April 2014    
Thinking Aloud Podium We Recommend Standing Ovation
It’s Cloudy out there!!! – Siva Interview with Anil Valluri, President - India & SAARC Operations NetApp Marketing & Services Pvt. Ltd


Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership - Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai & D. Sivanandhan Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR) - Mumbai

Dear Reader,HR

As huge amounts of data, be it images, audio or video files, exchange hands, we are confronted with the herculean task of handling the same and retrieving data with the least possible time, effort and cost. The ‘anytime anywhere’ concept is a trend seen today and therefore storage becomes a cornerstone for IT architecture. Megatrends of cloud and big data are storming individuals and corporates alike, which will drive developments and unparalleled innovation in the storage sector. If this wasn’t enough, the importance of storage is such that, apart from handling large capacities of data (moving from gigabytes, to terabytes and now petabytes!), reliability, performance and consistency is paramount.

The Indian storage sector too is transforming to keep up with the deluge of data as flexibility and manageability becomes a necessity with software-defined storage redefining the space in India Inc. today.

ET this month highlights the importance of the IT sector focusing on storage solutions.

In Thinking Aloud, Siva delves into the world of cloud computing, given today that all of us are confronted with huge data exchanges and storage. Today one is introduced to technologies such as SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and SECaaS. Oracle and SAP are also providing solutions over the cloud. Large corporates in close association with IT partners manage data over servers that are remotely located and available over leased lines, with reliability and security being the most important factors. Options available at the individual level include Dropbox and OneDrive. The choices for data storage and retrieving technologies are many which eventually make the deluge of data not so big anymore.

On the Podium, Anil Valluri, President of India & SAARC Operations for NetApp, takes a look at the IT storage industry in India. The importance of IT storage is also seen in consumer and enterprise storage available to consumers today. He also suggests that the storage infrastructure present in the country is similar to that found elsewhere. Latest statistics also infer that data will grow to levels that will threaten architectural constructs, and therefore the importance of storage to cope with the data deluge becomes even more essential, especially in the data-centric world that enterprises thrive in today.

In We Recommend, Rohan reviews the book - Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership authored by Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai & D. Sivanandhan. The book takes a look at the secrets of effective leadership through the eyes of Chanakya, and his book, The Arthashastra, which deals with good governance based on ideal leadership. The authors bring Chanakya’s leadership model to life through the seven secrets (seven pillars of a kingdom) - Swami, Amatya, Janpada, Durg, Kosha, Dand and Mitra - which over centuries, Indian rulers have used as a concept for a successful government. Each of these have some salient features backed by real and inspirational stories.

Standing Ovation features Mumbai based Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR) which aims at providing quality education and health to children. By collaborating with various municipal schools and clinics, CACR participates in school management committees, computer literacy programmes and similar projects to ensure that educational standards are met in municipal schools. Regular interaction with the educational systems will ensure accountability and proper distribution of facilities and amenities for children enrolled in these schools, is what CACR firmly believes in.

In Figures of Speech, Vikram’s ‘cloud’ prepares for its big coming!

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Thinking Aloud

It’s Cloudy out there!!! - Siva
As we struggle to maintain the relentless onslaught of digital data on our smartphones, with the tons of images, audio and video files shared daily over instant messaging platforms, it’s interesting to relate this to the “640K ought to be enough for anybody” era of the early 1980s when the first set of MS-DOS based personal computers arrived.

Of course, Bill Gates vehemently denies making that statement ever. However, considering the speed at which data accumulates today, “how much memory is enough?” is something that even the best of the technology futurists would hesitate to hazard a guess. And then we have the current race to make tablets and laptops as lighter as possible wherein the argument is that we really should focus on storing only the essential stuff that we need at all times and the other things may be stored externally, i.e. CDs, pen drives and beyond.

That opens up this whole great world of cloud computing. And the emergence of stuff like SaaS – Software as a Service, PaaS – Platform as a Service, and IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service. If that’s not enough, we also have SECaaS – Security as a Service these days. And one does feel that the IT world is in absolute love with itself, reinventing these jargons every 2-3 years to make a contemporary point on a matter which many of us actually have been practicing well over 15 years now since the days of Hotmail.

