The rapidly evolving cloud market in India is poised to see an acceleration in growth rate. According to Gartner, the total cloud spend will reach $1.9 billion by 2018.
“Growth of cloud services in India reflects the demand for new sourcing models,” says Ed Anderson, Research VP at Gartner. “We expect high growth rates across all cloud services market segments in India.” Such positive sentiments on cloud sector are now fairly common in India’s enterprise IT segment. 65% of large enterprises are using cloud technology, services and solutions as part of their IT infrastructure, according to Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2014 Report. At present, the Indian public cloud market alone, according to Gartner, is poised to treble to $1.9 billion (about Rs 12,000 crore) by 2018.
In India, cloud services revenue is projected to have a five-year projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.2% from 2012 through 2017 across all segments of the cloud computing market. Segments such as software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) have even higher projected CAGR growth rate of 34.4 % and 39.8 %. When it comes to immediate adoption of cloud solutions, things are not that rosy. Jay Sappidi, Founder and CEO of Plumsoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd., says, “Though the future of cloud computing in India seems rosy, immediate adoption of cloud is slow. Unless startups that are into developing cloud solutions attain global focus for their products, it will be hard for them to scale and grow to sustain investment costs.”
Cost Effective Solutions
The current crop of cloud solutions are providing best of the breed solutions in silos, like CRM solution or HR solution, etc. However, what companies need are integrated solutions. This is because majority of customers for such simple and cost effective solutions are small and medium scale businesses. They don’t have the resources or the technical capability to integrate these disparate cloud solutions to get a single view of their business.”
Santhosh D’Souza, Director- Systems Engineering, NetApp Marketing & Services Pvt. Ltd, India, says, “Users, providers and government policy-makers are asking many questions about the current use and future evolutionary path of cloud computing. But the tension within IT on moving to the cloud will resolve as organisations recognise what cloud model is needed to serve their application portfolio.”
Internet connectivity is another issue dominating this market. Mentions Sidharth Malik, Managing Director and Vice President, India, Akamai Technologies, “This situation is momentary as the Indian government is now focussed on creating smart cities. Another issue that we come across is data security. With the increase in information availability on the web, customers are concerned about cyberattacks.”
Jagjit Singh Arora, Director – Regional Sales, Red Hat India, dwells on the issue of security. “It is important to manage your cloud usage properly and make sure employees have access to the resources that they need from the cloud provider. If they look outside the business and rogue clouds get into the mix organisations then they have essentially lost control over the data. This can lead to data loss and sensitive information being compromised as it is now outside the company firewall.”
Sudhir Narang, Managing Director, BT India, says “Maintaining security in cloud computing remains a major technology challenge for ICT service providers. There are concerns related to lack of control, data protection, network protection and regulations. The shortage of skills to deploy and manage new cloud computing projects is also a cause for concern.”
Security is not the only roadblock when it comes to cloud. According to Karan Kirpalani, Associate Vice President, Product Management, Netmagic, “Another important point that organisations need to consider before embarking on a cloud journey is whether their applications can scale in the cloud. If their loads are static and their users access applications over a closed circuit rather than the internet, perhaps the cloud is not an ideal platform for them. This means that organisations sometimes need to re-architect their applications for the cloud.”
Various shades of cloud
The issues with cloud computing are real, but they are definitely not coming in the way of its rapid adoption. The increasing usage has led to a number of trends meeting varied demands of enterprises. IT team is moving right to the heart of business, helping to develop solutions to real-life business challenges.
Mentions Prashant Gupta, Head of Solutions, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, India, “Many of our cloud customers are also customers of other cloud vendors. So then the big question is how do customers manage this? What if a customer needs to access an application residing on another cloud? Can they do it with the same service level agreements, security, performance, and quality of service and still stay within their budget means? Hence the availability of a secure interconnection where a customer can connect to multiple clouds without the hassle of co-location.”
He adds that enterprises are looking to put more business-centric applications in the cloud. This requires an approach that builds cloud-based solutions that specifically fit each workload, taking into account geography, security, networking, etc. Enterprises must create individual cloud spaces that correspond to the individual needs of their workload. This trend will gain pace in the coming year.
According to Arora of Red Hat India, “Currently the industry is transposing from client-server to cloud-mobile. The major shift that I believe will happen in the coming year is open source becoming the preferred choice for cloud. Indeed, it is the foundation for widespread cloud services and enterprise applications. Also, by incorporating open cloud across the full gamut of features organisations can be confident that their technologies will deliver the full strategic value as promised by cloud computing.”
He also mentions that cross cloud orchestration is another growing trend. It is gaining in popularity because it offers compliance and control over the burgeoning issue of Shadow IT. As cloud services continue to expand in number and sophistication, enterprises would also be opting for multi-vendor hybrid cloud architectures. Consumers will utilise multiple cloud providers to avail the best possible configuration for their enterprise. As big data evolves, the need for advanced storage infrastructure will also increase, which will boost this growth in the coming year.
