editorial Brian Pereira
The Cloud is for real and it’s happening Not long ago I met a CIO at a cloud computing forum and he told me that the cloud was 90 percent “talk” and just 10 percent implementation. So I wondered if ‘cloud’ was just another industry buzzword (remember Y2K?). My editorial team and I attended several cloud computing forums, scrutinized numerous cloud computing reports, and consulted many CIOs, analysts and vendors. And after months of research, we have come to this unanimous conclusion: while Indian enterprises aren’t exactly migrating its IT infrastructure to the cloud in droves, the cloud, particularly private clouds, are indeed happening. And the fastest cloud adoption rates are likely to happen in the small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). Let me back this statement with some hard facts: l TCS, India’s premier software services company, expects USD 1 billion in revenues from cloud-based services for SMBs over the next five years l Zinnov projects the cloud computing market in India to be worth USD 1 billion by 2015; it currently stands at USD 70 million l According to Gartner, India-centric IT services companies will represent 20 percent of the leading cloud aggregators in the market (through cloud service offerings) l Gartner also says that by 2012 around 20 percent of all businesses will not own any IT assets — it will all be hosted on the cloud l There are close to 39 million SMBs in India and 60 percent of these do not have any ICT infrastructure; over 95 percent of Indian companies are SMBs l Tata Communications is aiming for 25 percent of the USD 1 billion cloud pie in India; it is pitching its cloud services at the SMB sector l Most cloud adoption implementations in the country are SaaS-based but IaaS is the fastest growing cloud segment To validate all this, our team of talented journalists approached more than 20 organizations in the country across sectors like IT/ITES, telecom, healthcare, BFSI, education, retail and government. And after this exercise what really touched us was not the numbers or the projections. We are really impressed at the impact that cloud technology is making on businesses; and how companies are using this technology in innovative ways. I am proud to declare that this issue presents a comprehensive insight into the adoption of cloud computing in India. The cloud is indeed for real, and it’s happening. And I hope that skeptical gentleman is reading this. n
While Indian enterprises aren’t exactly migrating its IT infrastructure to the cloud in droves, the cloud, particularly private clouds, are indeed happening
Brian Pereira is Editor of InformationWeek India. email@example.com
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contents THE BUSINESS VALUE OF TECHNOLOGY
16 cover story
Telcos, ISVs, SIs, OEMs, cloud aggregators and platform providers are forging strategic partnerships and creating cloud ecosystems
Private clouds witness surge in adoption Evidence on the ground indicates that a host of Indian enterprises are gradually taking a stepping stone into the cloud by building their own private clouds
Cloud views From SaaS, PaaS and IaaS â€“ Indian CIOs are gradually stepping up their focus on the cloud. Here is a snapshot of what you can expect in 2011
Tales from the cloud
Cloud Computing case studies
How partner ecosystems are shaping the cloud
Cloud shines bright in the Indian skies
The cloud as a springboard
Insights, lessons and unique experiences from Indian CIOs who have built their own private clouds
Private cloud helps L&T Infotech slash infrastructure costs
Indian greetings card company uses cloud to manage dynamic traffic
With cloud computing in India set to touch USD 1 billion by 2015, cloud vendors are tapping every available opportunity
A rising number of Indian companies are using the immense power of the cloud to transform their business models
Pennar simplifies processes with MS CRM online cloud service
Cover Design : Deepjyoti Bhowmik 6 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
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interview Stefan Van Overtveldt Chief Engineer Officer, Mastek
case study Bringing people together on one platform
Fast paced growth, a large and scattered user base, and hordes of skeptical users pose many challenges while transitioning to a new messaging and collaboration platform. Hereâ€™s how Electrotherm got round these challenges
feature Six ways to fail in the cloud
Our latest survey shows double-digit increases in cloud adoption. But ignore integration, management and monitoring at your peril
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print online newsletters events research VOLUME 2 NO. 10 n March 2011
Managing Director : Sanjeev Khaira Printer & Publisher : Sajid Yusuf Desai Director : Kailash Shirodkar Editor : Brian Pereira Senior Associate Editor : Srikanth RP Principal Correspondent : Vinita Gupta Senior Correspondent : Ayushman Baruah (Bengaluru) Senior Correspondent : Pratibha Verma (New Delhi) Senior Copy Editor : Bhaswati Das Design Art Director : Deepjyoti Bhowmik Designers : Yogesh Naik , Shailesh Vaidya, Jinal Cheda Marketing Sr. Executive–Marketing : Arshi Khan, Sejal Acharya Advertising Co-ordinator : Jagruti Kudalkar Operations Head—Finance : Yogesh Mudras Head—Operations & : Satyendra Mehra Administration Sales Bengaluru Group Commercial Director : Anees Ahmed firstname.lastname@example.org (M) +91 98450 32170 Deputy Manager—Sales : Satish Kutty email@example.com (M) +91 98452 07810 Delhi Group Commercial Director : Pankaj Jain firstname.lastname@example.org (M) +91 98101 72077 Manager : Sanjay Khandelwal email@example.com (M) +91 98117 64515 Mumbai Group Commercial Director : Salil Warior firstname.lastname@example.org (M) +91 98214 58018 Dy. Manager : Sagar Nanal email@example.com (M) +91 98202 81302 Production Deputy Manager : Prakash (Sanjay) Adsul Circulation & Logistics Assistant Manager : Bajrang Shinde Subscriptions & Database Manager Database : Manoj Ambardekar firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Executive : Deepanjali Chaurasia email@example.com
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ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Company name
Oracle Oracle Kyocera Elitecore IBM Fujitsu ZOHO Development APC Airtel Microsoft
2 www.oracle.com 3 www.oracle.com 5 www.kyoceramita.co.in 11 www.cyberoam.com 13 www.ibm.com 21 www.fujitsu-india.com 27 www.ManageEngine.com/it360 59 www.apc.com/promo 71 www.Airtel.com 72 www.microsoft.com/india/visualstudio
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Editorial index Person & Organization Abhay Chitnis, L&T Infotech........................46 Aditya Rao, Pennar Industries.................... 47 Anand Naik, Symantec................................. 35 Arun Gupta, Shoppers Stop......................... 24 Arun Mehru, True Value Homes................. 26 Charan Padmaraju, redBus..........................44 David Wirt, Tata Communications ..............27 Daya Prakash, LG Electronics India...........64 Dr Deven Shah, S P Institue of Technology........................... 22 Dr Neena Pahuja, Max Healthcare Institute.............................. 22 Ganesan Arumugam, Vmware India.......... 33 George Paul, HCL Infosystems.....................32 Harish Ganesan, 8KMiles............................. 43 Kawaljit Singh Bedi, NDTV Convergence....................................... 45 Kunwar Kishore, Bharti Airtel......................27 Laxman Badiga, Wipro Technologies........ 20 M D Mallya, Bank Of Baroda......................... 13 Manish Dhingra, Mediology.........................40 Mayank Sahai, Tata Teleservices................. 12 N Nataraj, Hexaware Technologies............. 21 Nikhil Soman, Dialify Technologies............ 42 Prasanna Gogwekar, QID Technologies.... 43 R Sankaranarayanan.....................................44 Rajeev Batra, MTS...........................................27 Rajesh Awasthi, NetApp................................32 Ravinder Jain, Aircel......................................27 Rohit Madhur, SAP India ...............................37 S Parthasarthy, Nustreet Technologies.... 39 Satish Joshi, Patni.......................................... 21 Satyadev Adurti, Acme Telepower.............. 41 Shantanu Som, Somnet Dynagraphics..... 26 Sharad Kajaria, IntraSoft Technologies....48 Sharad Sadadekar, HDFC Standard Life Insurance.................... 28 Stefan Van Overtveldt, Mastek................... 56 Sukumar R, Ramco Systems........................ 36 V Ramaswamy. iON......................................... 17 Vijay Sethi, Hero Honda................................27 Vikas Gupta, Tech Mahindra......................... 21 Vikram Rai, Viva Infomedia......................... 30 Vishad Rahangdale, Electrotherm............. 57 Vishnu Bhat, Infosys Technologies.............27 Vivek Desai, Sonata Software ..................... 10
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BSNL-Datacraft alliance targets SMBs for cloud
Sonata Software bags Euro 5 million IMS deal from ATU Bangalore-based mid-tier IT services firm, Sonata Software has bagged a Euro 5 million infrastructure management services (IMS) deal from ATU, Germany’s largest automobile service company. As per the terms of the five-year contract, Sonata will be hosting all the applications for them on their data centers in Hannover in Germany. IMS is a significant revenue stream for Sonata. “Of our USD 300 million worth revenues, IMS contributes about
USD 60-70 million which is roughly 20 percent of our total revenues,” said B Ramaswamy, President and Managing Director of Sonata Software. “Over the years, big bang outsourcing has been replaced by a more granular model wherein you provide focused services such as storage, support, etc,” he added. The deal with ATU, bagged about six months back, has further enhanced Sonata’s presence in
Germany. “Sonata offers these services with a combined on-shore and off-shore delivery model,” said Vivek Desai, VP, Sonata Software. Sonata derives close to 60 percent of its offshore services revenues from Europe and the majority of this is from continental Europe. With close to 500 employees and three data centers in Hannover, Sonata’s service offerings in the region include IT infrastructure management services encompassing data center services, application hosting, server monitoring and management, and 24x7 centralized helpdesks. Sonata claims to have the widest range of IMS offering in the continental Europe region. In 2006, Sonata acquired a majority stake in TUI InfoTec to form a joint venture with TUI AG, Europe’s largest integrated travel company. The acquisition has helped Sonata further strengthen its foothold in the IT infrastructure management space. For the quarter ended December 30, 2010, Sonata’s consolidated revenue stood at about USD 77 million with its international business (IT services plus TUI InfoTec) contributing USD 43 million. Roughly 80 percent of Sonata’s workforce is concentrated in its delivery centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad in India, while the remaining 20 percent works out of Hannover. Ayushman Baruah
Last year, BSNL and Datacraft announced an alliance to jointly provide managed hosted and cloud services under the brand ‘onecloud’. After initially testing out the market, the alliance believes that SMBs represent a huge market, in addition to the enterprises, where both Datacraft and BSNL have a major presence. This is corroborated by independent research from analyst firms. For example, a recent report by AMI-Partners, predicts that SMB spending in India on SaaS, is anticipated to rise by a significant 43 percent in 2011. The alliance hopes to capitalize on this opportunity by offering them a complete set of services such as messaging, ERP, HR or backup services on the cloud. “The cloud is a costeffective and quick solution for the SMBs,” says Karthik Ramarao, Principal Consultant, Datacraft Asia. Ramarao believes that SMBs can gain from the advantage of BSNL’s reach and connectivity. Datacraft is in the process of building six data centers across the country for BSNL, and by around April 2011 all the datacenters will be effective. The data centers are located in Jaipur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Ghaziabad and Faridabad and are inter-connected. While SMBs are a major focus, demand is expected to be strong among enterprise customers too. Vinita Gupta
march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
MNP pushes telcos towards analytics
Statement about ownership and other particulars about newspaper informationweek to be published in the first issue every year after the last day of February
Industry experts opine that it costs 5-10 times more to recruit a new customer than to retain the existing one. With MNP, this possibility has increased exponentially – as subscribers have the opportunity to migrate to a new network while retaining their existing number. “With Mobile Number Portability (MNP), the command is in the hand of customers and not telecom service providers,” opines Amitava Ghosh, Senior VP and Head, Analytics and BI at Reliance Communication. At the recently held SAS Forum held in Mumbai in February 2011, a number of telecom service providers shared this common belief on the increasing importance of analytics in understanding customer preferences accurately, and in maximizing customer value.
1. PLACE OF PUBLICATION MUMBAI 2. PERIODICITY OF ITS PUBLICATION monthly 3. PRINTERS NAME sajid yusuf desai NATIONALITY INDIAN 1[(a) WHETHER A CITIZEN OF INDIA? YES (b) IF A FOREIGNER, THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN NOT APPLICABLE ADDRESS Sagar Tech Plaza, A 615-617, 6th floor, Andheri Kurla Road, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 072, India 4. Publisher’s Name sajid yusuf desai NATIONALITY INDIAN 1[(a) WHETHER A CITIZEN OF INDIA? YES (b) IF A FOREIGNER, THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN] NOT APPLICABLE ADDRESS Sagar Tech Plaza, A 615-617, 6th floor, Andheri Kurla Road, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 072, India 5. EDITOR’S NAME brian pereira NATIONALITY INDIAN 1[(a) WHETHER CITIZEN OF INDIA YES (b) IF A FOREIGNER, THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN] NOT APPLICABLE ADDRESS Sagar Tech Plaza, A 615-617, 6th floor, Andheri Kurla Road, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 072, India
“Analytics play an important role in the entire lifecycle management of the customers. It’s crucial to have a 360 degree view of the customer’s data and based on this information, further segmentation should be done,” said Mayank Sahai, Additional VP-CLM at Tata Teleservices Limited (TTL). With the help of analytics, the list of high churn risk customers can also be predicted. For example, telecom service providers can offer a change of plan, if a customer is not happy with a particular plan.
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6. Names and Addresses of ubm india pvt ltd., individuals who own the Sagar Tech Plaza, A 615-617, newspaper and partners or 6th floor, Andheri Kurla Road, shareholders holding more Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), than one per cent of the Mumbai 400 072, India total capital Stormcliff limited Julia House, 3, Themistocles Dervis Street, 1o66, Nicosia Cyprus I sajid yusuf desai, HEREBY DECLARE THAT THE PARTICULARS GIVEN ABOVE ARE TRUE AND TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF.
SIGNATURE OF PUBLISHER DATED: 15th February 2011
HP to help Bank of Baroda undergo transformation Bank of Baroda has signed an enterprise IT agreement with HP to support its banking transformation. This agreement will help the bank support its rapid expansion plans, streamline its operations and utilize emerging technologies to deliver innovative new services. The bank selected HP for this transformation, including the assessment of the bank’s applications and upgradation of IT infrastructure. HP will provide application modernization services and business intelligence to support new business services. HP consulting services will map out the datacenter transformation,
utilizing HP Converged Infrastructure. This includes server, storage and networking, supported by HP Mission Critical Support. HP will also roll out a new mobile banking solution platform allowing customers to access banking services through mobile devices. “At Bank of Baroda, we are embarking on a new phase of banking transformation that will allow us extend our growth into new and existing markets. Technology is an integral part of this transformation providing us the agility to address changing market dynamics. HP has been a
strategic partner with us through our journey for the last five years,” said M. D. Mallya, Chairman and Managing Director, Bank of Baroda, India. “With changing consumer expectations, banks are looking for new ways to innovate, create new services and react quickly to market opportunities. The agreement with Bank of Baroda will create a more flexible technology environment and strengthen its competitiveness,” said Leo Apotheker, CEO, HP.
InformationWeek News Network
Elitecore Wins NASSCOM Innovation Award 2011 for Cyberoam’s Layer 8 Technology In yet another crowning achievement, Elitecore, provider of Cyberoam UTM appliances has won the ‘NASSCOM Innovation Award 2011’ in “New Technology Advancement” category for Cyberoam's Layer 8 technology. Cyberoam was also recently named the No.1 UTM Appliance Vendor in India as per the IDC Q3, 2010 Appliance Tracker report. For organizations, Cyberoam's Layer 8 technology gives them the unique advantage of security + productivity by offering granular access based on each user's business requirements while enforcing identity-based controls on their network activities.
Cyberoam UTM ties security to end user identity through Layer 8 technology, allowing IT managers complete visibility and controls over online activities in the network. It facilitates identification of behavior patterns to denote misuse, unauthorized intrusions, or malicious attacks from inside or outside the enterprise by specific users or groups.
www.cyberoam.com | email@example.com
Elitecore Product march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
TCS does a Nano; launches cloud-based iON for SMBs India’s largest service provider expects the business from iON to become a USD 1 billion unit in revenues in the next five years By Srikanth RP What does a software behemoth do when it has probably milked every service line and has clients spanning every possible sector? TCS answered this question aptly by donning new robes and stepping into unchartered territory. On February 15, 2011; TCS launched iON – a fully integrated IT solution for SMBs. The scale of the opportunity can be seen from the fact that TCS expects revenues from this business to grow to USD 1 billion. Another indication that this was not just a routine announcement was evident because the press launch of iON was attended by the some of the biggest names in the Tata group — Ratan Tata, the chairman of the Tata Group and FC Kohli, considered to be the father of the Indian software industry. With the Indian market consisting of close to 39 million SMBs – which many market observers and analysts believe is underserved, TCS has the opportunity to garner a big chunk of this market with its first mover advantage. TCS believes that the ‘small’ segment is big, as over 95 percent of Indian firms are SMBs. “Over 60 percent of SMBs in India do not have any ICT infrastructure. The sky is the limit in terms of scale of opportunities,” points out V Ramaswamy, Global Head, iON. The firm has also been smart enough to realize that the solutions are extremely different when it comes to SMBs. Understanding that SMBs have to often grapple with multiple service providers; TCS has offered a bundled solution that
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“Over 60 percent of SMBs in India do not have any ICT infrastructure. The sky is the limit in terms of scale of opportunities” V Ramaswamy, Global Head, iON includes hardware, networks, software and business applications on the cloud. This is backed by technical and consulting services. “iON is a 3rd generation model. Generation 1 is the traditional licensebased model. Generation 2 is delivering software-as-a-service model (SaaS). In Generation 3, we integrate hardware, network, software and services as well. No other player in the market offers such an end-to-end solution stack as we do,” claims Ramaswamy. TCS calls this the ‘ITas-a-service’ model. TCS is looking to create a new market by re-engineering a solution instead of configuring existing enterprise solutions to suit the needs of SMBs. “The sales force for this unit is different, the delivery organization is different – this is a separate business unit. This is the only way that we can create a new business model,” confesses Ramaswamy. For nearly two years, TCS painstakingly went to the interiors of rural India to study the needs of SMBs. Many of the solutions have been cocreated by working closely with SMBs. TCS has already signed up more than 130
customers, and expects this to go up to 1,000 in a year’s time. The firm has also carefully chosen the verticals that it wants to first operate in. The chosen verticals are manufacturing, retail, wellness, education and professional services. These verticals have been chosen because the rate of growth from an IT spend perspective in these verticals is comparitively faster. While the revenues as a percentage of total revenues are naturally negligible, the potential is huge. As firms grow, TCS wants to partner in their growth. For example, Oxford Bookstore, which is a part of the Apeejay Surrendra Group, used the TCS platform to create a loyalty points program that helped in broadening the customer base of Oxford Bookstore. TCS has like other Indian IT peers been trying to de-link its revenues from the head count. In this context, iON is a path breaking initiative, as it gives TCS an opportunity equal to perhaps what the Nano offered for Tata Motors. n Srikanth RP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A comprehensive insight into how the cloud is transforming the entire ecosystem of end users, partners, vendors and service providers
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Private clouds witness surge in adoption Evidence on the ground indicates that a host of Indian enterprises are gradually taking a stepping stone into the cloud by building their own private clouds
Cloud views From SaaS, PaaS and IaaS â€“ Indian CIOs are gradually stepping up their focus on the cloud. Here is a snapshot of what you can expect in 2011
Tales from the cloud
How partner ecosystems are shaping the cloud
Insights, lessons and unique experiences from Indian CIOs who have built their own private clouds
Telcos, ISVs, SIs, OEMs, cloud aggregators and platform providers are forging strategic partnerships and creating cloud ecosystems
Cloud shines bright in the Indian skies With cloud computing in India set to touch USD 1 billion by 2015, cloud vendors are tapping every available opportunity
The cloud as a springboard A rising number of Indian companies are using the immense power of the cloud to transform their business models
Cloud Computing case studies l
Private cloud helps L&T Infotech slash infrastructure costs Pennar simplifies processes with MS CRM online cloud service l Indian greetings card company uses cloud to manage dynamic traffic l
march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
Private clouds witness surge in adoption Evidence on the ground indicates that a host of Indian enterprises are gradually taking a stepping stone into the cloud by building their own private clouds By Srikanth RP Though the evidence is still small, the rising adoption of private clouds across a number of sectors indicates that Indian enterprises are seriously considering the private cloud as a fundamental part of their compute infrastructure. While the initial surge was predictably led by the IT sector, the current evidence indicates that private clouds are blooming in parts in other sectors too. As InformationWeek scouted for real examples on the ground, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of organizations who had deployed a private cloud. (See box: Who is using the private cloud) Five years ago, when Indian enterprises started looking at squeezing out more value from their IT infrastructure, they found an able ally in a technology called ‘virtualization’. The benefits of this technology were amplified in recessionary times, when CIOs were asked by their top management to rein in costs, while still maintaining the ability to support growth. Today, even as the economy is gradually limping back to normalcy, CIOs are now looking at private clouds as a method to flexibly and cost effectively deliver services and resources from a single point.
