Data is the new currency for digital: Anil Valluri, NetApp

CIOs will move away more from traditional decision making to data backed decisions in 2018, says Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India.
 

 

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Storage giant NetApp is now emerging as a holistic multi-technology vendor for modern IT needs of enterprises on their digital journey. Anil Valluri, President - India and SAARC, NetApp speaks about the company’s big bets on hybrid cloud and HCI backed by their vision of providing best technologies for data-driven enterprises.

What according to you are the trends prevailing in India enterprise technology market? Any new trend which was low on adoption or not present in 2017?
As data continues to become even more distributed, dynamic and diverse, everything from IT infrastructures to application architectures to provisioning strategies will have to change in response to the new realities. 
We see the trend of data becoming more self-aware, metadata will make it possible for the data to proactively transport, categorize, analyze and protect itself.
The emergence of decentralized immutable mechanisms for managing data is another trend in the market as more decentralized, immutable mechanisms for managing data will emerge. Technologies like blockchain will challenge the traditional sense of data protection and management.
Evolving from “Big Data” to “Huge Data” will demand new solid state-driven architectures. The big data will evolve to be huge data and consequentially will drive demand for newer storage solutions and architectures.

‘Big Data’ to ‘Huge Data’ in 2018 : Anil Valluri, NetApp

-Data becomes self-aware: We see data becoming more self-aware, metadata will make it possible for the data to proactively transport, categorize, analyze and protect itself.

-Emergence of decentralized immutable mechanisms for managing data: More decentralized, immutable mechanisms for managing data to emerge like blockchain that will challenge the traditional sense of data protection & management.

-Evolving from “Big Data” to “Huge Data” will demand new solid state-driven architectures: The big data will evolve to be huge data and consequentially will drive demand for newer storage solutions and architectures.

With data at the core now for modern businesses, would Indian CIOs and IT decision makers buy storage as cloud or opex than traditional on-prem models? 
Complex and aging infrastructure drives up capital costs (capex), while complicated management, outdated tools, and risky manual processes drive up operating costs (opex); thereby keeping businesses from delivering more value. What is required is a robust and agile infrastructure based on data-backed insights on the requirements of the organization. 

We are already seeing a profound shift in how organizations and individuals are making business decisions. Many are moving away from traditional decision making to data backed decisions. The early adopters who took a data-centric approach have witnessed a change in their businesses. Most enterprises are now taking a hybrid cloud approach, combining on-premises private cloud infrastructure with cloud services as needed. 
Enterprises have realized that data is the new currency for digital business transformation in today’s world. Since businesses can’t move ahead with data in silos, they are trying to integrate and unleash the distributed, dynamic, and diverse data across enterprises to truly unlock its potential.
At NetApp, we are continuously innovating to meet our customer needs. We introduced new products in the market last year and are witnessing good traction for the same. 

How’s the traction for HCI launched by NetApp in the second half of 2017 in India? Any early adopters? 
The response has been positive, since NetApp’s HCI is industry’s first enterprise-scale hyper-converged solution, a one up on the earlier versions. NetApp HCI, the next generation of hyper-converged infrastructure is the very first HCI platform designed for enterprise-scale applications that deliver cloud-like infrastructure in an agile, scalable, easy-to-manage four-node building block. It is also the first available NVMe-enabled solution in this particular market. The new offerings bring cost-effectiveness and ultrafast performance to Big Data analytics.
The early adopters are most likely to come from telecom and BFSI space – HCl is the fastest growing category in the converged infra space. BFSI/Financial services, enterprises and mid-size companies that have high client engagements and need simple yet fast, flexible yet predictable infrastructure to keep up with the high data generation and management. SMBs, BFSI and IT enterprises remain our key focus areas but we see demand coming in from other sectors as well.

But HCI is a fairly crowded market with most tech giants eyeing this big opportunity in the marketplace. 
The first-generation of HCI solutions have proven to be successful for smaller-scale projects. However, customers have found architectural limitations around performance. NetApp HCI overcomes these issues. It allows customers to run multiple applications with guaranteed performance and benefit from unmatched flexibility, scale, automation, and integration with the Data Fabric.

“Enterprises need to tear down the barriers stopping their digital transformation by unifying all their distributed, dynamic, and diverse data across silos and cloud into a shared asset that can power business and result in tremendous business visibility.”

