With a slew of government initiatives and digital transformation activities by enterprises, data centre infrastructure modernisation and adoption of hybrid solutions is on the rise. In an exclusive interaction with CRN India, Anjani Kommisetti, Country Manager – India & SAARC at Raritan & Servertech (brands of Legrand), shares how Raritan is banking upon these opportunities
In terms of data centre infrastructure, what are the key trends that most organisations look for?
The Indian data centre space is going through an interesting phase. Increasing number of smart users and digitisation are responsible for the increasing use of smart applications, leading to trends like big data, data analytics, data mining, etc. This is driving the demand for high power data centres and keeping them in trend. The challenge is to accommodate more data in less space – more computing per rack and hence, more power per rack. All challenges need to be addressed while also achieving cost reduction through optimising the rack.
The dynamics of this changing marketplace, where IT is not only an enabler, but also a key player that provides a massive competitive edge, are prompting organisations to be very agile when dealing with the growth of their IT infrastructure. In order to deal with the changing marketplace, CIOs must not only think of technology, but also in terms of consumer access and points and consumer behaviour for smooth adoption and modification of their infrastructure. CIOs today are forced to optimise their data centre infrastructure completely in all aspects like power, storage, real estate, etc. There are many tools available to help data centre optimisation in every aspect. Therefore, optimisation will last long.
How is digital transformation, coupled with government initiatives, propelling the demand for scalable, agile and hybrid data centres?
Digital transformation is a crucial upgradation that every enterprise across industries is required to undergo in order to ensure customer satisfaction and improve the efficiency of their services. The rapid growth of connectivity and internet has created a competitive landscape in India, which has driven down the cost of setting up data centres in the country. High speed internet at a low cost, combined with governmental initiatives like Digital India, Startup India, etc, has created a hospitable environment for data centres to set up in India.
Growing data volumes need local storage, as depending entirely on international data centres is not advisable anymore. This has fuelled the growing demand for hybrid, agile data centres with combinations of data storage methods in the Indian space. Government initiatives have also fuelled data consumption, creating a larger need for enterprises to set up their own data centres to better understand and cater to their consumers.
How can hybrid IT model be leveraged to support government projects?
A hybrid IT model is an approach to organisational computing in which data storage is divided into in-house and cloud-based storage, depending on the usage of the data being stored. This way, an organisation can maintain a centralised approach towards IT governance, while also experimenting with cloud computing. Such a model can help in the implementation of government initiatives by creating hybrid IT models for storage of population data that can be accessed by different individuals at different governmental levels as and when they need it, making their processes faster and more efficient. It will help smoothen and quicken the reach and impact of government initiatives, while also helping track their progress and success, giving them real-time information about the various initiatives being carried out simultaneously
What is Raritan’s cloud business strategy in India?
Every organisation in most sectors will have its own comfort level in terms of storing data. Sectors like banking and finance – where information is sensitive – will be stored on premise. It is also governed by a regulatory environment where it is mandatory to hold financial transactions within the country, but other applications which are not financial based, like customer service-based applications that can be hosted on the cloud, which could be anywhere in the world. With regards to on-premise critical applications, organisations will not move it to cloud in the short term. While cloud has been discussed in the last 2-3 years, we are still going through a learning phase where organisations and CIOs are trying to understand how applications behave on a cloud and how to support or manage it. Once the comfort and the confidence come into play, we will see more and more migration of application on to the cloud. It will take around 3-5 years for the most critical data for organisations to go on cloud.
How is the burgeoning BFSI space adding to the growth of data centres?
There is a considerable amount of consolidation in the BSFI sector, in both private and public banks. There is a large number of legacy systems and they will last for a long time. Our solutions help banks to work with legacy systems and help integrate them with new-age systems. Sizes of data centres may be decreasing, but the volume of data they carry is increasing. Data centres must be either container based, rackspace, or micro data centres. There is still a large scope for growth of micro data centres in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities.
How is Raritan’s data centre strategy playing out in India?
Raritan plans to harness growth and expansion in India through the trends in the industry. Vertical expansion is a phase created by Raritan which allows data centre managers to supply more computing power in one rack. It also helps to achieve high compute density by bringing three-phase power to the rack, by first being deployed at the rack level and then providing single power phases to all the IT equipment. This ends up supplying more power to the rack and frees up extra space which can be utilised for expansion at a later date, whenever required.
Indian customers have begun to realise the importance of vertical expansion and recognise its benefits such as increasing computer density and saving cost, and it has been a learning curve for them. Industry verticals like IT, BFSI, healthcare, e-commerce, telecom, etc, besides government departments, are experiencing exponential increase in data centre requirements and stand to gain the most from vertical expansion.
What kind of customisation is Raritan doing for its customers?
In India, customers are loving the option of coloured PDUs, an addition made only four-five years ago. Sometimes, customers want PDUs to be in the company logo colours, and are willing to pay an extra charge for it as well. Raritan directly engages with customers in India to meet their every requirement, to guide customers through various customisation options.
How can organisations increase the efficiency of their data centres?
Organisations of all sizes will need to invest in agile data centre solutions that are scalable, flexible and adhere to the highest global standards of security. Keeping operational costs and efficiencies optimal will be critical as data centre strategies evolve and grow.
When there is an ardent need to increase storage, vertical expansion is the best solution. It maximises the existing space by providing more computing power in less cost per square foot. We need to optimise the existing capacity in terms of space and more compute power, which is more cost effective in the long run. There is a need to vertically expand data centres by adopting three-phase iPDUs. By bringing three-phase power to the racks, power distribution is extended with more compute power reaching to the individual rack and cabinets, without undertaking any major structural changes in the data centre.
With respect to security, the outlook has to change as the technology used on the network and the behaviour of the device on the network are not the only vulnerable areas for data theft. Today the infrastructure (UPS, PDU, air-conditioning etc.) in a DC is also connected on the network. In the past, the security aspect has been focused largely on networks and compute environment – and rightfully so. However, going forward in 2019, the behaviour of the equipment needs to be closely examined.
What are the opportunities and adoption rate of data centres across industries?
As businesses thrive in their digital transformation, data will drive the growth of the economy in 2019 as well. In the current scenario, enterprises require data centres to be more agile, scalable and flexible. Gartner predicts the worldwide spending on digital transformation and IT services to cross US$ 3.8 trillion and data centre systems to cross US$ 195 billion in 2019. The market in India is expected to grow at 23 per cent to 25 per cent and cross US$ 7 billion by 2020. According to Gartner, sectors like telecom, IT, BFSI, e-commerce and government have fuelled the rise of intelligent data centres. Going forward we see these sectors being a major contributor in the growth story of data centres in India.
In order to meet the current demands of data proliferation and data centre scalability, there is a need of integration of both cloud and physical solutions. In 2019, security of the data, both at the organisation and national level, will require most attention and investment by both public and private entities. Security of the physical rack at the data centre especially citizen’s data has to be ensured. In the coming year, we will see a steady growth of both hardware and security solutions market at the data centre side. Moreover, we see there is a huge demand of state-wise data centre. Smart Cities will further augment the demand for data centres.