IT sector leads adoption Most Indian CIOs are looking at private clouds as a stepping stone into the world of cloud computing, as private clouds deliver the same benefits of elasticity and standardization, while adhering to security and compliance needs. As the cloud enables standardization, CIOs have the ability to quickly provision infrastructure or applications according to business needs. For companies in the IT services
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sector, provisioning of project infrastructure is perhaps one of the most important pieces in getting a project quickly executed. This is also one of the most challenging tasks, as most companies in this sector execute distinct projects for multiple clients spread over multiple countries. As projects can be short in duration, the IT team has less time for provisioning infrastructure according to dynamic needs. Any delay in provisioning the required hardware affects project delivery. Similarly, ineffective utilization of hardware infrastructure affects the margins of the projects. Ramping up and scaling down project infrastructure based on project needs is also not possible with the traditional model. A private cloud is a perfect model for companies in the IT sector as it helps in addressing the challenges of providing infrastructure quickly. From the initial statistics shared with us by some of the leading IT companies, we can gauge the huge benefits that a private cloud can offer to an enterprise. For example, Infosys’ private cloud christened ‘MyCloud’, has the ability to host around 3,000 virtual machines (VMs) with an easy-to-use ‘Self-Service’ portal and template-based provisioning. Infosys is looking at substituting
additional desktops and servers that are physically installed in server rooms with these VMs. Due to the internal cloud, the allocation time for providing project infrastructure has been reduced from two days to eight hours. A previous machine snapshot can be restored within five minutes in case of disaster. The speed and agility that a private cloud can deliver can be seen from the example of Infosys. Using the private cloud infrastructure, Infosys could build twin data centers in a record time of 5.5 months with more than 30 services and two clients going live. More importantly, the deployment resulted in major cost savings for Infosys with more than 50 percent reduction in the effort cost of leveraging Infosys’ Global Delivery Model. Similarly, Wipro has documented savings of slashing the time taken for provisioning infrastructure using a selfservice portal environment. “The private cloud has helped us in faster provisioning of resources for our projects. Today, compared to a typical 46 day period for provisioning infrastructure for a project, we can now achieve the same task in just 35 minutes,” says Laxman Badiga, CIO, Wipro Technologies. Badiga says that the process of identifying, procuring and provisioning resources has been reduced to just sending a request. The resources
“Compared to a typical 46 day period for provisioning infrastructure for a project, we can now achieve the same task in just 35 minutes”
Laxman Badiga, CIO, Wipro Technologies
are readily provisioned and available for use. Wipro today has more than 1,500 virtual servers running on the cloud. Patni has a similar experience. Satish Joshi, Executive Vice-President and Global Head Technology, Patni, tells us that the time for provisioning infrastructure has gone down from weeks to a few hours. “Today, we can provision development and testing environments for new applications within a few hours,” says Joshi. Private clouds also provide software services companies a perfect platform to rapidly launch new services. For example, Hexaware recently announced the launch of its cloud service, wherein it proposed to offer clients services in the space of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. The foundation for launching these services is a private cloud, built using NetApp’s multi- tenant storage solutions and VMware’s vCloud Director. “Historically, a typical IT person spends close to 70 percent of his time in application and infrastructure maintenance related activities. A private cloud enables an IT professional to reduce time on maintenance, and concentrate instead on innovation,” emphasizes N Nataraj, CIO, Hexaware Technologies. Given the extreme competitiveness of the companies in the IT services sector, the utilization and reusability of the hardware and software infrastructure is crucial. “Earlier with a traditional approach, we were purchasing dedicated stacks which we had to live with for three to five years. Today, with the power and flexibility of private cloud, we can now configure and re-configure resources
“With the power and flexibility of private cloud, we can now configure and re-configure resources based on demand and utilization”
Vikas Gupta, VP-IT, Tech Mahindra based on demand and utilization. I would say, with highly virtualized pools of compute, network and storage, we have become more flexible and agile,” says Tech Mahindra’s VP for IT, Vikas Gupta, vouching for the benefit of a private cloud. As Tech Mahindra has a huge focus on the telecom sector, it is leveraging its experience learnt while building private clouds, and using this to service clients effectively. “We have seen that the resource and workload demand is cyclical in Tech Mahindra because it is purely driven by business demand. To leverage the power of private clouds, we have started working on porting our applications to private cloud, some of them being specific to the Telco market we target,” explains Gupta. Today, with the adoption of private clouds, the IT function can deliver what the business wants as a catalog of services. Gupta says that this has completely changed the overall conversation and approach with which the IT function interacts with the business for their technology related needs. The business can choose from the catalog of services making them more competitive and agile, while the
“A private cloud enables an IT professional to reduce time on maintenance, and concentrate instead on innovation”
N Nataraj, CIO, Hexaware Technologies
IT function can concentrate its time on innovation, rather than focusing on maintenance-related activities.
Private clouds develop roots in education sector Clouds are also well suited for educational institutes, as most institutions are today struggling to securely and cost effectively provide IT infrastructure. Take the case of Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, a Mumbai based-educational institution. In an educational institution such as Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, labs are set up as per subject requirements and as there is no separate lab for individual subjects, every machine is installed with multiple heavy applications. This is a headache for a lab assistant, as he or she has to reconfigure every machine for addition of new software or to upgrade existing software. Educational institutions also grapple with the problem of extensive usage of pendrive in college labs, which is the main source of virus problems. Typically, final year students are provided dedicated desktops for their final year project. They submit a CD containing source code and documentation of project during submission. Setting up the production environment for the projects is hence difficult after the students pass out. There is a need for effective storage of projects, which is the institution’s Intellectual Property (IP). Using Eucalyptus Systems’ private cloud solution, the institute has built an internal, private cloud based on open source technologies and compatible with Amazon’s cloud services. Some of
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cover story the existing desktops were clustered to create the cloud infrastructure and no additional hardware had to be purchased. The institute has been one of the early adopters in the educational sector to adopt an open source-based private cloud. “Post deployment, we can create machine instances on-the-fly and create an infrastructure according to requirements. The adoption of the private cloud has also helped in cutting our annual IT budget by 70 percent,” explains Dr Deven Shah, HOD, IT Department, Sardar Patel Institute of Technology. The private cloud also allows students to launch multiple virtual machine instances (based on various practical experiments) from any computer system. A student can attach her storage space to that particular instance to save any work done. In case a particular instance gets infected by a virus, the infection remains in that particular instance, and does not affect other running instances. This ensures a higher level of security. The deployment has also allowed the college to ensure optimum usage of bandwidth. Each virtual machine instance is allotted a fixed amount of Internet bandwidth, restricted to a few MBs in terms of data transfer caps. This ensures that students do not misuse the connectivity to download large multimedia files or software or surf unauthorized websites. Today, each student has his own storage space in the cloud. Students can use the cloud storage space to store their daily experiments. College projects are also available to the college for reference even after the student attains his degree. More recently, IIT Delhi also set up
“A private cloud model was chosen to ensure the desired levels of security and high availability as the healthcare demand for data security and SLAs are extremely stringent” Dr Neena Pahuja, CIO, Max Healthcare Institute a private cloud with implementation assistance from Progressive Infotech. The computer centre of IIT has always received high demand being a researchoriented institute of higher learning – and a private cloud deployment will enable the institute to move around workloads easily for load balancing purposes and to allocate computing resources. One of the major benefits of the private cloud will be in the area of critical research or consulting projects that need high computing requirements and some repetitive experimentation. After the deployment of the virtual machines, the old data can be stored and reused as and when required. The same benefits, that these educational institutions have realized with private clouds, can be amplified when large associations leverage the cloud. For example, universities and state-education departments can share their infrastructure and create a private cloud.
A healthy outlook for healthcare In a recent report, management consulting firm, Zinnov estimated that the cloud could potentially address close to 40 percent of the total annual
“Post deployment of the private cloud, we can create machine instances on-the-fly and create an infrastructure according to requirements”
Dr Deven Shah, HOD, IT Department, Sardar Patel Institute of Technology
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healthcare IT spending in India. Zinnov believes that the healthcare infrastructure in India is currently chasing a 50 percent gap compared to its global peers. This necessitates an urgent need to scale up the infrastructure to cater to a population of over a billion. Apart from the various administrative hospital functions that can be standardized and delivered using a cloud-based solution, the research undertaken by Zinnov estimates that the cloud can lower IT infrastructure cost by approximately 30 percent. With typical concerns of data security, integrity and availability, the ‘private’ cloud is a preferred option for organizations in the healthcare sector. This is corroborated by a recent KPMG report titled, ‘The Cloud: Changing the Business Ecosystem’. The report states, “Considering that the nature of the business involves the management of highly sensitive patient data; most healthcare providers are exploring a private cloud. Until the concept of the cloud gathers enough acceptance across industries, pharmaceutical companies are expected to primarily resort to the comforts of the environment of a private cloud”. A case in point is Max Healthcare, which has partnered with Dell Services, to convert its IT infrastructure of all eight Max Healthcare facilities into a private cloud running remotely from Dell Services Data Center. Explaining the need for creating a private cloud, Dr Neena Pahuja, CIO, Max Healthcare Institute, says, “Max Healthcare is growing fast and our four new hospitals will be operational by the third quarter of this year — doubling
our current bed capacity. We wanted to create a scalable IT environment to support our growth and hence decided to go in for a cloud environment. A private cloud model was chosen to ensure the desired levels of security and high availability as the healthcare demand for data security and SLAs are very stringent.” The ease of information access and the agility in provisioning IT infrastructure is a huge advantage. Dr Pahuja cites one example that demonstrates the true power of the cloud. “Some of our clinicians just love
this as it allows them to see patient data anywhere on their Blackberries, iPhones or iPads. In one case, a doctor was remotely able to diagnose a bleeding patient brought in trauma in the early hours of day, without rushing to the hospital. The timely diagnosis helped in getting immediate treatment to the patient.” Currently, Max Healthcare has deployed its Hospital Information System on the cloud, and is planning to rollout its Electronic Health Care System (EHR) on the private cloud. The future clearly lies in federated or community clouds. For example, in
the US, some large hospitals are coming together to build community clouds. In this case, the cloud infrastructure is shared by organizations in a specific community. A case in point is Torontobased Mount Sinai Hospital, which has set up a community cloud to serve 14 other hospitals in the area. The federated cloud provides individual hospitals access to an ultrasound application that is too expensive for each hospital to buy individually.
Helping the retail sector manage crests and troughs A shared central infrastructure enabled
Who is using the private cloud? Sector
Usage / Benefit
Allocation time for providing project infrastructure has been reduced from two days to eight hours. A previous machine snapshot can be restored within five minutes in case of disaster. The deployment has resulted in major cost savings for Infosys with more than 50 percent reduction in the effort cost of leveraging Infosys’ Global Delivery Model.
Compared to a 46 day period for provisioning infrastructure for a project, the same infrastructure can now be provisioned in just 35 minutes.
Sardar Patel Institute of Technology
The adoption of the private cloud has helped in cutting the annual IT budget by 70 percent. The private cloud also allows students to launch multiple virtual machine instances from any computer system
One of the major benefits of the private cloud will be in the area of critical research or consulting projects that need high computing requirements and some repetitive experimentation.
The private cloud allows Max Healthcare to set up its process and tools at new facilities easily, as these facilities get access to Max’s Hospital Information Management System by just hooking up to the cloud.
Will help the organization to match the pace of growth without a commensurate increase in data center assets
The Kerala State IT Mission
The Kerala State IT Mission has signed a tri-partite agreement with IIITM-K and C-DAC, Chennai (C-DAC) for testing applications such as SPARK (State Pay roll and Personnel Management System) on a private cloud
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cover story by a private cloud is beneficial for retailers, as it gives them not only faster access to customer data, but is also helpful in rolling out new product initiatives. A case in point is Shoppers Stop, a pioneer in modern retailing. “The retail industry is now in an expansion mode with the economy looking up. As we expand our business operations, scalability of the data center infrastructure was one of the key requirements identified. The business need for deploying a private cloud was driven by resilience, variable load factors of various applications, data center consolidation and potential savings from clouds,” explains Arun Gupta, Group Chief Technology Officer at Shoppers Stop. Gupta says that the private cloud deployment has enabled his firm to save on capital investments by almost 40 percent. More importantly, even as business continues to grow, there is no commensurate increase in data center assets.
A cloud for the government Looking at the typical scale that a government institution works, the cloud has huge potential to deliver huge efficiencies. For example, the Government of Kerala is testing out a private cloud. The Kerala State IT Mission has signed a tri-partite agreement with Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Chennai (C-DAC). In the first phase of the project, IIITM-K and C-DAC are setting up a cloud test-bed. Accordingly, the initiative hopes to onboard on the cloud projects or applications which require
better performance, responsiveness and scalability with varying load. Dr Ajay Kumar, Principal Secretary (Information Technology), Government of Kerala, shares the example of SPARK (State Payroll and Personnel Management System), which is used by nearly 5.5 lakh government employees of the state. This application requires huge amount of computing resources during the peak period of computation which happens during the last week of the month. Such applications may face problems of poor response time of the system due to want of resources. He also cites the examples of applications in the education department, which handle functions such as common admission counseling and results. These applications register heavy traffic only at the time of admission or results. In other periods, the system remains idle. “We have chosen SPARK application for testing because there are 2 lakh users. The application receives close to 3 to 6 crore hits during the last week of every month and we believe that this will be five times more by 2011. In such applications, pooling of computing resources would facilitate faster operations and only when resources are actually needed,” explains Dr Kumar on how the cloud model can drive further efficiencies. Another initiative, that has the potential to usher in huge efficiencies across government organizations, is a pioneering step taken by NIC. The Open Technology Group at NIC, Chennai is testing out a private cloud using Ubuntu Enterprise cloud with the help of CSS Corp. “Our goal is to reduce hardware cost, save infrastructure setup and
“The business need for deploying a private cloud was driven by resilience, variable load factors of applications, data center consolidation and potential savings from clouds”
maintenance costs,” says Senthil Kumar, Technical Director, OTG, NIC, Chennai. The private cloud is being tested for running some of the e-governance projects. Once the testing is fully complete, the team plans to submit the outcome of this setup to the top management, who then will take a call on deploying this infrastructure across the country.
Early adopters will boost confidence For the past few months, we have been asked the question, ‘Is the cloud real or a big marketing hype?’. When we started out exploring this story, we were not sure of the number of Indian companies that had deployed a private cloud. After talking to vendors and a huge number of CIOs, we can definitely say that the cloud will be a vital part of a CIO’s business IT strategy in the years to come. Some CIOs, that we spoke to, say that companies in the SMB sector will be the first to adopt the cloud. Government is another sector where we will see cloud adoption. And of course, there is the emergence of federated clouds. Large enterprises, that have made significant investment in infrastructure, will seriously consider the cloud during the next refresh/upgrade cycle. Gartner has said that enterprises will also implement Hybrid clouds. While the evidence of companies who have implemented a private cloud is still at an extremely small scale, the acceptance of the model by organizations across the industry spectrum proves that the private cloud model will be a vital part of the compute infrastructure. Hopefully, the early adopters will convince the fence sitters that the cloud story is here to stay, and the private cloud is a big stepping stone for organizations that truly want to experience the power of the cloud. n
Srikanth RP (email@example.com)
Arun Gupta, Group CTO, Shoppers Stop
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Rains from private clouds percolate to SMBs
he true sign of a technology being adopted is when smaller enterprises start implementing a particular technology for maximizing business value. A case in point is Somnet Dynagraphics, a small IT solutions firm that has built a private cloud using open source. Says Shantanu Som, Director-Technical, Somnet Dynagraphics, “Our sales people can now load data in CRM from anywhere, which entirely runs on cloud. Our support engineers get support tickets via SMS on their mobile while on the move, bettering their response time and increasing customer satisfaction.” Som says that the open source framework has given his firm low TCO. “Now, we have more employee engagement which translates into higher operational efficiency. Less IT investment per employee is also another motivational factor.” To enhance security, Somnet uses 128 bit encryption and OTP (One Time Password). The OTP reaches a user via a SMS. This provides a high security environment, even if employees use an Internet café. The scalability of the private cloud makes it apt for SMBs. “One of our business units supports around 2,200 installations of high-end multifunction devices and this is a customer intensive operation. We manage the entire operation and workflows of that unit with our own solution
which also has a self service module for all 2,200 users. This is a complex requirement as most of the workflows and business reports are extremely customized,” explains Som, on why a private cloud makes sense for his enterprise. Another case in point is True Value Homes, a fast growing construction company. The pace of growth of the organization can be seen from the fact that the company has completed 4 million square feet of cumulative construction and has projects covering about 12 million square feet in the pipeline—9 million in residential and 3 million in commercial property. Every year, the firm has plans to achieve a target of building 2.5 million square feet. For this organization, meeting IT infrastructure requirements with the pace of growth is a challenging task. A private cloud is apt as it gives the firm the ability to quickly deliver infrastructure requirements from a central location. “Whenever a new site comes up, it takes only two minutes to provide infrastructure and access to end users,” exclaims Arun Mehru, Director-Procurement and IT, True Value Homes. Mehru marks ‘security’ as the biggest draw of the private cloud as it helps the IT function in centralizing and monitoring user access. True Value has built the private cloud using hardware from IBM. n
“Due to the private cloud, we have more employee engagement which translates into higher operational efficiency”
“Whenever a new site comes up, it takes only two minutes to provide infrastructure and access to end users”
Shantanu Som, Director-Technical, Somnet Dynagraphics
Arun Mehru, Director-Procurement and IT, True Value Homes
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Leading CIOs share their views on what they are doing on the cloud
Vijay Sethi, Vice President – Information Systems, Hero Honda We have set up a dealer management system wherein our vast network of dealers can VPN into our corporate system. We are now looking at extending this on the SaaS platform. For me, IaaS and PaaS do not make sense now since I have already made investments in on-premise infrastructure.
virtualization in India we will leapfrog from compute on physical servers to private or hybrid clouds. The rest of the world went through the cloud evolution, by first consolidating servers, then virtualizing data centers, then deploying a private cloud, and then getting into a federation between private and public cloud.
Ravinder Jain, CIO, Aircel This year we will focus on Cloud and we are considering the SaaS model and eventually PaaS. But we are not opting for the hosting model.
Rajeev Batra, CIO, MTS Vishnu Bhat, Vice President and Head, Systems Integration, Infosys Technologies
Government clouds Some of our key customers are in the Government sector. We see a lot of traction happening in the Government sector, especially in the West and this trend will pick up here too. Worldwide, we are talking to several Government institutions for cloud services. For instance, we worked with a city in Florida where we moved their entire applications and document management into a Google cloud. We see a similar trend for citizen services in India as well. We are in discussions with the government of India now.
We have our data centers in Chennai and Noida. We are offering our customers data backup services on the cloud. They can connect their data cards to the laptop and install a small piece of software. It would then scan all folders on their desktop or laptop and the next time he connects to our public data switching network his folders would be backed up in our data center. This service is targeted at SOHOs, SMEs and high networth individuals (HNIs) who are not particular about things like compliance.
Other sectors We have more than 40 customer engagements now. We are seeing major interests in the retail segment, banking and capital markets, manufacturing (especially the hightech manufacturing companies). Now we are also seeing interest in cloud in the Energy and Utility space, and the insurance sector.
Kunwar Kishore, Head of Data Centres - Bharti Airtel In 2009, the number of virtual servers deployed in enterprises far exceeded the number of physical servers shipped. With companies moving straight to server
David Wirt, Global Product Head, Tata Communications The private cloud market will be bigger than that of public clouds. You will see more of managed hosting environments that will have a toolset on top with cloud like attributes. But the pricing models will be very different and the ability to burst up and down will be much different than a public cloud offering. That’s why hybrid clouds are a critical element of any company’s strategy.
