printer supporting OPOS technology. There was a trial run of 10 handhelds at few outlets. More handhelds are planned across various locations. “Twice a year, we do challenging work at Jubilant FoodWorks. You never know when a small project becomes a big project at a customer end,� says Amita Sharma. ■JANUARY 2011

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â– FAST TRACK

Our focus is on both hardware and software, says Dnyanesh Kulkarni, Director, Dataformatics

B

ONDS OF childhood sel-

dom fall apart. For the three directors at Dataformatics, a friendship built over the course of their lifetime has culminated in the establishment of a respectable institution. Dataformatics was setup in 1993 as a data processing unit. Their beginnings were modest with just one server, six nodes and a couple

40

of projects for Morarjee Mills and some branches of Bombay Dyeing. In 1994 Dataformatics moved into a bigger circle in that particular area, further allowing an expansion in business . After incorporating the company in 1996, they started processing data for Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) for critical surveys on the basis of which TRPs were decided. The company

Ph o t o g r a p h by FOTO C O R P

Dataformatics

also sold Indian language software. The DTP product used ubiquitously in printing cards, magazines and papers was a big seller for Dataformatics. “ There was a whole new bunch of customers who required Devanagiri fonts for printing in vernacular languages. We developed a product with VSoft called Corporate OfďŹ ce which included two Gujarati , four Devanagiri and two designer fonts ,which sold like really well,â€? says Dnyanesh Kulkarni, Director (Sales), Software, Dataformatics. “By1999 along with Microsoft products we added Adobe and Autodesk. We also ventured into anti-virus and security products to expand our operations. We now have TrendMicro and Symantec too. In 2005, we also started distributing hardware products as well and designated a Director for purely this vertical. Now, we have targets upto $300,000 for each quarter. We started our authroised training center for Autodesk and also provide consulatations on procurement of hardware, â€? says Kulkarni, Each of the products has a manager to supervise and scrutinize the development. As the ďŹ rm gained competency and consistency in the software front, Dataformatics added the hardware vertical. The company mostly covers the western belt with ofďŹ ces in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune. Being an established organization it has a pan India network with retailers thereby posing no road blocks to the business opportunities available in the rest of country.

TOWARDS A CHANGE The move into hardware was introduced because of the customers, according to Kulkarni. “We have forged good relations with our customers ever since we established Dataformatics. The customers wanted us to provide hardware along with the software solutions as we are a major distributor. But at the same time we wanted to ensure that we consolidated our software products and solutions before expanding further, so that the focus did not shift and affect business,� explains Kulkarni.

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Dataformatics intends to look at cloud computing for the future. “Microsoft and other major players are talking highly about the Cloud. So we are keen on that and are partnering Microsoft. It is not easy to provide services with this regard because most of these servers are placed outside and the customers are apprehensive about the security of data. But we do expect to move fast. Many of the customers are interested in our offerings. At the same time we are also looking at education and government verticals for the future,â€? says Kulkarni How is their hardware division looking towards the future? They have plans of pushing forward this vertical “We will be focusing on both hardware and software for like government it is not possible to sell only software. It has to be a combination. From a cloud perspective hardware does not have a much of a role. But for us servers and storage is the main focus. Even for cloud the user needs authentication at the entry level and this is where I think servers will play a major role,â€? says Nitin Bhingarde, Director (Sales), Hardware. The evolution of a business consists of change, sometimes even the severance of certain solutions that do not register returns. “We started developing solutions for hospital and document management, but eventually discontinued it in three years. The movement that we had initially anticipated was missing in this domain and we were also leaking ďŹ nances which were being generated from our hardware and software verticalsâ€? adds Kulkarni. Software remains the lifeline of the organization. It is adds up to 82 percent of their business, towering over the hardware and training verticals. Dataformatics is looking at increasing their hardware imprint so as to bring in a semblance of balance in all verticals that they operate in. They are now partnering Dell which is bound to push up their hardware side of the solutions, especially with Dell deciding to sell products indirectly.

FACING THE CHALLENGE The IT industry has changed dramatically and for a company that

VERTICAL SPLIT 3% Traning

15%

Hardware

82% Software

SOURCE: DATAFORMATICS

been practicing the craft for close to two decades their transition can be charted vividly. With technologies becoming more accessible to customers, their comprehension of the need for a particular product has shown a marked change. “Previously when we advised some of customers on the need for an upgrade in the hardware, most would quiz us on such a suggestion. Now they have understood the need for better hardware support for the software implementationsâ€? says Kulkarni. But purely selling only one product or a narrow focus would reduce proďŹ tability for an organization in this domain. Kulkarni believes that the need to diversify and provide more solutions is vital to maintain an