Anil Valluri

                       Anil Valluri, President – India & SAARC, NetApp

NetApp HCI’s big USP is the guaranteed performance. One of the biggest challenges for anyone managing infrastructure is delivering predictable performance, especially in the face of proliferating applications and workloads. NetApp HCI provides the solution with unique Quality of Service (QoS) limits, allowing the granular control of every application, eliminating noisy neighbors, and satisfying all performance SLAs. You can deploy all your applications on a shared platform, predictably and with confidence. Enterprises can eliminate more than 90 percent of traditional performance-related problems.
Unlike previous generations of HCI with fixed resource ratios, limiting you to 4-8 node configurations, NetApp HCI scales compute and storage resources independently. Independent scaling avoids costly and inefficient over-provisioning, eliminates the 10 to 30 percent “HCI tax” from controller VM overhead, and simplifies capacity and performance planning. Also, licensing costs are no longer a barrier to adopting HCI. NetApp HCI is available in mix-and-match small, medium, and large storage and compute configurations. The architectural design choices mean, confidently scaling on your terms, making HCI viable for core data center applications and platforms, for the very first time.
The holy grail of IT is to automate all routine tasks, eliminating the risk of user error while freeing up resources to focus on less boring, higher-value projects. NetApp HCI allows IT departments to become more agile and responsive by simplifying deployment and ongoing management. The new NetApp Deployment Engine (NDE) eliminates most manual steps it takes to deploy infrastructure while the VMware vCenter Plug-in makes ongoing management simple and intuitive. Finally, a robust suite of APIs enables integration into higher-level management, orchestration, backup, and disaster-recovery tools. Enterprises can to be up and running in less than 30 mins.

SOTC 2018 survey by IDG highlighted India’s CIOs’ top business imperative for 2018 to be ‘Improving Customer Experience’? How does your company vision sync with this expectation of Indian IT leaders? 

NetApp understands that customer experience lies at the core of any business success and our entire strategy is aligned towards making this a reality. Customer experience is a function of speed and time and at NetApp our product portfolio is designed with a focus on these two objectives. We aim to become the data authority of the hybrid cloud world, empowering our customers to change the world with Data by helping them to transform all their data into a shared asset that will power their businesses. Our focus will be on partnering with them to offer data management solutions across different data centers and cloud locations to further simplify data delivery.

3  USPs of NetApp HCI over competition

Guaranteed Performance: Provides the solution with unique quality of service limits, allowing granular control of every app, eliminating noisy neighbours, and satisfying all performance SLAs.

Flexibility and Scale: Scales compute and storage resources independently unlike previous generations of HCI limited to 4-8 node configurations.

Automated Infrastructure: The new NetApp Deployment Engine eliminates most manual steps to deploy infra while VMware vCenter Plug-in makes ongoing management simple and intuitive.

NetApp has a large focus on BFSI segment in India. What’s new for CIOs of this segment as they traverse the digital transformation journey? 
The Indian Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry has always taken the lead in building a robust IT infrastructure and will continue to do so. Moreover, we see few BFSI trends, for example, payment systems have undergone a complete change. It is mobile first which means customers expect a millisecond response time. Consequentially, new age applications are being designed requiring the infrastructure to keep up the pace. So, an infrastructure that provides for automation, the orchestration is increasingly becoming the ask, as it enables newer services to be provisioned and launched in rapid time. These demands from customers is driving the adoption of All Flash rapidly.

With data analysis allowing banks to arrive at repetitive tasks that can be automated with the help of machine learning, banks will be extending their technology core to achieve digital transformation and modularization along with ease of cross-functional data management and policies.

Is there a change in your channel strategy as NetApp is no longer just a storage vendor? What would be your key takeaways as we step into 2018? 
NetApp has ushered in the era of simplified data management, enabling organizations to unleash the full value of their data for competitive advantage. We already have a strong partner ecosystem that we aim to aggressively expand, including in tier 2 and 3 cities. We are also looking at investing into conducting many training programs for our partners. 
Increasing adoption of digital technologies means an increase in data storage and management requirements wherein we will be helping customers modernize their infrastructure to accelerate applications, add more services, developing next-gen data centers with flexible environments and cloud capabilities. Backed by NetApp’s Data Fabric vision.
Another key takeaway would be that enterprises need to consciously work towards becoming more data-centric in this digital age. They need to tear down the barriers stopping their digital transformation by unifying all their distributed, dynamic, and diverse data across silos and cloud into a shared asset that can power business and result in tremendous business visibility. 
And finally the new age decision makers need to become data visionaries as they need to know what data is to be collected, how should it be stored and managed and how to make business sense from it. Being data visionaries is the only way forward for them to evolve successfully.