Network automation can help organisations deliver a lower operating expenditure: Mohammed Atif, Park Place Technologies

Park Place Technologies is a global data center and networking optimization firm. Powered by the world’s largest on-the-ground engineering team, a robust group of advanced engineers and their fully staffed, 24x7x365 enterprise operations center, Park Place Technologies offer a robust portfolio of IT solutions to optimize networking and data center uptime and performance. Mohammed Atif, Director, Business Development, India, Park Place Technologies in a conversation with CXO Today shares his insights about the data centre industry in India, challenges faced and ways to optimize data centres.


  1. Data centre boom in India is expected to fuel a race for talent. What are your thoughts on it?

We are seeing that there is a race for tech talent, not just in India, but globally, as tech and IT companies look to recruit and retain the industry’s top innovators, developers and engineers to help drive their businesses forward.  Organisations seeking to attract and retain top tech talent must ensure that adequate job roles and career paths our outlined and roadmapped, as well as ensure that the modern working culture is attractive to potential recruits if organisations want to attract and retain the best available talent in the market.


  1. Why are sustainable data centres the need of the hour?

Organisations around the world are adopting policies and operations to make their organisations more sustainable.  The role of IT and technology in ensuring organisations are sustainable should not be overlooked as many organisations aiming to have net-zero emissions by the year 2050, will need to ensure that their tech and data centres adhere to energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, which is no small undertaking.


  1. What do you think of the data centre policies in India?

Data Centre policies in India are still in its infancy though over time it is likely that India may follow stricter data privacy policies in relation to data stored in data centres as is adopted in other parts of the world, mainly in the EU.  In India, where many users have started fleeing in bulk from a widely used messaging app to other (well-known) apps. The apparent exodus is due to one of the policy updates, which asks them to ‘Either Agree and Continue’ or ‘Disagree and leave the app’ soon. While the users in the EU are enjoying the app with no such policy update, it has become a strong concern for users in India. The panic would not have come into being if we had a data protection law like GDPR. At present, there are no such data protection acts in India. The only existing act is the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), which gives grieved individuals a right to compensation for improper disclosure of personal information. It is not so that such acts have not been thought about in the country. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“PDPB”) was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology – to provide protection of privacy of individuals relating to their Personal Data, and to establish a Data Protection Authority of India for the said purposes and the matters concerning the personal data of an individual. The bill was clearly a step in the right direction. However, due to insufficient information, the bill is still pending.


  1. What are some of the common data centre problems that you have come across?

The data centre industry in India is booming. Unfortunately, the data centres in India have failed to keep pace with the burgeoning demand for data storage, processing, and management. Their inability to operate at optimal efficiency hampers the quality of their service and wastes precious resources.  Data centres in India need to embrace hybrid capabilities to ensure optimum resiliency and efficiency for organisations who depend on data centre operations.


  1. What is network automation and what are its benefits?

Networking automation is the usage of software tools to automate network tasks, such as configuration, provisioning, managing, and testing devices on a network. Network automation tools aim to reduce human interventions on networks, which leads to improved efficiency and reduced risk of human error.

Network automation can help organisations deliver a lower operating expenditure.  Operating expenditures can be reduced by having fewer basic network configuration and monitoring activities that are performed by a human. Through automation, large network topologies can be managed with little or no human intervention through a network management solution with a built-in network mapping tool.  In addition, the elimination of human intervention reduces the risk of human error and inconsistencies. Obviously, network automation requires human activities to be set up, but once implemented, automation is designed to run without intervention. Current estimates put the amount of human intervention in network changes at 95%.

Another benefit of network automation is improved network efficiency.  Network automation software is designed to efficiently perform tasks such as automated network mapping, configuring, provisioning and managing of a network. Network automation can be driven to meet business goals and achieve an optimal network configuration to support those goals. For example, a network administrator may have several network configuration options that can be selected based on immediate requirements and changing capacity needs.


  1. What Is IT lifecycle management?

IT lifecycle management is the administration of a system from provisioning, through operations, to retirement. Every IT system, resource, and workload has a life cycle, however these systems can be extended to increase total cost of ownership and ensure hardware realises its true ROI value through a combination of post-warranty and End of Service Life (EoSL) support services which enable organisations to retain their IT for as long as they wish to keep it, increasing the value of the useful life of the hardware assets.


  1. How to reduce network downtime for enterprise IT?

Network downtime can be reduced by ensuring organisations have adequate network maintenance, monitoring and management processes in place within their network infrastructure.  These processes can often alert organisations to issues within their network infrastructure which can be solved through automated maintenance and management, ensuring minimum disruption and maximum


  1. Hardware maintenance of data centres – how cost-effective and efficient is it?

Many third-party hardware maintenance providers can cut costs by as much as 40 to 60 percent compared to OEM extended warranties. Getting OEM support from a third-party maintenance partner can help IT managers maintain more systems or reduce their operating budget. This can prove invaluable as more IT teams find ways to create value through their legacy hardware. Older infrastructure often plays a critical role in businesses because the system can host applications that do not translate into cloud environments. Furthermore, many storage and server solutions can meet performance requirements well beyond the initial OEM warranty, making cost-efficient support solutions valuable because they let IT managers avoid unnecessary capital expenses and free fiscal space for innovative projects instead of hardware refreshes. While the promise of reduced costs seems attractive, it may appear too good to be true. One way to get past this disbelief is to understand how dedicated support providers can offer their services at such a low price compared to OEMs. Three reasons why maintenance providers can get by with such low prices


  1. What are your views on the future of data centre industry in India?

The India data centre market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 % over the forecast period 2021 to 2026. The rapid adoption of cloud-based business operations has encouraged businesses to acquire data management capacities to handle huge volumes of data that are being generated. Increased proliferation of online shopping due to the availability of user-friendly interfaces, high-speed internet, and smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. is expected to drive the market in the future. The demonetization drive of 2016 has played a pivotal role in the transformation of financial transactions and led to the foundation of electronic payments. Moreover, tremendous growth in the use of debit cards due to push provided through the RuPay cards under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and increased number of POS terminals and various incentives provided by the government and merchants for digital payments had helped India to move towards a cashless economy in the medium and long term. It has increased the dependency of consumers on technology and is expected to propel the development of data centers in India. Proximity to fiber landing stations and uninterrupted and reliable power supply is some of the crucial factors considered for Internet penetration. Therefore, the major portion of the overall investments from local and global companies is mainly in cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.


  1. What are the latest trends in the Indian data centre industry?

Increased cloud adoption, data localisation demand, and adoption of new technologies such as 5G, IoT is driving the data centre (DC) demand in India. enterprise IT started to slowly move towards a new imperative for workloads. The need for regional data sovereignty added a big wheel to this shift. Speed and agility became paramount. This led to modularisation, distributed IT, and a low-latency strategy for data centers. So that’s why the data centre space forked into two segments – the mega-big, a multi-megawatt category where hyper-scalers reigned, and the dedicated and lean category. The arrival of multi-core processors and virtualisation, followed by containerisation, gave a new shape to the typical data center. Now the data center had to be closer to the source of where the data is generated. While 10% of data is processed outside of the data center today, 75% of data will be processed outside of a traditional data center or cloud by 2025 – as per these edge-oriented projections. Organizations continue to show interest in data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to monitor and measure their operations.


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