— As told to Brian Pereira
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Tales from the cloud:
Lessons from the trenches For Indian enterprises, the cloud is a huge opportunity as well as a huge challenge. To help understand how Indian CIOs can effectively face â€˜cloudâ€™ thunderstorms, InformationWeek spoke to CIOs who have built their own private clouds. Reproduced below are insights, lessons and unique experiences that hopefully will serve as reference points for moving on to the cloud Laxman Badiga, CIO, Wipro Technologies Every cloud is a virtualized environment. The real essence of a private cloud is in making it dynamically expandable, and how we can reclaim and reuse IT infrastructure in a more efficient manner. When you are moving from a traditional approach to the cloud, the whole mindset has to completely change. For example, with the private cloud, users can request provisioning of infrastructure using a self-service module. Left unmonitored, this can quickly lead to a virtual machine sprawl. As the IT function, we expect the user to be disciplined, while the user expects the IT function to manage this. We learnt a lot from these experiences, while building the private cloud. In essence, you need to have a robust governance mechanism to fully gain from the benefits of a private cloud
Sharad Sadadekar, AVP - Information Security and Technical Services, HDFC Standard Life Insurance IT leaders should consider five major phases when considering cloud computing: l
Build Business Case: Business case has to be based on business needs and enhancing operational efficiency without any major impact on the regular operational activities. Gain support from senior business leaders and senior stakeholders. Build a cost benefit analysis and then estimate costs and resource requirements.
Value Delivery: Align the project case with the business strategy, and show how it can deliver business value. Inform about the possible changes that will affect your business environment.
Readiness: Identify the budgetary, staffing, technology and other requirements necessary to prepare the business. Develop a total cost of ownership analysis framework. Review established policies for assessing risk and managing governance.
Proof of Concept: Identify a group to pilot, or develop a prototype or a use case. Develop and communicate detailed requirements. Manage the pilot/prototype. Access and communicate the results.
Approval and Signoffs: Analyze findings of the readiness assessment and pilot or prototype effort, and revise the strategy and business case accordingly. Present findings to senior stakeholders and business leaders.
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Satish Joshi, Executive Vice-President and Global Head Technology, Patni The first step in creating a private cloud is a strong assessment and inventory creation of what computing capacity is installed and what portion is in use. Geographical distribution is an important component of the assessment. Technology diversity is another. Contractual obligation is the third dimension wherein an enterprise has to maintain boundaries between different compute environments despite technological similarities. The most important issue to be tackled when moving to a cloud environment is change management which is an important time consuming constraint.
Vikas Gupta, Vice-President, Technology, Tech Mahindra As a first stepping stone to private cloud, I would suggest that an organization must start by looking out for opportunities to virtualize server farms. Anything that comes for any new Tech Mahindra site is now on a virtualized stack and there are simply no exceptions to it. Another important thing is to rationalize your application stack, we did an internal study of our application stack and found out that we had about 42 percent of applications which were seldom used but they were eating valuable company resources. I am better equipped and informed today and can quickly take a decision to keep an application on-premise or offpremise. If you want to get ready for private cloud tomorrow start thinking of introducing hardware standardization when buying new hardware, keeping limited room for exceptions. About two years back, we decided to buy standardized hardware only, which has proven to be cost-effective to us in terms of management and procurement. We are now working on centralizing and automating the management piece of it. Our information systems teams are relooking at IT processes to orchestrate appropriately. It is also equally important to look at your processes and complete lifecycle of rending services to business. If your IT resource demands are not really elastic or cyclic you would be better off waiting for some more time before deploying your own private cloud. I suggest building a catalog of services as we did, to attach cost and SLA to each service and then do an analysis of various business units’ cost consumption. This is a great tool to find out if a certain area of business or a business unit is proving to be more profitable to the organization compared to other businesses. This may help the top management in focusing on that piece of business, though this is not the only thing to look at to be able to take a decision in this area, but this is a good way to show at least in theory what the IT costs are, for a particular line of business. The biggest challenge for Tech Mahindra was to convince
business units to buy the idea of cloud itself. We don’t practice charging back our business units for the IT services rendered to them by my group, TIM (Technical Infrastructure Management). The problem is that everyone wants a piece of hardware dedicated to them not worrying about cost too much. We worked out a cost structure of IT services offered to various business units and starting showing them how much these services cost based on their consumption. This notion of ‘theoretical chargeback’ helped us convince them stick to the idea of not going for an exception. I must admit that the business unit heads really supported us when we told them how much they were investing on the IT services by doing exceptions. My team faced some teething issues of building capacity on managing cloud so we had to invest in sending them to trainings. While we are building skills internally for cloud, our resource management group is in sync with our future cloud related requirements and is mandated to hire resources appropriately. Lastly, while rationalizing applications the teams have been asked to carefully look at the frameworks the applications are dependent on. My team has implemented an open source private cloud solution in one of our biggest data centers based in the Western part of India to address typical vendor lock-in issues related to private cloud. Our developers are building new applications for the cloud which are not dependent on vendor’s cloud tools and are framework agnostic as much as possible. Keep in mind that the play is public cloud in future so, private cloud is really just a stepping stone in the journey. Tech Mahindra is operating in hybrid model today wherein we are running a mix of private, public and non-cloud based services.
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Dr Deven Shah, HOD, IT Department, Sardar Patel Institute of Technology We used a cache system to improve user experience. For example, when a user launches a virtual machine he has to wait for some time (loading and booting time), till he gets access to it. To reduce the time, we included a cache system where lab administrators can cache virtual machines depending upon the anticipated usage
Arun Gupta, Group CTO, Shoppers Stop Enterprises must start small with some basic off-the-shelf applications which can be easily installed and tested on virtual servers. The next step would be to rigorously test the development and test environments before moving to production. Check your licenses and the impact when moving from physical to virtual environment. Take up the opportunity when you are planning refresh or new servers. Challenge the application providers to work with you to deploy solutions in the cloud. All providers of cloud solutions have a story to tell and work; your choice would be dependent on the technology stack within the enterprise. Don’t just go by what vendors tell you; see and experience it for yourself. Challenges are largely with scalability as promised by vendors as well as by applications. Some of them do not work as promised. Find system integrators who have been there and remember they may not be your usual big IT companies or your current vendor. We worked with principal technology companies and asked them to own the integration and complete migration.
— As told to Srikanth RP
Viva Infomedia leverages the cloud for managing rising volumes The firm has used Netmagic’s cloud infrastructure to transform its static SMS transaction infrastructure A fast emerging provider of information products and services, Viva Infomedia specializes in providing customized leads and direct marketing activities using mediums such as SMS and interactive media. With business growing fast, the firm faced a huge challenge in scaling up the infrastructure according to growing business requirements. The firm’s dedicated server could not handle the increasing business load. There were also scalability issues with the server not being able to cope with peak time traffic of SMS transactions, especially on weekends. To address these issues, the firm decided to adopt a cloud computing platform to meet peak time surges in SMS transactions. After testing out the service offerings of various cloud based providers, Viva Infomedia zeroed in on Netmagic. Netmagic partnered with Viva Infomedia to migrate its entire SMS transactions infrastructure. Today, Viva Infomedia can handle fluctuating business loads through superior
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scalability provided by the cloud-based platform by simply switching to parallel servers and raising a PO to increase infrastructure. The elasticity provided by the cloud-based service is apt for a firm like Viva Infomedia, as it can efficiently accommodate rapidly growing transaction loads using a cloud computing platform. It also gives the ability to attain high levels of server scalability on demand and meet peak time surges in SMS transactions. Vikram Rai, MD, Viva Infomedia, explains this with the help of an example. “When we set up in 2009, our volumes were around 20 lakhs SMSs a month. Today, it is more than 20 crores per month. The cloud service from Netmagic has definitely given us the benefit of scalability while being cost effective.” In addition to scalability of infrastructure, the cloud also gives a firm like Viva Infomedia the ability to archive huge amounts of data quickly.
How Partner Ecosystems are shaping the Cloud Telcos, ISVs, SIs, OEMs, cloud aggregators and platform providers are forging strategic partnerships and creating cloud ecosystems. All this will help the enterprise accelerate its journey to the cloud By Brian Pereira They say marriages are made in heaven. Well, great partnerships in the IT industry occur more down to earth, like in the clouds. While Indian enterprises are yet to migrate to the cloud in droves, cloud enablers and solutions providers are hard at work getting their solutions and platforms ready. We spoke to various entities in the industry about their partnerships and strategic alliances—they all emphasized the importance of tightly integrating all pieces of the cloud offering. And to make this possible vendors and service providers are
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forming their own partner ecosystems. In a partner ecosystem various partner entities bring their technologies and products together and back this with their combined strengths in integration, technology consulting, services, sales and marketing. The result: a win-win situation for all entities, and a-one-stop shop for customers, backed by a single SLA and a single point of support. Let’s talk about the technology vendors first. The traditional approach is to sell products to customers through the channel. Now vendors are extending
their channel programs to include service providers. Take the case of NetApp, a vendor of enterprise storage systems and technologies. In 2010 NetApp extended its channel partner program to include cloud service providers. It works closely with service providers like HCL Infosystems. A release from NetApp says service providers who join the NetApp Partner Program benefit by “gaining access to a wide range of unique tools and programs delivered by NetApp.” This includes technical training and service
benefits, as well as marketing and sales support. We elaborate later in this article. The new trend is summarized well by George Paul, Executive VicePresident, HCL Infosystems. “Gone are the days where the complete vertical integration came from one organization. Today you have the product and technology players. Then there are experts in the areas of middleware, SI, and in the application space. As an SI we design the solution, take this technology piece of NetApp and build into it,” said Paul. NetApp works closely with SIs, telcos and cloud aggregators who deliver cloud services. It assists their technical operations team to use its assets “in an efficient manner” so that they “deliver more by using less storage capacity”. This is what it calls the “technical enablement”. Explaining the unique features of its partner program, Rajesh Awasthi, Director- Telecom and Cloud Service Provider, NetApp said, “Through this program we help service providers to ‘productize’ some of the services based on NetApp technology. We help them in reducing the time to market by sharing the best practices on NetApp technology.” Interestingly, NetApp also offers training for the service provider’s sales teams, who may be good at selling say, voice services, but are not acquainted at selling IT services. This is what it calls the “sales enablement.” Beyond this NetApp works with the service provider’s marketing team for demand generation. It executes joint marketing events for creating platforms to create demand generation
“We help service providers ‘productize’ their services based on NetApp technology.We help them reduce the time to market by sharing best practices” Rajesh Awasthi, Director- Telecom and Cloud Service Provider, NetApp for these services and even offers a development fund for service providers. And finally, it does a joint go-to-market with the service provider (from the sales perspective). Partners in the ecosystem may also bundle and cross-sell each other’s offerings. A technology vendor may sell the services of an SI or telco to its own customers, for instance. It may use its own channel for this purpose, as in the case of NetApp. These types of partner arrangements are win-win for all entities in the ecosystem as some may not have the expertise in selling, or lack skilled manpower for L2 and L3 support. Such arrangements can also reduce their CAPEX drastically. Apart from using or selling each other’s products the partners might also go in for a revenue sharing arrangement for the product or service that’s delivered as a whole to the customer. Another example is VMware. The virtualization technology pioneer works with service providers and has established its own partner program called VMware Service Provider Program (VSSP). It is positioning VSSP as a framework that allows service and hosting providers to consume VMware virtualization solutions in a way that aligns with their business model.
“Gone are the days where the complete vertical integration came from one organization. Today you have product and technology players, and experts.”
George Paul, Executive Vice-President, HCL Infosystems
Informs Ganesan Arumugam, Director–Partners, VMware India, “VMware owes much of its success to its global partner ecosystem, which includes more than 1,500 technology partners, more than 2,600 service provider partners and nearly 25,000 channel partners. VMware teams with industry-leading hardware and software companies to optimize selected technology and solutions with VMware software. Global Alliance Partners integrate their hardware and software with VMware technology, support their products running on VMware virtual machines and co-sell and/or resell VMware products. Cisco, AMD, Fujitsu, IBM, HP are few companies to name among our global alliance partners.”
LEVELS OF PARTNERSHIP There are certain partner entities that focus on their core competencies, such as technology consulting or systems integration, and depend on others for the hosting infrastructure. In such instances it is imperative to work with partners at different levels. A case in point is Infosys Technologies (See Infosys converts cloud threat into opportunity in InformationWeek, January 2011.) Infosys offers a plethora of cloud services ranging from its own SaaS offerings to cloud service aggregation and migration, building private clouds for customers, and cloud service orchestration. Yet it does not build its own data centers for these services. Instead, it has strategic alliances with over 20 partners at different levels. Says Vishnu Bhat, Vice President and Head, Systems Integration, Infosys Technologies, “Our strategic
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cover story partners can be classified in three or four strategic buckets. At one bucket we have a partner that provides infrastructure clouds (IaaS), and the example is Amazon. At another level we partner with PaaS providers like Microsoft (Azure). The third bucket comprises technology providers such as IBM, HP, CA, Novell, VMware, Salesforce. com and Hitachi Data Systems. We also work with third parties to bring in SaaS offerings. It could also be our own applications (like HR-in-a-box) or theirs.” Tata Communications has an alliance with Google to deliver its own SaaS products. In October 2010 Tata Communications launched InstaApps and InstaCompute (both are public cloud offerings). InstaApps is built on the Google Apps platform. These apps will soon be adapted for private clouds. “Being a network provider Tata Communications wants to leverage on its global networking expertise and offer IaaS and SaaS services for SMBs out of its data centers in Hyderabad, and soon in Singapore. We will partner with an SI for the integration services,” said David Wirt, Global Product Head, Tata Communications. Tata Communications is pursuing the lucrative opportunity in India’s SMB
“VMware owes its success to its global partner ecosystem, which includes more than 1,500 technology partners, more than 2,600 service provider partners and nearly 25,000 channel partners.” Ganesan Arumugam, Director – Partners, VMware India sector. According to estimates, there are 14 million small and medium-sized businesses in the country. It is also aspiring for 25 percent of the Indian cloud computing market, which will soon be worth USD 1 billion. Over the years the telecom companies (telcos) invested heavily in data center infrastructure and are skilled at offering voice services. But with the ARPU for voice calls shrinking every year telecos are looking at data services to recover these investments. However, they may lack the expertise in offering IT services, and hence depend on an ecosystem of partners from the IT industry. For instance Infosys helped Aircel launch its mobile app store last year. And telecos are now talking to software vendors for offering enterprise
applications like ERP through a SaaS-based model. Partners from the IT industry are also doing the cloudenablement for the telecos, as is the case with Bharti Airtel. Says Kunwar Kishore, Head of Data Centres - Bharti Airtel, “When you are working with best of breed partners the ecosystem is the key. In the ecosystem you need the virtualization fabric and for this we partner with VMware. You also need compute and storage fabrics. And you need a service provider who can tie all that together. While most of the telcos have chosen to do this themselves, we have partnered with Savvis. They offer managed hosting services, Web hosting and cloud computing.” Bharti Airtel’s enterprise customers will also benefit from this partnership.
SIMPLIFYING THE CLOUD While SIs, ISVs, Telcos, and OEMs get together and form partner ecosystems, there are others who are working to simplify the cloud experience for the customer. They are offering cloud management tools, application hosting services and accelerators for deployment of cloud services. An example is MTaaS (Management Tools-as-a-service) from HCL Technologies. MTaaS is a private cloud based enterprise management platform for delivery of IT management tools. The journey to the cloud is not an easy one and it involves many processes. Businesses that want to run and manage ITas-a-Service would have to define its processes, define all the functional requirements from an IT management perspective and then buy platform and managements tools, and integrate these. This takes a lot of effort and is time-consuming, because they also have to adopt frameworks and practices like ITIL. But what if someone provided a Platform as a Service to do all this? There would be no need to buy all these tools and integrate them. How about a pre-configured platform so that the business could forget about integration woes and just focus on
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defining its key requirements? “That would lead to a shift from implementing to provisioning,” said Kalyan Kumar B, Global Practice Director and Worldwide Head- Cross Functional Services Infrastructure Management and Transformation Services, HCL Technologies. “With MTaaS we give a pre-packaged offering that includes systems management, network management, incident management, application monitoring, IT service management, templates, tresholds, console, monitoring etc. And then we put all this together and offer it pre-packed — like software-as-aservice. When we did that customers just went and “onboarded” on to this platform. This really changed the way we did remote infrastructure management,” added Kumar. Of course, customers still need to define and develop their requirements, but the effort required to do that is much less now because it is pre-configured, pre-installed, and hosted out of global data centers, informed Kumar. MTaaS provides a service catalog for enterprise management. HCL Technologies claims there are 70 plus G1000 customers for its MTaaS solution.
cover story They will now have a user-friendly frontend, a monitoring mechanism, and the virtual fabric. “They will be able to easily move the virtual instances from one geography to another, because they are on the same fabric,” said Kishore.
“In the ecosystem you need the virtualization fabric.You also need compute and storage fabrics. And you need a service provider who can tie all that together”
Kunwar Kishore, Head of Data Centres - Bharti Airtel
Then there are Cloud Aggregators like the start-up iManage Technology Services (a subsidiary of iValue InfoSolutions). iManage is a cloud aggregator offering a platform. It will offer various enterprise/SMB applications from ISVs and combine these with its expertise in technology consulting. And all these will be hosted in the data centers of its ISP, OEM and MSP partners. Explaining the business model, Valerian Fernandes, co-founder, Director & CEO, iManage Technology Services said, “Our partners do not need to invest in these technologies and do not
buffet of services, provisioning these on demand, and then allowing them to pay on a usage basis. And to enable this it is building a front-end portal and the platform; its iManage Web Store will be launched in March 2011. The web store would enable customers from anywhere to pick a service or application that they want to use for a certain amount of time and pay for it ontime. “Through the iManage Web Store we would offer a base package for micro SMEs. This would include CRM, mail, anti-spam, anti-virus and backup. There would also be services for SME
to ensure that there is always a backup plan for everything,” says Bhat of Infosys Technologies. Infosys also mitigates the risk by advising its customers to build an asset set or cloud applications that are interoperable. It feels there will be fewer technical issues if the cloud applications are not tied in to a specific cloud platform or cloud provider. “There should be a degree of transportation possible as those assets move from one cloud to another. And we ensure this when we build clouds for our customers,” added Bhat.
There are certain partner entities that focus on their core competencies, such as technology consulting or systems integration, and depend on others for the hosting infrastructure have to recruit skilled manpower. They would only have to focus on taking these services to customers. So they can increase the average revenue per user (ARPU). So service providers do not need to invest into the technology, or for highly skilled manpower. There is no CAPEX for them.” iManage offers a plethora of services that include technology consulting, compliance based consulting, and subscription-based managed IT services. It also offers cloud computing through SaaS and PaaS models. It presents a range of managed services for micro-SMBs, SMBs and large enterprises. iManage wants to make it simple for customers to help themselves to its
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and enterprise customers,” informed Fernandes.