Snapshot Founded: 1993 Revenue 2008-09: Rs 14.89 Crore Revenue 2009-10: Rs 15.90 Crore Key Principals: Microsoft, Symantec, TrendMicro, Adobe, Autodesk, Apple, Dell, Corel, HP Key Executives: Dnyanesh Kulkarni, Director (Sales – Software), Nitin Bhingarde, Director (Sales – hardware) Pushkaraj Soman, Director (Finance) Key Activities: Facility Management Services, IT Security Solutions, Network Management Employees: 42

upper hand in the market. Providing solutions constitutes the process of reinvention and an ability to improvise with ease which would require training the employees. “We realized that prior to selling a particular product we need to comprehend the needs of the customer completely. Once the project is initiated there is no time to experiment with the solutions. We cannot go to a customer and start varying the products during the implementation process. That part has to be done before hand. So we implement it here ďŹ rst and then deploy it for the clients. We also ask our principals to conduct training programs for our engineers,â€? afďŹ rms Kulkarni If ever companies were asked to pick reasons behind their success, their responses would hinge around trust and commitment. Dataformatics is no different. “We deliver whatever we commit to. We believe that our words have great amount of value. We have given new customers liberty talk to previous ones which further helps us in building a relationship with them. This way they know how we function,â€? says Kulkarni But the last 15 to 17 months have been hard on the IT industry. How did the company cope with downturn? “Last year we found it difďŹ cult to meet targets. So we took fewer projects, so that we could achieve more. Rather than the principals giving us the targets we told them about the targets we would b able to meet so that we could achieve better results,â€? says Kulkarni Although their software division scrapped through the scare, the hardware business had a contrasting story. “Hardware was not looking great. In software, the licensing becomes a compulsion for companies. It is more of a choice. It comes into play only when an upgrade is needed. The software division was not shaken much. Cost reduction and lay-offs were inevitable part coping with the recession. We tried our best to reduce the cost we were incurring in the best possible wayâ€? adds Bhingarde. ■— Shreehari Paliath

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â– FAST TRACK

Trident Information Systems

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systems and there was an urgent RIDENT WAS setup in need of robust ERP system. Trident 1997 with the prime grasped the opportunity there. As focus on IT educaJain says, “The market only had tion. The company SAP and Oracle as players, which was keenly following were too expensive for small users. the dotcom boom prevailing in the SMB sector could not afford it. We industry then and was aggressively came up with a standard branded moving in intranet & Internet soluapplication which would be quick tions. But the aspirations were not to implement without pinching there to stop; Trident stretched its the pocket of end user. Microsoft’s wings, Director Anita Jain recalls, product turned out as a promising “We used to be occupied into intrasolution for ERP.â€? net-Internet portals, but then the company revisited its goal and we decided to look at the larger service GOVERNMENT: YOU CAN RELY ON portfolio in terms of business soluThe company’s second line of tions, and we got into ERP and ALP.â€? business is Application Lifecycle Jain asserts that company’s focus Management (ALM). Jain describes on customers’ success is the Trident’s major partnership key to its success. “We ensure with the government sector, that whatever we sell, the cus“IBM’s Rational software tomer adopts and uses to its primarily helps automatfullest potential. We don’t just ing software development sell it; we are not the license of company lifecycle. Most of the corporeseller who just sells and rates like BirlaSoft, Cognirevenues goes away and does not know emerge from zant, etc, have standardized enterprises their application developwhether the customer has ever open that box or not.â€? ment using these software processes. But there is a lot of scope in government entities like MOVING AHEAD WITH ALLIANCE Defense labs in India. Departments Trident chose not to develop its of software development with army own product, rather get into the or air force are still doing developproduct which could give it the ments without using any kind of base to develop its own solutions. standardized process.â€? “Primarily we chose Neligen, Trident started engaging with these which was the stand alone product large Government organizations by this Danish company. Then we because they were doing mission went into alliance with IBM and critical application development. “We Microsoft to opt for their products. started to get them to standardize We are also partners with HP for the process so that their application their product called Mercury. SAP became very robust and error free and Compuware are also our key and they get the actual value. Because partners,â€? says Jain. government is spending so much of During the period of 2001, most money in getting these critical apof the manufacturing ďŹ rms did not plications built for these defense labs, adopt ERP solution. Many compathey need tools and technologies nies were running with disparate which will help them to have the applications developed and tested and deployed faster. Government spending is much larger these days on IT compared to corporate. Automation and IT enablement has just started in the Government sector. Government is opening up and adopting IT at very fast rate, which excites us more for

40%

Company’s focus on their customers is the key to their success says Anita Jain, Director, Trident Systems 42

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Government sector,â€? explains Jain. During recession the revenue from government sector and the customers who have a long standing relationship with us kept Trident going. Jain recalls, “Government did not go into recession. Government clients helped us to keep aoat as otherwise the corporates had stopped buying. We made some special efforts by looking more at cross selling in the existing set of the customers because that is where most of the relationship was there. We got more focused on government entities. We expanded our offerings into government sector.â€?