Some of the best discoveries of technology happens when you move around with entrepreneurs, especially in their start-up stages struggling to preserve cash through bootstrapping. Be it applications, database or pure storage needs, there are enough solutions out there serving varied kind of needs. And this, of course, is not restricted to small setups. Large corporates are increasingly relying on their IT partners to manage their company data over servers that are remotely located and available over leased lines. Reliability and security are the most underlying expectations and IT companies have indeed bridged those successfully. The occasional breach of data security notwithstanding, the trend towards this remains largely favourable overall.

A quick look at statistics by Forbes:

  • By 2015, end-user spending on cloud services could be more than US$ 180 billion. It is predicted that the global market for cloud equipment will reach US$ 79.1 billion by 2018
  • If given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, 25% of respondents would choose storage
  • By 2014, businesses in the United States will spend more than US$ 13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services

A Gmail based system today offers a complete office solution over nominal subscription models. Google Analytics provides valuable quantitative and qualitative measures on your company website traffic. A Saleforce.com again provides a complete platform to not just manage leads and interactions but also allows sharing across your organization and business analytics across product lines, business units, geographies etc. Established ERP players like Oracle and SAP are also moving steadily to providing their solutions over cloud.

At an individual level, the most attractive (read ‘free’) of them all is the storage bit. Whether it’s a third-party provider like Dropbox which provides 2GB free on signup, or even OneDrive -previously SkyDrive, of Microsoft which provides 7GB or a Google Drive which provides for 15GB free storage, these solutions have very effectively obviated the need to carry heavy laptops or tablets anymore.

Looking ahead, CDs would become history over the next 5 years. SD/Micro-SD cards and pen-drives may retain their utility, pesky as they may be to handle. However, with an increase in internet bandwidth, reliability and security, storing and sharing of important stuff over the cloud is a realty of the future which many of us may need to start considering now, if not already there.

And then, of course, our new friend “BIG DATA” with its velocity, variety and volume would not really appear that BIG and monstrous anymore.

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Podium

Anil Valluri, President - India & SAARC Operations NetApp Marketing & Services Pvt. Ltd

Anil Valluri is the President of India & SAARC Operations for NetApp, joining the company in February 2012. He is responsible for the overall business and operations of NetApp in India and the SAARC region. His directive includes growing market share and driving healthy ecosystem growth among both partners and customers in the region.

Anil comes to NetApp with an experience of over 25 years in Sales, Marketing and Technology Leadership roles. In this span, he has been a part of some of the largest enterprises in India, specifically in their Enterprise IT build outs and in diversified industries such as Banking, Telecommunications, Government, Retail and Manufacturing segments. Prior to NetApp, Anil was with Artiman Ventures, a Bay-area based Venture Capital firm that specialized in white-space investments as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, before which he was with Sun Microsystems where his last role was as Vice-President & Managing Director of Sun Microsystems, India. He has also donned several roles in Services Business, Systems Engineering, Product Business and Sales across Sun Microsystems, DEC India and DCM Data Products.

Anil is an alumnus of Stanford University and believes in amalgamating the learnings of Leadership and Entrepreneurship together in what he does. He is a regular speaker on leadership and technology, and has been on the advisory councils for customers, CTO/CIO forums and has been on many Jury Panels for well-known publications.

ET:  What defines the IT storage industry in India and where does this industry rank among global peers?

AV:   Storage in India, as elsewhere, breaks down into consumer and enterprise storage. Consumer storage is fragmented, distributed as it is across a variety of devices that individuals use. There is some consolidation in consumer storage with online storage options being increasingly offered, for free or for a minimal fee, as primary or backup mechanisms to store individual data.

Enterprise Storage is more well-defined, and is experiencing several trends in-line with global developments. The inefficiencies built into storage architectures over time have led to an increasing preference for unified storage: the ability to support both SAN and NAS protocols on the same physical infrastructure. Unpredictable fluctuations in demand for capacity and performance have resulted in storage virtualization initiatives. Enterprise strategies to start small and scale rapidly in accordance with business growth have meant a preference for scale out storage architecture rather than capital intensive, inflexible monolithic platforms. The desire to introduce policy based automation and self-service capabilities in storage environments are prompting interest in Software Defined Storage. Finally the need to support a Mobile workforce and ecosystem is resulting in mandating that data stored in the Enterprise is made available securely through a variety of devices. On the physical storage medium front, hard disk drives are being complemented by the judicious use of Solid State Drives and Flash technologies.