POINT OF ACCOUNTABILITY In an ecosystem of partners one of the players becomes the single point of accountability who is responsible for quality of service and support for the customer. That means he is also liable for the performance issues of the products or services from other partners. How does the key partner manage this and back it with SLAs? “The strength of the relationship with the partners becomes extremely important here. A lot of this will be backed by a strong agreement with our partners. When you work with an ecosystem of partners it is important
In the next few months we will see more cloud services for enterprises. The service providers and their partners are going to make it easier for businesses to cloud enable their applications and processes. We’ll also see radical changes in channel programs and the way vendors and service providers sell cloud services to customers. It’s clear that the SMB sector will benefit immensely from these partnerships and gain more confidence to embrace the cloud. While some may have reservations about cloud security, some aver that security in the cloud will be on par or better than what’s available on-premise. After all, the cloud service providers will have to uphold their reputation. And great partnerships, water-tight integration and trust that happen— wright here on earth! n
Brian Pereira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
cover story Cloud shines bright in the Indian skies With cloud computing in India set to touch USD 1 billion by 2015, cloud vendors are tapping every available opportunity, both in enterprises and SMEs, to scale up their businesses By Ayushman Baruah They say a bird is born twice. Once, when it comes out of the egg. Once again, when it begins to fly. Consider this, in the context of cloud computing. Given the buzzword it has become, cloud is certainly born and has come out of the shell. But are the clouds soaring high on the Indian skies yet? According to India based research firm Zinnov, the total cloud computing market in India will grow almost ten-fold to USD 1 billion by 2015 from USD 110 million today. The report said that in the cloud computing market in India, software-as-a-service (SaaS) has witnessed the most rapid uptake so far. As components of the overall cloud market, SaaS in India is likely to reach a mark of USD 650 million by 2015, while platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) markets cumulatively would touch USD 434 million each by then. One of the first milestones for cloud computing was the inception of Salesforce.com in 1999, which pioneered the model of delivering enterprise applications through a simple website. Since then, Salesforce.com has become the poster boy for the SaaS industry. Realizing the nascent cloud opportunity, Salesforce.com made its foray into the Indian market in 2005. Many of India’s leading systems integrators such as TCS, Wipro, and Infosys have become alliance partners of Salesforce.com. The company’s flagship PaaS offering Force.com offers a huge opportunity to entrepreneurial developers working
in their spare time. There are 36,000 members in its India Developer Community developing applications on Force.com. SaaS-based ERP market in India is also picking up, reaching to the tune of USD 7 million (2.2 percent of the overall USD 310 million ERP market in India). According to a survey, only 6 percent of organizations implementing ERP were deploying SaaS options in 2009. However, this number nearly tripled to 17 percent in 2010. In addition to the 17 percent that deployed SaaS solutions, another 24 percent implemented ERP systems that are hosted off-site or in the cloud. In other words, nearly half of the companies implementing new enterprise software are doing so in the cloud. Ramco launched its cloud-based ERP–Ramco OnDemand ERP (RODE) in 2008. In September last year, the company announced the launch of RODE 2.0, with significant addition of functionalities, features, and modules. “Currently we have over 2,000 users from 300 plus client organizations for our ERP on the cloud. We are expecting
our total customer base to reach 285 plus by end of this fiscal,” says Sukumar R, General Manager-Sales, Ramco Systems. Some of Ramco’s customers for Ramco OnDemand ERP are Birla Tyres, RTE, Srinisons, and Lubrizol among others. Microsoft, world’s largest software maker, was quick to move on to the cloud route. Today the company claims to have around 40 million paid customers globally for its cloud-based solutions, some of which include BPOS, O365, Windows Intune, and CRM Online. “BPOS in India already has 1,300 customers on board and we are adding 50-100 customers per month. HCL, Infosys, and Wipro are among the leading partners to provide valueadded services. We have over 700 plus partners reselling BPOS,” says Pallavi Kathuria, Director, Server Business Group, Microsoft India. Some of its customers in India include Lavasa, ACME Tele Power, Dabur, among others. Microsoft is devoting a lot of its energy to the cloud. The software major’s chief Steve Balmer has claimed many times that computing is moving
“The private cloud will see high adoption by large enterprises going forward. The hybrid cloud archiving model will be adopted to enable organizations to use hosted messaging services” Anand Naik, Director, Systems Engineering, Symantec
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cover story towards ‘three screens and a cloud.’ The three screens refer to TV, computer and mobile phone, while the ‘cloud’ is said to tie them all together. “Cloud is here to stay. Around 70-80 percent of our developers across Microsoft are working on cloud-related services,” says Moorthy Uppaluri, GM, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft India. India is a very important destination for Microsoft’s overall cloud strategy. About 8,000 applications have been built on Windows Azure (Microsoft’s cloud computing platform) in India. “ISVs and SIs including Wipro, Infosys, TCS, HCL Technologies and several others are building applications and solutions on Azure across verticals, ranging from healthcare to banking to manufacturing for both local and global markets. Mahindra Satyam established a Windows Azure Center of Excellence (CoE) in Hyderabad to develop vertical solutions,” says Uppaluri. Academic institutions such as the IITs are also building large India-relevant projects leveraging Microsoft’s Azure platform. NIIT will train over 100,000 students on Windows Azure over the next three years. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, is building a large-scale application on Windows Azure to study the basic resource allocation constraints and strategies required for addressing enterprise needs on the cloud. SAP, global leader in business management software, is also seeing considerable traction on the cloud front. SAP’s Business ByDesign, a fully integrated business management solution available over the cloud, delivers SAP software on-demand for smaller companies, typically with 100500 employees, providing the benefits
The Cloud Computing market (including SaaS/PaaS/IaaS) in India holds a potential of more than USD 1 Billion by 2015 Cloud Computing Market in India in Millions, FY’10 to FY’15 $ 1,200 ●
CIOs will look towards cloud computing to reduce the ever increasing IT budgets
Verticals such as BFSI, education, healthcare, retail will increasingly rely upon cloud computing for better reach
Governments’ continued focus on e-governance will drive significant adoption of cloud pan India
ISVs and IT services/ BPO companies in India will look at cloud computing for non-linear and rapid growth
CAGR = 58%
$ 400 $ 650 $ 200
$ 110 $ 44 $ 66
FY 2010 SaaS
FY 2015 Paas/IaaS
of large-scale business management applications without the need for a large IT infrastructure. SAP Business ByDesign has achieved significant momentum with approximately 250 customers currently signed up. “SAP works with solution resellers and solution partners to serve a customer base that is expected to grow to several hundred around the May 2011 timeframe,” says Rohit Madhur, Director - Business ByDesign, SAP India. Some of SAP’s Business ByDesign customers in India include Genotypic Technology, Prognosys eServices, and Ace Data Devices. IBM has invested in a Partner Cloud center in Pune in 2010. “We have had several customer briefings
Sukumar R, General Manager-Sales, Ramco Systems
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$ 1,084 $ 1,000
“Currently we have over 2,000 users from 300 plus client organizations for our ERP on the cloud. We are expecting our total customer base to reach 285 plus by end of this fiscal”
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Key Drivers for the Indian Cloud Computing Market
Source: NASSCOM Strategic Review, 2009-10 & 2010-11; Zinnov Analysis
and touch points to showcase our cloud technology and cloud offerings from IBM. We have had good client success in 2010 and foresee an even better penetration across SMEs and large enterprise-class customers in 2011 and beyond for cloud,” says Vamsi C Mudiam, Country Leader – Cloud Computing, IBM India/South Asia. Some of the Big Blue customers include Shriram Transport Finance, Paragon Footwear, Minilec, Lupin Labs, among others.
WHO IS ADOPTING With Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) growing at a rate faster than 30 percent, they pose a huge opportunity for cloud players in India. According to the SME Chamber of India, with over 26.1 million SMEs, this sector is expected to contribute to around 22 percent of the country’s GDP by 2012. According to worldwide cloud services study by AMI Partners, SMB spending on cloud computing is expected to reach USD 100 billion by 2014. SAP serves about 3,600 SME customers, most of them on license-
based models. “We are strongly focused on this market in India, with almost 32-34 percent of SAP’s business coming from SMEs with 70 percent of our new customers being ‘below Rs 100-crore’ companies,” says Madhur. Industry experts believe cloud computing will be the way forward for SME units because of its greater flexibility in terms of usage. “Reduction in costs and capital equipment expenditure in terms of hardware and software has been one of the main drivers in the adoption of cloud services by SMEs. A reduction on the energy dependence in enterprises by doing away with data centers and reliance on a virtualized and shared dynamic infrastructure is another reason driving adoption,” adds Madhur. Companies like Ramco, which initially focused only on the SME segment, started catering to the large enterprises as the market and product started maturing. “The reasons why an SME chooses cloud ERP are for greater control of business in a cost-effective manner while a larger enterprise will choose cloud ERP to avoid the difficulties attached with constant upgrades, maintenance, IT staff and so on,” says Sukumar R of Ramco Systems. “We have seen that size of an enterprise is not a limiting factor. If they feel there is a need for a flexible and agile solution, they will move to a solution which offers it. Turnover is actually not a dimension; it’s the need of the application which is making companies go for Ramco OnDemand ERP.”
ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL The next question is which model of cloud has seen more adoption. Is it
public cloud or private cloud or is it a mix of both? “Cloud is not a ‘one-sizefits-all’ proposition,” says Prem Nithin, Principal Consultant, Cisco India and SAARC. “The right approach depends on the organization’s needs and priorities. Different service and deployment models can be adopted to match the requirements of applications across the business.”
The type of cloud depends on the type of organization. “The SMEs embrace public cloud while the large enterprises have taken the journey to private cloud, taking the virtualization route. The public cloud is about buying the infrastructure or software as a service from the service providers. Private cloud is applying the cloud principles that is
“Enterprises may use public clouds for burst or peak capacity and for selected services. However, these organizations often require a higher degree of control over their data, applications, and systems than current public clouds allow ” While enterprises may witness tangible benefits in using public clouds, Cisco expects private and hybrid cloud models to be more common. “Enterprises may use public clouds for burst or peak capacity and for selected services. However, these organizations often require a higher degree of control over their data, applications, and systems than current public clouds allow. At scale, a private cloud offers the efficiency and agility of a public cloud without the loss of control,” says Nithin. According to a report by the SME Chamber of India, most of the SMEs are expected to go in for public cloud initially due to concerns about the initial investment required in this technology. “SMEs are looking for delivered services or public cloud services, whereas large enterprises are looking more at a secure and customized private cloud service,” says Mudiam of IBM.
“We are strongly focused on this market in India, with almost 32-34 percent of SAP’s business coming from SMEs with 70 percent of our new customers being ‘below Rs 100-crore’ companies” Rohit Madhur, Director - Business ByDesign, SAP India
detaching the applications from the underlying infrastructure and running them on a virtual OS/cloud OS within the enterprise data center,” says Sarv Saravanan, Vice President and Managing Director, EMC India CoE. EMC, one of the world’s largest data storage companies, began its journey to the private cloud as early as 2004 to address its IT challenges like unrelenting growth of applications, servers, and storage arrays in the data center. The deployment of this journey was done in three phases: IT production, business production and IT-as-a-service. EMC claims the adoptin of private cloud has resulted in a saving of USD 104.5 million including an estimated USD 88.3 million in capital equipment cost avoidance and USD 16.2 million of operating cost reduction due to increased data center power, cooling and space efficiency. For large enterprises, the decision to go in for cloud computing is a big one as concerns like data control, security and management are issues that need to be addressed. “Hence, the private cloud or the hybrid model will see high adoption by large enterprises going forward,” says Anand Naik, Director, Systems Engineering, Symantec. “The hybrid cloud archiving model will also be adopted to enable organizations to
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cover story use hosted messaging services while keeping their archives on-premise to drive cost out of the discovery process, maintain strict access to data, and define who is searching it and where they are sending requests.”
CLOUD BRAKES While cloud computing is known to provide significant cost savings and efficiencies to companies, security is one of the prime concerns holding back full-scale adoption of cloud. According to the 2010 Symantec Disaster Recovery survey India findings, 41 percent of the respondents indicated that security was their biggest concern while putting applications on the cloud. The Symantec Enterprise Security Survey 2010 – Millennial Mobile Workforce and Data Loss, reveals that nearly one in four Indian enterprises feel cloud computing increases the risk of losing data, and 27 percent feel it makes it harder to prevent/react to data loss. A concern with enterprises considering cloud computing is the fear of data being transmitted and stored by the cloud service provider, keeping it safe, preventing it from
being lost or stolen. The security practices of the service provider are another challenge facing potential cloud adopters. “Secure access when connecting to cloud services—such as authentication/authorization, endpoint security validation and security in the data center need to be in place before enterprises zero in on a cloud vendor,” says Naik of Symantec. However, with high levels of security being offered by most cloud vendors today, CIOs are increasingly becoming more receptive to cloud adoption. Adoption of cloud by data-sensitive verticals like BFSI is an indication of this change in mindset. According to a ‘Cloud Survey Report’ by VMware in association with Springboard Research, after the IT/ITeS sector (the obvious adopters of any profitable technology), the second largest sector interested in cloud adoption is BFSI. Other verticals that are seeing high cloud adoption in India include manufacturing, telecom, government, education, retail, healthcare, and transportation, the report said. “More education on the benefits of cloud, government regulations, cloud
standards, and interoperability between cloud vendors are some of the factors that would drive mass adoption of cloud,” says Mudiam of IBM.
THE SILVER LINING Cloud is a disruptive technology just like the Internet. If not in and of itself, it is surely a disruptive IT delivery model that has the potential to transform the way IT services (software, infrastructure and platform) are delivered. In the months to come, cloud computing will see a steep growth. “Our conversations with customers have long moved from ‘what/why’ of a cloud to ‘how/when’,” says Mudiam of IBM. Given the huge base of SMEs, India is well positioned and on track to gain a majority share of the global cloud pie. Cloud computing today is a reality in India and the number of customers is growing by the day. The weather surely looks cloudy and clouds are finally soaring high on the Indian skies! n
Ayushman Baruah (email@example.com)
Cloud Computing: Some observations by Analyst firms Zinnov Zinnov Management Consulting, a management consulting firm, has forecast cloud computing market in India to reach about USD 1,084 million by 2015, in a study on the Indian Cloud Computing market, titled ‘Cloud Computing in India: Opportunities & Way Forward’. The report also highlighted that in the cloud computing market in India, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has witnessed the most rapid uptake until now. As components of the overall cloud market, SaaS in India is likely to reach a mark of USD 650 million by 2015, while Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) markets cumulatively would touch USD 434 million each by then. Divulging details on the SaaS market, the report said that the domestic market for SaaS is estimated to be about USD 66 million and is currently dominated by Collaborative Applications, CRM, ERP and E-mail workloads. In addition to the global providers of PaaS, Indian companies have also sprung up offering cloud based Platform-as-a-Service. Several Indian companies are beginning to offer IaaS to leverage the untapped market potential, highlighted the report. Discussing the growth verticals for the adoption of cloud in India, Zinnov’s report highlights that telecom, IT-BPO and retail have the highest spending on IT as a percentage of revenues; verticals like telecom and BFSI are highly mature with their IT adoption and show higher potential towards cloud adoption going forward. In an effort to meet global standards, verticals such as education, healthcare, and government show massive potential for cloud adoption in the immediate future. IDC India According to market intelligence and advisory firm IDC’s India Cloud Computing Market: Current State and Future Roadmap Study 2010, the Indian Public Cloud Computing market was estimated to be USD 66.7 million in 2009 and projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 40 percent over the next five years to 2014.
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The cloud as a springboard A rising number of Indian companies are using the immense power of the cloud to transform their business models. Here is a look at some of the innovative ones By Srikanth RP Nustreet Technologies: Finding fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
The business owner needs help to put in processes and systems so that he can scale effectively. The most optimal way to do this is to leverage IT,” informs Parthasarathy. This is a niche segment, that has not been effectively tapped by existing vendors. When compared on a price-featurevalue scale, most of the existing solutions fail to meet primary business needs due to the inherent complexity and usage of rolling out enterprise software products. Parthasarathy says that the price point, expensive support programs, and even more formidable upgrade programs make it a nonstarter for the small business owner. Nustreet wants to straddle this vaccum with its portfolio of micro verticalized applications. “An SME business owner, today, is highly pressed for time, constantly on the move and often single-handedly managing all aspects of his growing business. He needs information on his fingertips on how his business is performing, on a set of key parameters very specific to his business. For instance, a spinning mill owner wants to know his yarn realization numbers, a hospital administrator wants to know his revenueper-patient-bed, while a forging company owner may want to track his on-time delivery. We want to address this need of SME owners through our portfolio of highly targeted, micro vertical applications,” explains Parthasarathy. The success of this approach can be seen from the fact that the firm already has 50 customers, that use its cloud-based solutions. NuStreet applications are offered in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Azure cloud. This is offered in a subscription business model, so that customers can use the
Nustreet Technologies calls itself a ‘Cloudware Applications Company’, with a focus on providing simple business applications for SMBs. Unlike the majority of the SaaS players, who have targeted a broad market such as HR or Healthcare – Nustreet specializes in building highly targeted micro vertical applications. For example, instead of a broad category such as discreet manufacturing, it has built a specialized application for companies in the forging business. “The needs of companies in the forging industry are distinct from the needs of companies in the foundry manufacturing business or the sheet metal business. Each business follows a unique process, and needs a different approach,” explains S Parthasarathy, Chief technology officer, Nustreet Technologies, on the need for a micro vertical approach. Nustreet Technologies currently has six applications in the market - NuCare for small & medium hospitals, NuLabs for Stand-alone diagnostic labs, NuSpin for Yarn Spinning Mills, NuForge for forging companies, NuWorks for Engineering workshops, and NuSheets for Metal Fabrication companies. The company is in the process of building and rolling out an array of several such applications across other industry clusters. The firm’s objective is simple — address the unique needs of entrepreneurs or SMBs with unique solutions. “The bottom-of-the-pyramid in the case of business consumers are the SMEs — companies “The cloud is to SMBs today what with less than 250 employees today. These companies dominate the business the cellphone was to most of us a landscape, particularly those of emerging decade back. The cloud gives SMBs economies like India. This segment has oprtunity to leapfrog technologies” the highest growth potential as these economies scale. Many of them have the aspiration, expertise, and today, the right market condition to move to the next level. S Parthasarathy, CTO, Nustreet Technologies However they need a leg up to get there.
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application immediately, with very minimal upfront investments in hardware or software licenses. For delivering relevant cloud services, the firm has built each application collaboratively with experts from specific microvertical clusters. Today, the cloud has improved Nustreet’s ability to reach out to more customers at an accelerated pace. In addition, as the whole model is now on OPEX than CAPEX, it has improved the firm’s ability to preserve cash — a vital requirement for a new company. This in turn, has given the firm a greater capability in rolling out new products. When asked what the cloud is for SMBs, Parthasarathy echoes a thought, which may become an oft repeated quote whenever the topic of cloud computing for SMBs comes up for discussion. Says Parthasarathy, “The cloud is to SMBs today, what the cellphone was to most of us a decade back.” Parthasarathy says that in the earlier days, getting a phone connection in India was so cumbersome that most of us ended up not using phones. He believes that small businesses face a similar situation today, and most of them are left out of the IT revolution. Today, not using a cellphone is considered unthinkable. Can the same revolution happen in the adoption of IT by small businesses due to the cloud? Nustreet believes that the transformation will happen, and therein lies a massive business opportunity.
Mediology Software: Publishing on the cloud
challenges that any new idea encounters. With this in mind, and the fact that the firm had to provision for SaaS based services, Mediology wanted to ensure that they could provide economies of scale and flexibility when the idea gained traction, without investing large capital expenditure in the computing hardware. Using AWS provided the firm unparalleled scalability and flexibility, which in turn helped in overcoming infrastructure challenges. Manish Dhingra, Director, Mediology, explains the advantage of unparalleled scalability with the help of an example. “As part of our core digitization stack, we need to enable our customers to process their Pre-Press PDF files in a quick turnaround time. Hence the ability to scale our instances to match those response levels was a key business challenge. Due to the elasticity of AWS cloud platform, we have been able to effectively address this time critical requirement of our customers.” Without AWS, the firm would have to purchase hardware and spend time in setting up its own servers in a data centre or rent server space on a yearly basis from IT vendors. “Traditional options would have been sub-optimal to our requirements as it would mean locking us in a long-term data centre contract that would have cost at least USD 20,000 of capital expense to provision servers and take care of redundant storage even before launching our business. For a data centre rental of 42U space with 3 KVA redundant power, cooling and bandwidth would have cost us USD 2,500 per month. In addition, the time lag associated with the procurements and dependency on a fixed infrastructure would have made it highly improbable to scale our business as we grew,” explains Dhingra. The firm estimates that the traditional way would have cost the firm USD 30,000 per annum. It also estimates that the time spent to set up and maintain those servers would be around 24 man-months, which is equivalent to another expense of USD 20,000. “AWS helps us to avoid incurring CAPEX in the old model of IT, and turn that into OPEX using the cloud. The total estimated cost avoidance by starting our business immediately with AWS cloud platform is about USD 70,000 per annum. More importantly, it gives us the business agility to scale as we grow. It also helps in channelizing precious funds, human resources and time to develop our core business,” explains Dhingra on why the cloud model is perfect for a startup like Mediology. For its innovative business model, Mediology was
The Internet has revolutionized the publishing business. Today, established newspapers compete with bloggers, tweeters and small publishers for mindshare. With the Internet becoming a significant contributor to current revenues and future growth plans, established media firms need a quick way to leverage technology to their advantage. Identifying this trend in the publishing industry early, Mediology Software introduced an innovative way of creating a virtual world for publishing houses to reach out to their audiences. The firm has a SaaS solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud that enables print publishers to digitize their print content, add social media interactivity and distribute the content via web and mobile devices. Overall, this helps media companies to increase content circulation, aid better tracking, improve monetization, and achieve greater demographic classification “The total estimated cost avoidance by of their reader base. starting our business immediately with For a startup firm, leveraging the the cloud platform is about USD 70,000 cloud makes perfect sense. The nature per annum. More importantly, it gives us of the media business is built on the sole premise of “Economies of Scale.” Hence the business agility to scale as we grow” during the initial period which was more of a transitory and that of accepting the changing paradigms, the firm had to face Manish Dhingra, Director, Mediology
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cover story recognized as one of the seven finalists and the only one from the APAC region at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Start-Up Challenge, a global competition that encourages start-up companies to leverage the AWS cloud platform.