A SUCCESSFUL ASSOCIATION Central Railway Information System (CRIS) is Trident’s largest customer, Trident has helped in automating lot of its crucial software which run passenger railway system or crew management system or wagons. “All these get managed using IBM’s Rational software. Our early engagement with the team proved as the key to success with railways as we enabled the team to understand what the Rational process is. We did a lot of hand holding in form of training get the tools implemented under our inspection in their project,â€? says Jain This implementation helped Trident to understand the client business which it replicated into their other divisions also. “Once we were able to approve those technologies into that project, we moved to other projects of the Central Railway Information System. There were some more than 15 projects we were involved in, so that deďŹ nitely helped us

Snapshot Founded: 1999 Headquarters: Delhi Branches : Hyderabad Key Executives: Anita Jain – Director, Ramesh Swaminathan - Managing Partner, Abhishek Jain - Partner, Rajneesh Bhagat - Operation Head, Mamta Diwam - Vice President Revenues 2009-10: Rs 9.24 Crore Revenues 2008-09: Rs 8.13 Crore Revenues 2007-08: Rs 7.45 Crore Employees: 70 Key Principals: IBM, Microsoft, SAP, HP Key Business Activities: ERP, CRM, BI, Application life cycle solution

to grow our business,� says Jain, adding, “There was not much competition for us because Rational is the market leader in end to end software life cycle, other software like HP Mercury addresses only a portion of it. We have won against all the competition that came in the way.�

THE JOURNEY GOES ON Trident boasts about its team and infrastructure as it ďŹ nds it crucial for business to have vendor support. “We have a team of competent resources built in house, we

VERTICAL SPLIT 10%

30%

Retail & Utilities

SMB

5%

Education

5%

Hospitality

5% Enterprise

30%

Mid-Market

LOOKING AHEAD

Website: www.tridentinfo.com

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have experts in this technology who can understand the customer and domain, says Jain by adding, “Principal companies, be it IBM or Microsoft or HP, all supported us to go on and have the project success. If there comes any challenges then they come with us.â€? There is a business analysis team in Trident which continuously evaluates new technologies offered by principal companies. “We adopt all the technologies ďŹ rst in house and then take the knowledge to the customers. We are also part of the early adoption team of Microsoft called TAP – technology adoption partners,â€? says Jain by adding, “We have center of excellence for both IBM Rational and the ERP. It’s mandatory for consultants to be certiďŹ ed in their respective technology area. Knowledge sharing and training is a continuous process.â€?

BFSI

25% IT/ITES

30%

Government

20% Others

Trident has a representative ofďŹ ce in US and the company is planning to expand in UAE and South East Asia. “We still feel that Asia is a market where some growth is happening. We are looking at the market in BI and CRM. For most of the companies adopting any form of ERP it is needed to look at the data and draw intelligence,â€? says Jain. The technology that Trident serves with ALM is mostly adopted by enterprise customers. As these are expensive tools which the SMB customers cannot adopt. But the company see SMB driving growth in future. “We like to continuously focus and expand our service offerings for both SMB and Government sector,â€? says Jain. The company has started a new strategic unit called Trident Global Business Services. The new business entity is supposed to be into domain advisory and consulting services apart from the product implementation and technical solution. “We are also coming in the space of providing domain consulting on supply chain and retail analytics. We are bullish about our future,â€? Jain concludes. ■— Kartik Sharma

SOURCE: TRIDENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

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P H O T O G R A P H B Y S R I V AT S A S H A N D I LYA

With more government spending, the thrust on SI business has accelerated to capture the opportunity

‘Public Sector

Business is

BIG’ 44

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Ivy Rajesh, Vice President & Country Head, Industry Solutions Business, HCL Technologies, elaborates on the state of Indian market in 2011 and beyond. How is HCL Technologies anticipating opportunities in the Indian market for 2011? What will be different from 2010? Indian market is in a sweet spot right now. It is one of the fastest growing markets and is expected to grow at 18 percent CAGR over the next three to four years. We deďŹ nitely see a lot of scope for systems integration projects. Typically 60-65 percent of the Indian market would constitute of the SI market including projects, infrastructure support, and application support and the rest would be IT outsourcing market.

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IVY RAJESH | MACRO VIEW â– The public sector spending will continue in 2011 especially in e-governance, PSU, healthcare, and energy & utilities. In the private sector, one of the changes would be higher level of discretionary spending for projects as organizations would invest in technology to improve their time to market to remain competitive and ensure customer satisfaction. The thrust on SI business has accelerated with lot more spending from the government. Additionally, the refresh, rationalization and consolidation approach from customers has multiplied in past four years. Hence the verticalized focus is increasing than before. You drive the SI sales into PSUs and private sector enterprises across select verticals in India? Any dissimilarity in technology roadmap across the two sectors? I don’t think there would be any differentiation in technology roadmap, but the size and scale would differ. The public sector is one of the largest spenders and hence in terms of deal size and opportunity it would be much larger. On the other hand, private sector would be more open for technologies like remote infrastructure management, shared services, cloud offerings or combination of infrastructure and application support. A SI deal would involve a combination of infrastructure applications as well as maybe BPO. A public sector space would want everything in their facility and ask us to build it for them. Would Cloud and RIM emerge as more prevalent delivery models in private sector than public sector? Yes. The public sector would go for private clouds due to the scale of these organizations. It may be worth implementing a dedicated datacenter, trouble ticketing solution or helpdesk dedicated for a public sector organization mainly because of its sheer size. Private sector would deploy shared services or RIM as they would beneďŹ t from sharing their infrastructure over multiple customers as long as we ensure data security and privacy protection. E-governance projects allocate different weightages for pricing and technol-

