Sify

Changing demand for data center and related networking: Kamal Nath, Sify

Covid-19 has brought about an unprecedented change to the business world. To stay competitive in the long run, organizations are now dependent on the power of cutting-edge technologies that can help them reduce capex and improve cash flows.

A scalable, flexible IT infrastructure is key to achieve organizational resilience, business continuity, and cost savings. That’s why, it’s expected that majority of businesses will look forward to an agile cloud and data center service provider to sail through the difficult times.

Sify Technologies has been quick to address the changing customer requirements and help them reduce the overall cost, rationalize IT spends, and re-architect the underlying technology to bring more agility and flexibility.

Kamal Nath, CEO Sify Technologies, tells us more:

Kamal Nath, SifyDQI Bureau | DATAQUEST

DQ: What are the five emerging trends for data center networking in 2020+?

Kamal Nath: Data center networking will experience a radical shift from 2020. The grounds for Data Center and the associated consumption will shift from a ‘good-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’. It is, therefore, a given that interconnection between data centers will be as much in the spotlight as the demand for pure colocation or cloud.

A robust interconnection network ensures that different levels of connectivity are available between any two data centers or between data centers and hyper scale clouds to provide flexibility for deploying applications and fulfilling resiliency requirements.

The development of a robust interconnection network portfolio also helps support the overall TCO of the data center offering. Interconnection today is driven by the emergence of private Internet Exchanges (IX’s), custom-built data center interconnect networks to optimize latency, support scale (10G and 100G wave lengths), and cloud interconnection (availability of Express Route, direct connect, cloud interconnect and fast connect like services).

Some prominent trends that have emerged recently are:
* Three or more fiber entry paths to the data center building.
* Ample MMR rooms for expansion.
* Presence of multiple Internet exchanges (telco MUXs in data center is basic requirement).
* Provision for bulk fiber from 48 core to 256 core.
* Effective cross-connect policy and deployment methodology; fast deployment of such cabling services is essential.

DQ: How will the market for hybrid cloud and data center virtualization evolve going forward?

Kamal Nath: The current pandemic crisis has re-inforced the need for cloud infrastructure, which was hitherto designed to support forecasted demand. Owing to unprecedented nature of Covid-19 pandemic, enterprises may not have reserved enough capacity to adjust for the spurt.

Sify offers cloud adjacency to hyper scale clouds for providing very low to minimal latency access. This makes it possible to configure the most optimal hybrid clouds possible. Translated, that means the clients shift to the hybrid Cloud is quicker.

DQ: How are you rebalancing your provision of data center services, colocation and capacity management?

Kamal Nath: Currently, we are executing all our contracted data center projects and we are capable of meeting the business-as-usual requirements to fulfill our commitments pertaining to any ongoing project. Any ad-hoc changes to their requirements is being adapted to in the expanded scope. We also engage with customers regularly to discuss mission-critical priorities.

When the economy emerges out of the Covid-19 situation and potential customers start making request for large data center capacities, the most crucial aspect will always be the ability to create additional Data center capacities with speed. We believe we are in a comfortable position to cater to such a demand.

DQ: How are you updating DR plans to reflect this new world of vendor-distributed work?

Kamal Nath: The national lockdown tested our business continuity readiness at a micro level. We have efficiently been updating our DR plans by managing the live setup with 10% of team and yet carrying out planned and critical upgrades/change management simultaneously.

The key factors that help us upgrade our DR value propositions without being dependent on vendors are our individual preparedness, skilled in-house manpower, and availability of adequate standby devices and spares.

DQ: Are you looking at remote management of data centers?

Kamal Nath: Although IT infrastructure is almost always remotely managed, it must be noted that remote monitoring has been achieved to a very large proportion for management of data center infrastructure as well.

The BMS and DCIM were ready for remote monitoring from day one; however, remote monitoring may not allow you complete or seamless management of data centers as you may require physical presence of skilled SMEs on premises. We have extended monitoring of key parameters to some of our large data center users too.

DQ: Demand for cloud services will soar in some sectors, but wither in other verticals. Which sectors, specifically?

Kamal Nath: Telecom and communications sector has huge demand for cloud services, owing to increase in network bandwidth and related services. Similarly, retail chains will also need cloud to ensure contactless operations. Banking institutions require cloud to deal with the increase in digital payments and secure remote desktop infrastructures.

Also, cloud will become central to healthcare sector for scaling and optimizing processes and operations digitally, and to also ensure safety of health workers with contactless communications and collaboration tools for taking care of patients.

DQ: How are CIOs looking at data centers during Covid-19?

Kamal Nath: Covid-19 will change the way businesses operate and function, and therefore, organizations would look for expertise in capability building and enhancement. CIOs are now keen to adjust service levels and expectations and use site reliability engineering (SRE) principles.

Focus is also on optimizing short-term cloud spend by performing basic cloud cost discovery, gaining discounts from commitments such as reserved instance purchases, moving workloads to lower-cost regions, and pausing projects and migrations that are likely to increase short-term costs with no immediate payback. Importantly, security, privacy and data protection will always be the top priority of CIOs that have embraced digital transformation.

DQ: Covid-19 may either kill the data center, or forever change storage. Elaborate.

Kamal Nath: Data centers are here to stay, but the scope of customer on-premise and client-managed data centers might see a shift as organizations move towards professionally managed data centers for colocation and cloud services. OTT and hyperscale cloud providers will, given their hunger for data consumption and related storage, will accelerate the footprint of professionally operated data centers. This new drift will further lead to additional capacity creation and utilization.

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