Cloud Majors Gobbling Database Companies A Good Sign: Unisys MD

“Financial aspect has to become more smarter and a lot more agile on the cloud"
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Enterprises are increasingly transitioning to multi and hybrid cloud environments, which consist of both on-premise (private) servers and popular public clouds like Azure, AWS and GCP. Large companies want redundancies in their environment to have secure data close to them, and for better access to certain parts of application and data which they wouldn’t want to expose to the cloud. 

But, there are also several challenges to cloud adoption. In conversation with AIM, Sumed Marwaha, managing director at Unisys India, touched upon the challenges enterprises face, alongside the role of AIOps in addressing the gap in integrating cloud services to enterprises seamlessly. 

Marwaha categorised the challenges of cloud adoption and integration into two aspects: technical and commercial. According to him, the technical challenges are the easier part to handle since ongoing advancements in middlewares, data warehouses, and innovative solutions will continue to be developed to harmonise and backup data, ensuring its retrieval and management. In that sense, technology will continue to evolve to overcome these challenges.

On the other hand, the financial aspect proves to be cumbersome for organisations. They face difficulties with FinOps, a cloud financial management approach aimed at maximising business value. This is where, Marwaha believes, there is a need for technical intervention – proactively or reactively – such that the financial aspect of it is controlled. 

  • Proactive, for example, when a certain quote of the budget is given to business heads. The team has to go through a certain approval channel when they decide to spin-off a server or buy something new from the cloud providers. 
  • Then there is a reactive end to it where at the end of every 90 days a report is published, which includes information on how many servers or storage devices have not been used for the last 90 days. Doing this allows companies to decommission those non-utilised servers which the companies have been paying for. 

This is where AI Operations (AIOps) also come into the picture. AIOps should proactively inform companies of what resources are necessary and what can be decommissioned. For example, anticipating a month-end workload increase may require more server and computing power, but as soon as the workload decreases, resources can be decommissioned to optimise costs.

“Financial aspect has to become smarter and a lot more agile on the cloud. Technology, we will always be able to solve that,” adds Marwaha. 

AIOps for Enterprises

The cloud was the last significant disruption in technology, but the combination of cloud and AI is poised to drive the next technological revolution. In this regard, Marwaha concludes, “The way AI has been used from a technological and business standpoint will decide who wins the next phase — who comes up with the best use cases and executes it the best.”

Enter 5G 

“The mobile networks are not giving us the same throughput, the kind of network speeds as landline networks, and are obviously more expensive. So, I think 5G will change a lot of things,” said Marwaha.  

Cloud computing and 5G networks are set to transform the technology landscape by providing faster and more reliable connectivity, enabling real-time processing of large amounts of data, and facilitating the growth of new applications and services. 5G and other emerging technologies are also fueling India’s data centre growth, since the high data exchange speed and volume enabled by 5G will result in the need for additional data centres to handle the increased data flow. JLL predicts that the demand for digitalization will cause the data centre industry’s capacity to double by 2023. 

However, on the flip side, the technology is also getting better, enabling less space to store more data. As Marwaha also acknowledges, “It’s like a war between the two – whether the networks become faster, or the data storage becomes smaller and smaller.” 

This is also leading towards many use cases for data companies to build databases in a manner which suits certain types of applications or certain types of industries. And this is particularly important in an environment where customers seek flexibility. 

In the past five to seven years, cloud companies were limited in their server and database offerings, with a limited number of templates available. However, in a price-sensitive market like India, customers in the small or medium segment do not require a complex server architecture. So, to make it cheaper and relevant, new server templates have increased multifold, which allows customers to choose as per their needs. 

Database push 

In this light, Marwaha stresses that we will continue to see people coming up with new ideas which will be extremely industry-specific. So, here we will see a trend where large cloud companies will either acquire or replicate the up-and-coming database companies that are building specific niches. “If you look at AWS portfolio for the last five years, it’s just grown tremendously and not only at the high end but also at the lower end because they want to cater to all industry segments. I think the same thing will continue.”

Read: The Cloud Computing Boom: A Test for Database Companies

When asked if the monopoly of large cloud providers is good for the industry, Marwaha responded that he is rather optimistic about it as large companies eating up new database providers will simultaneously ensure people come up with creative ideas and develop novel offerings, propelling the industry forward. 

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Ayush Jain
Ayush is interested in knowing how technology shapes and defines our culture, and our understanding of the world. He believes in exploring reality at the intersections of technology and art, science, and politics.

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