There are greater chances of us being T1 and maybe with the lowest QCBS quote, but not necessarily L1 ogy than the pure pricing approach as in the past. Is the new practice favorable for solution providers like you? The traditional pure lowest bid approach has been replaced by QCBS (quality and cost-based selection) in most government tenders. This is an extremely good practice adopted off late, which is very beneďŹ cial for Tier 1 systems integrators in general and HCL in speciďŹ c. This technocommercial weightage instills a lot of self-belief to us as a marginally higher quote would also be considered in ďŹ nal evaluation for weightage of technical details. As HCL Technologies has extensive capabilities in designing complex and integrated SI projects, there are greater chances of being T1 (technically superior) and maybe lowest QCBS quote, but not necessarily L1. Which verticals give maximum business and what is your go-to-market strategy to maintain the dominance? Public services (government and BFSI) generate highest revenue as we continue to increase our investments in this space. We further focus on micro verticals like insurance and energy and utilities, public sector undertaking, and e-governance which give us maximum business. Accordingly, we engage closely with our partners (OEMs and technology providers) to stitch together a best ďŹ t solution to the customer. The emerging verticals in private sector are healthcare, manufacturing and travel/transportation/logistics.

What is the typical deal size of an IT project for a large company like HCL Technologies? Do you also target mid market segment in India? One of core tenets of HCL Technologies is its value centricity. At the same time, as long as we are strategic ďŹ t, it need not be a large deal only. However, we will not chase small deals unless they are replicable in nature. In SI space, our spotlight is relatively more on larger deals than pure (infrastructure or application) deal. We do go after few mid market deals with these solutions but across speciďŹ c verticals like manufacturing, life sciences, healthcare, retail, and so on. HCL Technologies does not want to ďŹ ght every deal in the market and we are quite selective. Do you have a third-party model to sub-contract or associate with regional channel partners across upcountry towns for executing large national level projects? No. We don’t really encompass that approach of giving our services to channel provider to take it to upcountry towns. We have our direct sales team who go through stringent training procedure for solution sales or SI sales to build credibility with customer base. For solution-based deals consisting of infrastructure applications and SI, the vertical team travels to meet customer, conduct presentations and offer business proposal. For pure infrastructure projects, we also have good resources in B class cities like Coimbatore, Cochin, Lucknow. At times, if we see synergy to have a consortium with some partners in technology or application space, we leverage their skill sets in deal before hand. However, the entire project is owned and executed by us as a single point of contact for end customer. In 2010, did Indian enterprises prefer an opex model for managing their IT infrastructure? During the downturn, the ability to scale up and scale down became a vital factor for organizations. Today, enterprises are looking for more agile IT models like SaaS, pay per use/ transaction based or outcome based models. â–

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Insight on a Cloudy World Relative to outsourcing, cloud computing is a new term, and is less deďŹ ned, confusing critics in the meantime. The initial feedback on cloud computing, however, shows less openness by the industry toward cloud computing in general but more toward private cloud -- so there is a mad scramble to talk about private cloud too, never mind the notions of application service provisioning, or virtualization, or hosted services that may be accurate descriptions of what is actually being undertaken. As purse strings tightened amid the down cycle, IT executives found that a modular approach to the consumption of IT was more easily justiďŹ able to the board. However, even as economic pressures have eased, we still see continued interest in utility-based consumption of technology — the model has proven to be not just a stop-gap measure, it is increasingly becoming the norm. From a business case standpoint, the on-demand model (i.e., elimination of signiďŹ cant upfront costs, and expenditures more closely aligned with operational usage) has created strong interests in shared, utility-style service provisioning options. As regulatory positions gain more clarity, internal guidelines on cloud computing are expected from super-regional and international players that aim to build cross-country technology platforms. These will give further momentum to the take-up of innovative IT delivery models. They will present best practices and critical decision factors to the industry at large. — Michael Araneta IDC Financial Insights Community I l l u s t r a t i o n s by U N N I K R I S H N A N AV

EVERYTHING ABOUT CLOUD COMPUTING

Business in the Clouds Look closely at IT needs and limitations before determining which cloud services are right By David S. Linthicum