ACME Tele Power: Energy Management as a service Even as energy consumption continues to rise at an alarming rate, there has been no standardized approach to cut down energy consumption at a global level. Apart from innovative companies such as Infosys and Wipro, there have been extremely few examples of companies who have managed to cut down their energy consumption levels on a sustained basis. Can IT manage and monitor energy consumption patterns of companies the same way as IT infrastructure is managed today? In other words, can energy management be offered as a service? An innovative Indian company, ACME Tele Power is doing just that, by creating a ‘Global Energy Management Center’. Similar to the way IT infrastructure is managed today, the firm wants to replicate this model to the management of energy at a global level.
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“The Global Energy Management Center (GEMC) can help companies monitor energy consumption patterns from multiple sources. These patterns can be further analyzed for usage, cost, and carbon footprint in a number of ways that help in optimizing energy. The center is uniquely positioned to service the clients across the globe by deploying a Remote Control Unit that has the capabilities to communicate to a cloud-based architecture. The entire application is developed on Microsoft Application Framework by using Google API’s,” explains Satyadev Adurti, VP-IT for ACME Telepower, who is also responsible for the Global Energy Monitoring Center. Similar to a remote NOC, the Global Energy Management center has the ability to monitor energy demand and supply. Using an internal proprietary framework of ACME, the firm identifies gaps in production of energy, and tries to optimize various points in the energy production cycle. The energy analysis team does a dipstick study remotely to identify various circuits’ consumption patterns. The consumption patterns are then analyzed with the kind of equipment connected to the entire chain and the equipment efficiency ratings. The efficiency ratings are further analyzed to see any leakage in the entire circuit. ACME then uses an optimizer tool to generate the gaps. “Upon identifying the gaps, we propose optimization work at various levels. This entire activity is performed month-onmonth to ensure continuous improvements in both production
“The Global Energy Management Center can help companies monitor energy consumption patterns from multiple sources”
As audio games have the potential of becoming a high value and high volume industry, the cloud is the perfect delivery model. The ability of the cloud in scaling up quickly with minimum effort can be seen from Dialify’s example. Today, even though Dialify is just a 3-person company, it has been able to deploy and Satyadev Adurti, VP-IT, ACME Telepower maintain platforms across multiple large service providers without a huge effort. cycles and utilization cycles,” explains Adurti. “In terms of cost effectiveness, we have been able to To analyze energy supply and demand, the system looks roll our products to multiple carrier networks without any at downstream inputs like fuel consumption, solar radiation, CAPEX. More importantly, we have been able to sustain wind patterns and weather inputs to optimize production operations over the past two quarters, without having to cycles. expand our team, due to the online management offered What is significant about this model is that the equipment by AWS. Time to be market-wise, we are able to deploy our directly communicates with a cloud-based infrastructure. applications to new markets within a week in most cases, This is used by the firm to monitor energy production and whereas in a more traditional physical infrastructure rollout consumption patterns on a real-time basis. The center this would have been in months,” says Nikhil Soman, Founder, has deployed a LED video wall that can display real time Dialify Technologies. monitoring of sites across the globe. Without the cloud, a firm like Dialify would be restrained When you consider the volume of data flowing in from by the limitations imposed due to budgetary constraints or in different parts of the globe, the cloud-based infrastructure buying new infrastructure. Today, the cloud has given the firm seems like a perfect fit. The cloud model has also cut down new wings to fly and expand in new markets. the time and cost of deployment. For instance, compared to a “Telecom application margins are extremely low. By traditional form of deployment, the cloud-based solution has standardizing on Amazon Web Services, we have been able cut down its deployment time by a massive 60 percent. to provide a unique service to carriers and consumers at If one looks at the landscape, every possible enterprise extremely low costs, leading to higher adoption numbers. Our can be a customer of ACME Telepower. As the firm already applications are the first movers in the segment and building has a proven track record in telecom, it has started off with awareness and driving sampling remains our highest priority. monitoring energy needs of cell towers. AWS based-infrastructure has helped us demonstrate and ACME Telepower is running a pilot for Aircel for 450 sites, prove scalable deployments which otherwise were a function wherein it will manage and optimize energy requirements. of significant investments,” informs Soman on the viability of Looking at the scale of opportunities, the firm is initially a cloud-based model for startups. targeting enterprises in the telecom, real estate and utility space. In the future, it is targeting enterprises in the retail, logistics and banking domain. 8KMiles: Virtual outsourcing The idea of remotely monitoring global energy ecosystem management patterns is an extremely exciting value proposition for enterprises that are struggling to meet their 8KMiles is perhaps the perfect example energy consumption needs cost effectively. With a cloudof the power of collaboration that a cloudbased solution, ACME Telepower has the potential to bring based model can achieve. The firm has about a similar revolution that was brought in by players in pioneered a unique outsourcing model by the remote IT infrastructure management space. leveraging the cloud. Aptly called ‘cloudsourcing’, the model allows firms to get on-demand access to dependable remote talent and infrastructure. Dialify Technologies: While large organizations have the luxury of inviting Audio Gaming via the cloud hundreds of IT companies for bidding for IT-based projects, Focused on the niche but fast growing small companies do not have the required knowledge or field of audio games, Dialify builds choice. Due to their small budgets, most of these companies applications and social games on AWS cloud, are not on the radar of large companies. The firm believes with dynamic audio interfaces for easy delivery that there is a huge opportunity in addressing the unique over telecommunication networks in India. needs of SMBs, by using the cloud.
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cover story “The cloud has helped in leveling the playing field for companies such as ours to build businesses and compete in the global marketplace”
explaining on how the cloud has helped his company scale rapidly. The success of a company like 8KMiles is also a case in point to understand how the Internet can help even small companies compete against the big players. “The AWS cloud has helped in Harish Ganesan, Co- founder and CTO, 8KMiles leveling the playing field for companies such as ours to build businesses and “We provide a distributed development platform that compete in the global marketplace. blends a global talent marketplace with collaboration tools We are now able to offer to businesses across the world our and cloud infrastructure. This allows businesses to hire innovative end-to-end Virtual Sourcing Model solution on technology talent on-demand, and have them work on the cloud. Any business can come to 8KMiles.com to hire cloud-based infrastructure using our pre-configured remote the technology talent anytime they need, and access clouddesktops and servers for development and testing,” explains based infrastructure for their development or testing needs Harish Ganesan, Co- founder and Chief Technology Officer, almost instantly. Once their applications are ready, 8KMiles 8KMiles. can help them seamlessly deploy their applications and go The 8KMiles platform provides SMBs access to verified live on the AWS cloud. All of this captures the essence of the quality talent, in addition to pre-built infrastructure delivered cloud – that is being on-demand, pay-as-you-use, infinitely using the cloud. SMBs, can for example, build their own scalable and more crucially, allowing you to focus on core testing and development teams and collaborate with them. competencies and innovate quickly,” explains Ganeshan on For example, a concept called Projectspace helps remote how the cloud can truly transform business models. providers work as if they were in the same office with video conferencing, document sharing and status tracking tools. The firm has been one of the early adopters of AWS, QID Technologies: RFID as a Service and has achieved a lot of flexibility by moving its application to AWS. A year back, when we asked a CIO of a 8KMiles’s Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) also leading retail firm, his thoughts on using uses AWS extensively to deliver remote desktops and test/ RFID, he had just one simple answer – while development environments for globally distributed teams. the cost of the RFID tag has been reducing “Our core offering, 8KMiles’ VCE provides pre-configured year-on-year, the overall cost from an Indian remote desktops and servers on demand. We wanted the context was still prohibitive, and did not offer a business whole desktop/server delivery to be automated, just in time case for mass deployment. with almost zero upfront infrastructure investment, with the As one can see, RFID is the perfect example of a brilliant ability to support a wide range of customizable technology technology, which has not yet found the level of success due stacks,” explains Ganesan. to its prohibitive cost of deployment. To tackle the high cost The firm moved its entire web application to AWS in of deploying RFID, an Indian firm, QuantumID Technologies early 2008 and realized a direct 40 percent reduction in its (QID), has come up with an interesting innovation. The firm monthly recurring costs. The usage of AWS infrastructure offers ‘RFID-as-a-service’ wherein it offers a complete RFID cloud platform combined with automation has substantially solution – the hardware, software, and the implementation reduced the load on its IT infrastructure team, enabling it to on a pay-per-transaction model. focus its time on the core business. “Instead of spending on CAPEX, retail firms can use “By using AWS, we were able to try out proof-of-concepts and experiment “Due to the cloud, we can scale up by our ideas very quickly and easily, and more than 30-40 times without worrying pay only for what we use. We were also able to bring in scalability and about the cost of infrastructure.We elasticity at the early stages of our are also able to bring down the cost of web application design by utilizing deploying RFID” the on-demand pricing model of AWS, accelerating our speed-to-market that helped us achieve our business success Prasanna Gogwekar, COO, QID Technologies much more quickly,” says Ganeshan
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“After moving to Amazon Web Services, our model to deploy RFID. The payper-transaction model ensures that it our traffic has increased more than becomes a part of their revenue,” opines three fold.We are now able to launch Prasanna Gogwekar, COO, QID. multiple products for bus operators on To ensure scalability, QID has enabled its data storage layer associated a SaaS model ” with its RFID ACT system (Automated Cargo tracking) on the Microsoft Azure Charan Padmaraju, Co-founder and CTO, redBus Platform. The cloud platform is ideal for a closed loop supply chain process. In these scenarios, data storage requirements can be huge our servers and it took two days. On another occasion, when you consider that hundreds or maybe thousands of the memory size wasn’t enough to service the work load, RFID tags are read multiple times at different points in the the process to upgrade took more than a month and our supply chain. business took a hit,” states Charan Padmaraju, Co-founder The cloud model gives QID the ability to scale up storage and CTO, redBus. needs as business volumes grow. “The cloud is central to To address the constraints of infrastructure, the firm our business. From a scale point of view, we can scale up by decided to move its entire infrastructure to AWS. Post more than 30-40 times without worrying about the cost of deployment, the firm can build any application it wants infrastructure. Due to the cloud, we are able to bring down using any platform or any programming model or operating the cost of providing RFID services, and make it a viable system. It has the ability to control the resources, fit them proposition to the Indian market,” exclaims Gogwekar. into applications as it sees fit and pay per use. The cloud also gives it the ability to customize the “After moving to AWS, our traffic has increased more solution according to different industry verticals. For than three-fold. We are now able to launch multiple products example, in certain industries such as textiles, transactions for bus operators on a SaaS model. This is possible only in a can be priced per meter, while in other industries cloud platform due to its elasticity and scalability. We have transactions can be priced per kilogram. also been able to fully tap our analytics requirement with The RFID-as-a-service model has already been deployed AWS. AWS gives us an overall cost benefit of about 30 to 40 for Kingfisher Cargo, where the solution has been tested out percent,” explains Padmaraju. for scale for handling thousands of pieces of cargo. Initially, the firm used AWS to build one of its new SaaS offerings that it delivered to customers. As the experience was good, the firm decided to move its entire infrastructure to AWS. The firm is completely on AWS today, and runs even redBus: Cloud accelerates business its financial management applications on AWS. delivery redBus is an Indian travel agency that specializes in bus travel throughout India by Prime Focus Technologies: Cloud based-media process selling bus tickets throughout the country. outsourcing Tickets are purchased through the company’s Website or through the Web services As new media delivery platforms such of its agents and partners. The company also offers software as mobile and web emerge, publishers of on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis, which gives bus content face a huge challenge in customizing operators the option of handling their own ticketing and and delivering the content to multiple platforms. managing their own inventories. Till date, redBus has To address this challenge, an Indian firm, Prime Focus sold over 2 million bus tickets and has more than 100 bus operators, using the “The cloud model has allowed us to software to manage their operations. successfully establish a media supply Operating in a high volume market, the firm was not able to service its chain for the industry, linking all partners customers quickly as it had fixed number in the advertising eco-system through of servers with limited capability. our platform” “Procuring a new server or upgrading an existing server took more than two weeks. For example, once R Sankaranarayanan, CEO, Prime Focus Technologies we wanted to open a port on one of
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cover story Technologies, has created a cloud-based solution called CLEAR. NDTV: Cloud aids convergence Prime Focus Technologies has also timed the opportunity right, as the cloud-based solution is apt for firms that do not NDTV (New Delhi Television) is one of want to invest heavily in new technology platforms. The firm India’s largest media houses with nine saw that the companies in the Media & Entertainment sector television channels reaching an audience of were facing two major challenges: One, transition from tape one billion people across India, the Middle East to file formats, and two, an increasing number of platforms and South East Asia. and the content demands of each of these platforms. Both In 2009, the firm launched Tubaah – its foray into online these challenges meant substantial investment in new video. The website is positioned to be a rich repository of technologies. The firm decided that this was the right time premium video content from NDTV’s five national TV channels to launch its product. (NDTV 24X7, NDTV India, NDTV Profit, NDTV Good Times and The cloud-based platform gives the firm the opportunity NDTV Hindu). to offer a hosted service, at a fraction of the total cost. Considering that the website was positioned to be a “Clients were apprehensive of making the investment platform for videos, the biggest problem that the firm faced upfront as the returns based on content demand were when planning for infrastructure was estimating how the not guaranteed. A hosted model lets us offer the client a traffic would grow. ‘pay-as-you-use’ model, wherein the client’s spending on “We required a robust platform which could scale easily the platform increases with an increase in requirements,” to meet the demands of a highly volatile ‘news’ website,” informs Ramki Sankaranarayanan, Founder, President and points out Kawaljit Singh Bedi, CTO, NDTV Convergence (the CEO, Prime Focus Technologies. business unit that controls all NDTV websites). The impact of The firm claims that this is the world’s first hybrid multistorage that videos can create on the IT infrastructure can platform content operations solution. The solution allows be seen from the fact that since its launch, the website has firms to produce, process, manage and deliver content for grown rapidly. Today, over 100,000 video clips are available on revenue-generating multi-platform opportunities. Tubaah. Besides lowering costs and improving agility, the Bedi concluded that since ‘news’ was a moving target, it cloud is also a perfect platform for enabling collaboration. made perfect sense to go in for a cloud-based platform. “As “By setting up a cloud-based model, we have successfully we were not sure of how much traffic we would be getting, established a media supply chain for the industry, it was easy for us to start with an initial setup on Amazon linking all partners in the advertising eco-system (brand, Web Services with a rough estimation. We then scaled our creative agency, media agency, and broadcasters) through requirement till we understood the perfect configuration for our platform. The platform allows these partners to easily the real traffic,” explains Bedi. Besides the flexibility, the firm exchange information and files,” explains Sankaranarayanan. estimates that it has managed a minimum cost savings of The cloud also gives the firm the ability to customize close to 30 percent after using AWS. its offering as per the needs of the clients in terms of The firm’s Video Content Management Systems (VCMS) is configuration, workflows and deployment models. “By using the hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) which powers Tubaah cloud model, we have been able to make the concept of Media and all NDTV video properties. It also powers video APIs Process Outsourcing a reality,” concurs Sankaranarayanan, which are being used in its mobile applications and third party emphasizing on how the cloud has allowed it to offer its clients tie ups. a bouquet of media processing services which can be managed After the success of Tubaah, the firm has launched and delivered through a central platform. additional properties on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) The success of the firm can be seen from the fact cloud platform. Major ones include – NDTV Profit (NDTV’s that it is already providing this service to 12 broadcasters, business & finance portal), NDTV Social (NDTV’s social which account for 101 channels. The clients come from platform) and NDTV FilmClub (An entertainment based site). different verticals in the Media and Entertainment industry such as “As we were not sure of how much traffic production houses, advertisers, media planning and design agencies. The list we would be getting, it was easy for us to of clients that are using the cloudstart with an initial setup on Amazon Web based model include big names such Services with a rough estimation” as Sony, STAR TV, BCCI, Hindustan Unilever, Saatchi & Saatchi, Group M, Schawk, British Movietone Library, Balaji Telefilms and Global Cricket Kawaljit Singh Bedi, CTO, NDTV Convergence Ventures.
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Private cloud helps L&T Infotech slash infrastructure costs Post deployment, the firm has witnessed significant reduction in costs related to infrastructure support By Srikanth RP As one of the fastest growing IT services companies, L&T Infotech, regularly undertook software testing and development projects from clients. As each client required a dedicated hosting infrastructure for itself, it led to under utilization of project-specific computing infrastructure. As the number of projects started increasing, L&T Infotech found itself staring at one big challenge — on one hand, the need for servers were increasing everyday, while on the other hand, the average server utilization was as low as 20 percent. The Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) and IT Infrastructure division of L&T Infotech recognized this as a classic server sprawl and decided to build a private cloud christened CloudX.
First steps L&T Infotech started the journey towards the private cloud by taking steps to consolidate and virtualize the servers. For the first phase, the firm decided to have only development and testing servers on the cloud. Production servers were only virtualized and were not part of the first phase. As L&T Infotech had a good blend of different hypervisors for different class of computing needs such as open source based hypervisors (Xen & KVM) for development, testing and POC servers and commercial hypervisors (VMWare and HyperV) for production servers, the firm felt a need to have a private cloud solution that would be agnostic to underlying virtualization. Since data centers were spread
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“The private cloud has helped in slashing the average provisioning time from 5 days to less than 20 minutes” Abhay Chitnis, Vice President and Head of Technology, L&T Infotech across various locations, the firm wanted to have a private cloud solution that was geographically aware. “To save WAN bandwidth, a need was felt to have images provisioned locally. Hence we built a Geo-smart or location-aware cloud, so that users could provision images from the location they have requested it from,” explains Abhay Chitnis, vice president and head of technology, L&T Infotech.
How the private cloud has delivered Post deployment, the private cloud has transformed the heterogeneous physical infrastructure into an infrastructure which is optimized for performance and cost. Business units have the ability to administer fixed amount of computing units, in addition to the capability to monitor the usage of provisioned units and use of licenses. The private cloud also has a metering and chargeback model in place. Users are charged based on the type of server, time-based usage of server and the software licenses used. Built in governance policies for IT licenses, protection policies, role-based approver’s delegation and integration with active directory ensure that the IT
infrastructure can be focused on meeting service levels by taking a more strategic approach. The private cloud also has a self-service cloud management portal showcasing a catalog of services. Post deployment, the firm has witnessed significant reduction in costs related to infrastructure support. L&T Infotech has also streamlined resource management and improved its capacity planning due to better understanding of usage. Process automation has helped in reducing operating expenses. “The private cloud has helped in slashing the average provisioning time from 5 days to less than 20 minutes. More significantly, our average infrastructure capacity has increased by 75 percent,” emphasizes Chitnis. While the private cloud deployment has been a limited rollout across L&T Infotech’s locations for specific business units, the firm plans to extend this to other locations in the next few months. For an IT firm like L&T Infotech, the deployment has also helped in positioning the firm as a thought leader in the emerging world of private clouds. n Srikanth RP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pennar simplifies processes with MS CRM online cloud service Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has helped Pennar Industries manage their information better and consequently get them closer to their customers By Ayushman Baruah Pennar Industries, which began by manufacturing Cold Rolled Steel Strips (CRSS) has grown and diversified to become a leading engineering company making a host of steel-based products. Pennar is now a multi-location, multiproduct company with more than 300 customers and 1,200 employees. It also has a subsidiary, Pennar Engineered Building Systems (PEBS), which designs, manufactures and erects pre-engineered steel buildings. Until last year, the company used MS Excel to record the sales and marketing activities including important forms like the Project Information form (PIF) and Job acceptance form (JAF). The company’s fast-paced growth demanded an automated process to eliminate issues like inaccuracy of information being logged in the PIFs/JAFs, and redundancy of information. Too many Excel sheets were getting cumbersome to maintain, as reports had to be generated/updated on a daily, weekly, quarterly, or annual basis depending on the requirements. With the manufacturing industry evolving from being product-centric to more customer-centric, Pennar required a solution that would help them get closer to their customers. “There was a need for a cloud-based distributed solution that was both location-independent and would offer our sales team flexibility in order entry, customer follow-up and project management interaction,” says Aditya Rao, Director - New Projects at Pennar Industries.
