Blade Servers for SMEs - A Growing Adoption


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SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are India’s budding stars, the role played by IT tools & applications has proved to be crucial in the growth and expansion of these industries.

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Blade Servers for SMEs - A Growing Adoption

  1. 1. Cloud ComputingBLADE SERVERS FOR SMESGROWINGADOPTIONBY DIGITAL EDGE BUREAUThey say that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are India’s budding stars, and in no way are their business matrix less criti-cal than those of large enterprises. Their numbers run in millions and their operation zones crisscross continents. In the unfold-ing sagas of their growth and expansion, the role of IT tools & applications has proved to be crucial. A good number of themget nicely capable IT infrastructure. However, this quest makes SMEs evaluate the option of embracing ‘blade-server-centric’ ITset-ups. Digital Edge makes an endeavour to unravel the reasons behind the growing adoption of blades by India’s SMEs. J ust have a glance over some facts related with SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India: there’re over 12 million SME units in the country which contribute 45 per cent of the total national industrial outputs and 40 per cent of exports; they create a million jobs every year and produce more than 8000 qual- ity products for domestic & international markets; and presently they contribute 17 per cent of GDP, which is expected to touch the mark of 22 per cent by the end of 2012. Yes, SMEs are at various evolutionary stages, but in no way are they small in their aspirations. They’re budding stars, which wear twinkles in their eyes, eyes full of dreams and eagerness to excel. The evolutionary journey of theirs may not necessarily be starting at swanky offices, well-partitioned and air-conditioned; rather, most of the times, they get conceived in bedrooms, and deep cor- ners of their drawing rooms. And, from those familial ambience, they land in the rapid corridors of corporate world. This is more or less the same story proudly remembered by today’s SME stocks teeming in million in India. Cutting across economic sectors, and30 OCTOBER 2011 DIGITAL EDGE
  2. 2. Cloud Computing Blades bring with it a great Blade servers offer an opti- Harsh Chitale, CEO deal of opportunity for us. mal solution for those busi- HCL Infosystems Ltd Our processors are very nesses which are start-ups much optimized to work in and look at expanding their the blade environment IT horizons over a period of 3-5 years The rise of Indian SMEs has R. Ravichandran, Director—Sales Vinay Sinha, Director something to do with the Intel South Asia Enterprise Business, AMD India aspiring entrepreneurialbusiness verticals, India’s millions SMEs the economic liberalization and free inter- spirit humming in the Indiannot only address the growing domestic national trade regimes; it has something to expanses for ages; it hasmarkets for goods and services, but also do with the improving national infrastruc- something to do with thecater to the global markets of Far-East, ture; it has something to do with the inter-South-East Asia, Middle-East, Central- vention of machinery and better industrial unshackling of this greatAsia, Africa, Europe and Americas. production means; and it has something to nation from the subjugatingLike other parts of the world, India, too, do with the growing adoption of yokes of British colonial rule;look at the small and medium businesses Information Technology (IT).”from the prism of ‘supply-chain’ of large For Chitale, the CEO of India’s one of the it has something to do withenterprises where they (SMEs) bring in largest IT companies, the last clause of his the spread of literacy andtheir intermediate products, and services definitional continuum of SMEs, whichexpertise. A vivid example is that of auto- reads, “it has something to do with the knowledge; it has somethingcomponent manufactureres who supply growing adoption of Information to do with the emergence ofmotor-parts to national and international Technology (IT)”, is truly value loaded. It the great Indian middle-class;vehicle makers. There exist hundreds of tries to explain the contemporary thrustverticals and sub-verticals for which SMEs applied on IT by progressive SMEs in it has something to do withwork like indispensable elements in the India. The destiny of SMEs is being the economic liberalizationwider ‘supply-chain’ of big companies. But designed by the gush of bits traversing and free international tradethen, a good chunk of SMEs runs their over information superhighway.independent businesses, offering finished regimes; it has something to The game changergoods and end-to-end services for local as do with the improvingwell as international markets. The utensil For SMEs, IT is a credible business enabler, which ultimately serves and satis- national infrastructure; it hasand souvenir makers of Moradabad, forinstance, take their masterpieces directly to fies their end-customers. Without