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Lack of skilled pros in cloud computing and big data, a challenge: EMC official

T. E. Raja Simhan
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David Webster, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, EMC
David Webster, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, EMC

From an R&D perspective, we believe India has the opportunity to lead the development of IT for socio-economic transformation. - David Webster, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, EMC

EMC Corporation, a $22-billion American information technology company, employs nearly 3,500 people in India.

Starting with an initial investment of $100 million in 2000, the cumulative planned spend from 2003-14 will reach nearly $2 billion. This will be amongst the largest investment by a technology multinational company that offers data storage, information security and cloud computing in India.

David Webster, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, EMC, says over the last decade, the company had created the network storage market in India by educating customers and investing ahead of others.

On the sidelines of the company’s annual event, EMC World 2013, recently in Las Vegas, he spoke on how India is not only critical for R&D but also an important market for EMC, which has over 3,000 customers in India.

Lack of skilled professionals in new areas of cloud computing and big data is a challenge to handle, he says.

Excerpts from the interview:

How has EMC’s strategy in India – to develop both R&D centre and business - worked out?

Over the years, EMC has created the network storage market in India by educating customers.

We began operations in 2000 with an initial investment of $100 million and increased to $250 million by 2007.

However, in a year after that, we doubled it to $500 million to strengthen local partnerships and growing our base, scaling the EMC Academic Alliance Program aimed at increasing technical manpower; enhancing global services operations in India and scaling our R&D efforts through the Centre of Excellence in Bangalore.

In September 2009, we made our fourth investment announcement with an incremental investment of $1.5 billion over five years (2010-14). This brought our cumulative planned spend from 2003-14 to $2 billion, amongst the largest investment by a technology multinational company.

What was your achievement during this period?

The Centre of Excellence has emerged to make significant contributions to EMC’s global strategy with many products being developed out of here. As part of the R&D, EMC India CoE focuses on creating advanced capabilities for customers in areas such as security, virtualisation, information management and enterprise content management.

The centre has also established collaboration efforts in R&D with Amrita University, IISc, and PESIT (Bangalore) with dedicated research initiatives on information security, data mining, and cloud computing respectively.

Additionally, we are developing solutions from India for India as well. This includes case management solutions for government and public sector agencies and a video surveillance storage management solution based on the cloud for small and medium-sized companies.

What is the market opportunity?

During 2010 to 2020, digital information in India will grow from 40,000 petabytes to 2.3 million petabytes (a measure of memory or storage capacity. One petabyte is enough to store the DNA of a large country and then clone them twice).

Companies will have responsibility for the storage, protection and management of 80 per cent of the Digital Universe’s data, and this liability will only increase as social networking and Web 2.0 technologies continue to impact the enterprise.

Today, 50 per cent more digital information is created in India than the capacity that exists to store it. This number will grow to 80 per cent over the next decade.

Now, put this in the context of enterprise IT and staffing is likely to grow only in single digits. This presents huge opportunities for cloud computing and big data analytics.

As per an EMC Zinnov study, total cloud computing market is expected to grow more than 10 times by 2015 to reach $4.5 billion; private cloud will account for $3.5 billion.

Separately, big data solutions market in India is expected to double in two years; from $80 million in 2012 to $153.1 million by 2014.

We believe EMC is best positioned to address this with its portfolio proposition and ecosystem approach. We are seeing strong results already.

How about R&D?

From an R&D perspective, we believe India has the opportunity to lead the development of IT for socio- economic transformation and become a true innovation hub in this millennial.

We believe we are situated right in the middle of an interesting opportunity space – “the emerging markets”, which provides an ideal platform for us to innovate.

What are the challenges?

The big challenge that faces us and the industry, including customers, is the lack of skilled professionals in these news areas of cloud computing and big data. As per the EMC Zinnov study, private cloud alone in India is expected to create one lakh jobs by 2015 from 10,000 in 2011.

Big data, on the other hand, has a global shortfall. To address this shortfall, EMC through its Academic Alliance Program (EAA) is working with academia and has introduced cloud computing and big data analytics courses in India.

We aim to train over 30,000 engineering students in cloud computing and big data through the EAA programme in India.

raja.simhan@thehindu.co.in

(EMC sponsored this correspondent’s trip to Las Vegas)

(This article was published on June 4, 2013)
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