Sunday, February 2, 2014

Keeping your CFO & CIO happy at the same time

Quite similar to our lives, where its extremely difficult to unlock ones golden handcuffs and venture out into the space to pursue our dreams, the IT industry is also locked with the golden handcuff of Reliability, Integrity and Performance. 

Reliability & Integrity is usually faith of  users on the tried and tested solutions & companies and notional understanding of their offerings.Not much long back it was said that "No one gets fired for buying IBM" and now in India you can add Cisco, Websence, Symantec, Dell, SAP etc for their specific domains.
Performance is one aspect, where we keep our eyes open but rationality shut. For Services, we usually go for opinions, peer experiences and the notional market value of  the vendor who would at least provide decent experience it not best. Question is why not go for brilliant? and if feasible for stimulative comparison 

Amusingly the trio of Reliability, Integrity and Performance sum up to RIP for IT budgets and ROIs and bone of contention between CIO & CFO.

Not that we completely ignore RIP parameters, but one should first take the simple sequence of Need Analysis to Requirement Scope to Solution Design.. Mostly, to save our time, trust, jobs or plain simple laziness, we try and plug the requirement scope with solutions available nearest to us and then use a sledge hammer to try and bring down the cost. Trust me, it will never work. But again, skeptics would say for every need, we cannot have the unlimited bandwidth of time and energy and hence the tried and tested process of "shoving the solution to the requirement" suits us all. 

Fortunately, its difficult and not impossible. Put in practice the thought to unshackle the handcuff and come out of the monotonous cycle of RIP practice. Stick your neck out and you will see many around breaking the RIP cycle and keeping both CFO & CIO happy simultaneously.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chef of IT

How often have you chosen Buffet over A la Carta? Probably every time when you are not sure about what you guests want or need and you don't want your wife (or Boss) to be upset over your choice.

Few things are quire generic across spectrum of life, be it office or home. The needs are there and at time specific but freezing it down to bill of quantity with product and vendor details, implementation partners and a defined scope of work is quite a task. Here comes the benefit of choosing a buffet, you have some of everything for everyone. Take it from a repute Vendor and you have justified your KRA.

Thought is, have you justified yourself? If the requirement is generic and a mere fulfillment, being a buffet person sounds ok. But when the requirement is non-generic and for a specific purpose, smart diligence is must. Important part is to understand the requirement  and take a stance. True its difficult to take a stance and deviate from laid down policies, and more so when you are not sure what the outcome may be but isn't it important to be the chef of your own IT requirement?








Saturday, January 4, 2014

Considerations while relocating Data Center....

It is like uprooting your systems and replanting. For smaller setups and server rooms , it not that complicated a process, though you should put some planning and perspective in place.

To begin with, what ever be the reason, consider the following  facts while relocating you server room/DC/DR;

a) Scalability: List down the assets to be relocated, and provisioning like electrical, power supply, ups, cooling and network backbone for assets to be integrated. If the reason to relocate is space, ensure the provisioning is done with time period in mind. Have an "Existing Status" and "Desired Status" matrix in place and roadmap to achieve it

b) Connectivity: Fundamental to a DC is connectivity and continuity. Put some thought and if need be discuss with stakeholders about their outlook about relocation. Provisioning for the NOC room to be given priority as the system needs to be up and going with shortest possible lead time...

c) Serviceability: Uptime is something which everyone looks for with minimum amount of post execution effort. Drill down at the back of you mind "Serviceability is as important as first time implementation". Backbone assets do not run by themselves and need periodic care and servicing. Have a service and monitoring plan for periodic review of the systems. If need be, get a srvice chart from you integrator..

And the most important part....."Work With A Smile &.ALWAYS Have a Plan"

Cheez  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Cloud In Vogue


Agree? I guess most of you do. Fortunately, it is way simpler than it looks. More often than not a change is reactive predominantly stemming from compelling systemic forces but definitely requiring lost of energy to get over the inertia to make it a habit. “Cloud Solution” is one such innovation which it seems has the potential to be the thing for next gen but surely needs good amount of ground work to be done before it catches the eye. 

Why Cloud

Last couple of years saw the business scenario shift from a seller’s paradise to the buyer’s arena bringing in the pressing need to optimize resource exploitation. Though this can be intuitively thought of as “The Need” for going the cloud way, by no means this is only driver. After much discussion with entrepreneurs, friends & decision makers, and the old & wise in the market, five prominent drivers which I could construe as the steam behind the cloud would be the following;
  • Increasing Cap-ex: Spiraling IT infrastructure setup and operation cost with growth is the major crippling factor in setting up an IT infrastructure. With this model in place, seemingly end-users will be able to completely eradicate the initial heavy investment on hardware and will also be able to avail the software services like any other subscription service.
  • Efficiency: Despite having invested heavily in creating the infrastructure, the infrastructure is un-utilized for more than 50% of its capacity. Improved efficiency without having to worry about creating new infrastructures for each new application is one such brilliant opportunity which makes this service a formidable offering.
  • Agility: Agility is one factor in the industry these days which differentiates between the leaders and the second best. The service provides the much necessary wherewithal to compete better in the market to the small and medium enterprise.
  • Demand for Storage & Management: Ever increasing demand for data storage and management is yet another challenge, as it diverts the much necessary capital towards non-core investments.
  • Operation and Maintenance challenges: Along with the infrastructure comes the much necessary cost of maintaining and keeping it up-to-date. This not only requires competent dedicated manpower but also valuable working capital. The initiatives not only promises “pay-as-you-use” services but also reduces multi-skilled manpower requirement.
The Target Market:

