The evolution of technology among enterprises or businesses has been phenomenal. In the last couple of decades, we have witnessed so many path-breaking trends in this domain and have also witnessed some great brands becoming superior over their competition using various technologies. And in the last decade, it has been accepted unanimously that technology is the kingmaker of today’s business.
Within this last decade, we have been observing important technology trends, that has completely changed the way business is getting done, the way data is getting handled, we are talking about cloud. Now, there are few leaders in this sector, Dell Technologies, undoubtedly, is one of the global leaders in this entire technology journey.
In a detailed and candid interview with Amit Mehta, Director – Modern Data Centre, Dell Technologies commented, Faiz Askari of SMEStreet found key insightful trends such as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud that are driving the technology evolution among businesses of almost all sizes. The most interesting insight that Amit highlighted is about the changing mindset of today’s businesses or entrepreneurs who are talking about advanced level of IT adoption. Their changing mindset is clearly inclining towards Data-First approach. Cloud is becoming just a facilitator in this. Here are the excerpts:
Faiz Askari: Technology stakeholders are now talking about the adoption of Hybrid Cloud. How do you see the evolution of Cloud in the last few years and then you can talk about the trends moving ahead?
Amit Mehta: What’s clear from India’s standpoint is that the large enterprises are in a phase where two things are happening. One is that they have a multi-cloud environment today. We did a survey, that says 95% of people whom we surveyed had two Clouds, on an average. Many of them had up to 5 Clouds. In India, you already see this happening in some of the large corporations. For instance, a large VPO has an Oracle Workflow or even an Oracle Cloud. They have Office 365 on Azure and they run their AI platforms in Microsoft Azure. They have the on-premise infrastructure for their mission-critical apps. For their mission-critical apps, they are keeping one on-premise, which requires performance and no latency and for everything else, they are trying the Cloud model.
Increasingly you will see a lot of application vendors also, they have multi-cloud strategies with their customers. Earlier they were blocking it, but now they are pushing it. For instance, when SME today sells a solution to Cloud, let’s say, they are migrating to HANA, they will say, ”If you want Cloud, here are a couple of options for you as there are multiple partners who work with such specific technology environments.
Earlier, the mission-critical app vendors were blocking it, but now they are also facilitating it. That trend has enabled customers to test out. Earlier there was a block in customer’s mind that they wouldn’t run mission-critical apps. But now they are willing to actually do that as well. That is the trend that we large corporations.
Also Read Recent Coverage on DELL TECHNOLOGIES
The other trend that we also see, is that people who had a Cloud, have followed Cloud first strategy.
There are two more interesting trends that we have been observing, one is VertiClouds, where people are saying, “Can we leverage on on-prem and off-prem? Can we manage it from one single screen or not. There are large companies which are looking at repatriation of workloads.
Faiz Askari: So over the last few years, the cloud is enhancing the importance of data more than anything, am I right?
Amit Mehta: Yes, as per Gartner, 80% of people they surveyed, managing multi-cloud is an issue. Repatriation and multi-cloud are two critical trends. The eventual model that is settling in the technology domain has come to a point where they will understand that let’s consider data-first strategy, not a cloud-first strategy. Cloud is an operating model. The data-first strategy you get to decide what should stay off-premise and what should remain on-premise. That’s the play.
In order to facilitate the complexity of cloud environments considering multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud, how do you look at the evolving role of partners? What level of escalation of knowledge or expertise is needed from their side?
There are two things, one is managing a multi-cloud environment. This element is changing the entire operating model. Companies who take the multi-cloud mode, one of the things they have to adopt is that they have to ensure the allocation of service driven teams.
In a traditional setup, the consumer raises the ticket, the manager provided infrastructure this entire process gets changed to service ready and that becomes cloud ready.
Cloud architects who understand software-defined and software-controlled switching computing and network need to understand the agility required in doing business, for this, they have to understand the core business needs. The operating model is becoming self-service driven by automation and orchestration. So, one change that we change in corporations is, they are looking at how they can automate and orchestrate and push more on self-service and how do they retrain their people.
Now, that’s a tough task because they already have faculties that they have built. There is a lag time in training them. In such time, they need the help of partners. There is kind of partners in the Indian market and that’s an opportunity and a challenge for the partner ecosystem. In the Indian market, you either are born in the Cloud partners who understand only Cloud or you have traditional on-premise partners, infrastructure sellers who understand the on-premise world very well. But the set of partners who can manage both on-premise and the off-premise world is limited as of now. That’s an opportunity for the partner ecosystem. However, within the partner ecosystem, there is an intersection of partners who are now facilitating customers. They are helping the customers in automating and orchestrating jobs. They are reskilling themselves. This includes understanding customers’ environment and porting applications, moving data from one Cloud to another Cloud. Learning on-premise automation orchestration and helping data mobility and data protection. The third play that the partner is doing and this is driven by the hyperscalers because if you see the hyperscaler model now, both AWS and Azure incentivize partners using very different methodologies. AWS incentivizes the partners to drive down the customer Cloud well because their understanding is that if they help drive the cloud customers will use more. The Azure model, on the other hand, is incentivizing partners to drive consumption, not necessarily drive down consumption, but first of all, utilize and consume because AWS is little ahead of the curve. So if you see for the partner ecosystem, there are these plays of automation orchestration of helping customers either drive down the bill or drive the consumption.
So, there is a huge scope of partners’ skill upgradation and partners can definitely add value through this level of consulting.
“We are essentially telling customers is that we should have a data-first mindset,” says Amit Mehta while explaining Del Technologies’ priorities for Indian market.
From Dell Technologies’ standpoint, what are the key priorities or key areas that you are focusing on in next one year?
Our first view is to educate the customers on the data-first mindset. So what we are essentially telling customers is that we should have a data-first mindset, Cloud is just an operating model. Increasingly, what we are doing is that we are talking to customers and we should look at workloads, look at your applications and we want to offer customers the opportunity to understand the workload. We do assessments which help them create a workload inventory. For instance, workload and there is a decision criterion through which they run the workload. So what is the decision criteria? First of all, its performance, what is the level of performance that you expect. How much is your requirement? What is the latest requirement? What are adaption levels of applications? Then, what is the RTO? What is the service-level objective? Zero downtime, zero data? Then you have filters of data sources. If you have multiple data sources, then you keep the application on-premise, and if the data sources are less, you keep it off-premise.
So, we try to understand several aspects of customer environments give them what the actual needs are and if needed create a converged infrastructure. Converged infrastructure helps you reduce cost by about 40%. Move to converged infrastructure, move to an eyeglass operating model and then integrate with multiple Clouds. So what we want to give them control is how they move their data. If you went to Dell Techworld, at Dell Techworld we announced the Dell Technologies’ Cloud platform the VMware, where we have marking customers…giving customers consistent infrastructure, whether it is VMware or container infrastructure for applications…we are giving them one consistent infrastructure and on that we are giving them a consistent control plane. In that consistent control plane, a customer today can manage the VM on-prem, in AWS and as well as on Azure. If you were there on the first day that Satya came, what we announced was, from the plane we sent the console on-prem, you can manage now VM and Azure. Given the data-first mentality, we are helping customers manage the same VM from the same VM console in AWS and in Azure.