reliable something to do with theconsumers in India and beyond. So are the and scalable IT capability, SMEs may not intervention of machinerycases with garment and leather goods think to sustain their operations. Thosemanufacturers who quite often reach out to SMEs, which are at the lower rung of evo- and better industrial produc-customers directly. lutionary pyramid, may content with basic tion means; and it has some-In a very terse mien, Harsh Chitale, CEO, LAN resources (including NAS or unified thing to do with the growingHCL Infosystems Ltd, recounts, “The rise storage devices) where entry-level serversof Indian SMEs has something to do with connect with clients, and possibly, some adoption of Informationthe aspiring entrepreneurial spirit hum- imaging & printing systems. They are the Technology (IT).ming in the Indian expanses for ages; it ones, who deploy Tally and Tally-likehas something to do with the spread of lit- Accounting Software. This is quite possi-eracy and knowledge; it has something to ble that some of them also subscribe todo with the unshackling of this great integrated business applications availablenation from the subjugating yokes of on ‘cloud’ including ‘Ramco OnDemand’British colonial rule; it has something to and ‘SAP BusinessByDesign’. This is alsodo with the emergence of the great Indian likely that they subscribe to mail serversmiddle-class; it has something to do with on clouds—after all, they need a goodDIGITAL EDGE OCTOBER 2011 31
  3. 3. Cloud Computing The SME units look for scalable and The market is witnessing more of inte- Blade systems answer many of the reliable IT platforms, which could nego- grated solutions. We’ve been watching questions which perturb SMEs regard- tiate the future growth of their busi- more deals which involve servers, stor- ing their growth and overall opera- nesses. Here comes the relevance, and age, networking, and backup resources tional sequences suitability of blade servers for SMEs Faisal Paul Leo Joseph Satyen Vyas Head-Marketing & Solution Alliance Vice President - System x, STG Director, Medium Business ESSN, HP Enterprise Business India IBM India & SA CSMB Division, Dell Indianumber of ‘e-mail ids’ for their respective no means less challenging than those of their ability to manage business growthemployees. large enterprises. and diversifications in coming times.But, as Indian SMEs keep on growing rap- Ever since IT has begun to be adopted on Whether it is service oriented SMEs oridly—in terms of headcounts, geographical large scale by SMEs, tower servers and manufactured driven ones, they all haveexpanse as well as product & solutions rack-mounted servers have played major to ramp up the respective headcounts. Forportfolio—they need to have robust, reli- roles. However, the server technologies as a them, the very management of humanable and scalable datacentre capabilities. whole have also been evolving throughout resources brings a plethora of challenges.Yes, they can subscribe to some of the the period, and today blade servers have Issues like ‘recruitment’, ‘performanceavailable cloud services like SaaS (Software turned into trusted darlings of datacentres. review (appraisal)’, ‘promotion’, ‘teamas a Service) and CaaS (Communications as Companies including HP, IBM, Dell, composition’, ‘leaves management’,a Service), the basic datacentre capability Fujitsu, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, ‘employee benefits’, ‘relieving’, andfor running on-premises mail servers, and NEC have intensified their operations ‘retrenchment’ demand quick and intelli-application servers, and database servers on blades targeted at SMEs. gent management. For this purpose, SMEs increasingly go for specialized HR management software applications includ- ing the famous PeopleSoft. For handling internal resources including Blades don’t come in isolation, finance & accounting, some SMEs have they appear in confederacy of com- been deploying ERP or ERP-like blended pute, storage and networking business applications for quite sometimes, which make the quest for creating while others evaluating the feasibility for a datacentre-in-a-box easy doing so. Also, for handling issues like sales & marketing (including business leads), and customer services & retention, CRM application is widely implemented. If Abhilesh Guleria SMEs are in the realm of manufacturing Head, IT Platforms & Multimedia Product Group then applications like SCM and PLM are NEC India quite relevant. And if SMEs are banking or even non-banking financial institutions,has always been desired. So, it’s very clear then CBS (core banking software) applica- Of blades and SMEs tion automatically comes into the picture.that SMEs do intend to deploy decent dat-acentre footprints, having scalable and reli- In an interaction with Digital Edge, Mehul The business intelligence (corporate per-able servers, storage, networking and secu- Doshi, Country Manager Enterprise formance management) application isrity resources. Servers at Fujitsu India Pvt. Ltd, said, already a hot topic with SMEs. Last butOf all the vital