Netmagic Solutions as a managed service provider with data centers in India is ramping its GTM in 2018 as cloud gains the confidence of CIOs and IT leaders. Sharad Sanghi, its Managing Director & CEO, talks on why Netmagic is the perfect choice for IT infrastructure requirements of modern businesses.\u00a0\n\nEdited excerpts:How do you see the cloud momentum and other enterprise tech trends in India take shape over the next 12 months?\nManaging hybrid clouds continues to be our strength as we do bare metal plus public cloud by providing management across the IT infrastructure. In the past, we were leading with our own public cloud, but we recognize that there will be multiple hyper-scalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google.\nWe have partnered with all of them and we are offering best-of-breed solutions depending on the customer\u2019s needs. We can architect the cloud for them. Alternately, many of our existing customers have bare metal with us and they use Amazon for DR and Azure for something else.\nInstead of having two partners \u2013 which might involve finer pointing in case of any issue like DR, etc. \u2013 they can have bare metal with us and public cloud with Azure; and we will handle both as a single party. They can buy Azure through us and we will even manage the same for them.\n\n\n\t\t\tBusting Common Cloud Myths\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tCloud model is cheaper, especially as company operations scale up\n\t\t\t\tCloud adoption means internal IT team has little or no role to play\n\t\t\t\tDR on cloud isn\u2019t a priority in overall IT budgets for digital businesses\n\t\t\t\tCloud leads to sleepless nights for CIOs and their complex infrastructure\n\t\t\t\tBest of breed security point products work well in cloud deployment\n\t\t\t\n\t\tWe have done this across major cloud platforms through common monitoring platform which will manage all of this. Very soon, we will be launching automated provisions for the same through a common portal. Now that we are partnering with others, we will automatically use some of their platforms: Google Tensor for AI and data analytics; we have Hadoop platform and we will use other partners\u2019 platforms.\nThe other major trend where we saw huge traction towards the end of 2017 is security. We have our own set of managed security services like data protection, IPS, firewalls and WAF to name a few, which were all point products.\nCustomers now want end-to-end security services and this raises our level of partnership with them. With current alliances with three security OEMs, we are looking to add a few more and then provide a security offering in a big way.\nNTT-CI will soon launch SD-WAN service in India. It will have NFV component, especially for companies having branches with a single device. It could be normal server to put software, or an appliance that handles load balancing, firewall, SSL acceleration at local premise and then centrally managed.\nIt will be a quick deployment in the branch, literally shipped as a box and then plug-and-play. In 2017, Netmagic executed a lot of deployments on DR and we will build on that in 2018.\n\nHave you seen a change in India CIOs and their buying patterns over the years?\nCIOs are a lot more mature today. In 2003-04, it was tough for IT leaders to understand the importance of building resilience through dual firewall, and a dual sever was a challenge. Many were not comfortable with outsourcing that. Today they care about cost, but resilience is given in the architecture itself, and they are more than happy to outsource.\nThere have been examples of major data center providers in India going kaput. Hence IT leaders are now checking the credentials and the core competence of cloud providers. Outsourcing is no longer an issue as echoed by our major customers in India.\nThe earlier technology was a cost, then it became an enabler, and now technology is a strategic advantage. I don\u2019t blame CIOs because even outsourcers were not mature. It\u2019s not whether CIOs should outsource, it is how much to outsource for their business needs.\nCEOs now expect CIOs to be a part of their companies\u2019 digital revenue streams. CIOs have to play a strategic role now \u2013 in fact they should be an active part of board meetings. In some cases there are experts designated as Chief Digital Officers, not only for strategic marketing but also for generating revenue. So IT no longer becomes a cost center, but a revenue-generating center.\n\nWhat about the maturity index of IT leaders around DR\/BCP and security, which happens to be your key focus areas in 2018?