Companies are also looking out to invest more on business automation software that will help them prepare for the imminent business opportunities. Jay Sappidi, Founder and CEO of Plumsoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd., says, “Just like accessibility, ease of use and cost has enabled penetration of mobile phones to every consumer income level, likewise, if the right solutions are provided at right price points, Indian companies of all sizes will adopt cloud solutions.” He added speaking on trends that, smaller companies will be more open to cloud solutions than larger organisation. Larger companies will be looking for hybrid solutions, which have the flexibility to be deployed as a cloud or on-premise solution. Also, with the proliferation and adoption of smart-phones, companies are looking for cloud solutions that take mobile-first approach.
“Agility and the ability to respond faster to changing business, customer and worker demands will be some of the major trends to look forward to in the year 2015. ICT providers will enable CIOs to face a series of digital opportunities and threats, which have seen before to keep their market position,” says Narang of BT India. In one of the surveys conducted by BT, it was found that more than 2/3rd of organisations now expect the modern CIO to be an innovator and use technology creatively to take the business forward. Technology partners can also help the CIO to be more creative by sharing their ideas, involving customers in research and engaging in innovative thinking about new ways of working by using technologies such as mobility, cloud services and unified communications.
Organisations having a digital roadmap will also clearly have an impact on cloud computing adoption. According to Jiten Patil, Principal Expert, Cloud and EDT Solutions, Persistent Systems, “In the coming year, enterprises will start understanding the difference between EDT (Enterprise Digital Transformation) and traditional enterprise IT services when it comes to the future of the business. Understanding of digital business imperatives along with ‘design for cloud’ methodology will help drive enterprise transformation in a better way. Cloud based EDT architecture patterns, tool-sets and platforms will emerge for enterprises to start rolling out their new business models to tap newer market segments.”
He also says that cloud consumption will be driven by new age mobile technologies that will help stack up EDT architecture for enterprises. Big Data and collaboration services for consumers as well as businesses will continue to fuel cloud usage in the next year as well. Internet of Things (IoT) will be another solution that will leverage EDT style architecture and platform to deliver IoT services using scalable cloud model.
IoT seems like the top trend which will have cascading effect on cloud adoption within enterprises. Mentions Shree Parthasarathy, Senior Director, Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte, “IoT is making a mark with couple of initiatives wherein large number of startups and leading vendors are creating solutions with the ability of connecting devices to each other. Cloud will play a major role to elevate the solution coherently and will be essential for businesses of all kinds and their consumers.”
As BYOD is emerging as increasingly important of every CIO’s list, the role of cloud also becomes more important to make BYOD a seamless experience. According to Malik of Akamai Technologies. “The cloud process is likely to eliminate tedious administrative tasks, which might delay more important objectives, and will also embrace multi-platform adaptability. In this increasingly hyperconnected world, every consumer will depend on cloud services to connect and access their data through multiple devices.” He goes on to express the opinion that with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) models becoming conventional in the workplace, the enterprises are opting to assist their employees in conducting company business using their own personal devices with the help of a safe, secure and reliable cloud service.
Cloud computing has been gaining lot of attention in the wake of rising importance of disaster recovery. Mentions Kirpalani of Netmagic, “DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service) has gained significant traction in the past few years because it harnesses the power of elastic, on-demand cloud and can provide up to 75% savings when compared to traditional DR.”
Sanjoy Sen, Doctoral Researcher, Aston Business School, UK, says, “Continuing on the theme of ‘everything, everyone, everywhere’, the major trend that I foresee would be a faster adoption of cloud technologies, as an enabler of organisational value and strategic agility, both globally as well as in India. Hybrid clouds will be the dominant trend, putting an end to the debate whether businesses should be looking at either public or private cloud infrastructures.
Hybrid cloud adoption will definitely continue to grow. Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India & SAARC), says, “The hybrid cloud gives our customers the opportunity to speedup innovation in ways they never could before. We help them conquer the most difficult challenge of the hybrid cloud, which is data management. We know data is more valuable when it is in the right place. Our software allows customers to move data securely between cloud service providers and back to their own data centers as their needs undergo a transformation.”
According to Chris Howard, Research VP at Gartner. “Services delivered through the cloud will foster an economy based on delivery and consumption of everything from storage to computation to video to finance deduction management. The public cloud, hybrid cloud, and private cloud models now dot the landscape of IT based solutions. Because of that the basic issues have moved from ‘what is cloud’ to ‘how will cloud projects evolve’.”
There is significant movement towards cloud platforms, and also in the direction of massively scalable processing. As Howard mentions, “Virtualisation, service orientation and the Internet have converged to sponsor a phenomenon that enables individuals and businesses to choose how they will acquire or deliver IT services, with reduced emphasis on the constraints of traditional software and hardware licensing models.”