Indian enterprises big and small, are being wooed by multiple cloud service providers. What's the attraction?
By Anand Parthasarathy
( This article appears in THE WEEK online)
Bangalore, October 4 2016: When it came to moving their business data from servers located on their premises, to a virtual store in the 'Cloud', Indian enterprises have been slow movers. Virtualization -- turning digital assets residing on computers that you can touch and feel into files and folders , out there somewhere in Cyberia -- doesn't come easily to corporates. There is something reassuring about dozens of servers humming in the basement.
But when these same servers suck in so much power to run them and keep them cool, that it creates a dent in the balance sheet, IT managers are forced to look for alternatives. A decade after the industry came up with a new buzzword, the Cloud, for an old concept, storage in the Web or Internet, the financial cost of physical, in-house storage is forcing the most conservative enterprises to start relooking at cloud options -- seriously.
In one month September, alone, no fewer than four announcements were made in India , which invited businesses top entrust their data assets to providers of what is now broadly called cloud services.
Here a rundown of the announcements:
GoDaddy: Cloud hosting services: Last week, GoDaddy, best known as a provider of Internet domains, launched cloud hosting services in India as well as cloud applications for small businesses.. The new offerings are designed to help the web developers to quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions for their Small and Medium Business customers.|
This is a “pay-as-you-go” utility offering the flexibility and control of hourly billing and monthly limits, making it affordable for customers. The solution starts at 50 paisa per hour. It integrates domains, security and backups - a sort of catch-all solution
GoDaddy offers its clients automatic backup of their data, and guarantees an up-time of 99.9 percent.
Google Cloud based in India: Google has created a node of its cloud platform in Mumbai. The local region will help make Google Cloud Platform services even faster for Indian customers -- developers as well as enterprises. Globally Google has more than one billion end users and is looking to add to its client list in India. They already include entitities like, Wipro, Ashok Leyland, Smartshift by Mahindra & Mahindra, Dainik Bhaskar Group and the nee startup INshorts.com.
Google made the announcement about the India Cloud Region at an event in San Francisco, called Horizon where it also unveiled G Suite. Previously called Google Apps for Work, G Suite encompasses a set of intelligent apps - Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more - designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start.
Virtual Private Cloud: Netmagic, an NTT Communications company, with headquarters in Japan, has been a pioneer in the Indian IT Infrastructure services space. It was one of the first to launch services such as Cloud Computing, Managed Security, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service and Software-Defined Storage.
A year ago, it launched India’s largest data centre in October 2015 in Mumbai. Operational for the past 4 months the centre and is already 60% sold out. Last month Netmagic announced another cloud initiative: SimpliVPC(Virtual Private Cloud), a sort of hybrid that mixes a public cloud space, with a private cloud in the client's direct control. This is an example of a newly emerging trend: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). The entire service suite is offered on Pay-as-use service model. For starters, Netmagic offers SimpliVPC service from Mumbai and Bangalore-based datacentres.
Transaction banking on the cloud: Finally a Cloud offering that works in the opposite direction: an Indian provider, extending its solutions to the cloud, for a global clientele. Intellect iGTB, the organisation (formerly known as the Chennai-headquartered Polaris) behind the world’s first comprehensive global transaction banking solution, has made its integrated cash and trade solution, Digital Transaction Banking (DTB), available as a cloud-based software as a service. The solution, which has over 70 installations world-wide, claims a high success rate, increasing customer numbers by 32% year-on-year in one bank, and doubling the customer base in just 9 months in another.
Explains iGTB CEO Manish Maakan: “Banks need, and are rightly demanding, the ability to offer new and enhanced services in a simpler manner. By accessing our existing solution via the cloud, all banks – particularly those whose concerns are more locally focused – can gain benefits that deliver significant value, all in a short space of time.”
The coincidence of all these 'cloudy' solutions at this point in time is no happenstance. Digital India, Smart Cities and other programmes by the Government, are seen globally to provide a big boost to the IT Infrastructure sector in India. Between them these sarkari outreaches may help create petaflops of new data. Hosting them on the cloud -- especially in clouds whose servers are in India -- will seem like the business opportunity of the decade. No wonder the outlook is decidedly cloudy for enterprise India these days!