\nDR and BCP is still an issue for many CIOs. Top management doesn\u2019t give the budget, or keeps postponing it \u2013 except when it is mandated by the RBI or SEBI. In a slowdown \u2013 or where numbers don\u2019t meet expectations \u2013 cost-cutting first affects IT budgets for DR and security. Indian companies lags on that front.\nSecurity is another issue which needs more priority from India Inc. Banks are taking security seriously as their business depends on it. \u00a0But others are taking it as compliance as opposed to seeing something effective. Some more maturity needs to come in.\n\n\n\t\t\t\u201cWe took the right call last year to develop a tool that monitors and provisions workloads across different clouds from us and global hyperscalers which makes us unique service provider in India.\n\n\t\t\t\u00a0\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t\u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0Sharad Sanghi, Managing Director & CEO, Netmagic\n\t\t\t\n\t\tDo you see 2018 to be the ear of public cloud?\nFor enterprise-grade deployment hybrid will work better for many factors. Why put predictive workloads in cloud when you have invested in existing infra? We have customers who get feeds from brokers at exchanges. That requires a separate server, which many cloud providers don\u2019t allow.\nI believe hybrid is here to stay in the long run for enterprise. People might be uncomfortable and security on public cloud, but reliance on public cloud will grow. Mission-critical enterprises will still use a combination of public and private cloud \u2013 that\u2019s hybrid.\n\nBut public cloud evokes fear over security\u2026\nWith more awareness and many emerging case studies, that worry is gradually fading. However, even now many banks are not comfortable with putting core banking on public cloud.\nThe other concern is data sovereignty. After a government mandate implying that certain data has to be in India, major hyper-scalers are committed in India in multiple zones like Mumbai and Delhi.\nMany Indian CIOs moved to cloud thinking it would be cheap. That myth is completely busted. People have realized cloud gives flexibility, but it does not come cheap. In fact even now, if a CIO has predictive workloads, he can right size the equipment; he does not need cloud.\nBut for unpredictable workloads \u2013 for e-commerce, flash sales and burst \u2013 cloud makes a lot of sense. There are many CIOs who want peace of mind with public cloud by paying a premium. Hence I think the safest approach is hybrid.\n\u00a0\n\n\n\t\t\tNetmagic\u2019s Focus Points for 2018\n\t\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\tExtend the dominance in hybrid cloud solutions\n\t\t\t\tManaging multi-cloud deployments for customers\n\t\t\t\tEvolve as an \u2018end-to-end security services\u2019 provider \n\t\t\t\tLeverage data explosion to ride \u2018big data\u2019, IoT, mobility\n\t\t\t\tOffer SD-WAN service as quick \u2018plug-and-play deployment\n\t\t\t\n\t\tWhat does the bucket list of Sharad Sanghi look like for CIOs and IT leaders in India?\nIt\u2019s a myth that if I go to cloud then I don\u2019t need an internal IT team. For cloud grid the service provider will manage your infrastructure. But your own security, virtual servers, network and all that needs to be managed by somebody. Equipment will fail, bugs will emerge, patches are needed and the management of backend infrastructure has to be monitored.\u00a0\nThat said, cloud is an absolute business need because of the time-to-market, flexibility, pay-as-you-go and other inherent advantages. IT leaders need to work with a solutions expert with multiple options \u2013 bare metal like Netmagic and also with Google and Amazon. They have to understand the requirement and the strengths of cloud providers and then take a call.\nWe have a special solutions team because we partner with multiple cloud providers to analyze which cloud is appropriate. \u00a0We have adopted a cloud-agnostic approach.\n\nWhat are your key takeaways for the India market?\nData explosion is a key trend, be it for data analytics or social media data for marketing. Almost every service is now consumed over the cloud. More vendors are providing services and apps on the cloud. Every major technology vendor is offerings a Cloud-based service.\nIn 2017 we were figuring our strategy with all the hyper-scalers launching data centers in India. We took the right call in January 2017 to develop a tool that can monitor and provision across different clouds from us and hyper-scalers lie Azure and AWS. That is what makes us unique in the market. GSIs are not targeting the Indian market much and that plays to our strength.\nThe multi-cloud strategy will be in full force in 2018, as also the aggressive roll-out of new data centers. The year 2018 will be year for us of managing hybrid and multi-cloud deployments across India.