Consumer devices are taking over the workplace

Written by RajeshRavi | Updated: Sep 24 2012, 07:56am hrs
Virtualisation and migration to cloud is now moving to a new phase with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This brings in a host of problems like security of enterprise data and troubleshooting, where users are bringing a multitude of different technologies. VMworld 2012, one of the most watched tech conference in the world held in San Francisco during the last week of August, addressed some of the issues with a host of new applications and software releases. With 2011 revenues of $3.77 billion, VMware has more than 4,00,000 customers and 55,000 partners. Andrew M Dutton, VMwares general manager for Asia Pacific and Japan, spoke to Rajesh Ravi on virtualisation, cloud and BOYD in the Asian and Indian context. Excerpts:

How are the countries in Asia-Pacific region faring when compared to the US and Europe in virtualisation and migration to cloud

The degree of virtualisation is so different in all the markets. Australia is one of the most virtualised markets in the world. Some industries in Asia Pacific region are really leading the way and comparable to the best. For instance, the financial sector, it is very well virtualised and starting to work on cloud computing for a whole lot of reasons. Healthcare sector is also advanced because of the need for images and patient data records, which are precious.

Some Asian governments like Singapore with its G cloud are taking the lead among nations. Malaysia and China are also doing well. The military and government is a large market because of the savings and control over data. Some sectors are on par with the best, but in general the countries are way behind the leaders. In manufacturing, the region is way behind in some years. The progress of state and provincial governments too is slower. But if you take the case of products, the region is leading in desktop virtualisation.

How much of the regions IT sector has been virtualised when we talk in percentage terms

It is probably about 40%. India is well below the figure while Singapore is on the higher side. It could be said that it would take 18-24 months of continuous growth to reach the status of Western Europe or Americans.

How is India reacting to the new system where you have plenty of devices like the smartphones, tablets and employees can bring their own personal devices

India is taking to it largely on the same ways as others. The CIOs dont have any choice before the demands of the employees and customers. They have set demands and the CIOs have to meet the demand and not like the old way, where you could dictate. Instead of dictating they have to react. They are in the same dilemma as everybody else is. How to control the data in those devices and how to secure the data How to provide applications that allows employees and customers to work on any devices, anywhere, at any time. Some Indian companies are working on the problems and they are building and creating solutions for Western type industries. The skill base of the Indians is increasing rapidly on how to fix the problems, but not being deployed in India on the same speed.

Proliferation of devices with internet connectivity has led to an increase in the quantum of data generated. Is cloud the only way to deal with the new system

It is the only way we have yet really figured how to do this. Because, if we look at the way IT has developed, we started with a piece of hardware, with a tight operating system, bound to the chip server application, then we plugged in a device for communication channel. Somebody had to do all these things. IT became a drag on the company and its balance sheet instead of leveraging and driving the company forward. So, what we have found is that a perfect storm is happening in every business, where they are tightly constrained over money in data or data centres. Nearly 90% of employees are bringing their own devices to work and asking for access. Customers are saying, I dont want to act with you in the old way. I want to act with Tweets or get service availability in different fashions. It has brought a complete radical change of the industry from the old IT stacks to a cloud based computing.

In Asian countries, government is the big consumer of all services and products. What is your experience in the IT sector Are they proactive

The governments in the Asian countries are very proactive. We are having discussions with most of the governments because they understand the benefits, and they also understand that they can secure data. It gives them an opportunity to reach their clients through a device that everybody has and that too very cheaply.

So if you look at Singapore with its G Cloud which is the next step towards an intelligent island. Malaysia is following the trend. The Chinese have incorporated cloud-based service into their twelfth five-year plan to build cloud over public utilities. Australia is looking at government based cloud provisioning. So there is lot of advanced activities happening that is government driven.

You did not mention about India Is Indian government way behind the others in implementing virtualisation

To be fair, it would be appear that the Indian government has different issues on its hands at the moment. They are certainly aware of the technological changes that they need to drive. We have started to work with LIC and we believe that it would be the beginning of a large change.

For India, a cheap cloud based computing system will allow very thin applications on mobile phones that will provide or collect information from all the constituents. It will enable the government to know what the citizens are actually doing.