On the sidelines of the NetApp Excellerator program, we spoke to Madhurima Agarwal, leader, NetApp Excellerator, and Ravi Chhabria, managing director, NetApp India. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: How do technologies such as AI and ML bring together CTOs and CIOs in this digital age?
Ravi Chhabria: Technologists and business owners are at the forefront of picking up technologies. They are moving to more data driven approaches. We are using tech where performance management is critical. There is an ML algorithm at the back of it. When you see it getting deployed in India, the CIOs and CXOs are looking to get more agile. The popups are integrating with the system and creating business opportunities.
If you look at finance, technology, etc., all of them are talking to us about data platforms. They have different concerns for customers. Can they build insight on the data? How can we leverage the opportunity into a system inside, say, three months? People are looking at doing interactions very fast.
You are getting data that’s becoming a revenue stream. They are realizing that data at rest is also of value. Sources of data are increasing. With IoT and 5G, you are going to get data on every single thing. Lightwing, for example, wants to be very agile in the cloud. The story changes from one cloud to multi-cloud. We are seeing the leverage at this place.
DQ: Tell us about the Bangalore NetApp campus.
Ravi Chhabria: It is the best NetApp campus so far. It is also the reflection of the workforce. The people coming in have different perspectives and needs. People have also played lots of tournaments and won many trophies.
DQ: What are some of the changes the company has undergone over the years?
Ravi Chhabria: George Kurian, CEO and president, is a very driven person. He is relentless that you cannot stand still. How can you use data to simplify customer experience? How can you make them engage better with you? Its changing the way we do things.
DQ: What technologies do you see a high adoption in 2020?
Ravi Chhabria: We will see an increasing adoption of some technologies. Businesses are evolving from the cloud. To move fast, there are a few technologies — data has to be multi-cloud. When data sits in different places — so, DevOps is the next big thing getting important. Cloud, will also be there. It will become even more data intensive.
DQ: What is NetApp doing in the AI space?
Ravi Chhabria: We compare the data. We are using AI/ML to improve the operational excellence of our customers. We are embedding AI into our products. Our customers are also working with AI.
Madhurima Agarwal: AI is the buzzword today. We have products leveraging the power of AI. We have OnTap.AI. We have customers in this space as well. What will make their life easier? We are working to constantly improve our product. We are working with a startup to see what will they get out of this. Customers can see 10X improvement in their performance.
DQ: What three emerging sectors do you see NetApp enabling customers with AI?
Madhurima Agarwal: In terms of focus areas, we are focusing on finance, healthcare, the US government and automotive. We are seeing startups coming in as well. In the automotive space, there is manual inspection of sheets, for quality checks. There are computer vision apps developed by startups to solve these problems.
We also see Indian startups in this space. For eg., LightMetrix, is in the assisted driver assistance system (ADAS). Those are some areas we are seeing interest.
DQ: What’s new on the cloud front?
Madhurima Agarwal: Lightwing, among the latest cohorts, helps you save on cloud. It optimizes on how the cloud usage is done. 75% of the cloud remains idle on the weekends. How do you optimize that? You pay only for what you use. The same principle is also what NetApp has done for Keystone. It is the pay-as-you-go concept. It is a whole new way to look at the hybrid cloud space.