We need to overcome barriers to achieve full cloud potential: David Webster

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December 22, 2014 12:32 AM

The virtual desktop environments are becoming increasingly important for businesses in India because it can reduce cost. It can increase flexibility, and deliver on a completely different user experience”.

People want to interact online, anytime and from anywhere leading to the rise of mega trends of cloud, mobility, social and Big Data. Businesses in India are deploying technologies around these mega-trends to enhance customer experience, automate processes and and to improve capabilities for sales and marketing, says David Webster, president, Asia Pacific and Japan, senior vice-president, EMC. Even government agencies are are turning to innovative technologies to simplify citizens’ day-to-day interaction. “India is a high-growth market for EMC and our partnership with the government has always been strong. With the new announcements, new initiatives, and the buoyant mood, the government will be a significant contributor to our growth in India,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

Give us a sense of the big story emerging out of EMC. Where is it headed?

If you look at the market place today, there are four big technology trends that are occurring. There is mobility, that is the use of mobile
device for everything, from personal interaction to social media to communication to business interaction. The big thing around mobility today is that most people are now doing their business on a mobile phone. The second big trend is cloud computing, and the availability of EMC hybrid cloud in India is going to be a really important first step in developing that market. The third big trend is that of social media, and of the impact that social media is having on people’s business. And the fourth big trend is obviously Big Data and analytics.

If we look at these four big trends in the market, EMC’s focus as a federation of companies is to put together a series of organisations and technologies which we call a federation. This would enable our customers to take advantage of these technology trends and we see the capability of our customers to redefine their IT infrastructure using parts of or all of the federation company’s capabilities to then enable themselves in redefining their business. We are looking at the redefinition of IT and a redefinition of business and we think the combination of those two things together, utilising EMC’s capabilities is a very exciting opportunity for companies in India, and globally.

Across India, government agencies are turning to innovative technologies to help them address the challenges of urbanisation as well as rising customer expectations for smarter economies and sustainable growth. What initiatives is EMC putting in place to gain customer traction here?
For any country in the world, success is the function of the relationship between public and private sector and we are delighted that the new government at the Centre has taken the approach which states that technology is important for development. Our strategy is to work closely with the government, understand what the government strategies are, and also share with the government about what we are doing in other parts of the world.

We would want to inform them about how governments are using technologies across the globe. I think there are some great examples that we have, that can be shared by us and probably adopted by the government locally. For us, it is about coming together in partnership, and looking at what’s the important thing for the country and how do we deliver the highest value for the country.

Our strategies are holistic in nature, focused on scale, and we think that EMC’s value proposition with our federation of companies is absolutely suited to a massive scale IT infrastructure requirements. We have been working with the government since 2005 and are proud to be associated with some of the most visible projects through our system integrators, like the passport project with TCS, Central Board of Excise and Customs, UIDAI, NIC, and various other projects.

The government has been a significant contributor to our growth in India. Last year the government itself contributed to 20% of our India revenues. Our partnership has always been strong and with the new announcements, new initiatives, and the buoyant mood, we are happy to partner with government.

Talk to us about some other key technology trends and how EMC is aligned with them to address the requirements of enterprises?

I would like to focus on Flash storage technology. EMC has been spending some time designing an all flash array architecture, Xtreme IO, for building the next generation storage infrastructure. The virtual desktop environments are becoming increasingly important for businesses in India because it can reduce cost. It can increase flexibility, and deliver on a completely different user experience. The products architecture enables a constant high performance level no matter what the work load which is really essential for business continuity.

If we look at cloud computing, and where that is going; security and protection of the infrastructure gives confidence to the customers about the resiliency and capability of their information being protected. So we built a strong backup recovery and archive solutions, which are important in India and show great traction.

VMware continues to be a great product set for us, helping our customers to move to a software defined infrastructure, software defined networking, software defined computing and so forth. The Pivotal technologies runs around Big Data and analytics and re-platforming of legacy applications, modernisation of legacy applications and also for building new applications from scratch which enable companies to be disruptive through the use of application technology.

Tech vendors are talking a lot about social media, cloud, mobility, Big Data. What is the technology differentiator that EMC brings to the table?

If you look at what underpins these mega-trends, it is the resilient infrastructure. EMC is the leader in providing this infrastructure for data, server, and storage and data protection. EMC has a unique federation model of operation that includes EMC Information Infrastructure, VMware and Pivotal. It collectively allows EMC to offer best-of-breed, integrated, technology while preserving customers’ ability to choose and deploy products from other IT companies. These businesses are strategically aligned, yet, each is focused on its core mission, that is, developing the best technology, and building the right partner ecosystem to best serve the customers.

Big Data is becoming a popular term here. What is the value and importance of Big Data?

Big Data for us is not just a large amount of data, it is an approach and a strategy for gaining business insight. For example, EMC’s Pivotal is a set of products and technologies which not only aims at helping companies pull together disparate sources of a data and reason over that, but also to build applications that take advantage of that data. A good example could be; General Electric has invested $100 million in Pivotal and if you look at why they have done that, they see an advantage in them being able to understand data differently, and use data differently.

With Pivotal, GE is going to help their customers, maintain and service the equipment that they sold to them in a completely different manner. GE’s example is a precursor to the Internet of Things. Some people call it the industrial Internet where any product or device is going to have an IP address, and it’s going to have sensor technology and will be able to communicate what’s the state of that device. So, for us Big Data is those types of characteristics, and we are seeing all industry segments.

Cloud computing in my view will enable the use of Big Data, because many companies will not have the competency to have Big Data analytics capability in their organisation, but what they may do, is to maybe go to a cloud service provider, whom they provide with their data, who in turn provides them back with business insight as servers, remotely.

I think there is a correlation between the rise of cloud computing and hybrid cloud in India, and the use of Big Data analytics in organisations because I think the cloud service providers will provide analytics platforms as a service for companies to use and that will facilitate and expand the use of Big Data a lot faster.

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