components of datacentres, “The adoption of blade servers are not con- not least, every enterprise software appli-the server part holds a unique position as fined to large enterprises. Today, SMEs cation requires database which is providedit largely defines the nature, scale and show equal interest in blades. Every quar- companies like Oracle and Microsoft.overall capacity of any worthwhile data- ter, we watch our blade systems heading As most of the SMEs aspire to expand theircentre. A huge focus is being shed on the for datacentres run by SMEs.” existing reach to customers, which makeselection of right servers, which could For SMEs, which have been evolving with them establish their multiple locations, theycredibly sustain the growing business real- amazing pace, the challenge does not lie in need robust and scalable networking provi-ities of SMEs. In fact, their business handling the present business expediencies sions. Naturally, scalable and reliableprocesses and operational dynamics are by alone, they’re equally concerned about switches and routers are required. The32 OCTOBER 2011 DIGITAL EDGE
  4. 4. Cloud Computing From management point of view, vir- The adoption of blade servers is not As blade servers contain all of the tualized blade systems are easy to confined to large enterprises alone. essential components, which are manage—a fact which gives huge Today, SMEs show equal interest in needed in a small datacenter, it impetus to the prevalence of them blades. Blades deliver efficiently and becomes easier for SMEs to scale up (blades) among SMEs cost-effectively whenever the needs come in Rajesh Rege Mehul Doshi Kapil Sood Sr. VP, Data Centre—India & SAARC Country Manager, Enterprise Servers VP, Systems Business Cisco Systems Fujitsu India Oracle Indiasecurity related issues make SMEs deploy of positives which make the relevance of in-a-box is full of merit, but the ability ofeffective security measures. Not to mention, them further heightened. The modularity, blades to work in virtualized environment,they all need specialized storage solutions. compactness and smaller form factor of seamlessly, is the top on the puddings. InNow, for handling so many integrated blades enable solution providers to inte- conservative sense of the term, virtualiza-applications, the disparate, and rigid IT grate datacentre vitals in a highly con- tion is an effort to utilize the compute,infrastructure may not desirably fit. Mind densed fashion—servers, storage (SAN and storage, networking and securityyou, SMEs have limited budgets. So, even unified storage), networking and security resources optimally.if the exiting information systems are appliances congregate tightly. Today, virtually every new datacentretweaked into running multitude of busi- “Blades don’t come in isolation, they comes up virtualized. The existing data-ness applications, the TCO (total cost of appear in confederacy of compute, storage centres having legacy systems have eitherownership) factor may look scary. But, the and networking which easily make the been upgraded and virtualized or havecoming of blade servers and associated IT quest for creating a datacentre-in-a-box”, actively planned to do so.ecosystems has changed the datacentre said Abhilesh Guleria, Head, IT Platforms Ostensibly, virtualization is a mechanismgames of SMEs. & Multimedia Product Group, NEC India. for doing away with any unnecessary pur-“The SME units eagerly look for scalableand reliable IT platforms, which can nego-tiate the future growth of their business.And here comes the relevance, and ulti- At Wipro, we have been witnessingmate suitability of blade servers for growing numbers of SMEs who goSMEs”, said Faisal Paul, Head-Marketing for blade systems. They’re getting& Solution Alliances, ESSN, HPEnterprise Business India. increasingly aware of the efficaciesThere may be some instances where of bladesnewly established SMEs directly jumpover to the blade option. So, whatever thecase may be, SMEs increasingly go forthe adoption of blade platform. “Blade Ashok Tripathysystems answer many of the questions VP & Business Headwhich perturb SMEs regarding their Wipro Systems & Technologiesgrowth and overall operationalsequences”, viewed Satyen Vyas, Director, “The market is witnessing more of inte- chase of servers, storage, networking andMedium Business, CSMB Division, Dell grated solutions. We’ve been watching security devices as it (virtualization) helpsIndia Pvt Ltd. more deals which involve servers, storage, extract the most of their potentials.Corroborated Ashok Tripathy, VP networking, and backup resources”, said Therefore, the intervention of virtualiza-& Business Head, Wipro Systems & Leo Joseph, Vice President-System X, tion has a direct bearing on TCO. ForTechnologies, “At Wipro, we have been STG, IBM India & South Asia. In similar SMEs, virtualization of datacentrewitnessing growing numbers of SMEs vein, Kapil Sood, Vice President, Systems resources is very helpful.who instinctively go for blade systems. Business, Oracle India Pvt Ltd, said, “As And, blade systems, are highly optimizedThey’re getting increasingly aware of the blade servers contain all of the essential for receiving virtualization treatment. Theefficacies of blades.” components that are needed in a small dat- other important characteristic of blade acenter, it becomes easy for SMEs to scale servers is the ease of datacentre manage-Advantage Blades up whenever the needs come in.” ment. “Management of virtualized datacen-While, scalability and reliability are the In the case of blade systems, the mechan- tres is highly challenging as the handlingbasic attributes of blades, there is an array ical solidarity among cardinal components of virtual servers, virtual storage, virtualDIGITAL EDGE OCTOBER 2011 33