“MS CRM’s ability to export reports to other formats such as pdf was a plus point. It is easy for a sales executive to learn the process and use it regularly” Aditya Rao, Director - New Projects, Pennar Industries
SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESSES In January this year, Pennar implemented the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the cloud version of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, for their sales and marketing department. The objective of the implementation was to simplify the process of enquiry generation and documentation, tracking of enquiry status, and also to maintain databases. Apart from maintaining databases, the MS Dynamics CRM Online is also used for generating various types of analysis in terms of lost quote analysis, market segment analysis, calculating the ROI from exhibitions and seminars, keeping a track of budgets and expenses, and for checking their India performance as against sales office-wise performance. “A scope had to be defined for the implementation, that was both thorough and could be accomplished in the limited period of time, that the company had set for implementation. Defining the scope was a challenge. Our implementation partner Intelligroup’s assistance was vital in helping us overcome this challenge,” says Rao.
Pennar chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online over Salesforce.com as it allowed tight integration with other Microsoft products such as Office and Outlook. “MS CRM’s ability to export reports to other document formats such as PDF was another plus point. Also, PEBS intends to begin implementation of an ERP solution within the next couple of months. Moreover, it is easy for a sales executive to learn the process and use it regularly without any hassles,” says Rao. The company has reaped a number of benefits post implementation of MS Dynamics CRM online. Rao outlines some of them: l Integration of information has been made easier l Better traceability and accountability of information has been achieved l Automation has made it easier to track and retrieve information at any given point of time l Report generation and database maintenance is simpler and far more effective n Ayushman Baruah (email@example.com)
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Indian greetings card company uses cloud to manage dynamic traffic A public cloud infrastructure has helped 123greetings.com, the world’s second largest electronic greetings cards website, to reduce deployment costs by 40 percent By Srikanth RP The true essence or value of a public cloud is in its elasticity. This value holds special significance for a company which is in a space that witnesses seasonal spikes in demand. IntraSoft Technologies discovered this value aptly when it used the services of Amazon Web Services, for hosting its website. IntraSoft Technologies owns and operates 123greetings.com, the world’s second largest electronic greetings card website. The scale of the growth can be seen from the volume of the traffic registered on the website. From 36,000 unique visitors in 1998, the visitor volume rose to two million in 2001, and thereafter soared to 91 million in 2009-10. With the firm adding new features periodically, the volumes were going up exponentially. For example, a new platform called ‘Connect’ received a huge user response with over 6 lakh users registering themselves. Another platform, ‘Studio’ too received a huge response as over 6,000 registered artists put up their works for display. As is the typical case with any other public website, IntraSoft too faced a huge challenge in managing peak loads where seasonal spikes made it difficult to scale up the infrastructure according to the demand. Scaling up the infrastructure and deploying a huge number of servers was also not a practical idea as the firm would have substantial number of servers that would be underutilized during offseason periods.
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“Due to the cloud, today we have the ability to scale up the infrastructure according to the volume of traffic” Sharad Kajaria, Director, IntraSoft Technologies Caught between the scissors of maintaining growth while maximizing utilization, the firm decided to use a public cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services. “Our business is seasonal in nature. For example, there is a huge difference between heavy card sending months like Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day as opposed to the light summer months. Hence, the flexibility provided by a cloud-based architecture fulfills our primary business need,” says Sharad Kajaria, Director, IntraSoft Technologies. Today, the cloud infrastructure gives the firm the ability to scale quickly and support seasonal spikes in demand. Post deployment, the firm has gained in terms of multiple factors such as speed, cost, speed of deployment and flexibility. For example, the speed of opening of pages remains the same even at high traffic periods, which was not the case before. Kajaria says that today the website opens at an average time period of 4-5 seconds even during high traffic. Prior to the cloud-based infrastructure, IntraSoft had to deploy
hundreds of stand alone servers to handle peak traffic. Due to the cloud, today the firm has the ability to scale up the infrastructure according to the volume of traffic. This flexibility has cut down infrastructure costs by a huge margin, and the firm estimates that it has reduced deployment costs by approximately 40 percent on an annualized basis. Apart from flexibility, the cloud gives IntraSoft the capability to quickly provision infrastructure according to business needs. “When we deployed individual servers, it would take us two - three days to deploy them individually. Today, with cloud-based services, we can have a fully ready server deployed in just two to three hours,” explains Kajaria. At the click of a button, the firm can add resources to its infrastructure, rather than having to go through a complex requisition process. n
Srikanth RP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
opinion Parag Arora / Cisco India
Banking on the cloud Virtually every business sector today is betting big on cloud computing. More so, given the benefits it promises and the way it changes, how technology is delivered and consumed by the end user in an enterprise. Like most other sectors, banks and financial services companies too can benefit from the fact that cloud computing helps create a more flexible, agile business model to meet the growing business needs in a dynamic and competitive landscape. Cloud computing helps banks transform their business processes and enhance their ability to grow in new sectors or regions without the time and cost burdens involved with establishing a physical presence. It helps create new markets and services to differentiate from competition and improve the ways customers access and use the bank’s products and services.
Private cloud benefits The private cloud is the first step towards cloud computing. It emerges stronger than the public cloud because it grants banks control over their IT while providing reduced complexity, increased flexibility, and all other benefits associated with cloud computing. Private clouds have emerged as the hot favorite of the banking industry also because in a financial environment, where applications are critical and governed by stringent user industry compliance, they provide high security. They ensure that no data is lost or misplaced and provide the flexibility to modify resource configuration according to demand. Since private clouds are deployed within an organization’s firewall, the threat of security breaches is negated. The company’s IT infrastructure can be moved onto a single private network
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using a virtual private network (VPN) with ease and faster access. Private clouds allow more systems to operate at high transaction volumes without loading the network, ensuring better customer experience. They promise cost savings and efficient services by having dedicated resources for each business unit in an enterprise. Since resources are rented instead of purchased, it helps convert CAPEX to OPEX, reducing the total cost of ownership. Private clouds come with the advantages of affordability and safety and enable a transition in banking. To guarantee long-term success, banks need to understand the technology and develop new applications that would benefit the customer. When an organization changes its infrastructure to a cloud configuration, it should be done in real time to curb the wastage of unused resources. Technologies such as Cisco’s Unified Computing Systems (UCS) help monitor the server, storage, memory and network capacity. They can calculate, with high levels of accuracy, which servers require more resources and automatically prioritize them. A well-designed private cloud computing platform also costs less than a dedicated server on a per server basis.
Challenges to cloud Although cloud computing is not a new concept for banks, this sector has been slow in adopting the technology. Such deployment models could lead to an environment sprawl and a lack of control in terms of change management. This can further lead to security risks, reliability issues and a lack of effective business continuity planning. A lack of core application solutions has delayed
the process further. From the public cloud standpoint, the issues are around regulation, location, liability and recoverability in the cloud. These factors may have slowed down adoption and deployment of cloud computing and led most banks to start building mini ‘private’ infrastructure clouds. To reduce this risk, the management of the infrastructure that underpins these computing environments needs to move away from complex IT provisioning requests to the presentation of a series of standardized services. Reaching this state is the beginning of the journey to the cloud.
Future scenario Private clouds have their place in enterprise IT, but they might not provide the cost benefits, economies of scale and ROI associated with public clouds. Customers looking to leverage the cloud for complex workloads, which need high levels of security and compliance, are moving towards the private cloud model. For certain workloads such as collaboration they look to leverage public clouds which provide them with an OPEX model. Banks must consider looking at external clouds. Given their concerns around security and control, banks can follow an incremental approach, applying cloud computing to non-core operations first, with fewer applications and move more to the cloud as they see the benefits. Finally, the banks need to know that this is all about ‘business model transformation’ and achieve business agility for the next level of growth. n Parag Arora is Vice President, Financial Services Industry, Cisco India
opinion Vikram Watave / Patni
Moving from virtualization to private cloud The period from 2005 to 2010 has undoubtedly been dominated by virtualization. The ‘virtualization’ trickle turned into a flood during recession, when CIOs used this technology to consolidate servers and save huge CAPEX and OPEX related costs. However, even as virtualized environments continued to expand, it introduced new layers of complexity. Organizations discovered that with virtualization, it was easy for any user with sufficient administrative privileges to create new virtual machines. Over a period of time, these organizations started facing the reality of managing a large number of virtual machines on different heterogeneous platforms. While there were reduced number of servers as compared to the physical world, virtual machines were difficult to track and monitor. As a result, organizations started facing the issue of ‘virtual machine sprawl’ — a phenomenon created by the deployment of virtual machines without proper inventory control. Without proper management of virtual instances, virtual machines quickly spiraled out of control defeating the purpose for what the technology was deployed. Using the same tools that were used for monitoring physical machines, organizations manually performed activities such as upgrades and patches on virtual machines. In this new world of virtualization, the agility and automation, that could serve as the foundation for, self-service IT remained elusive.
Why private clouds are required To function efficiently, a virtual machine needs to respond and exchange intelligence in a bi-directional way with the storage and network infrastructure. For example, when virtual machines move between physical servers, the
associated IT infrastructure such as storage, network, bandwidth or say, a security policy does not move. Hence, virtual machines need a management layer so that the enterprise can see every IT component from a single console and apply a policy to a specific virtual machine or across the entire IT infrastructure. For instance, by combining intelligence gained from capacity management with performance management, organizations can prevent over provisioning and enable an on-demand model. Vendors too are moving in this direction. For example, Cisco recently signed up alliances with EMC and VMware wherein Cisco will provide the networking and server component, EMC will provide the storage infrastructure, while VMware will contribute the virtualization piece that enables management. This will create an IT infrastructure which can dynamically respond to changes, which is not happening today in virtual server environments. What if an enterprise could provide dynamic provisioning and de-provisioning of machines and resources, via a centralized portal? What if upgrades, patches and policies could be applied from a central console? What if developers or users could deploy or consume applications via a self-service portal without any manual intervention? What if a performance monitoring console automatically placed workloads on virtual IT resources according to the demands made on the application? All this can be made possible with private or internal clouds. This can form the basis of self-service IT.
The building blocks of a private cloud The true essence of virtualization is enabling dynamic provisioning that is automated and delivered using a
self-service model. However, many enterprises use tools that require manual provisioning which restricts the benefits of virtualization in providing agility. The real benefit of a private cloud comes due to the fact that the enterprise has the capability to see IT resources such as servers, storage and networks as a single pool that can be provisioned and de-provisioned on demand. In addition to virtualization, the following characteristics differentiate a private cloud: Automation: In a virtualized environment, as the number of virtual servers per physical server continue to increase, it becomes extremely challenging for the IT team to manually manage processes such as patches and upgrades. Automation is critical for not only doing away with manual tasks, but also for standardizing key processes such as application releases, patches and upgrades. Automation also helps in proactively identifying problems, and in provisioning and de-provisioning machines according to defined thresholds. Self-Service: Private clouds also allow the enterprise to enforce efficient usage of IT through a method of metering and chargeback model, wherein business units are billed for the resources consumed. Self-Service is an extremely powerful idea as it empowers customers to consume computer resources according to their requirements. With well-defined metering and chargeback models, private clouds encourage smart consumption of IT resources as business units consume only those IT resources that are vital to them. For the enterprise, self-service models are a huge advantage as it gives the CIO a top level view of what kind of resources or applications are in demand, what are the costs associated, and what kind of improvements can be made to further cut down costs and boost
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opinion efficiency. In essence, using a private cloud, enterprises can deliver IT as a service to internal customers.
How can you make this happen? If you have a legacy infrastructure, start by implementing virtualization – across servers, storage and networks. Once your infrastructure is fully virtualized, use virtualization management software to track, manage and monitor virtual machines. Use appropriate software to automate and centralize management of server, storage and network resources. This software must also give enterprises the capability to do upgrades, patches and maintenance from a single console. Once this infrastructure is in place, create a self-service portal that is linked to a chargeback model with defined SLAs and QoS metrics. Ideally, start with one or two departments to understand consumption patterns, customer demands and the overall effectiveness of the model. Ideally, a service catalog provided on a self-service portal will enable organizations to recover their IT costs quickly, as business users consume only what they need and IT builds and delivers only what is needed. Self-service portals help in serving computing resources on demand, measuring consumption dynamically and in providing real time resource allocation. The private cloud infrastructure must be governed by a comprehensive governance framework that enables organizations to define and enforce a policy across the organization. Policies could include parameters such as security, QoS, bandwidth and integration.
How private clouds deliver Besides encouraging smart consumption of IT resources, private clouds are ‘elastic’ in nature. Any spike in demand such as say, launch of a new product, or handling e-commerce sales during festival seasons can be handled effectively by a private cloud. Private clouds and virtualization can also accelerate the drive towards hardware standardization. For example, live migration of virtual machines is
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Critical differences between virtualized infrastructure and a private cloud Virtualized Infrastructure Preventive maintenance or activities such as upgrades and patches are performed either by manually or with partial automation.
Private Cloud Gives enterprises the capability to automatically apply upgrades, patches and do maintenance from a central console.
Provisioning and de-provisioning of virtual machines are done either manually or with partial automation.
Provisioning and de-provisioning of virtual machines is automated and done dynamically.
Does not allow users to consume IT resources on their own.
Self-service capability allows IT users such as developers, infrastructure teams to consume IT resources on their own.
Lack of chargeback or metering model. With well-defined metering and chargeback models, private clouds encourage smart consumption of IT resources as business units will consume only those IT resources that are vital to them.
possible only if the processors are from the same vendor. The end objective for organizations that migrate to a private cloud is to achieve the capability to offer IT-as-aservice to internal business units through a self service portal. Using this approach, the IT function grows beyond the role of support, and assumes the role of driving the business. As a result, both the IT function and the business benefit. Both sides gain due to automation of manual tasks. A self service portal, where employee enablement services can be delivered using a cloud, is extremely beneficial as it enables enterprise users to consume specific services that they want, and get billed for only those services that they consume. As a result, the role of IT gets dramatically simplified and IT services can be offered and deployed on demand by the users – without the intervention of IT. Additionally, the organization has greater flexibility and agility in responding to dynamic business changes. More importantly, IT has complete visibility into the type of services consumed. Once the foundation for a private cloud is established, organizations can offer platforms and applications as services (IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS). Organizations can also consider a hybrid cloud model where some assets can be put in the public
cloud, while some can reside in the private cloud space. An enterprise can set up a private cloud, and use the public cloud to handle spikes in processing requirements. As public clouds charge only for actual usage, enterprises can use the hybrid model to handle loads in a cost-effective manner. With chargeback and metering features in place, a private cloud also encourages efficient usage of infrastructure, as users consume only those services that are crucial to their businesses. For end users, the private cloud is a boon. Take the case of a project head in a software company who wants to request IT infrastructure. In the traditional case, the project head would have to put in a formal requisition for the hardware, software and the server needed. This could take two weeks just for approval and implementation. In the world of private clouds, the project head just logs into a self-service portal and creates his own virtual server with the necessary software. The entire IT infrastructure is provisioned within a couple of hours. This is just one example of the real power and potential of a private cloud. n
Vikram Watave is Vice President – IMS, Patni
Cloud Computing: Understanding the risks By Faraz Ahmed The Cloud Security Alliance describes cloud as the use of a collection of services, applications, information, and infrastructure comprised of pools of compute, network, information, and storage resources which can be rapidly orchestrated, provisioned, implemented and decommissioned, and scaled up or down; providing for an on-demand utilitylike model of allocation and consumption. Phew! Quite a mouthful, yet there is not one bit of concurrence among experts. To add to the confusion, there are some pretty complex decisions to be made regarding which model of cloud computing one needs to select. Do I use IaaS, PaaS or SaaS? And one is spoiled for choices at the available deployment models: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Community Cloud or Hybrid Cloud. Today, many organizations are exploring the skies and looking to ride the cloud in their endeavor to optimize and reduce costs and also reduce delivery cycles to business. However, most of these organizations are struggling to select the appropriate vendor. Comparing cloud service providers is like comparing clouds in the sky, each one is unique and has its own nuances, but never the less, organizations should be clear about the purpose of using cloud services and its risk appetite. In my view, some top concerns on using the cloud are as follows: Financial strength: Organizations have to check the provider’s financial ability to deliver the services for a period of time for which the contract may be agreed upon. Cloud is a promising and upcoming area and you have to evaluate how you will be impacted if your provider is acquired. In the rapidly changing
technology world, it’s just a matter of time before what is being offered becomes obsolete and one may be forced to upgrade. This can upset financial calculations. Information handling: How is your information being stored, processed and delivered? What are the risks and how can this be minimized? Which individuals have access to your data? Do you trust the providers’ outsourced vendors to handle your data? Where is your data stored? What happens to the backup copy of the file you just deleted from your cloud storage? What kind of physical security does your provider’s data centre have? Lock in: Many providers may use proprietary tools and technologies, and organizations need to invest time and resources to customize the solutions for their needs and since the cloud is out in the open, how does one ensure the same is not made available to competition? This would also mean vendor lock-in and duplication of efforts in changing the service provider. Data location: One needs to have clarity on the location of data. After all, you cannot secure it if you don’t know where it is. This may also become a major issue in an event of a disaster and you require access to your data for recovery and if necessary, for forensics examination. SLA and audit rights: Many cloud providers have standard non negotiable SLAs that do not allow you to audit their facilities. An organization must look at how this will impact their compliance requirements, as this may lead to non compliance of certain regulatory standards. Selection of a service
provider must be done after careful consideration of the SLA agreement and the organization’s security and risk concerns. To address this issue, granular and least privileged model of access with detailed audit logs is required to assure transparency and build trust between the provider and user. Compliance: Trans-border information flow is a very critical element of the contract as you want to ensure that you have access to systems and forensic evidence in case of any unfortunate events. Careful consideration must be given to the locations of the service provider and facilities being used to deliver the service as they may exist across various geographies. Some of these geographies may not be extremely accommodating to compliance and regulatory requirements. In certain cases, privacy regulations of certain businesses and geographies may not allow the data to be hosted on a cloud platform as the data is out of your network. Certifications: As no standards currently exist for security and services delivered out of the cloud, one will have to rely on existing standards and best practices.
Conclusion A sound risk management program is required to address the above concerns. This must ideally start with a detailed information and asset inventory that identifies and labels all information assets, their owners and importance and priority of data in an event of a disaster. n Faraz Ahmed is Head - Information Security, Reliance Life Insurance
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opinion Pallavi Kathuria / Microsoft India
An open cloud As one of the most disruptive technologies of our times – cloud Computing brings with itself new challenges and goalposts for interoperability on two broad areas — with the existing on-premise IT infrastructures, as well as among various clouds platforms. The promise of this new technology is reduced to a fraction if it does not work with the existing technologies seamlessly. While more and more businesses and organizations look to embrace cloud computing, one of the preconditions for any new investment in a cloud-based solution is that the latter would supplement the existing IT infrastructure — instead of creating new silos of applications and data. Businesses also demand the assurance of data security and portability. Finally, they want the ability to migrate their existing applications to the cloud easily without having to rewrite the applications grounds up in a new language that a given cloud platform mandates. Summing up these three core requirements as often articulated by businesses, it is easy to see that the core demand is for a cloud platform that is both open and interoperable. According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, Associate Research Manager at Springboard Research, “While cloud computing has gathered much steam in the recent past; CIOs have identified security and interoperability as key issues impeding rampant adoption. The key is to offer seamless movement across cloud environments and develop industry-wide standards that work with most vendors and service partners.” In other words, openness and interoperability for a cloud platform will allow businesses to harness the full potential of cloud computing and
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therefore aid in cloud adoption by more and more businesses. Clearly, the case for promoting openness on the cloud cannot be stronger for leading cloud vendors. Data portability is the first element of interoperability — which enables businesses to move their data in and out of any cloud application or platform to another cloud platform, or even back to an on-premise deployment, without losing fidelity. Data portability is more than a fundamental requirement for an open cloud — it is the core assurance that any business, or a government will seek before embracing cloud computing. Secondly, an open cloud platform and its applications must support as many existing and evolving standards that would make it easier for applications and platforms to interconnect. An open cloud platform must support multiple Internet protocols including HTTP, XML, SOAP and REST, and other key cloud standards – including Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) frameworks for data centers and virtualized systems, web standards like SOAP, REST, AtomPub, and federated security standards – that provide the building blocks for open, interoperable cloud services. In fact, a healthy industry and user momentum is already building up for laying down security and interoperability standards for the cloud. The launch of ‘Open Data Centre Alliance’ – a consortium of leading global IT managers with over USD 50 billion in collective IT spending was a big step forward. The ODCA has released its usage model roadmap, which includes 19 usage models that address technical requirements for data center and cloud infrastructure and is based on open, interoperable solutions. This is
designed to be interoperable across data centers. In the past too, there have been broader security guidelines from ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) and Cloud Security Alliance. The Jericho Forum’s Self-assessment Scheme (SAS) is also a great example of industry stakeholders coming together to address the security concerns about cloud adoption. Coming back to the broader topic, the third key attribute of an open cloud is ease of migration and deployment, which addresses the process of migrating existing IT assets to the cloud. Cloud platforms should provide a secure migration path that preserves existing investments and should enable the co-existence between on-premise software and cloud services. This will enable customers to run “private clouds” and partners (including hosters) to run “partner clouds”, as well as take advantage of public cloud platform services. Finally, a cloud platform is open when it offers choice to application developers to use any programming language or tool of their choice. While these principles form the bedrock of an open cloud platform, there are a host of initiatives from cloud vendors to further help make the enduser transition to the cloud easier. Ultimately it is the customers who get to benefit from the advantages offered by cloud computing, without getting hampered by concerns on data security, portability and access. And anything that is good for the customers is good for the IT industry – resulting in a win-win situation for all. n
Pallavi Kathuria is Director – Server Business at Microsoft India
S t e fa n V a n O v e r t v e l d t / M a s t e k
‘Adaptive Case Management is the next big thing for business process automation’ The Rs 722 crore enterprise solutions provider Mastek, catering to companies in insurance, government, and financial services sectors, is preparing for the next wave in computing. Stefan Van Overtveldt, Chief Engineer Officer, Mastek tells Brian Pereira about consumer-led trends in these industries, and how Mastek is preparing for its “third wave” by pursuing an industry trend called Adaptive Case Management for business process optimization. What are the shifts that you observe in consumer behavior and how is the insurance industry responding? We see two big drivers from a business perspective. There is an increasing shift of power into the hands of the customer. There are things like self-service portals, and now customers are also empowered by their mobile phones. For instance in North America, customers in insurance companies file a declaration of a car accident using their mobile phones. They take a picture of the accident scene and make a declaration of the accident through their smart phones. This speeds up the process since the details are being submitted immediately. There is another trend in various industries to optimize the business processes internally — for all these customers. Hence, these two trends are related. We see this trend on the horizon in the Indian market. What is being done on the business process optimization side to address these shifts? Traditionally, business process optimization has always been centered on factory business processes. It works in environments that are highly predictable. The process tends to be fixed, but the data follows the process.
