Web Werks, one of the largest data centre service providers in India, was started in 1996. With five carrier-neutral data centres in India and the USA, it has served several Fortune 500 companies across areas such as web hosting, colocation services, cloud platform and disaster recovery services. As the COVID pandemic struck, it taught everyone a lot of IT lessons. As businesses get accustomed to the new normal, one of the critical decisions was to decide between on-premise data centres or the cloud.
We got in touch with Nikhil Rathi, CEO and Founder of WebWerks Data Centers to understand his take on how can businesses decide between on-premise vs cloud, how is hybrid cloud gaining traction, dealing with cyberattacks, and more. Apart from Web Werks, he is also the founder of DECIX India, Neosoft Technologies and Next Star Venture Capital LLP, and brings in a deep understanding of the entire industry.
Sign up for your weekly dose of what's up in emerging technology.
Rathi believes that India will experience massive growth in all sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing as well as across MSMEs. “This means more data will be generated; it needs to be stored, processed and serve as the foundation for digital action. Data centres are at the epicentre of this digital data growth driving analytics and everything in front and behind it. At Web Werks, we believe that our data centres with their dense interconnectivity will drive digital development in India,” he said.
Below is the detailed interview:
What is the new normal for companies in terms of analytics functions in organisations?
Management needs analytics now more than ever because analytics gives them various views of a company. Dashboards serve as decision support for the management. Management cannot walk around to take a look at what is happening or efficiently conduct meetings in the company; however, analytics management can measure and manoeuvre the business.
What are some of the steps that companies can take to ensure business continuity in these tough times?
The COVID pandemic has forced nearly all organisations to embrace a remote working model immediately. Accelerated adoption of cloud will be fundamental to alleviate some of the recent challenges related to remote working, running business-critical operations, and enabling access to critical business systems.
What are some of the aspects that companies should keep in mind while deciding between on-premise data centres or the cloud?
This decision can be driven by various factors such as compliance policies, turnaround time and other criticalities. Cloud computing is a business’ best bet, and companies can experience major cost-benefit when they move to the cloud. However, compliance issues can act as major inhibitors concerning storage, usage, data protection, etc. In such cases, organisations can maintain benchmarks and compliance checklists to ensure that their offerings are designed to comply with data regulations.
How is the hybrid cloud becoming the new trend? How can businesses benefit from it?
Hybrid cloud, which is an amalgamation of cloud services and on-premise data, is gaining traction due to its improved performance, flexible business operations, capacity expansion, optimised costs, and enhanced security. It gives firms access to both physical and logical infrastructure while keeping the data on the internal network — either on cloud or hosted on-premise. Hybrid cloud is allowing businesses to choose their computing models along with other benefits such as operational costs and management perspectives. Having said that, organisations should move to the hybrid cloud after due diligence of their IT studies — such as understanding applications, portability, accessibility and compliance.
How can companies overcome the risks of remote working and ensure that the data is secure?
Companies are allocating higher budgets toward data centres, especially, colocation data centres to enable their employees to manage work remotely. They are proactively capitalising to ready the infrastructure to tackle any crisis – be it a pandemic or monsoons, for example. This helps companies to continue to give their employees access to important documents as well ensuring that internal staff connectivity is maintained irrespective of any calamity. Data centres are part of the ‘essential services’ therefore; it is easier for them to ensure the smooth running of organisations that have access to a data centre.
How can companies deal with the cyberattack? How can data centres prevent such attacks?
Applications or data over the internet, whether deployed on-premise or in the cloud, is exposed to an equal amount of risks. The multi-layered and constantly upgraded security systems of data centres make them prone to data theft. To ensure such a high degree of data security requires advanced tools, which may not be available to most companies. It is important to be updated to the latest security badge to be protected against cyberattacks.
How has been the growth of the data centre market in India in the last few years?
India currently has 600 mn smartphone users, which is the world’s second-largest digital population group that has been growing annually at 20% since 2014. This has led to unprecedented growth of data consumption and generation, creating the need for data centres to store and maintain this considerable resource. 40% of the industry capacity added during 2015-19 due to rising social media and the digital economy. A sharp reduction in mass data usage prices, the launch of 4G services, shift to digital payments post demonetisation led to the growth of the data centre industry between 2015-19. The government has also introduced legislation that focuses on data protection by data localisation.
With India being an underserved market and the government’s propositions of data residency pushes the demand for data centres along with the other aspects of cloud, AI, big data, analytics, IoT and ML. The data centre industry thus continues to grow and change at a significant pace. Web Werks has been in the forefront with its data centres meeting the highest requirements of security, availability and energy efficiency.
What are the larger goals for Web Werks in the coming future?
Web Werks is providing virtual data centre and cloud services and intends to have pan India presence as a leader in India. The roadmap to having regional data centres across India will enable the data to flow faster for 5G, IoT and cloud needs of enterprises. This will allow faster big data, ML plus AI analytics to run on the continuous flow of data.
What are some of the AI and analytics trends you foresee in the post-COVID world?
The data centre industry continues to grow and change at a significant pace. Powered by the accelerating demands of big cloud operators for more data centre capacity and the government pushing for data residency has increased the deployment of edge data centres. High connectivity and data consumption that will put content closer to the eyeballs is driving demand for large network nodes and core data centres.
The need for computing and storage due to increased adoption of AI, analytics, ML has further accelerated the demand for data centres. Specific future trends include an immersive cooling tech as a reliable and low-cost solution to the otherwise conventional air cooling. Also, with companies increasing efforts to decrease power consumption, carbon emissions, and sustain operational efficiency, Green data centres with green power as well as energy from bloom energy, i.e. natural gas and trigeneration technology are now gaining prominence.