T

HE HYPE about cloud computing would lead you to believe it supplies the “magic beansâ€? we’ve all been waiting for to ďŹ x our past and future mistakes. But the truth

is, rather than introduce elaborate new technologies or solutions, cloud computing tends to concentrate on changing the way we consume them. Cloud computing refers

to an almost inďŹ nite variety of services, from browserbased spreadsheets delivered by Google to the computing infrastructure for a 48-hour actuarial calculation. To fall under the rubric of “the cloud,â€? these services must have several characteristics. First, cloud services must be self-service: If you can’t go to a Web form, set up an account, and start provisioning the service you want, then it’s not a cloud service. Second, cloud services must scale transparently: If you need more horsepower, you needn’t worry about provisioning physical servers, because a virtualized server infrastructure reallocates virtual machines as needed. Along the same lines, that infrastructure is shared — different accounts use the same pool of physical servJANUARY 2011

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ers and storage, with secure logical boundaries to protect data. Some large companies have the resources to build cloud services themselves—the socalled private cloud. But if small and medium-sized businesses want cloud services, they must rely on the public cloud: subscription-based or payper-use services that, in real time via the Internet, extend IT’s capabilities.

TO CLOUD OR NOT Cloud services sound attractive, particularly if your resources are limited. You don’t need to pay up front for software licensing or server hardware, so you’re faced with operational expenses rather than capital investINDIAN CHANNELWORLD

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â– FOCAL POINT | CLOUD COMPUTING ment. Increased business agility may be the biggest payoff. Using the variety of cloud computing known as SaaS (software as a service), for example, you can decide to adopt a sales management system at 8 AM on Monday and be up and running at 9 AM the same day. Applications that would typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to select, install, and deploy can be had for less than $100 per month, per seat. The same nimbleness applies to storage, compute, and even application development and testing. In many cases, the cloud provides an agile, cost-effective alternative to purchasing, installing, and conďŹ guring your own hardware and software. As your business changes, you can change IT along with it using cloud-based systems that have little to no deployment latency. Such agility can directly enhance a business’s ability to enter new markets. The potential to scale capacity and provide access to new services on demand can provide a clear strategic advantage. Small businesses typically don’t have a great deal of cash for IT. When you avoid capital expenditures, you lower risk and free up

money that can be used to grow the business. But switching from internal IT to the cloud has its own risks—not the least of which is switching itself. There are always hazards when changing your technology. These include not meeting the scalability requirements of the business, opening up security issues, or adopting new cloud-based systems that do not meet expectations. For instance, some businesses have found that certain SaaS applications suffer from performance issues that can affect productivity. Then there’s the lock-in problem. When you move data and applications to a cloud provider, it may be hard to move to other cloud providers or back to an onpremises infrastructure. This problem arises because many cloud computing providers, in their haste to get to market, use proprietary mechanisms to deploy applications and store data. You may discover you don’t like your cloud solution, but it may be too difďŹ cult or costly to go elsewhere. Another point about cost: In many instances, cloud computing providers are actually more expensive than

Faster Recovery from Disasters Mid-sized businesses that used cloud-based disaster recovery were back up and running four times faster than non-cloud businesses. That’s according to research from the Aberdeen Group which examined the fortunes of SMEs with disaster recovery. Not only did those companies with cloud-based disaster recovery programs fare better but they met their recovery time objectives (RTOs) more often than companies using in-premise methods and also saw year-on-year improvements in the time need to recover from downtime, said the Aberdeen Group. When Aberdeen examined the use of cloud and the effectiveness of the disaster recovery program, it found that the average time of recovery for non-cloud users was eight hours compared to 2.1 hours for cloud users. — Maxwell Cooter Techworld.com 48

on-premises systems when you look at overall costs across a long period of time. Amortized capital expenses look great in the out years; on the other hand, pay-peruse or subscription fees always rise and may jump when users adopt tantalizing new extracost features. Finally, you need to consider compliance. There are many regulations about how data, such as patient data and ďŹ nancial data, is stored, protected, and managed. For example, in many European countries it’s illegal to send some ďŹ nancial data outside of the country’s borders, so you need to make sure your cloud computing provider is not replicating to remote data centers. Moreover, there are very strict laws about the management of patient information. If data is mismanaged and not secured in the ways as speciďŹ ed by the law, you could ďŹ nd yourself in a great deal of hot water.

RIGHT CLOUD FOR YOU? Or should the question be, is the cloud a good option for you, considering the nature of your business and the limited ducats you’re able to spend? The cloud is bringing applications to smaller players who were once out of reach, and it’s quickly changing the playing ďŹ eld in terms of who can access and utilize enterprise-level cloud applications and infrastructure. There are other factors you need to consider as well, including how to synchronize data now stored in the cloud back into your onpremises systems. Most of those who move to the cloud will do so in segments, so integration is going to be a persistent problem. Also, make sure to keep security, privacy, and performance on your radar.

