"There will be an increased focus on cloud datacenter"

by Sohini Bagchi    Jan 21, 2013

Ashok Shenoy VP Data Centre and Virtualization Cisco India

There’s a lot of changes happening in the data center environment in the recent past. In an exclusive interaction with Sohini Bagchi of CXOtoday, Ashok Shenoy, VP, Data Centre and Virtualization, Cisco India and SAARC, elucidates the trends that will transform datacenter in the future and how CIOs can effectively migrate their datacenter environment to the cloud. Excerpt.

What according to you are the trends that will transform datacenter in the coming days?
The datacenter in 2013 and beyond is set to undergo a massive transformation. In the past couple of years, the datacenter has moved from traditional and virtualized infrastructure into a service-oriented and cost-efficient environment. Availability of datacenter space is the most critical issue today. However, physical space is no longer the key impediment, as companies opt for flexibility, scalability, and energy-efficiency in their datacenter operations, the new datacenter will be much more consolidated. It will enable enterprises to host critical applications and data on the cloud. Private cloud has already gained ground in this space. But the coming months will see the rise of public and hybrid cloud computing, a growing mobile and remote workforce due to the BYOD trend and data deluge that will compel CIOs to adopt IT infrastructure as a service for greater security and agility. A lot of mid-sized companies will also move their business-critical applications and data to the cloud in the coming years.

How do you perceive the adoption of cloud datacenter in India and in which industry verticals need to pick up in terms of adoption?
The demand for cloud computing is picking up in the Indian enterprise and at the same time datacenter activity in India is moving at a fast pace. The BFSI, telecom, manufacturing and IT/ITES segments already moved their business-critical applications and data to the cloud. There will be an increased focus on cloud datacenter this year, driven both by the need to cut costs as well as to lower the risks associated with investing in datacentre equipment and technologies. We see some momentum in the retail and healthcare segment, where activity was centered on the lower end of the datacentre spectrum until now. Overall, the adoption of cloud datacenter in India. We expect government support, favorable regulatory environment as well as an effective broadband infrastructure to drive this adoption further.

How has the role of datacenter managers or CIO changed over the years?
Even 2-3 years ago, datacenter managers were server administrator. As more organizations migrate their architecture to the cloud, and with the increase in mobility and the amount of data, we notice a shift in the role of datacenter managers or CIOs. As the cloud architecture capabilities are now in the hands of the solutions provider, the datacenter manger should concentrate on areas like application development, testing, and business analysis to ensure success in their cloud strategy. They are now evolving into virtualization administrators. Although more users, applications and data in a cloud environment makes it seem more challenging, cloud data centers are several times efficient, secured and cost effective ensuring a greater ROI to businesses.

What are the typical challenges CIOs face in managing a cloud datacenter?
The transition to the cloud may not be a smooth path for the CIOs who often find it difficult to maintain IT regulatory compliance across private, hybrid or public cloud infrastructures. As businesses virtualize datacenters and extend their workloads and data into the cloud, there is a much lesser control over the data. Security is certainly a key concern for datacenter managers or CIOs when critical data and workloads move to the cloud. As service provider and partner, we realize these challenges, but it is possible to avoid common mistakes. Lack of formal planning, poor governance, lack of operational oversight, few service level agreements (SLAs) with service provider and poor communication often leads to these challenges. A good service provider will understand these pain points and work towards solving these problems to enable a secure, efficient and agile cloud environment.

What components are critical for enterprises to migrate their datacenter environment to the cloud?
There are three primary technological components enterprises should consider when migrating their datacenter environment to the cloud. First, is whether they have the network that will allow large amounts of data to flow daily, second, the size of the cloud environment in terms of compute power, as a company’s cloud environment should be architected such that it provides adequate redundancy and performance to support the applications hosted in the cloud and finally, protocols that adequately define and ensure that access greater security.