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Consider environments like Government, where they provide citizen services; Insurance, where they do things like underwriting, life insurance policies, or investigating claims against medical insurance policy. All of a sudden you are no longer talking about a fixed process. An individual or knowledge worker (in the back office) looks at a specific case, and ensures that he has all the data associated with that case, and that may trigger sub-processes. Based on the information gathered, he can make a decision that actually defines what the rest of the process will look like. What about the variations in rules and regulations across countries and also among states within a country? How do you factor these variations when designing the product? This is a massive challenge for us. We do a lot of work in the insurance sector in North America, which is not a unified market. The US has 50 states and multiple languages that you need to support. It has different rules for life insurance policy in all 50 states. There is an enormous amount of variation in the process. So the process becomes flexible and is driven by the data — the process changes according to the data. To address this, there is a trend in the industry called Adaptive Case Management. This is the next big thing for business level, IT-driven process automation. This technology will have the biggest impact in environments where the knowledge management aspect is dramatic. Does adaptive case management work on the cloud? While the processes can be outsourced or hosted elsewhere, the question is: what happens to the data? Some countries mandate that the data stays within the country or within the company data center. We recognize this as a fundamental issue. So we built technology that allows you to anonymize data, not just at the data base level, but also data that is in-flight. By ‘anonymize’ we mean take the data and apply a set of rules based on the access levels and other pre-defined parameters. Based on these rules, the data is scrambled around. For instance, we scramble the digits in a 16-digit credit card number. This is not data encryption as the data is still visible. The scrambled data can be reconstituted later. n
Brian Pereira (email@example.com)
Bringing people together on one platform Fast paced growth, a large and scattered user base, and hordes of skeptical users pose many challenges while transitioning to a new messaging and collaboration platform. Here’s how Electrotherm got round these challenges By Brian Pereira Electrotherm (India) is a major manufacturer of induction melting furnaces and refining equipments. Founded in 1984, the company offers state-of-art technology in steel melting and refining equipment to help the steel industry produce steel more efficiently through the induction furnace route. More than 18 million tons of steel is produced on equipment, manufactured and supplied by Electrotherm every year. Despite a volatile steel sector last year, Electrotherm grew its business across its key offerings. The company has grown rapidly over the last six years, and was rated as the fastest growing midsized BSE-listed company in India in 2008 by Dalal Street, growing at a CAGR of 92 percent. The company has transformed itself successfully, from a pure B2B company specializing in selling high value engineering and metallurgical equipments, to a B2B and B2C organization with the introduction of industrial products for the retail segments. The company is present at five locations with its corporate office and data center located in Ahmedabad. To prepare for the next level of productivity and growth, Electrotherm needed a technology solution to streamline collaboration across its multiple business segments. It also wanted to create a dynamic repository of business knowledge. It wanted an affordable solution to address the needs of its business. “As we were growing so quickly,
“By migrating from a distributed architecture to a single site, we have reduced the cost of running our email platform by 60 percent” Vishad Rahangdale, CIO, Electrotherm (India) our biggest challenge was synergizing the people and bringing them on one platform. Since we are an R&D driven company, we required a mechanism to protect our intellectual property,” said Vishad Rahangdale, CIO, Electrotherm (India). To counter these challenges Electrotherm devised a three-pronged strategy. Firstly, on the connectivity side, it had to make its backbone infrastructure robust; secondly, it needed to introduce some innovation in its data center; and thirdly, it needed a solution for communication, collaboration and security, with a central support mechanism. “First we deployed the backbone infrastructure and chose MPLS. Earlier it was Point-to-Point from a service provider. Then we introduced some innovation in our data center,” informed Rahangdale. Electrothem was also looking for the right hardware for its data center— hardware that would offer scalability, redundancy and business continuity. The choice of hardware was determined after selecting the software solution. For the third requirement
(communication and collaboration), the company chose to deploy Microsoft Exchange, Hyper-V, SharePoint, Microsoft Office 2010 and Office Communications Server (OCS). The project began with the evaluation stage in May and June 2010. The hardware deployment began at the end of November 2010. And the system went online at the end of December 2010. The actual implementation happened in less than a month — thanks to the 24x7 support of all the vendors involved in the project. However, the SharePoint implementation is yet to be completed, informed Rehangdale. “By way of innovation in the data center, we are using Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization and HP’s high availability solution,” added Rahangdale. Since it was already using Microsoft’s operating systems and office automation solutions, Electrotherm opted for Microsoft’s communication and collaboration solution — rather than choose an alternative like Lotus Notes or an open source solution. “Since we stuck to Microsoft’s platform, the user experience was not changing,” said Rahangdale.
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case study Challenges However, the transition to the new system was not an easy one and the company faced three challenges. Firstly, there was resistance from people in the organization. “People were suspicious about their work being monitored as they came on to the domain. Another challenge was transitioning a huge base of users,” said Rahangdale. Earlier its user base was in a workgroup environment. It was a humongous task shifting such a large user base into an Active Directory environment. On the technology front, there was skepticism about the failure of the new solution, and how that failure should be addressed through a fallback plan. “Lastly, with the older open source solution, mails were getting lost. So there was always a concern about this happening with the new system too. We found that theoretically it takes 48 hours to populate the global DNS. But in fact, it starts populating after just four hours. We said if that doesn’t work we can revert to the older system and there would be a delay/downtime of only four hours. We also decided to do a pilot test of the new system for a week and then deploy it live. But users were not convinced, because they did not want to miss important communications during the transition period,” said Rahangdale. However, Rahangdale and his team found a workaround by deploying parallel systems for messaging. The trick was maintaining two MX record entries—these are used when preparing to send SMTP mail to a remote system. One was kept at Electrotherm’s data center and the other with its service provider. So this solved the problem of mails not reaching recipient mailboxes—if these could not reach user mailboxes in Electrotherm’s data center then these would automatically be redirected to the service provider, from where they could later be accessed. And how did he get round to cajoling users to accept the new system? “At the user level, we had to take a
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top-down approach to convince users. Top management communicated the various benefits to the users. They said the intention is not to monitor, but to offer better IT services. This would reduce the time for deploying services. It would also sync addresses with the global address book,” said Rahangdale. But apart from these, there were other challenges on the compliance and communications fronts. He did not elaborate further on these challenges.
Benefits Since the project was driven largely out of a business need, there were no upfront expectations for ROI. Speaking about the key benefits, Rahangdale said,
“The main benefit was really the user experience and user acceptance.” He added, “Response times have improved and obviously we can make faster decisions. The mail delivery time is less than a second today. This has made everyone more proactive. These changes are visible too. Even our most remote location like Belari is now easily accessible.” Summing it up in his own imitable style, Rahangdale said the management feels “his organization is no longer walking—it is running!” n
Brian Pereira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
book review The business value of technology
Preparing for the Cloud Cloud Computing seems to be the most talked-about technology today. But it’s also the least understood term. In fact, there is no single, unified definition for it. Some organizations/individuals think virtualization is synonymous with Cloud. But there is a lot of Cloud Computing Implementation, Management and Security John W Rittinghouse, James F Ransome CRC Press Available at: Computer Bookshop, Mumbai interest, particularly for private clouds in India. Organizations that are planning a journey to the cloud should have a thorough understanding of the IT services model and Service Oriented Architecture. Cloud Computing — Implementation, Management and Security offers an accurate description of cloud computing, explores how disruptive it may become in future, and examines its advantages and disadvantages. The authors take us through the evolution of cloud computing. Then they survey some of the critical components that are necessary to make the cloud computing paradigm feasible. They also present various standards based on the use and implementation issues surrounding cloud computing and describe the infrastructure management that is maintained by cloud computing service providers. The book concludes with a hard look at successful cloud computing vendors and the cloud management tools and services they offer. The book would have been more complete with the inclusion of a few reallife case studies of companies that moved their legacy infrastructure to the cloud — and the challenges they faced in doing so. It would also be interesting to learn about various cloud computing forums around the world and their efforts to promote cloud standards. Perhaps there should be a separate chapter on regulatory and compliance aspects, and how these norms vary across geographies. But it makes up for these deficiencies with interesting topics that you may not find in other books on cloud computing. For instance, we enjoyed reading about the potential of smartphones connected to the cloud. And the grand finale before the end of the book is an executive scenario for cloud migration. It’s a hypothetical case of a fictitious company considering a move to cloudbased operations. Here you’ll read about the different views that the CEO, CFO, VPs and EVPs have about the business. Then we hear about the CIO’s struggles in keeping up with all their expectations. We won’t spoil the element of surprise by telling you how that CIO overcomes these struggles. The cloud had a lot to do with it, of course. This is a must-read for every CIO. n
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Having the right IT strategy can ensure that your business is on track to achieve organic growth and profits, and that it has a cutting edge over the competition. So what constitutes a right IT strategy for business? What kind of impact can IT have on your business? How does a company strike a balance between business and technology? IT Strategy for Business sets out to answer some of these questions. The book explains how a firm can strike a perfect balance between technology and business, and gives a practical insight into IT strategies for all kinds of enterprises. It acquaints the reader with different aspects of IT and business strategies and their cross linking through various strategic initiatives. While other books on this subject position IT as a technology, and elaborate on its management aspects, this book positions IT as a strategic business infrastructure and knowledge catalyst. Some important topics discussed in this book are: IT management, e-strategies, outsourcing and offshoring, knowledge management, and various stages and facets of IT strategy implementation; the role of IT in areas such as M&A and IT security. n
IT Strategy for Business Authors: Parag Kulkarni, Pradip K. Chande Oxford University Press
Six ways to fail in the cloud Our latest survey shows double-digit increases in cloud adoption. But ignore integration, management and monitoring at your peril By Michael Healey Our 2011 InformationWeek Analytics State of Cloud Computing Survey shows a 67 percent increase in the number of companies using cloud services, up from 18 percent in February 2009 and 30 percent in October 2010. IT now has a choice: Grab ownership of what’s poised to be a core part of the enterprise technology toolset, or shortchange key functions and set ourselves up for disaster. This shouldn’t be a hard call, yet over and over we see CIOs underfund or ignore six major areas: integration, security, connectivity, monitoring, continuity planning, and long-term staffing. Only 29 percent of companies using or planning to use the cloud have evaluated its impact on their architectures. Just 20 percent implement monitoring of applications and throughput; 40 percent don’t have any monitoring in place. Talk about blind trust. There’s a misperception that it’s smaller companies driving the cloud usage upswing. But don’t write off management shortfalls as an SMB problem; we saw almost the same rates of use and planned use regardless
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of company size, once we delved into the data. There are now viable cloud options for almost every layer of the technology stack — from raw computing, storage, databases, and utilities to e-mail to the spectrum of enterprise applications, all with a “point, click, go” functionality that has maverick business units everywhere rejoicing. Ignore management at your peril. Cloud vendors Boomi, Cast Iron, and Jitterbit are focused solely on offering integration services for less money
and in less time, and they’re shaking up established firms like Informatica and Oracle-SAP as well as EDI players like Ariba, Hubspan, and Sterling Commerce. Boomi and Cast Iron have been acquired by Dell and IBM, respectively. Both buyers cited the benefits of offering streamlined integration connections across the enterprise. Earlier last year, IBM, acknowledging gaps in its cloud integration, also bought Sterling, one of the larger EDI players. This is a new twist to interoperability that is available only within the cloud. Previously, there just wasn’t scale to build multitenant integration services. But now, integration services have become clouds themselves--middleware as a service, if you will. The more options and connections they have, the more competitive they become and the more monthly subscriptions they get. Will they make it? Yes. There’s a fortune in margins in integration, especially if you have scale, and the financial performance of these vendors is impressive.
Security: Safety First “We won’t be involving our security team in this project until the last possible moment, because the answer will be ‘no.’” That from a VP at one of the largest retailers in the world. He’s evaluating
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feature a cloud-centric initiative that could dramatically improve the company’s operations. He went on to say that bringing the CISO in without building the entire plan beforehand is a death knell for any project. Think this isn’t going on in your shop? Keep sipping the happy juice. This VP guaranteed that end runs are standard practice among his peers. And the standard mantra of “it’s against compliance rules” won’t only make you seem out of touch — you may well be wrong. PCI 2.0, the rules that govern the security of credit and debit card data, was just released and has little specific guidance for cloud computing per se, but it does lay out clearer rules relating to off-premises transactions. In addition, Amazon recently announced that its Elastic Compute Cloud is certified for conducting Level 1 transactions; the company will begin offering that service this year. The next official PCI standard will likely have in-depth rules for cloud computing, but it won’t be released until 2013. Security teams take note: There’s a new set of guidelines, and a major cloud vendor has a platform certified for some level of transactions that are subject to PCI rules. If you think saying “Wait until 2013” is a good move for your business, consider polishing up your resumé. The better answer is providing forward-thinking security and connectivity guidelines that people outside IT can understand and use. Make sure your guide covers all the policies you’ve established and explains the outside compliance areas you’re forced to adhere to. We discuss the seven key areas that must be included in a cloud policy in our full Analytics Report.
says Tom Elowson, president of virtualization cloud provider Acxess. “We have bandwidth conversation with potential clients everyday. If they haven’t analyzed their existing usage and started to calculate the potential impact, we usually push back.” Start with the outbound volume to reach the resource, and take into account back-end traffic to update data. Bandwidth calculations also need to factor in data and user growth over a five-year period, same as ROI calculations. Get solid trending stats on usage and volume over the course of several weeks. If you don’t, you could be looking at a major fumble.
Monitoring: Watch And Learn Thirty-nine percent of poll respondents say they don’t monitor their cloud vendors, while an additional 40 percent rely on basic “up/down” tools that are no better than a periodic ping. The latter group’s sole advantage is they’ll have a 30-second warning before the complaints start rolling in. How to stay on track? First, invest in data flow monitoring internally. Less than 15 percent of respondents have systems in place that monitor application and transactional throughput. Basic status alerting is nice, but you need to be watching your network data flows and have established
performance levels for every application before you add an external cloud. Once your house is in order, connect with your bandwidth provider and establish ground rules around monitoring of traffic, your lines, and how you share data. Set up remote monitoring points outside of your main office. Assemble a set of cloud-based monitoring tools. Yes, a cloud app to watch your cloud apps. Go beyond the basic utilities that Amazon, GoGrid, Google, and others provide to add overall monitoring of all Internet traffic.
Continuity: Get Backup All companies ask their cloud vendors, “Do you back up our data?” The answer is always some variant of yes. However, the majority of cloud designs focus on backup and point-in-time failover — not archiving. Always establish a cloud service backup and archiving schedule the same way you would for any internal resource. Start with your current vendor. Many, like CommVault and Symantec, are working to establish options for extending internal backup and archiving systems to manage cloud-based data. All systems have outages, whether they’re in house or in the cloud. Focus on what vendors will agree to in their service-level agreements vs. what your internal teams will commit to for their in-house SLAs. The “five-nines”
What are your company’s plans for cloud computing? 2010
Receiving services today from a cloud provider
30% 18% Planning to use services from a cloud provider within the next 12 months
Connectivity: The Right Connections Just 29 percent of those using or planning to use a cloud service have scoped out the architectural impact on their Internet infrastructures. You should be running these numbers before engaging any cloud provider. “It’s the biggest miss we see,”
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9% Considering using services from a cloud provider
24% 25% No plans to use services from a cloud provider
33% 48% Source: InformationWeek Analytics State of Cloud Computing Survey of 607 business technology professionals in October 2010 and 547 in February 2009
mantra (99.999 percent) that dominates discussion among Tier 1 data vendors simply isn’t heard in the cloud. At best, your uptime will be between 99.9 percent and 99.95 percent. Decide: What is the plan for the business if there’s an outage? When do you implement the failover plan? Who makes the call? These are all familiar themes to business continuity pros, but with an external twist. Software as a service should have, at minimum, manual processes documented for users. In the case of a CRM or project management application, you may want a separate cloud or in-house system that could be activated in the event of a major failure. For high-volume services, such as e-mail or EDI transactions, design a system that not only queues ongoing transactions for short outages but has the ability to fail over completely. These aren’t small projects; plan to devote engineering time and funding.
Cloud’s impact on internet-facing architecture Have you examined the potential impact of a cloud service on your Internet-facing architecture? Yes
29% 8% No, and we have no plans to do so
Source: InformationWeek Analytics 2011 State of Cloud Computing Survey of 408 business technology professionals using, planning to use, or considering cloud computing services, October 2010
STAFFING: BUILD YOUR BENCH IT as a profession is at a turning point. While the cloud may be hot, there hasn’t been a boom in hiring by these vendors, according to the most recent
Security defects in the technology itself
53% 57% Unauthorized access to or leak of our proprietary information
50% 53% Unauthorized access to or leak of our customers’ information
49% 47% Application and system performance
32% 32% Business viability of provider; risk company will fail
28% 30% Business continuity and disaster recovery readiness of provider
Not yet, but we plan to
Not yet, but we will before adopting any new services
What are your top concerns related to cloud services? 2010
26% Vendor lock-in
23% 17% Features and general maturity of technology
17% 19% Source: InformationWeek Analytics State of Cloud Computing Survey of 607 business technology professionals in October 2010 and 547
U.S. Department of Labor stats. Cloud and related hosting services companies have had flat job growth for the past year. Blame economies of scale. But just because the quantity of jobs is down doesn’t mean you’ll easily find IT pros who can deftly manage vendor relationships, not just technology platforms. Our 2010 State of Outsourcing Survey showed that nearly six of 10 IT shops outsource some critical function — management, engineering, or development. So you can see the staffing challenge CIOs face. This is a major gap that won’t necessarily go away through market forces attracting additional talent to meet your needs. You need to start building your own talent bench. Get ready for a wild ride. Capital expenditures used to provide a brake, regulating the pace of internal service adoption. That’s come off with the cloud, so IT teams need to build new policies and platform models that will protect the company as business activity gets rolling. That’s because, once cloud apps become part of the fabric, there’ll be no slowing down to make adjustments. n Michael Healey is president of consulting firm Yeoman Technologies. Write to us at email@example.com
MARCH 2011 I N F O R M AT I O N W E E K
D aya P r a k a s h , H e a d - I T, L G El e c t r o n i c s I n di a
Career Track How long at the current company I have been working with LG since 2001.