Despite what the naysayers are spouting, these are typically easy problems to solve, but you need to do some advanced planning. The best way to proceed is to understand your existing limitations ďŹ rst and map that to the core needs of your existing IT solution. There is always something desired that has not been affordable in the past, from CRM to calendar sharing. Now is a great time to reevaluate the affordability of those systems, given the new opportunities in the cloud. Second, make sure to do your homework about the true ROI of using cloud computing for some of your IT needs. Look at costs and beneďŹ ts across a three- to ďŹ ve-year horizon. That’s a good indicator of value. In certain cases, cloud computing systems could be more expensive than on-premises systems, despite the cloud computing hype crowd telling you otherwise. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and it depends upon your organization. Finally, stay on top of cloud computing developments as part of your strategy. If no cost-effective solutions exist today in the cloud, chances are a few will show up next year or the year after. Cloud computing is evolving rapidly, and cloud computing providers should get better and cheaper as time progresses. Cloud computing is an evolution in thinking, technology, and the way we consume IT resources. There are no magic beans here, but some real opportunities now and in the future, particularly for smaller enterprises that can’t afford big-ticket, in-house solutions. ■— InfoWorld

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CLOUD COMPUTING | FOCAL POINT â–

Clearing up the Cloud Confusions What to move to the Cloud is a question most are grappling with today. Here is a primer to clear all doubts By David S. Linthicum

B

Y ITSELF, the ques-

tion of “moving to the cloudâ€? makes little sense. What exactly do you wish to move and what are the speciďŹ c risks and rewards? And if a cloud solution seems attractive, you must always compare it against the equivalent locally installed solution, whether ERP or email. Finally, when you choose to adopt, best practices in each functional area can help ensure a smooth transition.

ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS Enterprise applications are the lowhanging fruit of cloud computing. These SaaS applications provide an affordable way for small businesses to reap the beneďŹ ts of high-end enterprise software, such as ERP and CRM applications, which would otherwise re-

quire installations costing half a million dollars and up if the customer licensed the software and deployed locally. The classic example is Salesforce.com, which was a pioneer in SaaS and has been one of the leading players in CRM for years. But today, you can ďŹ nd robust SaaS applications across all enterprise software categories, from ERP to SCM to asset management. All of these apps deliver their functionality through a browser-based UI—just as most locally installed enterprise apps do today, so the user experience is quite similar. The practical difference is that SaaS providers shoulder the burden of deploying and maintaining the software, servers, and storage instead of the customer. Often, the provider charges some minimal upfront fee for provisioning or migration, but thereaf-

ter, the customer pays on a subscription basis, typically per seat. Set up the user accounts and you’re ready to roll. Enterprise SaaS providers push out updates on a regular basis, so all customers get the latest functionality without having to go through the pain of upgrading locally. At the same time, customers can typically conďŹ gure their applications to adapt to their needs, and within certain restrictions, those customizations still function when updates occur. In addition, many enterprise SaaS providers have open APIs, so customers can develop extensions to the core applications. But cloud-based SaaS applications are still applications. When selecting any software, you need to consider your requirements ďŹ rst and then evaluate the applications that are available, whether on demand or

installed locally. Consider the costs associated with these solutions across a ďŹ ve-year span. BEST PRACTICE: Understand your core requirements and the cost/beneďŹ t trade-offs of adopting enterprise SaaS applications in the cloud. Keep in mind that, over time, you may pay more to a SaaS provider than you would pay for locally deployed hardware and software.

EMAIL IN THE CLOUD Most of us already have at least one email account in the cloud— through Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail—so email may be the easiest cloud computing application for businesses to understand. In fact, many small businesses already shun the hassle of maintaining mail servers and have chosen ei-

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â– FOCAL POINT | CLOUD COMPUTING ther free accounts or have established paid, low-cost enterprise accounts with the likes of Google or Microsoft. Even large organizations, such as the city of Los Angeles, have moved to cloud-based email to save millions of dollars over time. The enterprise versions of cloud email systems typically come with SLAs that guarantee 99.9 percent uptime. They also have much higher storage limits—and, of course, get rid of those annoying ads. Moreover, the email clients often integrate with other cloudbased applications, such as calendaring, document sharing, or browser-based ofďŹ ce productivity suites. The core value of cloudbased email is to allow enterprises to escape from the licensing costs of Microsoft Exchange Server — and from paying administrators to maintain the company email system (sometimes a surprisingly difďŹ cult task). There will still be some administrative activities required with cloud-based email, just no hardware and software to maintain. Part of the reason locally maintained email has gotten so difďŹ cult is the steady increase in requirements over the last decade. Enterprise cloud email providers offer all the modern amenities: archiving, spam blocking, malware protection, and a range of compliance features. If you have special compliance requirements, make sure your provider — or one of its partners — can accommodate them. Otherwise, you may have to stick with a mail server in the back room. BEST PR ACTICE: Understand your email needs and examine all aspects of cloud50

based email systems, such as monthly costs, SLAs, the amount of administrative time required, and special features such as archiving and compliance features.

OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY APPLICATIONS OfďŹ ce productivity suites from Google, Zoho, and others— including most recently Microsoft itself with OfďŹ ce Web Apps—provide free SaaS alternatives to Microsoft’s venerable OfďŹ ce software. As with SaaS email, enterprise versions of these apps are available

for a minimal cost per seat (or, in Microsoft’s cases, a Microsoft OfďŹ ce license). The real value of SaaS productivity applications is not in the apps themselves but in the collaborative possibilities they offer. It’s actually quite useful to work on the same spreadsheet or presentation in real time via the Web with remote users. Indeed, entire companies rely on Google Apps or similar services, with employees near and far collaborating as if they were all sitting together in the same room. But can SaaS versions of ofďŹ ce productivity suites actually replace Microsoft OfďŹ ce—or even its open

Cloud

PROS & CONS Top perceived beneďŹ ts of cloud computing 1 Easy/fast to deploy 2 Pay for only what you use 3 Less in-house staff and lower costs

Top challenges of cloud computing 1 2 3 4 5

Security Performance Availability Hard to integrate it with in-house IT Inability to customize it

What customers want from cloud computing 1 Competitive pricing 2 Performance assurances 3 Understanding of my business and industry 4 Ability to move cloud offerings back on-premises SOURCE: IDC SURVEY OF 244 CIOS AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVES

source clones, IBM Symphony and OpenOfďŹ ce? Not if you want the full range of advanced features, or if you want complex Microsoft OfďŹ ce documents to be viewable and editable in all cases. That’s why most people use SaaS productivity suites as a complement to Microsoft OfďŹ ce, not a replacement. That said, there is change afoot. Many companies are tired of the high licensing fees incurred by OfďŹ ce— and the retraining demanded by OfďŹ ce 2007 rubbed many businesses the wrong way. As Google, Zoho, and others add features and enhance OfďŹ ce compatibility, some small businesses may seriously consider making the leap to the cloud, especially for employees with both light duty requirements and a persistent need to collaborate. BEST PRACTICE: Consider the core business functions, the needs of the end-user, and the distribution of the team.

DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING When companies large or small discuss “using the cloud,� development and testing generally appear at or near the top of possibilities. Organizations that build and deploy applications typically have huge hardware and software costs that include maintaining development platforms as well as platforms for all aspects of application testing—including performance, integration, and stability. PaaS (platform as a service) cloud computing providers have emerged

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CLOUD COMPUTING | FOCAL POINT ■over the last few years to provide application development and testing services. Although Google App Engine is the bestknown PaaS player, other major players include Salesforce’s Force.com and Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Beyond PaaS, there are many IaaS (infrastructure as a service) providers that provide complete development and testing platforms on demand—typically open source environments. Again, the idea is that the cloud provider supplies the hardware and software development tools as a service, typically replacing dozens of on-premises systems and licensing fees. Why such an interest in development and testing in the cloud? Mainly because these activities have a beginning and an end point. In this day and age, you don’t want to provision infrastructure for a temporary activity only to have that infrastructure lie fallow until the next workload comes along. Here, cloud computing’s pay-peruse model is particularly cost-effective. Determining whether your development and testing project is right for the cloud is simply a matter of understanding your own requirements and selecting a PaaS or IaaS to match. From there, it’s rather inexpensive to do a quick prototype to see whether the use of cloud computing is practical. If you need to develop in an environment that includes licensed software, make sure you take any potential costs for that into account. BEST PRACTICE: Consider the types of applications being developed and

the testing requirements. Evaluate both PaaS and IaaS solutions and make sure to do at least one prototype before moving to the cloud.

BACKUP AND RECOVERY Using the cloud as a DR (disaster recovery) platform has some clear cost and technology advantages. Those who need to ensure that their business continues no matter what—and must do so on a budget—will quickly learn that cloud computing platforms (typically IaaS providers that supply storage as a service) are prime contenders for inexpensive places to replicate data. These cloud-based DR sites can be used as redundant data storage locations, for the simple backing up of ďŹ les, or as hot standby sites, ready to provide the core location of data processes until the primary data center is restored. Like development and testing, DR is often high on the list of cloud possibilities. Shared platforms, which charge only for the storage and compute resources that you use, are almost always cheaper than creating a remote DR site, which typically means paying for servers and data center space you’ll probably never access. Larger companies may be able to afford their own DR sites, but for many smaller businesses, a cloud-based solution may be the only affordable way to engage in sound DR practices. The cloud provides a good alternative to both traditional backup and recovery services as well

as use of a geographically different site for those services. If you lose your data center due to a hurricane in Florida, your cloud provider with points of presence all over the world should be able to keep your data safe. Also, you have the option of building systems and managing data in the cloud to create a failover site should core on-premises systems fail or be destroyed. When considering the use of DR with cloud computing, frame your decision in the context of your overall DR or business continuity strategy. The simple act of copying ďŹ les and data to the cloud is not enough to ensure success. The cloud is simply an inexpensive alternative to remote wholly owned systems, but all clouds—and their ability to support DR services—are not the same. BEST PRACTICE: Create a larger DR plan—don’t just jump into the clouds as a DR strategy. Make sure to consider the reputation of the cloud provider, as well as security and privacy.

