Vinish Bawa, head, emerging business and enterprise, Nokia India

The increasing need for data centre interconnect (DCI) solutions among enterprises has opened up significant business opportunities for network vendors like Nokia that offer these solutions. Vinish Bawa, head, emerging business and enterprise, Nokia India, talks about the DCI market in India and the future outlook for this space…

What are your views on the adoption of DCI solutions in the Indian market?

Hyperscale data centres are witnessing high growth in India and globally. The increasing adoption of hyperscale data centres has created the need for connecting them. This connectivity between distributed data centres is called DCI.

The growth of DCI solutions in India is driven by over-the-top (OTT) and webscale companies as their data traffic is growing by leaps and bounds. These companies use hyperscale data centres to support the growing data traffic, leading to increased demand for DCI solutions. Another driver for DCI solutions is the government’s Digital India vision and its aim to localise data within the country.

What are the challenges that enterprises face with regard to DCI bandwidth requirements?

Network availability is a big challenge that enterprises are facing today. They also aim to reduce their IT operational costs and improve network availability. Further, the lack of good quality fibre that connects data centres is a challenge in India. One of the demands that we at Nokia face from enterprises is to build networks that can support their bandwidth and data demands using the available low quality fibre.

What has been your experience in the webscale networks and DCI space in India? What are the various DCI solutions that you are offering in the Indian market?

Nokia had created an enterprise business unit a few years ago. One of the focus areas of the unit is the large enterprise segment. Within the enterprise market, the most important segment for us is the webscale/ data centre market. This market is huge in India and is witnessing almost double-digit growth every year.

We have been working in this segment for the past one and a half or two years. Currently, of the combined webscale and data centre traffic in India, around 30 TB is flowing on Nokia solutions. Since the solutions that we have developed are newer, they are more focused on enterprise-specific problems. They cater to the unique requirements of companies. Further, they are based on the latest technologies and are more open and flexible. For example, our Photonic solution allows 400-800 GB of data per wavelength. We have a smaller version called WaveLite series, which is designed for small enterprises and allows up to 100 GB data. We also offer customised solutions.

We recently launched the DC switching fabric solution. While DCI solutions are required for inter- and intra-data centre connections, switching fabric is required within a data centre. We did a lot of research on this product and signed a strategic partnership with Apple to develop it. The key benefit of this solution is that it offers a totally open and flexible portfolio for switching fabric, which is unheard of.

What will be the key growth drivers for DCI solutions in India in the coming years? What is the future outlook for this space?

In my view, there are five key drivers for DCI solutions in India. One is the Digital India initiative, which includes all the government-driven broadband projects. Second, all enterprises that are planning to move from traditional IT hardware infrastructure to the cloud are driving the demand for DCI solutions. Third, the growing number of cloud exchanges, which include all the interconnect and exchange companies that connect data centres, offer a huge growth potential. Fourth is the changing consumer behaviour towards bandwidth-intensive applications, which require highly resilient DCI solutions. Fifth is the growing machine-to-machine (M2M) traffic.

We have a strong family of products for the DCI market in India. We have built a good presence over the past couple of years and we are confident about growth in this market in the coming years.

What are the key enterprise technology trends likely to gain prominence in a post-Covid scenario?

Owing to the rising work-from-home trend, most companies are likely to shift from stand-alone IT infrastructure to cloud-based infrastructure so that they can give access to all their employees from wherever they are. The second trend will be moving from a shared optical network to a private optical network because each enterprise wants to have control and has its own bandwidth, latency and security needs. Third, there will be huge bandwidth requirements due to the massive data growth witnessed during Covid.