Indian Enterprises, Government Agencies and Service Providers are comparable to their global peers in recognizing the strategic importance of a simple, efficient and flexible data platform to their business, and in evaluating the difference that storage technology trends can make to their competitive advantage in the marketplace and in bringing down the costs of doing business.

ET:  What is the difference between IT storage infrastructure present in other economies such as the US, Europe and Asia with that present in India?
 
AV:  Indian storage infrastructure is more or less similar to that found elsewhere. The single biggest difference could be that of scale: Indian enterprises in general cater to a geographic spread and an ecosystem of employees, customers, partners and stakeholders that are larger in magnitude. Hence, on the average, capacity and performance demands scale up more and faster than in other geographies. Another difference is the ready availability of skills around implementing and managing complex data platforms. Technology providers, storage integrators and enterprises in India may find it relatively easier to attract and retain appropriately skilled talent. An area of focus for Indian enterprises has been in creating and maintaining processes around data lifecycle management. Provisioning, Operating, Enhancing and Retiring components in the enterprise data platform demand policies aligned closely with business objectives and well defined workflows.

ET:  After Cloud, Big Data is the next big thing. What is this all about and why is storage of the same very important in the business times that we live in?

AV:  This year, the amount of data will grow to 2.16 Zettabytes, according to IDC, increasing to 3.77 Zettabytes by 2016. Data created and consumed by enterprises is a deluge threatening to overwhelm all architectural constructs. Simultaneously, there is the realization that data in itself possesses little or no value. An architecture to cope with the data deluge and to transform data into information is therefore now a vital part of Enterprise IT Strategy.

An important source of this deluge is machine and user generated data. Financial analyses to detect fraud, contain risk and make trading decisions, Telecom systems analyzing subscriber patterns to reduce customer churn, Retail and Web analytics to determine consumer behaviour are just some examples. Gleaning insights and determining patterns is crucial to business and is essential in establishing competitive product and service differentiators, and reducing cost and risk.

Arriving at the right conclusions depends on large datasets. Fortunately, as prolific as we are at creating data, we seem to be equally remarkable at creating solutions to manage data and transform it.

ET:  How are IT storage managers across various sectors coping up with the organisational challenges posed by data explosion and the rapid introduction of new storage technologies?

AV:  Data has become a competitive asset as CIOs and IT Managers are realizing that virtually every business today is data-centric. An agile, efficient, scalable, always-on data platform is as necessary for an enterprise as electricity and water are to a household. Enterprises are actively reshaping their storage architecture: unifying storage islands, virtualizing the architecture, and automating workflows and processes. They are adopting next generation file systems and data stores such as Hadoop Distributed File System and No SQL databases for appropriate application areas. They are evaluating bleeding-edge technologies to conduct analytics, manage content like images, audio and video, and exploit social networks to engage with their ecosystem. They are incorporating public cloud storage for non-mission critical data. They are also rolling out private cloud or software defined architectures to manage mission critical data internally.

ET:  What are NetApps' key value propositions and how do you differentiate your firm from other competitors in the industry?

AV:  NetApp has thrived for twenty years on anticipating changes in business needs and delivering differentiated storage platforms to respond optimally to these changes. While Performance, Scale and Efficiency are hallmarks of our products over the years, we also have an unrivalled record of breaking new ground in the storage industry. For example, we invented space-saving, no performance impact Snapshots in 1993 and unveiled the world’s first truly unified SAN and NAS appliance in 2002.

Our storage and data services portfolio is a recognition of business realities that Enterprises, Service Providers and Governments experience: our customers cannot afford disruption (planned or unplanned) and need data platforms to be efficient and secure from the get-go, tightly integrated with applications and scale out quickly. We meet these needs through our flagship Clustered Data ONTAP storage. Where applications need dedicated storage, our E Series storage offers the most compelling price performance characteristics in the densest form factor possible. All of our storage is flash accelerated and cloud integrated. Through virtualization and rich data services features, our storage is the industry leader in creating software defined storage and deep integration with infrastructure environments like Server and Desktop Virtualization, Database technology like Oracle DB, Messaging and Collaboration applications like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, Enterprise applications like SAP, etc.

