Glued to the TV or hooked to the internet, you might enjoy some advertisements for perhaps their content or storytelling. But in the background, digital and traditional businesses are investing heavily in a data journey.
Manish Gupta, Senior Director and General Manager, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Dell EMC, says modern-day data centres are built for scale, where organisations need only worry about deploying their applications rapidly on the cloud, and crunch data to provide customised solutions.
He says the future is the hyper-converged cloud, talks about Dell EMC's new PowerEdge MX series of servers, and why organisations will invest in private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise infrastructure. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, the server market globally was $16.69 billion, a 33.4 percent increase over the same period last year. The market is estimated to be around $60 billion annually. Manish breaks down why organisations are investing in digital transformation, and investing in powerful servers.
Edited excerpts of the interview:
YS: Tell us about Indian enterprises and their digital transformation journey.
Manish Gupta: Companies have embarked on digital transformation and there is a massive shift from traditional applications to newer workloads like AI and IoT. Older systems like ERP and databases will remain, but investments are going to newer workloads.
A survey of 400 Indian companies by the Enterprise Solutions Group – as part of a global survey - found that only 2 percent of the organisations believed they were in legacy applications. Around 17 percent companies said they were digitally surveyed, and 61 percent believed they were in the journey towards transformation.
Cloud is a part of this transformation. In all, 90 percent of Indian companies believe that digital transformation is key for them, but only 74 percent of Asian companies believe so. As many as 49 percent of Indian companies are virtualised, and they want to digitally transform faster. IoT and AI are being delivered faster in this market. I have conversations about this new stack of technologies, and today, applications are more cloud native.
The PowerEdge is a brand for our server product. The MX series makes it flexible, agile and responsive for enterprises, which means they can work with traditional and cloud native applications. In the traditional world, you had separate servers for older applications and new servers for modern applications. With PowerEdge, you can access the two in one platform. IDC reports show we have grown very well - more than 25 percent.
YS: What is the typical conversation with a company to invest in a new tech stack?
MG: Cost is always an element for an enterprise. Increasingly, the conversation is about time to market, deploying multiple workloads fast, longevity of the platform, and understanding the capabilities of new-age platforms.
The ability to allocate and reallocate workloads is the key for every business. A retailer or an ecommerce company wants to understand the customer on a real-time basis; the entire prediction engine is an AI capability, and these new workloads need to be allocated and reallocated across different data sets on the fly.
There was a dominant thought that the customer is moving to public cloud, but we believe private clouds will be most used. Most modern retailers have on-premise servers because they want to protect that data. To give you some colour on customers, say retailers – some of them build their own applications and others may be on commercial applications. These two types of retailers use traditional databases or Hadoop databases (NoSql technology).
In my experience, a lot of this depends on the maturity curve of the organisation, and they invest in powerful servers as they grow. Indian customers are using automation in their data centres for software patches.
A lot of companies have built deep engineering skills in their journey towards automation, and most times, the industry makes decisions about build-versus-buy. Companies that want to go to market fast just invest in platforms that allow them to scale. On the other hand, those who already have deep engineering skills buy a platform and build their own appliance or tech stack on them.
HyperConverge is a buy view, which is an appliance model, and if people buy PowerEdge, it is a build view, which means enterprises can build their own stack. We give you an infrastructure where you can pick your software-defined stack, and define your workloads.
YS: Who are your potential customers, and what is the future of the server business?
MG: Today, telecom companies, IT-ITES, banking, and manufacturing are a big part of the business for us. We sell through our system integrators, or our IT services companies and have direct engagements with clients too. What I can tell you is that if you invest in PowerEdge, the datacentres will not have to invest in dense racks; the space is saved by a third with PowerEdge.
But, this is industry dependent because dense stacks are needed in large research-oriented projects or any industry where there is a lot of data. The server business will grow very fast because at the heart of all digital transformation, we need servers. Insights are coming because of compute, and customers are refreshing their tech stack because the power of the compute has allowed them to work on data faster. They are also optimising their traditional workloads to work with newer workloads.
We also work with startups because, to begin with, they need PCs and laptops. As Dell Technologies we can start there and at some point of time we know they will scale and we ask them to work with us on their work loads. We have discussions with companies around how their data is growing, and that’s where we help them with high-performance data analytics. There are a lot of global innovation centres looking at using modern servers for AI.
Businesses are getting increasingly demanding, as are their processes. Managing huge volumes of data, companies are not only looking for high performance, but also low latency, which means storage and memory need to offer agility.
Dell, with its PowerEdge MX series of servers, offers works with high-speed connections - preferably 825 giga-bit-connections-per-server and a bandwidth of 200 Gigabits per server. The technicalities mean technology from the MX Series can sync with old applications (ERP and CRM) and work with modern day workloads.
Digital transformation is a data journey and with real time, data businesses are increasing their top-lines faster than ever before. Data makes sales intelligent and reduces sales cycles.