Raritan, specializing in data centre infrastructure solutions, is going through a business transition after it was acquired by a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructure, Legrand.Its leadership position in the growing intelligent power market strengthens Legrand’s global position and expands its reach and breadth of solutions for data center customers. Sanjay Motwani, Regional Director, Asia Pacific, Raritan – a brand of Legrand, talks about the latest trends in the data center market and how Raritan will be part of the joint offerings under Legrand Datacenter Solutions (LDCS), going forward
Since the time Raritan has become part of Legrand, how do you see the business momentum?
Raritan is predominantly into power monitoring and remote management tools, including KVM+ serial consoles, intelligent power distribution units, rack management solutions and power accessories, for the last 30 years worldwide. About two years ago, Raritan was acquired by Legrand. If we look at the entire product offerings excluding air conditioning, today we offer everything around data centers; thus we are part of bigger product offerings. In terms of product portfolio, Raritan will spearhead Legrand’s entry into the data center space and will be growing its market share.
Moving forward, we will integrate and consolidate the product offerings as a unified platform under LDCS. We are trying to learn, evolve and correct our product offerings for consumer acceptance and experience. In the data center space, Legrand’s presence is miniscule, whereas Raritan is among the leaders in KVMs and PDUs. We have been trying to understand the customer’s need, giving advice, consulting and recommending the right product. Cross training and promotions have been already started by our sales team in India. In terms of vertical contribution, R&D is our biggest vertical (30-40 per cent), followed by BFSI and telcos in India. We have a customer base of over 300, built in the last 12 years.
What are the latest trends you see in the data center space; how are cloud-based services pushing your offerings for a change?
In the India market, there is a huge growth in the third-party CoLo space / cloud offerings. The traditional CoLo-space providers are now offering cloud-based services. In the enterprise data center, customers are still debating on how much data to put on the cloud. In my view, nobody will provision data 100 per cent on the cloud. Managing and integrating the hybrid cloud solutions is still a challenge for enterprises. Moreover, we see there is a huge demand of state-wise data center. Smart Cities will further augment the demand for data centers. In view of Raritan, be it enterprise or cloud-based data centers, both have the same infrastructure, IT equipment and similar level of SLAs up-time. Having said, cloud-based players look for more customisation, since their volumes of data are high. We look at cloud as challenging as well as exciting. It’s challenging more from the customisation side; and exciting for the deployment of new technologies coming into data center space. At the end of the day, a cloud-based customer has to look at and optimise its Opex and resources.
How is the growth of cloud-based business for Raritan; how do you align to the software and services driven IT infrastructure?
Currently, our cloud-based business is around five per cent and the rest is enterprise. As digital transformation increases, there will be automation of various IT processes. Hence, we are trying to work closely to understand customers’ needs and ensure high availability of data centres. For example, typically for servicing a traditional UPS, you have to open the back door for service, which means creation of about three-four feet of the space from the wall. That is not the case anymore; today we have designed our rack space in a way wherein you can service the UPS from the front, you can push back the UPS to about six inches from the wall – this results in space and floor saving and it can be used to augment computing. Similarly, we are looking into the finer details and maximising how the data center operates. We are also looking at maximising every square inch of space, cooling power, and rack space in the data center. We deep dive into these elements and then provide the best-optimised solutions.
How do you see the BFSI space adding to the growth of data centers?
In the BFSI sector, there is a decent amount of consolidation – both in private and public banks. There are numerous legacy systems and it will continue to go for a long time. Our solutions help them to work with legacy systems and help them integrate with new-age systems. The size of the data center is decreasing, but the volume of data center is increasing – either you take container based, rackspace or micro data center. We see there is a vast scope for micro data centers in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities.
What kind of customisation are customers asking in terms of KVMs and PDUs?
Customers are becoming more practical, functional and ‘colourful’. For example, in a data center, power comes to a rack from two sources – primary and secondary. Till about four-five years, the power distribution unit used to have black coloured PDUs; but we started getting a request for coloured PDUs and power patch cords. At times, customers want PDUs in company’s logo colour – customers in India are loving it. They don’t mind paying extra for this.