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We Recommend

Chanakya's 7 Secrets of Leadership - Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai & D. Sivanandhan
Do we need another book on leadership? Are there truly any ‘secrets’ to successful leadership? Is there a set template for becoming an effective leader? These questions popped as I held this book.

The intrigue and irresistible urge of discovering the ‘7 Secrets’ got the better of me and I finally succumbed to thumbing through the pages, albeit unconsciously. Despite my initial disposition, I found myself pausing often to complete the paragraph and eventually felt like starting from the Introduction page and reading in earnest.

To wield a phenomenon such as ‘Chanakya’ and lucidly present leadership principles from his treatise, the ‘Arthashastra’, requires the work of a skilled artisan. Through this collaborative effort, the authors – Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai (Founder-Director of the Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership) and Shri. D. Sivanandhan (former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai & Director General of Police, Maharashtra) have successfully demonstrated how leadership lessons from ancient wisdom are much relevant and applicable even in modern times. In a unique representation of ‘Theory-to-Practice’, the authors have managed to unlock the secrets through examples from everyday life situations.

This 230 pages book is smartly structured across 7 Chapters - each dedicated to a powerful Secret (Leadership Pillar). To enable deeper understanding of the principles, application insights and actions from self-reflection, each Chapter is further organized into the following three parts –

Part A: Explains the premise and philosophy behind the Leadership Pillar in focus. In addition, the authors share perspectives from their research, observations, experiences, etc.

Part B: According to Chanakya - covers lessons and insights drawn from the Arthashastra

Part C: Leadership in Action – covers Shri. D. Sivanandhan’s real life application experiences in the Police Force in context of the Leadership Pillar under focus.

At the end of each chapter, you will find further tips summarized for easy recall and action. Besides, there is space provided to capture one’s own reflections, thoughts and learning under - ‘The Leader in Me’.

Here are Chanakya’s Saptang - The 7 Pillars of Leadership:

The Secret Represents In Today’s Organization
Swami The King Leader
Amatya The Minister Manager
Janpada The Country / Citizens Marketing / Customers
Durg The Fort Infrastructure
Kosha The Treasury Finance
Dand The Army Teamwork
Mitra The Ally Consultants / Mentors

Just as me, I hope you too will find this connect interesting and be keen to discover the relevance of Saptanga for yourself.

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Standing Ovation

Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR)

Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR) is a Mumbai registered non-profit association aimed at ensuring child rights with specific focus on ensuring quality of education and health for all children.

The CACR network comprises of volunteers who visit neighbourhood municipal schools and clinics, and participate in various programmes like school management committees, computer literacy programmes and virtual classroom projects and oversee the overall functioning and quality of education in municipal schools. The belief that regular interaction and discussions with the hierarchy of the education department and sharing of observations and suggestions with them periodically will ensure improved accountability and proper distribution of facilities and amenities for children enrolled in these schools.

Short Term Goals

  • Enrol children in BMC schools
  • Ensure student retention in schools
  • Extend civil rights (ration cards, housing etc.) to deprived communities
  • Activate systems under the Right to Health
  • Demand proper rehabilitation for child labour and implementation of the Child Labour Act

Long Term Goals

  • Build a voice for affected children and community rights.
  • Build a network of urban citizens to be able to take on the role of demanding accountability and advocacy better.

CACR’s aim is to make the school system robust by increasing accountability, public opinion and awareness. This is done directly by participating and improving the functioning of BMC schools by collaborating with the BMC education department. CACR believes that the urban privileged public has immense power to influence and impact the lives of affected children for the better, through government interface and participation. CACR helps in supplementing the educational system and does not believe in creating parallel systems.

NGOs aligned with similar goals and objectives are welcomed to partner with CACR to build a locality based effort to address the issues affecting children and underprivileged communities.

For more information on what CACR has to offer, you can visit http://www.ngocacr.com

CACR’s noble cause for the children deserves a standing ovation!

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