Cloud investments and challenges for CIOs in India

Aravindan Anandan, consulting systems engineer, Asia Pacific, Barracuda Networks, says the Indian market has matured with time and enterprise CIOs are gradually but successfully embracing the cloud technology.

Large companies are now using cloud for corporate purposes and many smartphone users are using it for their personal use, which means cloud computing has a great future ahead and the Indian market will flourish a great deal in years to come and will make most of the cloud technology. The size of the Cloud computing market is predicted to go beyond $16 billion by 2020.

How does a customer measure the ROI from cloud investments?

Looking at cloud computing only from a technical viewpoint is partially missing out on the potential of cloud and its impact on and value addition to the business. This value can be determined in more than one ways. It may not even always refer to financial values and numbers, but can be derived out of customer satisfaction, seller value, broker value, market brand value, and corporate value. These aspects should not be neglected.

Speaking on how cloud can contribute to ROI, and how a customer can measure the success of cloud, there are a number of fundamental aspects that need to be taken in consideration for this. These include, measuring if the productivity has increased and IT requirement has decreased, if speed has gone up and employees are getting done with their tasks quicker due to the technology, if the company is breaking new grounds with the combination of lower costs and faster deliveries, and if there is an improved margin quality.

What are the current challenges in cloud adoption?

We are seeing lots of advancements in the cloud services market. But as data usage continues to grow exponentially, IT organizations find it increasingly hard to support the modern workforce without deploying cloud technologies. Migration from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud is not trivial. Making the decision for a startup with no historic data easy, but established enterprises need a plan, and help with legacy issues that are dominated by Microsoft Exchange servers and Microsoft Outlook PST files, database-driven applications, and file server data. These solutions are designed and optimised for high volumes of small individual transactions such as web pages or email messages. This transactional infrastructure is not well suited for uploading significant numbers of files, large volumes of historical email and other such data.

Taking into account these challenges customers have been facing when migrating their data over the internet into Office 365, we are prepared to help customers address any challenges that may arise with the following solutions that can be used seamlessly in any size or type of deployment with any device and bring the power of syncing, sharing and signing to our customer base.

Also, not many companies can claim to have a cloud infrastructure that is managed directly by them. We offer products that offer cloud services where the cloud infrastructure is managed in-house. There is no dependency on any third party solution provider, which is a great differentiator for our customers. Our cloud services as a platform spans security, manageability as well as data protection. We are also engaging with public cloud solution providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services to enable our customers leverage the capabilities of these platforms with our products.

List the business segments/processes where cloud adoption is growing at a higher pace?

Indian SMBs have become more welcoming to adopting cloud computing services for maintaining a sound technological structure of work. A lot of the CIOs have already started to opt for cloud services as an expense reducing measure.

And with the arrival of cloud services, SMBs can compete with large-scale enterprises. It gives them flexibility of a sound technological architecture with lesser expenditures. Automation of business processes has become economically feasible for the small business segment. Cloud has a positive influence on the IT landscape of India, offering a host of service groups with consumption-based fee.

A typical example is the interesting case of lots and lots companies moving to Microsoft Office 365 platform. We recognize this trend and thus offer a suite of solutions to cater to businesses that are trying to migrate their infrastructure to the cloud. The products go beyond offering cloud integration by focussing of other associated problems that companies face while they go through the process of migrating their servers to the cloud.

What is the future of cloud in India?

Momentum around adoption of cloud resources for primary workloads will continue to accelerate as companies look to optimize IT management solutions. This has been a trend with startups and very small companies, but the value proposition really started to look appealing for mid-sized and large companies in 2015. Migration from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud is not trivial. Making the decision for a startup with no historic data is easy, but established businesses will need a plan, and likely will need help with legacy issues that will be dominated by Microsoft Exchange servers and Microsoft Outlook PST files, database-driven applications, and file server data. Companies that don’t have a cloud legacy will struggle to service these new use cases.

IT organizations will find it increasingly hard to support the modern workforce without deploying cloud technologies. Applications and data will rapidly migrate to the cloud and end users will expect to be able to access anything from anywhere at any time. Mobility is no longer a feature – it’s the way people work. It’s also not just about end users – IT administrators will also demand cloud-enabled management solutions and mobile apps that enable them to work anywhere. Security and data protection will need to be designed for the cloud, not bolted on.

How do you see the difference in public/private cloud adoption over the next few years?

A recent cloud computing survey found that most enterprises have a hybrid strategy, with over 80% putting together a plan for either public and private, or multiple public clouds. This same survey revealed that while private cloud adoption stalled in the past year, public cloud adoption continued to grow by double-digits.

We expect public cloud adoption to continue to grow. This will force companies to rethink the way they secure their resources, and will encourage service providers to develop new security and networking tools that are native to cloud platforms. These new tools will be easier and faster to deploy, and might be handled by a MSP. This approach means that business moves faster, resources are right-sized, and time-to-value is reduced.

Cloud adoption presents different types of challenges based on the migration scenario.  Many companies are only planning to migrate some of their assets to the cloud.  They want to leverage the benefits of the cloud where they can, while keeping some resources on-site as needed. In this type of hybrid scenario, Technology Managers will be looking to deploy the same security in the cloud as is on-premises, and to be able to securely connect the on-premises and cloud components. These companies may also need networking and segregation capabilities in the public cloud.
Aravindan Anandan, Consulting Systems Engineer, Asia Pacific, Barracuda Networks
Aravindan Anandan, consulting systems engineer, Asia Pacific, Barracuda Networks