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Small- to mediumsized businesses typically can’t afford business intelligence software licensing and infrastructure costs. Here, the cloud is really opening up new frontiers. The core idea behind cloudbased business intelligence is to allow those shut out of big-ticket, on-premises BI systems (such as those from IBM or Oracle) to gain more basic but nonetheless valuable business intel-

ligence on demand. Many cloud systems provide the ability to manage huge amounts of data, well into the petabyte range, thanks to the cloud’s ability to leverage any number of provisioned servers—and through new approaches to “big dataâ€? management such as MapReduce using open source products such as Hadoop. Suddenly, smaller companies can use massive amounts of data to make business decisions, such as the ability to plan for inventory levels based on tracking with speciďŹ c market indicators, or sales-by-this and sales-by that reporting. The cloud lends itself to using intensive resources for short amounts of time, and business intelligence applications ďŹ t perfectly into that model, allowing small to medium-sized businesses ďŹ nally to understand the true meaning of their data. All that doesn’t change the fact, however, that obtaining a deeper understanding of your data through business intelligence typically requires specialized expertise—and pricey consulting. You’ll also need to select a cloudbased database that can handle the amount of data you’re looking to mine and ensure that you have the reporting and analysis tools you need to gain meaningful insight. BEST PRACTICE: Look closely at the features of the cloud provider when moving to business intelligence in the cloud. Look at the “all inâ€? costs, including the consulting talent that may be required to get running. ■— InfoWorld

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â– FACE OFF

Microsoft vs. Red Hat

PALLAVI KATHURIA

SCOTT CRENSHAW

Director – Server Business, Microsoft India

VP & GM, Cloud Business Unit, Red Hat

War In The Clouds Microsoft is betting big on Azure. Red Hat claims Cloud Foundations is superior. Whose story is better?

A

S MORE businesses embrace cloud computing,

one of the pre-conditions for any new investment in a cloud-based solution is that the latter would supplement the existing IT infrastructure and capabilities, instead of creating new silos. Keeping this in mind, Microsoft has designed Windows Azure grounds up to be the most open cloud platform available today. It is a general purpose ‘public cloud’ platform offering that is hosted out of Microsoft’s network of 6 state-of-the-art datacenters. Windows Azure enables managing and maintaining the systems with no need to invest upfront on expensive infrastructure. Pay only for what you use, scale up when you need capacity and pull it back when you don’t. Windows Azure follows multiple open standards and protocols, including SOAP, REST, XML, WS-Eventing, SAML, HTTP, etc. It allows developers to run applications written in Java, .Net, PHP, Ruby & Python. It makes a compelling choice for partners as well as end-customers as it is a public cloud offering that reduces not only Capex costs, but also Opex by providing customers freedom from hardware and software licenses. It updates and upgrades itself – letting the customers focus on running their business, not the infrastructure. Windows Azure has received an overwhelming response from the ecosystem with over 6,000 applications developed from India alone. Most large SIs in India such as Wipro, KPMG, HCL, MindTree, Cognizant, MahindraSatyam, have launched Windows Azure practices and Centers-of-Excellence for offering cloud based services.

T

HERE ARE only two companies that can provide a stack of cloud-enabled enterprise software - Red Hat and Microsoft. Most ďŹ rms building private clouds, as well as providers offering private and public clouds, prefer to build their stack on open platforms. Red Hat provides an open source alternative to Microsoft’s Azure. Windows Azure requires that customers rewrite applications to use APIs that are speciďŹ c to Microsoft’s hosted Azure service or large hosted services at a small number of Microsoft hosting partners. Red Hat, by contrast, enables customers to run applications written in their choice of language and framework across physical servers, virtualized environments, and private and public clouds. Microsoft Azure limits opportunities for partners to add value and make money. Red Hat Cloud Foundations actually increases the opportunities for partners by offering a complete channel-ready solution including products, reference architectures, sales guides, and training. Leveraging the open architecture approach, the channel can choose the right cloud provider that meets their needs in terms of technology, SLA, and business models. Red Hat’s certiďŹ ed cloud provider program is the industry’s ďŹ rst program to certify that vendors have validated cloud capabilities and support processes that provide rapid problem resolution. Red Hat stack includes all the needed components: system and storage virtualization, OS, application interfaces, management tools, and middleware. These allow customers to create IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS infrastructures. No other vendor offers this range or exibility.

— As told to Yogesh Gupta 52

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