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Faster, Smarter Ways To Network

As enterprises transform digitally, the role of network IT continues to evolve from a behind-the-scenes contributor to an increasingly strategic player. Organization needs underlying network architecture, including automation, which supports business agility. Swapna Bapat, Director for Systems Engineering, Brocade India , tells us how Brocade supports this transformation.

swapna-bapat
Swapna Bapat, Director for Systems Engineering, Brocade India

Do you think increasing efficient Data Center technologies will add life to data centers since they  are fast being taken over by cloud and virtualization?

Cloud adoption does not mean that data center
s will go away. Actually, 90% of enterprises are looking at a hybrid model today, because there are things out of control of cloud providers. For
instance, at some point the cloud has to host the application wherever that is, to where the enterprise is, and no cloud provider can control that latency.   So for mission critical apps CIOs still do not trust the cloud. They will continue in this hybrid model until some other technology turns up which can guarantee latency. Until then, data centers, hybrid clouds and public clouds will co-exist for a while.

Given that, increased traffic will continue be driven by IoT and by enterprises themselves where we often see 10 TB of traffic per month sometimes, especially for Fortune 500 companies.

So the need for data centers  to evolve will continue and  the costs will be dictated by consumption, but the transition of hybrid to where it is today- from 10 gig to 40  gig to 100 gig will continue happening, ensuring that the infra is ready for 100 gig.  So it’s not going away soon and it’s the hybrid power that is driving it.

Where does Indian enterprise stand in digitalization journey?

We have a long way to go.  The positive is, we can do it in the right way. We can leapfrog a couple of other technologies. For the adoption of 40 gig, we can start upfront. Second is the automation, which is the most interesting part of digitization. If you talk to a CIO, how much of your infra is digitized,   some will say cloud, some have a private cloud, so they are pretty much optimized. So how about workflows?  What role does IT play in your overall business goals? They have no answers. You ask what role does IT play in overall business goal. They start scratching their heads.

There are various applications running various applications. But the question is, can all these talk to each other today? No, none of them do, there is no interaction between these, slowing down the process.

If you study the process, 90% time is spent in human interaction between each of these at the workshop. That, is the realizations that they are not digitized enough, a lot of work needs to be done. This also applies at the network layer.  So if apps spoke to each other, and to the network, then reaction time would reduce and agility would be very high. There is a study which says that automation can bring down work flow time by 50%.

What role does Brocade hope to play in this evolution?

The answer is to automate the network and data center itself, which is a very manually driven process today- switch and router; we have a workflow composer, which has the ability to preempt the network in an automated way.  The whole core that allows the apps to work  can be automated. We start by configuring the network to be automated so ten people don’t need to be configuring the switches and all. Secondly when something happens to the network the app will have a way to sense it and do something about it. So Brocade is going to contribute to the IT infra which is the network and help enterprises digitize that.

What do you foresee as data center support systems five years from now? Is Brocade working on any of these future offerings?

The Automation journey in Indian enterprise hasn’t been that quick. There are still a number of enterprises in India seventy percent of whose servers are still not virtualized, even though hyper V have been around for a number of years with the solutions. But from Brocade perspective, automation is going to be the key for successful enterprises. And I think every CEO understands digital transformation is a must.

Decision making can be made more efficiently in getting various applications within the enterprise to talk to each other. What does it imply? We need application programming interfaces (API) to be able to speak to other  apps. Most big companies will not expose their APIs anytime soon, it’s a journey driven by CIOs and CEOs. This can happen at the data center level, since these apps are all hosted at the data center. This conversation will drive more apps to apps traffic for making business decisions. This will have to be enhanced and contributed to by an apps layer which is what Brocade offers- it is a generic architecture of data center fabric, really most suitable to server to server communications. All of Brocade’s solutions allow app to app traffic to perform in the best manner. Secondly, we will offer automation in the data center by offering technology for applications to talk to the network and guide business decisions.

Lastly, the intelligent data center should have the ability to analyze traffic at the heart of the IT infrastructure, which is the Data Center. At that point, you should be able to predict any deficiency in the app. The network sees all the issues and hence it should have the ability to tap traffic in the most efficient manner. It should be able to send information to the Data Center that is constantly churning data and predicting about the performance levels of the applications.

Brocade is ready for all that. This product will be able to support run time  analysis of traffic.

How do you see the Modern Infrastructure Requirements for the Digital Era being met in Indian enterprise by and large? Which brands do you see in this space that will drive this change?

I won’t go into brands but will talk about components that play into the data center and the need for software and hardware vendors to agree on standard applications’ programming interfaces that will give the advantage of this joint conversation to the customer. In the end these are both built to serve an enterprise and ensure they are able to drive their business better and faster. So all these brands at some point come to the table and agree that these are standard APIs that we will use to drive innovation.

What kind of traction did the BWC see after the launch of its latest product?

The reactions we have seen and spoken, is still in trials in customer setups. We have  service providers, ISPs and CSPs, banks, on our customer list and I really like the fact that Brocade workflow composers expose  one thousand nine hundred different types of APIs. We are very early in the market so we only have to support every possibility in the market

Brocade had done a study of what kind of APIs we should support, which is one reason why it is so successful. The foundation is Open Source, so we have open source guys the world over working on this, on StackStop, the open source version of BWC. And that allows contributions to add value to it, which is a huge advantage. Honestly none of the big networking hardware providers today have done this on Open Source, and Brocade has.

How does Brocade plan to target the market with the new product  and what is the expected uptake of this solution?

We have launched a next gen routing product- SLX 9850.  It can be used as a layer too.  It sits at exchange points, the gateway of the network and at the gateway of the enterprise. What is driving them to buy it? It’s mainly the option of IoT. Enterprises which are building software for their services are looking at elements which are monitoring human presence.

Enterprises are staring at huge amounts of traffic, maybe up to 40 or even 100 gig, but they are not ready for it. So with the SLX 950, they can start at 10 gig and move to 100 gig whenever they are ready. Secondly, they are probably not ready to see analytics n the traffic today, but with SLX, they can do that without any impact to the area traffic.  The product has a number of advantages, allows ways to detect patterns and change them, update their customers of solutions and find ways to monetize these solutions.

 

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