If we are to believe Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft, India will not only see a surge in cloud computing but also become the service hub of cloud computing for the world. Only time will disclose its potency, but as of now both global and Indian harbingers are considering the mammoth Indian SMB sector as the potential market which can make or break the rules of IT industry in India. While trying to understand the contribution of SME to the Indian GDP, varied results surface, primarily because of the difference in definition assumed. But the one factor which remains unchanged is its huge potential. Assuming Zinnovs research study as the base, we have about 60% of the GDP coming from the SME, which is close to $650bn, and the contribution is set to increase over the period.
Gartner believes that the overall cloud computing business in India will touch $One billion mark by 2014. As per Springboard research, Indian SaaS market is already the fastest growing market in Asia-Pac with 60% CAGR and will clock about $350mn by 2012. As per Gartner, about 90% of the Indian market is now covered by SaaS and the remaining 10% by IaaS and PaaS.
Having (to some extent) understood the model, the end users are a bit skeptical due to lack of complete understanding. Adding to the haze is the concern of data security, supply chain and modus operandi. One of the key concerns which i could understand from some of my friend entrepreneurs is “what if due to some reason the service gets terminated?” End users need to have a parallel data storage facility in place to mitigate the risk of having its entire critical data on cloud. Literally the user has a noose around its neck.

The Indian Cloud market SWOT:

The SWOT analysis of the Indian cloud market reflects a pretty attractive pursuit, albeit with some very sincere caveats. Though these threats may sound big hurdles at this juncture, the model intrinsically has the capability to address and overcome them successfully.

Strength
• Converts IT Capex to Opex

• Pay as use model

• Scalability

Weakness
• Model Nascence

• Still a hazy concept

• No All in One solution

Opportunity
• Largest SME sector

• ~$1.08bn market by 2015

• 60% CAGR of SaaS from 2008/12

Threat
• Data Security

• Lack of control on data

• Skepticism over service guarantee

My Opinion
I personally feel that lack of awareness,threat of data security and service guarantee will hold the initial rush in India. However, once these problems are taken careof, it has every possibility to be a revolutionary solution not only for the small and medium but also large enterprise as well. Hopefully in the next few years, as domestic service providers master the business model, the market will educate itself to reap the most from cloud. Till that time, happy learning to all of us...




Friday, October 21, 2011

The Corbett Rendezvous:

“Destinations do not make a tour, companions do”... Few weeks back, four of us made a trip to Jim Corbett (JC). Why JC, no rational explanation, just happened, and of course initiated by Chiru and Mathur. To begin with many thanks to Lakhu and Chiru (my ex-roomies) to take the time out to fly all the way to delhi for the trip, and to Mathur for suggesting JC. Honestly, it was Mathur who made the trip for the rest of us, it takes guts to be pulled 24x7 for three consecutive days, you’r endearing Mathur.
L to R, Lakhu, Mathur, Chiru on our way to jungle trekking....
Coming back to the trip, If you are thinking to visit JC for tigers and wild animals, scrap it straight away. If your are planning to just hang around over the weekend on a riverside, may be yes. JC is about  250 odd kilometers from Delhi and the drive is quite comfortable except for few kilometers from Moradabad Bypass to Kashipur. Stay at JC is quite ok, depending upon where you plan to stay. For begineers, you will not be able to sight a tiger in a 3 hour safari, If you are lucky, you may be able to site a bull elephants and that will be intimidating enough for rest of the trip. You may find some Cheetal’s (kind of deer) and that’s it.  
For JC, there are few do’s and don’ts I would like to share;
Do’s
a)      Carry cash, your debit/credit card may not be of great help
b)      Carry your own booze….
c)       Start early from Delhi and beat the rush.
d)      The place around JC is quite diluted now, with loud music and chaos. The place is quite oversold.
e)      Go for full day safari, not the 3 hour one. Its entire waste of money
f)       Keep your camera always ready, you never know..
Don’ts
a)      You will not be able to find any wild animal in a short 3 hour jeep safari. The jungle is too dense and everyone will oversell you the tiger thing. If you are enthusiastic enough have a 12 hour safari try it.  
b)      Do not plan your trip between mid August to mid October. These are rainy seasons and the entry gates are closed.
c)       Never shout or make unnecessary noise in any jungle..

Key Activities..
a) Safari @ corbett.
b) Stay inside the park, for this you have to book well in advance
c) Fun activities like crawling, boating, rock climbing, cycling etc..
   River swimming etc..

Besides these, this place has quite a rusty feeling, which should be for any animal park, since it’s all about experiencing the nature. For us the best part was monkey crawling, rappelling, and rock climbing and the entire day in the river ( i am not sharing those pic...). There are other good activities as well, forgetting the names but you can easily find them out..

Few Pics are shared below just for. If you are looking for some assistnace mail me at umesh.msr@gmail.com

Monkey crawling over river ramgange

Rock climbing...

Drive to Corbett... a great drive.
Bon Voyage..