  5. 5. Cloud ComputingAs Indian SMEs have started adopting moreof blade servers, modular and mobile data-centre infrastructure solutions provider likeElliptical Mobile Solutions (EMS) has inten-sified its operations in the country.The micro-modular datacentre enclosureswhich have got inbuilt cooling & air condi-tioning facilities, can house blade servers,storage, networking gears, security appli-ances and power-backups. The companytargets hailing from state co-operative soci-eties, regional rural banks, film productionhouses, on-field oil exploration companies,media houses, manufacturing units, hospi-tality and academic institutions.Interestingly, Sharad Srivastava run‘Grassroots Channels’ has taken the Posing with self-contained portable datacentre: (L-R) Don Kennedy of Ellipticalresponsibility for establishing the US-based Mobile Solutions (EMS); and Sharad Srivastava of Grassroots Channels‘Elliptical Mobile Solutions’ in this part ofthe world. Vinay Sinha, Director, Enterprise Business, AMD India. On the other hand, storage companies like WD (Western Digital) and Seagate have expanded their 2.5” enterprise HDD (hard disk drive) product portfolio. For them blade servers come with big promise. At the same time, server vendors have started inducting SSDs (solid-state drives) into blade servers on a large scale as SSDs support almost instantaneous booting of the systems. Companies like WD, Seagate, SanDisk and Kingston are some of the leading players in this space. “For blade systems, Kingston comes with a wide Implementing server virtualisation For blade systems, Kingston comes range of enterprise SSDs”, said Nidhi allows SMEs to reduce the amount of with a wide range of enterprise SSDs. Sethi, Sales Director, Flash Products, physical servers that they have, and In India, we’ve started witnessing Kingston Technology, India. therefore, free up physical space growing demands for enterprise SSDs. Moreover, any talks of blade servers would Good for us! be incomplete if virtualization aspect is not discussed. For virtualization software com- Kaushal Veluri Nidhi Sethi panies such as accelerated, Citrix, Oracle, Director-Channels & Alliances Sales Director, Flash Products and Microsoft, blade servers offer huge Citrix Systems India Kingston Technology, India business opportunity. Those SMEs which deploy blades, invariably deployed virtual- ization software. “Implementing server vir-switches, and virtual security appliances based processors, x86 is the most preferred tualisation allows SMEs to reduce thesimultaneously requires easy and efficient compute technology.“Blades bring with it a amount of physical servers that they havemechanism. From the management point great deal of opportunity for us. Our and, therefore, free up physical space.of view, virtualized blade systems are easy processors are very much optimized to Having virtualised servers allow SMEs toto manage”, said Rajesh Rege, Sr. Vice work in the blade environment”, said R. deploy new or enhanced business services,President Data Centre—India & SAARC, Ravichandran, Director—Sales, Intel so that they can easily roll out new appli-Cisco Systems. South Asia. The Xeon Series of Intel cations to employees”, said Kaushal Veluri- processors have seen the maximum deploy-Ready blade ecosystem Director-Channels & Alliances, Citrix ments in the blade systems. “In terms of Systems India.In making blade servers compact, energy performance and energy-efficiency, Intelwise efficient and cloud-compatible, the products deliver the best. There is noentire component ecosystem plays its big doubt about this”, added Ravichandran.role. If we talk of processors, companies While, AMD, which has experienced rapidlike Intel and AMD have immensely con- market growth the world over includingtributed in making blade servers so much India, has accelerated its operations aroundconsolidated, and efficient. This is to be tapping the growing market of bladereminded that blades which specifically servers. “Blade servers offer an optimaladdress the typical compute needs of data- solution for those businesses which arecentres being run by SME entities are start-ups and look at expanding their hori-heavily dominated by x86 servers. zons over a period of 3-5 years (as the ROIBarring some special instances where, for investments in blade technologies usu-SMEs deploy blades powered by RISC- ally pays off after the 1st year or so)’, said34 OCTOBER 2011 DIGITAL EDGE