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Using cloud to resolve power issues

Ideally IT budgets should be split 50-50 on innovation and keeping the lights on

Maintaining and managing legacy infrastructure as well as spiraling power costs in data centres are challenges that IT leaders face, according to Raju Chellam head of the cloud practice at Dell in South Asia & Korea.

He was speaking at the Implementing Information Infrastructure Symposium (IIIS) event in Singapore. Attended by about 150 storage technology decision makers, managers and specialists on 29 June at the Raffles City Convention Centre, the event was jointly organised by Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and Computerworld Singapore.

“Today, the bulk of IT budget consumed by maintaining huge storage & processing facilities, software licensing costs, versioning and migration of apps,” he said. Some 80 percent is being spent on maintaining these costs while only 20 per cent is allocated to innovation. The ideal state should be that the IT budget gets split 50-50 on innovation and keeping the lights on.

And in the maintenance of the legacy environment, the complexity of IT management rises when the business continues to grow.

Thirdly, the cost of power in the data centre is going outrun everything in the IT budget, said Chellam, even more than “what you are going to spend on hiring talent”. And the Singapore government has recognised the high power consumption levels in the data centres, and is looking at ways to build green data centres that consume less power, he added.

The issue of power also became a critical concern for Japanese telco Softbank following the earthquake and tsunami disasters in March 2011.

Faced with the challenge of having to help customers recover their business quickly, Softbank turned on its cloud service for non-profit organisations, government agencies and existing customers, one year ahead of schedule, according to NetApp ASEAN’s managing director Scott Morris.

“Softbank asked us, ‘how can I put my people back to work, if they can’t get to our building to work in? And how do I get my business serving 37 million customers back up and running?” said Morris.

And, where Softbank had previously required a week to deploy 1,000 desktops, with a NetApp agile data infrastructure, they were able to accelerate the pace to deploy 1,000 virtual desktops in a single day and ultimately scaled to 14,000 virtual desktops within two weeks.

With thousands of employees able to work from home, Softbank surpassed government energy targets, cutting its internal energy costs by 39 percent in its corporate headquarters.

The IIIS event took a fresh approach to differentiate itself from the usual technology conferences by incorporating debate sessions between vendors. Playing the role of moderator for these debates was Simon Piff, associate vice president, enterprise infrastructure, IDC Asia/Pacific.

The first session, between Dell’s Chellam and NetApp’s Morris, focused on the topic “The Journey to the Cloud”. Some of the issues discussed were key barriers to cloud adoption, as well as data security and integration challenges that users face during implementations.