EMC bets big on hybrid cloud

EMC is pitching the hybrid cloud high as the means to redefine IT infrastructure for SMAC while its Pivotal platform helps do the same for big data and agile applications

The thrust of the annual EMC Forum at New Delhi was clearly on hybrid cloud. EMC engineers provided a live demo of hybrid cloud which they claimed to have set up in nearly the record time of 30 hours. The demo attracted attention and was the center stage of the show. The demo was close on the heels of the company announcing the availability of the EMC enterprise hybrid cloud solution, delivering hardware, software and services from EMC and VMware. The hybrid cloud solution enables ITas-a-Service (ITaaS) in as few as 28 days, the company claims. The key benefit offered is that organizations no longer will have to make tradeoffs between the speed and agility of public cloud services and the control and security of private cloud infrastructure.

EMC played out its serious foray into the cloud market by announcing collaboration with cloud service providers Netmagic, Tata Communications and Sungard as part of a larger effort to target the cloud market opportunity in India, which is estimated to be $1 bn by 2015, according to Greyhound Research. EMC is working with each cloud service provider to offer customers a consolidated, customer-focused approach to designing, architecting, and running a hybrid cloud to deliver the speed and agility of public cloud services, with the control and security of private cloud infrastructures. The collaboration will focus on customers in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, BFSI, and IT/ITeS sectors.

Rajesh Janey

At the event, Rajesh Janey, President, India and Saarc EMC said, “Cloud has a particular strategic importance in the Indian market. Our strategic alliance with service providers will enable us to transform IT today and into the future. Our combined hybrid cloud proposition enables our customers to adopt a true IT-as-a-Service model and change the way they run IT. With the huge market opportunity in front of us and 76% of our customers looking to implement hybrid cloud solutions, we are looking at a bullish roadmap to be one of the top 3 players in India in hybrid cloud segment by 2017.”

More than 40,000 EMC engineering hours were invested to deliver hardware, software, and services solution designed to accelerate time-to-value and enable the deployment of an enterprise hybrid cloud in as few as 28 days. The solution offers public cloud interoperability with VMware vCloud Air, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other EMC-powered cloud service providers. David Webster, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, EMC said, “EMC has been at the forefront of translating vision into reality for our customers. Today’s announcement is a step toward ensuring our customers are able to leverage the power of cloud to meet their specific business requirements. Our objective is to make it simpler for IT organizations to deploy well-run hybrid clouds in a matter of days, and providing the same or even better agility and efficiency benefits to public clouds.”

IDC qualifies EMC’s move into the hybrid cloud as a differentiator. The IDC report (IDC MarketScape: “Worldwide Cloud Professional Services 2014 Vendor Analysis) states, “EMC’s federation of businesses (including EMC Information Infrastructure, VMware, Pivotal and RSA) is a differentiator. By engaging with EMC’s services team, customers have easy access to a pool of knowledge and expertise across the federation, across multiple disciplines that are required to enable a software-defined enterprise. For example, EMC’s new hybrid cloud solution provides customers an option to ‘buy’ a Hybrid Cloud (versus build one); it includes converged storage infrastructure (with EMC and VMware components), EMC’s data protection suite, and a management and orchestration layer in conjunction with VMware—all of which can be implemented and optimized by EMC Global Services.”

SMAC—REDEFINING IT

At the EMC Forum 2014, the company revealed the findings of its annual survey on enterprise IT trends. The key points that emerged from the survey are:

  • People want to interact online, anytime and from anywhere leading to rise of mega trends of cloud, mobile, social, and big data
  • 95% believe CXOs see IT as strategic business driver, more than ever before
  • Respondents in India are deploying cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies to enhance customer experience (51%), automate processes (41%), and to improve capabilities for sales and marketing (38%)
  • Despite this, only 70% of respondents believe IT has the skills to achieve business priorities
  • In the future, IT will continue to play a key role in growing the business—85% say that they will become in-house providers of on-demand services

Summarizing the findings of the survey, Janey, said, “SMAC challenges enterprises to take advantage of the positive disruptions of the digital ecosystems. These technologies are quickly changing the way companies relate to their customers, interact with employees, and bring products and services to market as is highlighted by the survey. It is clear, that in order to redefine their business, IT departments will need to continuously develop skillsets that will help them keep up with innovation.”

Enterprises are clearly in the midst of effecting a large scale transformation of IT infrastructure. Dmitri Chen, COO and VP Specialty Sales, APJ at EMC says that the usual path that CIOs take is this: a) virtualize everything b) optimize your private cloud c) Identify and shift safe applications to the public cloud d) check back and reoptimize private cloud and e) deploy hybrid cloud. The process looks very simple, but it requires the CIO to make many decisions and answer many questions. Some of the key considerations during this transformation is to know how to provide data protection and availability regardless of where the data resides, what is the approach to data security and compliance strategy, and many such critical areas. The process is not a series of steps as it seems, it is a transformation of the IT infrastructure to respond to modern business needs, Dmitri says. He adds that companies like EMC are the best equipped to handle this.

PIVOTAL POWER

As a company, Pivotal is an interesting play that future powers the entire EMC Federation. EMC defines Pivotal as the company at the intersection of big data, PaaS, and agile development. It starts with Pivotal CF, a turnkey platform-as-a-service, powered by Cloud Foundry, solution for agile development teams to rapidly update and scale applications on a private cloud that can be instantly expanded and upgraded with no downtime, allowing enterprises to innovate with disruptive speed.

Says Arun Ramachandran, Country Manager, Pivotal India, “The top management of every industry is now waking up to the fact that organizations need to be data driven and to be fast at that. These are cases where Pivotal solutions fit in nicely. The technology helps to create multiple layers of data consumption and then multiple application delivery routes on top of that.”

Arun says that apps, data, and analytics form a trio, but people have a siloed mentality which often leads to loss of value. For example, you deliver fantastic analysis but if it doesn’t get used, it is loss of value. CIOs are often faced with questions—how do I consume analytics data, how can I develop applications with agility, what assets do I need, and such. This is where Pivotal comes in, says Arun. C

Citing examples of Pivotal customers in India, Arun referred to the case of the largest exchange in the country beset with problems related to huge data volumes, like 800 mn messages per day, which is as much data volume as a telecom service provider. Pivotal managed to transit them from traditional vendors on to the Pivotal platform, which essentially meant moving nearly 80TB of data in record five months.

Pivotal had earlier announced the release of major capabilities in Pivotal GemFire 8. Pivotal’s Big Data Suite includes this new release of Pivotal GemFire, a distributed in-memory data management solution for enterprises creating high-scale custom applications. Pivotal claims that GemFire advances its mission to make it easy for modern software developers to integrate data to create new classes of enterprise applications. Indian Railways is one of the reference customers for Pivotal GemFire. Suneeti Goel, Chief Project Engineer, Center for Railway Information Systems, vetoed, “CRIS uses Pivotal GemFire to support high concurrent transactions for reservations and ticket purchases in the newly launched Indian Railways next-generation e-ticketing system. The scalability and resilience features in GemFire have helped us increase the capacity and availability of our service.”