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Increasing Adoption: Cloud technologies find favour with enterprises

December 07, 2015

As the world becomes increasingly hyperconnected, enterprises are adopting cloud technology to take advantage of the plethora of benefits offered by it in running businesses. For instance, cloud computing, eliminates tedious data management tasks, there are no upfront costs associated with it, and enterprises can pay as and when they use the service. Further, unlike traditional IT solutions, cloud services are based on actual demand and not on peak demand, thus implying that no forward planning is required by enterprises for operations scaling.

Current scenario

A large number of enterprises in the retail, banking, finance, education, healthcare and IT sectors in India are adopting cloud services. According to research firm Gartner’s recent cloud adoption survey for India, 61 per cent of the respondents indicated that they are currently using cloud services and an additional 31 per cent plan to use these services by end-2015. Moreover, Gartner expects that revenues of the public cloud services market in India will reach $731 million by end-2015, an increase of around 31.7 per cent over the $555 million earned during 2014.

At present, the public cloud service revenues in the country are being driven by the high growth rates in key market segments such as cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), cloud management and security services, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The spending on IaaS is expected to reach $100 million by end-2015, a 25 per cent increase over 2014. Meanwhile, the spending on cloud management and security is projected to grow by 36.6 per cent and reach $82 million, while SaaS will grow by 33.4 per cent to reach $302 million by end-2015.

Buoyed by the huge growth prospects of the cloud market in India, many companies have expanded their services in the country in the past one year. For instance, in July 2015, Reliance Communications (RCOM) deployed its cloud delivery network, Cloud Xchange (Cloud X), nodes in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The Cloud X platform installs complex multi-tiered enterprise applications directly onto enterprise networks and supports network transparency and cloud orchestration. Through this platform, the company is primarily targeting banking, technology verticals and small- and medium-sized enterprises, and aims to achieve the full deployment of this network by end-2015. Further, smartphone manufacturer Micromax Informatics has invested in MiMedia, a consumer cloud provider that enables consumers to access their personal content such as photos, videos, music and files on any device.

Moreover, given that the computing time increases with the location of the network architecture, the major cloud providers are expanding their data centre footprint in the country. For instance, RCOM is planning to invest $80 million in setting up two new data centres while expanding two existing ones over the next two to three years. In addition, Microsoft launched three commercial data centres in Pune, Chennai and Mumbai in September 2015. These centres will offer the com-pany’s Azure and Office 365 cloud services amongst Indian enterprises and government organisations. Amazon Web Services, too, is planning to open a data centre in India in 2016.

Besides the existing enterprises, a large number of Indian start-ups are also adopting the cloud platform as the cost of cloud infrastructure is lower than the older forms of IT. By using SaaS and platform-as-a-service, these start-ups are only paying for what they use. Besides, as their client base grows, the start-ups are able to ramp up their use of technology.

For instance, Bengaluru-based start-up KlickDoc’s innovative cloud-based healthcare platform connects patients with doctors, pharmacies and diagnostic centres. Medical records are stored in and accessed from the cloud. With the help of cloud services, KlickDoc has been able to get its solution to the market in less than half the time that it would have taken in the past.

Future growth drivers

Future growth in cloud consumption will be driven by the emergence of new technologies such as big data and the internet of things (IoT). For instance, under the IoT platform, a large number of start-ups and leading vendors are creating solutions with the ability to connect devices to each other. Cloud will play a major role in elevating these solutions coherently.

Moreover, the role of cloud will become important as the bring-your-own-device enterprise model starts gaining traction. Through this model, enterprises are enabling their employees to conduct company business using their personal devices with the help of a safe, secure and reliable cloud service.

Meanwhile, another vertical of cloud computing, disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS), will gain more significance in the future by serving as an effective tool for disaster management. DRaaS harnesses the power of elastic, on-demand cloud and can provide up to 75 per cent more savings as compared to traditional disaster recoveries.

The uptake of cloud services in India is also expected to increase as a result of the government’s recently launched Digital India programme. This is because the programme encompasses many initiatives that involve huge volumes of data to be stored and retrieved securely and conveniently on demand. For instance, under the digital locker system, the government plans to allow individuals to store important certificates and files, which can be accessed as and when required through authentication using the Aadhar number. Similarly, under the e-basta initiative, the government will allow publishers to upload their books online. These could then be used by schools to create online satchels.

Given the amount of data involved in these schemes, government departments are already using the cloud platform, GI Cloud (Meghraj), to host their information. The departments are also allowed to use private cloud platforms after securing approval from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

Issues and challenges

Two important prerequisites for the successful implementation of a cloud data platform are a robust broadband infrastructure and high internet penetration. However, achieving this in India still remains a challenging task. According to the UN Broadband Commission’s “The State of Broadband” report, internet penetration in the country in 2014 was a dismal 15.3 per cent.

Since cloud computing is a fairly new technology, there is also a dearth of skilled personnel in the country that specialise in this area. In order to overcome this, huge investments are required for training manpower in this technology.

Moreover, the current cloud technol-ogies are providing solutions in silos. However, companies need integrated solutions. This is because the majority of customers who require simple and cost-effective data management solutions are small- and medium-scale businesses. They do not have the resources or the technical capability to integrate disparate cloud solutions.

Another major issue is that of data security. With the increase in the availability of information on the web, customers are concerned about data protection, lack of control, cyberattacks and network protection. While in Western countries permissions are required from the authorities in case an organisation is moving any data, services or applications on the cloud, no such guidelines for data security and privacy exist in India. The resolution of these issues in cloud computing remains a major technology challenge for information and communications technology service providers.

Conclusion

Going forward, the spending on cloud services will accelerate further as the government’s digital initiatives start gaining traction. Also, the rise of new technol-ogies such as IoT and big data will have a cascading effect on the adoption of cloud services in the country. Gartner expects the cloud computing market to reach $1.9 billion by 2019.

 
 

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