PowerMax is the future of enterprise-class storage: Paul Henaghan, Dell EMC

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Paul Henaghan, Vice President, Data Centre Solutions – Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell EMC

In an exclusive conversation with Express Computer, Paul Henaghan, Vice President, Data Centre Solutions – Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell EMC states what are the driving factors for data centre today and what are the opportunities Dell EMC sees in India and APJ

What are the top emerging trends for modern data centres and what is the driving factor for data centres today?
The biggest trend is the explosion of data. Over the period of time, enterprises have realised that a lot of the information that they need to make better business decisions is already sitting within their organisations in the form of data – and they can derive value from it. However, with such thought process, the traditional data storage model does not seem to align well. Hence, businesses today are looking to explore varied alternatives in the form of adapting better IT infrastructure solutions to meet this explosion of data in a way that will allow them to remain responsive to their business and at the same time cut down costs.

India is on its journey to become digital. Data management has increased, especially due to eruption of emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and changing the existing workload requirements. In such a scenario, how can a company manage the surge of new data and use it real time to provide solution to its customers?
The narrative of digital transformation has been around for a long time, but now it has a diverse meaning. The pace of change has increased by leaps and bounds. Only recently, there has been advancement in technology like robotics, automation, AI, augmented reality, etc. Therefore, it is fair to say that the power of IoT and the ability to consume data at the edge is phenomenal. This also results in change of demands of a data centre from the conventional model to a digitally transformed model in order to maintain the competence of any business. Traditionally, the idea of IT and digital transformation used to be completely about cost reduction. This can make a business efficient, but if you only focus on the cost structure, then it won’t make the business relevant to the times in which it operates and we help the organisations to understand that.

India, as a market, comprehends well with the need of digital as well as IT transformation. In a recent study that we did with the enterprise solution group, we discovered that Indian enterprises were the most advanced in adoption of digital transformation, amongst the Asia Pacific countries. They are aware of the lack of IT transformation within the current operating enterprises and understand the need to drive it at the same time. They are willing to leverage the opportunity that IT transformation brings to their business. Amongst the 400 surveyed Indian companies, 90 per cent of the companies agree that IT transformation is important for growth of the business and hence the industry needs to embrace it – the pace of adoption, the ability to bring on new workloads, to bring on new applications, new data sources without having to scale up and build up new infrastructure and rather focusing on building the right advance platform. The pace of adoption of software defined networking and software defined storage is higher. Most importantly, India has adopted Hyper-Converged technologies, recognising the need to integrate the functionalities and coherently working as a single entity.

All of this, coupled with the various initiatives by the Indian government such as Aadhaar, Smart Cities, etc, to move towards a full-fledged digital economy speaks volumes for itself.

What opportunities do you see in India and APJ region?
As India, embarks on its digital journey with the Digital India initiative, storage capacities of organisations and enterprises will be stretched to their limits. Thus, organisations will need innovative storage solutions that can provide performance, capacity and reliability.

In India, we work very closely with government entities. For example, we see opportunities for creating new cloud capabilities, but in a hybrid secure, internal needs like using various technologies within government operations. Microsoft Azure, combined with Dell Technologies, has the capabilities to run in your own environment and for your own security requirement. Even in the financial sector, the converged infrastructure has made operations more cost efficient and is capable of driving growth and performance at the same time, which previously, in the conventional model, catering both the needs wasn’t feasible.

Our powerful All-Flash portfolio befits the data and performance-intensive nature of a smart city, while protecting against ungainly footprint and power usage needs. Dell EMC’s HCI solutions help in consolidation and modernisation of data centre technology, lowering the operating expenses. Finally, our Isilon solutions will become the nervous system of digital city by consuming and storing the data and delivering valuable insights real-time.

How are data centres shaping up in India and APJ?
India weaves a path of numerous opportunities for us in the country. We don’t solely want to focus on replacing the traditional models with the latest and greatest, but we also help companies become self aware. We also dwell deeper into various facets of technicalities like how they build in their applications, what are the demands of the business, what are the new initiatives, what is the competitive environment, the compliance, the regulatory environment, etc. Based on these, we want to leverage the very basic operating model in your business that is defined by cloud. This is why, the hybrid cloud technology is critical.