Most important career influencer If I look back and try to pick the most important career influencer for me, then it would be joining LG and getting exposed to the Korean work culture. I was also fortunate to join this organization, when it was trying to establish its footprint in India. Passion, dynamism, openness and empowerment are some of the salient features which have made it possible for LG to become one of the key players in the consumer durable industry in India.
Decision I wish I could do over I strongly believe in the philosophy of “Life as an ongoing journey” and we always remain a student as life teaches us lessons of doing things better, everyday and in every moment. Since decision making is all about choosing the best of all options, there is no decision which stands true in all situations. If one can look back with satisfaction in terms of achievement and make a little difference to the society by giving back, there is no decision one may need to completely redo. However, a person must always be open to changes in order to remain aligned to goals and visions.
VISION The next big thing for my industry will be… The world is changing very fast and we are witnessing a number of changes in consumer preferences when it comes to electronics. Gone are the days, when the PC used to rule. Today’s world is of tablets and smart phones. The trends also show a great shift in the TV market as it shifted from Flat Panel to PDP/LCDs and now 3D/Full HD LEDs. The next big wave would be Internetenabled TVs.
Advice for future CIOs Some of the common advice I received from my seniors is to dream big, stay focussed, work hard and be sincere and honest. These insights helped me a lot to reach my present status. However, I have learnt a few more things through my own experience. For instance, success is comparatively
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easy to come by if you follow your heart i.e. if you aspire to be a CIO, you must love every aspect of your job. Do not differentiate in tasks related to core IT or business. Go that extra mile to gain that business insight as the role of a CIO is continuously evolving. You must possess thorough knowledge of various technologies to help yourself and your organization to stay ahead of competition. I am yet to learn the art of saying ‘no’, maybe because so far, it has given me more than what it would have taken away from me. I love to interact with budding CIOs — to discuss challenges or issues they have at hand. I like to interact and mentor these CIOs.
ON THE JOB Top three initiatives One of the recent initiatives which we took was to bring in corporate IT governance by implementing Global Single Instance of ERP at LG. I am pleased to mention that we successfully completed the project within a targeted schedule. Some of the other high priority initiatives, we are currently working on, are Business Intelligence and CRM.
How I measure IT effectiveness LG India’s operations are spread across the geography and are represented by a corporate office at Greater Noida, two factories (Greater Noida and Ranjangaon, Pune), 12 regional sales offices, 47 branch offices and over 100 area offices. We have a scientific mechanism of measuring IT effectiveness through the following ways: l Periodic review of the cost Innovation with senior management i.e. ROI on organizational activities through IT initiatives l By monitoring Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) which is based on the user feedback captured through system on a scale of 1 to 7 l Conducting a periodic survey to check Net Promoter Score (NPS) across the organization
Personal Leisure activities: I enjoy reading books, playing cricket and lawn tennis. I like spending time with my family and friends. Best book read recently: Maverick by Ricardo Semler. Unknown talents (singing, painting etc): None that I know of. If I weren't a CIO, I'd be... I definitely would have been in academics. I want to pursue PhD someday. n
As told to Srikanth RP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
technology and risks Avinash Kadam
Info leakages â€” Control and cures A reasonable approach is to build defence in-depth by having multiple, independent layers to protect the information
No, this is not another article on Wikileaks. This is about how to avoid any kind of information leak. The type of information leaks exemplified by Wikileaks is a nightmare for any information security professional. The information leak may have political significance or it may ruin the reputation of a company. It may compromise years of research work. It may jeopardize national security. Not everything will merit a mention in Wikileaks. But the effect of these leaks could be devastating. What is a reasonable protection? In the information security field, you can never give an absolute guarantee. Information is like ether. It will somehow find a way out. A reasonable approach is to build defence indepth by having multiple, independent layers to protect the information. Each layer should be independent of other layers. And security should be built as if each layer is the only one to protect the information. Let us look at how many layers could constitute a complete defence in depth. I propose a seven-layer model. l Operating system l Database system l Application programs l Network l Operational l Physical l Personnel You can imagine these layers as concentric circles, guarding the information which is at the core. Each of these layers is capable of leading to leakage of information, deliberate as well as inadvertent. A hacker will try to find weaknesses in each of these layers and carve out a path of least resistance to reach to the core, which is the critical information. What are the measures to be implemented in each layer? These depend on the classical threat, vulnerability and risk assessment model. Identify the vulnerabilities in each
layer, build a threat scenario and find the likelihood of a plausible threat exploiting a likely vulnerability. Deploy appropriate controls to mitigate the risk to an acceptable level. If this is as simple, why do the leaks happen? We have to look at our assumptions of defence in depth. Did we really build each layer totally self-sufficient, independent of other layers? At each step, we will realize that there is one layer which interfaces with every other layer. This is the layer occupied by personnel. Whichever of the following you want to have â€” hardened operating system, secure database, securely coded applications, securely designed network, least privileges for the users, tight access control, or complete monitoring of every activity â€” we can never do it without very reliable, trustworthy and competent persons. This layer has to be built with utmost care. Every ingenious way of securing the other layers will fail, if the personnel layer is not built with care. There are various controls prescribed for the personnel layer. They begin with background checks, non-disclosure agreements, and competency check. Unfortunately these are more often treated as mere formalities. During employment, there are other safeguards like segregation of duties, job rotation, mandatory vacations and so on. Once again, these are mostly ignored due to lack of trained persons. The result is, we spend a lot of money on technical controls and security devices, but are weak on trained, competent and trustworthy manpower. It is as if we spend huge amounts on buying the most expensive aircrafts, but do not have well-trained pilots. Remember, the totality of the seven layers of defence in depth will only be as strong as the weakest layer, i.e the personnel layer. n Avinash Kadam is Director, COO and Head of Delivery at MIEL e-Security. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
global CIO Chris Murphy
FedEx CIO explains the real power of the cloud Tempted to dismiss the ‘private cloud’ as the latest IT blather? Rob Carter has a new data center in Colorado that begs to differ
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Leave it to Rob Carter, the CIO of FedEx, to clarify what’s really powerful about cloud computing. Carter, the company’s CIO since 2000 and an InformationWeek advisory board member for almost as long, has a knack for discussing technology in a way that cuts to the business payoff, but without leaning on buzzwords that whitewash the complexity involved. Carter boils down cloud computing, when applied to IT infrastructure, to “general purpose computing.” It’s the ability to connect servers, networking, and storage that are “workload agnostic,” meaning the jobs they handle can be shuffled around among a company’s computers, so those machines are used as efficiently as possible. Just last fall, FedEx opened a new data center in Colorado Springs based on this idea of general purpose computing. It uses commodity x86 servers, each with just a single 10-gig Ethernet cord into the back for networking, replacing the bevy of wires of the past for host-bus adapters, NIC cards, etc. Before applications move into the new data center, they’re “commonized”--revised to use the same database and messaging technology, for example, so they can move easily among servers. FedEx is using this cloud infrastructure inside its own data center — a private cloud — but Carter says workloads could easily shift to public clouds run by vendors such as Amazon and others, if that made strategic sense down the road. IT pros, jaded by relentless tech hype, love to point out that, ‘this is nothing new.’ Mainframes have long done virtualization, so a private cloud isn’t all that different. Cloud computing understandably has triggered this reflex, as every vendor tries to label what it does as cloud. Some purists may also quibble that what FedEx is doing isn’t really cloud, if it’s not a fully self-provisioning and multi-
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tenant environment. Carter isn’t a bit worried about whether any of this fits this or that cloud definition. But he is unequivocal about this: The highly virtualized computing environments companies can build today are unlike anything that has come before them. In his words: “I started in the late ‘70s, right around ‘80, working this stuff, so I’ve ridden every wave from mainframe to minicomputers to PCs to client server to object-oriented — let’s throw CASE in there somewhere back in the ‘80s — to Internet technologies. As those waves crashed, we and everyone else have remnants of those things. What’s happening now — for the first time, in my opinion — is there’s truly a general purpose computing environment that’s workload-agnostic. You can throw different kinds of workloads on the same computing server infrastructure. There’s network convergence — all the networks are IP, there’s not a bunch of unique protocols. And there’s converged storage technology.” Then there’s software like Java that can make it all “very portable across platforms.” Understand, Carter is not an easy sell on the latest, greatest emerging technology. Back when the world (including us at IW) was going a bit gaga over RFID tracking technology, Carter was a voice of reason. So when Carter embraces a technology, I, for one, listen. The economics of the technology change are powerful. In FedEx’s case, it lets them build a new data center and retrofit a second one to this private cloud environment, fill it with new hardware, rewrite the software as needed to take advantage of this environment, and still have a compelling ROI. Says Carter: “What’s happening, and this is such a big deal in our world, is that for the first time ever, you can make investments in a whole new
class of technology for about the same price of just maintaining the base.” FedEx’s infrastructure transformation really starts with the applications. FedEx faced the challenge of supporting a maze of apps custom-coded to meet very specific transportation and logistics needs. To modernize those apps, Fed Ex is using a services-based approach. The apps will call on common data sources for 24 core transportation-related services — say, providing an address. Likewise, they’ll all be put on a common technology infrastructure-what FedEx calls its “data center minimums.” That means they use common foundations such as database or messaging technology. “We’re taking the application base and running them through a factory —we’re not just lifting and dropping onto the virtualized environment,” Carter says. No applications get into the new data center until they meet the minimums. Once completed, the effect is that “the containers that hold those apps in a virtual environment are very portable.” To Carter, the key strategic decision he and his team made was to look at this
transformation as more than an effort to cut overlapping applications; it wasn’t to simply get rid of multiple billing systems, for example. Instead, the key was to take this services approach and then combine it with a common environment and the converged infrastructure of servers, network, and storage. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it was for us to look at consolidation of the infrastructure rather than just application rationalization,” Carter says. “Getting the applications to run in a common framework, common environment, makes it so much easier for them to tap the new services that are being set up, and make the workloads more portable.” Even with the cost to migrate those apps to the new environment, to build a new data center next to its existing Colorado Springs location, and to equip it with new gear, Carter says the effort still has a very high ROI. FedEx’s transition to the new data center began last fall. The company has a similar infrastructure setup on a small scale in an existing data center, where it runs the apps as a test before cutting over. The pace of migrations will pick up sharply from here, and Carter predicts “enormous progress” over the next two years in moving off older infrastructure. So what about moving to public cloud environments, the outfits like Amazon that sell server computing
power, storage, and other infrastructure based on usage? There are business model questions about that approach, and questions around security and compliance, but Carter sees no serious technology barriers. So will companies eventually move to hybrid clouds, where workloads shift between internal data centers and third parties? Says Carter: “There’s no question. We’re already seeing it from the software standpoint, with Salesforce and other things that are integrated in our environments. I believe infrastructure and platform [as a service] are just looming out there — whether it’s Amazon or Google or HP or AT&T or whomever, it’s being built out all over. And it just happens to look exactly like what I’m talking about. It’s the same stuff. So I have to worry about security [in public clouds], but I don’t worry about workload compatibility, I don’t worry about network compatibility, and I don’t worry about storage compatibility. That’s what’s unique. The whole notion of general purpose computing that everyone refers to as cloud, be it public or private or hybrid, looks like this confluence of events that gives us common server, storage, and network technology.” n
Chris Murphy is Editor of InformationWeek. Write to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
analyst angle Sid Deshpande / Gartner
Cloud Computing can drive Indian CIOs closer to business Cloud computing is not a technology, but a deployment model that enables delivery of IT capabilities as a service by leveraging the underlying ecosystem of cloud enabling technologies. It has the potential to help CIOs improve delivery of IT to the organization and improve business agility while simultaneously reducing cost. The value proposition of the cloud computing delivery models for CIOs is clear, especially in a market like India, which has traditionally seen costconscious IT spending patterns. Cloud computing adoption in the country is restricted to large organizations in select verticals such as banking, financial services, government and telecom. Most of these initial cloud deployments are enterprise-owned private cloud implementations as opposed to off-premise public cloud services. A recent survey of global survey of large enterprises revealed that ‘improving business agility’ was the top driver for investing in cloud computing through 2011 for 66 percent of Indian respondents. This clearly indicates that Indian CIOs are in sync with global trends when it comes to anticipated outcomes from cloud computing investments. The traction of public cloud computing among enterprise CIOs is minimal, and this status quo is likely to continue in the near term — underscored by the fact that public cloud offerings from major Indian service providers are currently only focused on the SMB and developer segments. The primary concerns about public cloud in the country revolve around security, service availability, location of data and integration with on-premises systems.
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2011 will see an expansion in the extent and usage of private cloud in India, with early adoption of best practices and case studies being used to validate the value proposition to more verticals and segments within Indian enterprises. Additionally, government validation of the private cloud model (for example the UID project which will emerge as one of the largest private cloud deployments in India) will go a long way in convincing the skeptics among Indian CIOs. There is a high probability that by 2015, many Indian enterprises will adopt ‘hybrid’ cloud computing approaches, in smaller or larger measures. As CIOs begin refining their private cloud deployments, they are gradually realizing that the onus is now on them to validate and justify not just the IT value of efficiencies arising out of their CAPEX investment in private cloud, but also the direct business outcomes of the new way of deploying IT. The key cloud benefits that will enable CIOs to deliver business value to the organization are: 1) lowered costs, 2) lowered barriers to entry into new markets, 3) improved business continuity and DR; 4) simplified IT and 5) IT user empowerment. In an emerging economy like India, large enterprises are constantly looking to innovate and enter new markets. On-demand delivery of IT services through a cloud model can vastly improve the time to market the new initiatives. Whether it is utilizing private cloud to deliver applications and resources to customers and partners or deploying collaboration applications on a public cloud environment, there is plenty of scope and potential for CIOs to expand
use cases of cloud computing to directly benefit the enterprise business. There are some local factors that have the potential to significantly accelerate the next phase of cloud adoption in India. Indian CIOs need to be cognizant of these factors and watch out for indicators that will enable them to plan their enterprise cloud strategies better. The top three factors favoring cloud adoption in India in the long term are: 1) strong understanding of existing deployments of virtualization technologies, 2) Evolving cloud offerings from India-based global service providers, and 3) recruiting technically skilled workforce that is competent in cutting edge data center technologies. CIOs in India can do well to leverage the benefits of cloud computing to raise the profile of the IT organization as an indispensable influencer of business outcomes. However, it would be prudent for them to approach this paradigm with tempered enthusiasm as there are still technology, regulatory and standards issues that need to be addressed for cloud computing to become a seamless part of their current IT infrastructure. Gleaning best practices and learnings from early adopter case studies (from both emerging and mature markets) and investing in technology stacks that leave future scope for interoperability (as opposed to getting locked in) are two key areas that will lay the foundation for a successful enterprise cloud computing strategy in the coming years. n
Sid Deshpande is the Senior Research Analyst, Data Center Systems, Gartner
practical analysis Art Wittmann
Choosing SaaS Apps is IT’s work LOB partners tend to fall in love with an app’s interface and functionality, but they don’t know enough about things like integration and user authentication
IT pros will now have to deal with the fact that business-side partners have a variety of new technology choices and avenues. If accounts payable wants a different expensereporting system, lots of software-as-aservice alternatives are available; same goes for human resources, sales, and most other parts of the organization. For most CIOs and CFOs, this “competition” is a welcome relief. Tactical applications can be taken off IT’s to-do list, and overall costs can be lowered — they’ll no doubt appear lower at first, at least. While the budgeting process and even the application selection process may change, one thing that shouldn’t change much is IT’s role in selecting apps. Whether an application is SaaS-based and will run with little day-today maintenance from IT, or it’s to be run on your company’s internal infrastructure and therefore will be the sole responsibility of IT, it’s the job of IT leaders to ensure that every widely used application meets the needs it was envisioned to meet. The biggest challenge in this regard is ensuring that SaaS apps meet your corporate standards for everything from the stability of the vendor and the security of your data to the quality of the contract — servicelevel agreement guarantees and penalties provisions. Conversely, it’s easy for lineof-business partners to fall in love with an application’s functionality and user interface, but they typically won’t know enough about other important aspects, like how user authentication will work and whether the necessary hooks are there for data integration with other applications. This is a lesson a lot of IT teams have already learned the hard way yet many forget today. When you didn’t have standards in place for a personal productivity app, for example, users bought some from Lotus, some from Microsoft, and some from companies long since out of business — and
the result was a support nightmare. For years, database standards have been tough to enforce, and even operating systems crept into the organization because of specific app and project requirements. We risk repeating that lack of discipline as IT either abdicates the application decision to LOB leaders or comes into the process too late in the game. Whether 25 years ago or today, the result is the same: Short-term benefits eventually give way to support and integration problems that often far outstrip the savings or end user benefits initially realized. Buyers must look at the whole picture, and end users and business-side partners just don’t have that complete view. You do. Whether IT will play its critical role in selecting SaaS applications depends on its relationship with management and businessside partners. If you’ve run an insular IT organization, one that avoids talking and working with business-side partners, those partners will be only too happy to throw their chosen SaaS applications over that wall you’ve built and expect you to run them. Grumble all you want; you’ve given them no reason to act another way. Similarly, if your corner-office masters are convinced they’re better at picking application partners than you are, then yours is an uphill battle. It may take some failures and your wholehearted efforts to make the best of poor choices to develop a better working relationship. Whatever it takes, IT must take full ownership of SaaS applications. It’s not just good for IT; it’s good for your company. n Source: InformationWeek, USA
Art Wittmann is Director of InformationWeek Analytics, a portfolio of decision-support tools and analyst reports. You can write to him at email@example.com.
march 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k
down to business Rob Preston
In defense of the IT introverts Despite the conventional wisdom, extravert qualities aren’t always the stuff of leadership, and introvert qualities aren’t just shortcomings that must be overcome
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A forthcoming research study conveys a mixed message about the leadership capabilities of introverts, along the standard bearers of the IT profession—at least according to the industry’s oldest stereotype. An October 4 Harvard Business Review article on the study effectively damns introverts with faint praise, as if they’re an odd but plucky bunch of overachievers. The study, due to be published next year, was conducted by the Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino, the Wharton School’s Adam M. Grant, and the UNC KenanFlagler Business School’s David A. Hofmann. Introverts can make for productive leaders, the study acknowledges, but they’re more likely to succeed when they’re surrounded by extraverts and more likely to fail when they’re surrounded by other introverts. Conversely, the study finds that extraverted leaders are more likely to succeed with introverted employees and less likely with extraverted employees. It sounds like an interesting study, and you can read about it here. But allow me to take issue with the way introversion is conveyed in the HBR article, as well as poke at the broader IT stereotype. What I find a little simplistic about the study—or at least the HBR’s characterization of it—is the implicit assumption that extravert qualities are the stuff of leadership while introvert qualities are shortcomings that need to be overcome. Extraverts are portrayed as go-getters — they’re bold, collaborative, energetic, and adventurous. Introverts are portrayed as passive — they’re quiet, shy, reserved, and unadventurous. Despite stating that both types of leaders “can be equally successful or ineffectual,” the HBR article seems to overlook the fact that extraverted leaders could be blowhards, rash decision makers, and shallow glad-handers, while introverts could be natural leaders— calculating strategists. We should look at extraverts and
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introverts the way the Myers Briggs personality evaluators do. The Myers Briggs definitions have less to do with active vs. passive and more to do with how individuals draw their energy and inspiration — extraverts seek out and process information from other people; introverts tend to sort things out on their own. By those definitions, for every successful extraverted leader (Steve Ballmer, John Chambers, Marc Benioff) there’s a successful introverted one (Michael Dell, Eric Schmidt, Jim Goodnight). Who’s to say which style is “better”? I’m sure extraverted leaders must work at their listening and deliberation skills, just as introverted leaders must work at public speaking and team building. InformationWeek has the privilege of engaging regularly with an editorial advisory board of world-class CIOs. At a recent board dinner, I was struck by the eclectic mix of personality types. The extraverts weren’t the only alpha leaders in the room. In fact, the advisory board member with the most acute E.F. Hutton quality (when he talks, people listen) was Hewlett-Packard CIO Randy Mott, whose quiet, unassuming command and charisma are apparent to all, and whose record of leadership and accomplishment at HP—and before that, at Dell and Wal-Mart — is exemplary. Corporate leadership is about driving innovation and profitable execution, as well as creating an environment so that your people want to break down doors for you and your department or company. Since there’s next to zero chance that all-extravert teams will be led by introverts and vice versa, it’s time we valued an assortment of personality types and worked on drawing out the most productive attributes. n Source: InformationWeek, USA
Rob Preston is VP and Editor in Chief of InformationWeek. You can write to Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org.