(Unedited interview with an interviewer from 9.9media India in Nov 2011. It has since been published by them in their monthly publication ITNext.)
1. What is the current state of cloud computing adoption in India?
Adoption of cloud computing in India is in an early stage. Many organizations including the Government are already evaluating it. Most of the new upcoming IT infrastructures tend to be close to cloud computing model. In a couple of years from now, like in other parts of the world, we will have a large body of cloud enabled applications and the required IT infrastructure.
2. In terms of maturity, where do you see the Cloud?
Cloud Computing has essentially three dominant forms of usage. They are, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Of these IaaS seems to be the most mature one, with almost every IT vendor providing standards based solutions for Virtualization, Provisioning and Policy-based Infrastructure Management. PaaS in contrast is still evolving. There is a lot of effort by a number of top companies and it seems to be fragmented. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been somewhat more popular in specifying the APIs for public cloud. Other cloud implementation models like Eucalyptus, OpenStack and OpenCloud from open source ecosystem are evolving fast and claim to be decently compatible with AWS. Microsoft Azure is perhaps one of the most complete PaaS implementations from commercial vendors. But, as of now it is safe to mention that PaaS will continue to evolve before a clear de-facto standards based implementation becomes dominant.
3. Which company has an edge in India on the cloud: Why?
A company that can provide end-to-end solution will have an advantage. Unlike other kinds of IT purchases, Cloud Computing solutions are provided mostly by services providers. Service providers need to integrate products from OEM vendors supplying hardware, software and networking. Vendors like Microsoft, with a complete cloud stack like Azure combined with their own cloud hosting centers appear to be more complete than others. But, we cannot ignore other vendors like Amazon and Google who are quite active and are doing lot of pioneering work. For buyers who are setting up private clouds, large vendors like HP, IBM, Oracle, VMware etc. will continue to make sense.
4. What kind of security is available on the cloud?
For many people, security of the data and programs you store in a public cloud is a major concern. Users of Private cloud do not have to worry so much on security. Companies using a hybrid model, that connects private with public cloud, are obviously worried as well. But technology is maturing fast. Quite often one can tweak the applications a bit to enforce better security models. All dominant security software vendors like Symantec, Oracle, IBM, Novell, McAfee etc. are competing hard to plug these gaps both at the level of technology and perception. This market is expected to grow with newer and better products.
5. Social media is a buzzword now for an enterprise. How do you think cloud will impact this?
Dominance of social media, in the informal way it informs us, has set a new trend. We can no longer ignore its potential of collaborative and interactive approach. Enterprises that initially were averse to use social media are gearing up to use more mature versions of social media products with enterprise grade workflow and security built into them. Companies like Microsoft, IBM and Novell with strong lines of enterprise grade messaging solutions, have already rolled out products capable of handling social media based interactions. This is a welcome convergence. Similar trend in other products will continue to impact us in a positive way.