Moreover, we have seen it in India and across the globe that the fourth industrial revolution is here; we are going to be strong in the software-driven world and underneath there is going to be the need for essential infrastructure. Organisations will not be concerned about how quickly we can ramp up their application, how quickly we can deliver a new capability; but will be more focused on what they need to do from a business or operational perspective to meet the requirements of this digital revolution. That underlining infrastructure is going to be as essential as electricity is today and that is what we are helping organisations to build. When you bring AR, VR and explosion of IoT into that equation, it is going to be even more important that we have this capability.

One of the leading examples of adoption of new IoT technologies is of Chitale Dairy in Bhilawadi, India. Chitale sells nearly 60 million litres of milk annually from its dairy farm and small surrounding farms. Dell EMC worked with Chitale to create a Dell IoT solution to help keep livestock healthy and produce at a 10x higher yield through big data and analytics, automated farmer to-do lists and computerised breeding management. Local farmers noted that this digital transformation allowed them to receive messages on cows’ pregnancies, vaccinations and changes to their diet – key drivers of their constant growth and overall profits.

According to a report by Gartner, the data centre spending in the country will grow by 2.6 per cent to $2.7 billion in 2018. What do you think are the parameters driving such growth rates?
First, with the absolute explosion of data, organisations are considering data as an asset in their balance sheets. The data that organisations have at their disposal, has the potential to differentiate them and protect them from all sort of risks. Therefore, there is a strong sense of carefulness amongst organisations on how to use data. Secondly, the market dynamics of the industry are causing organisations to realign the way they use technologies in their business. Previously, it was about supporting the business, be it a service provider, a retailer; but now, all of them are addressing the need to go digital.

In terms of storage, what are the factors driving its growth in India and the Asia Pacific region?
Core infrastructure providers like utility companies, telecom industries, and financial services address alternative sources and customer relationships. If we look at deregulated market, there have been companies which own the customer relationships in front of the actual service providers.

Today, organisations are embracing this upfront and are looking to deepen their relationships with customers and at the same time, they acknowledge that the value of the relationship is the customer’s perspective of digitalisation. In India, we are working closely with the public sector and hence, we are heavily investing in our resources, capabilities, learnings, and partnerships because it’s an ecosystem that supports the government. For example, in financial services, there are certain areas where we see a lot of activities and we have had transformational conversations to support them.

With massive explosion of data, what offerings does Dell EMC have to curtail workload or data load?
Dell EMC offers a holistic range of solutions to convert the legacy data centres into modern and powerful data centres, enabling organisations to gain agility and scalability for their future growth strategy. These range from servers to storage to HCI solutions.

Dell EMC’s brand new Power Max technology is the future of enterprise-class storage and is architected with end-to-end NVMe and a built-in, real-time machine learning engine. It promises to be the fastest storage array, delivering up to 10M IOPS and 50 per cent better response times – 2x faster than the nearest competitor.

Our data centre teams are trained in analysing and helping our customers to understand that how they can transform their applications and their workloads to meet the requirements of the modern business environment. We are also enabling industry specific specialisation; we also provide the tools that can assess the infrastructure of the business, impact of operations on the business and impact of the responsiveness of users, etc. We take that from all the analysis and then we look at the business’s current operating applications and how many of them are actually obsolete to the digital world today. Through all of these assessments, we provide the customers a transformation roadmap which leads towards data centres of the future.

Any upcoming product launches that will aid enterprises in India and APJ?
There are two things that will drive digital and IT transformation in these markets from our side. First, to continue to work harder in bringing products/solutions like PowerMax, which have been inbuilt with the power of machine learning to drive levels of optimisations, making easier for enterprises to achieve their digital goals. Second, to bring significant enhancements in the software defined market to drive greater usage.