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Network Storage gains significance

The Indian storage market is projected to grow at 95 percent each year between 2000 and 2005. But how accurate is this projection and how serious are Indian enterprises about storage? Anal K. Jain, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Network Appliance Systems (India) talks about the storage scenario in India and about emerging trends and technologies. by Mahesh Rathod

According to IDC India, the Indian storage market is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of 95 percent in the period 2000-2005. How accurate is this projection?
I feel the growth will be as predicted. Customers in India are now moving their critical business applications onto their technology infrastructure. For this kind of migration, enterprises will have to invest in technology, more into storage in order to address the rapidly growing mountains of data. Many businesses in India have data volumes that are several times more than what they had just a few years ago, and we believe that in the coming years, data volumes will effectively double every year.

The other reason for the predictions to come true is that most large and medium sized businesses are now treating storage as a separate entity from servers, and have realised the merits of network storage over the traditional direct attached storage. As this realisation grows, network storage will grow much faster than the server market. Storage consolidation will increasingly be the norm, as it already is in the developed countries.

How serious do you think Indian enterprises are when it comes to storage, especially after the US attacks?
Even before the US attacks, organizations in India were very serious about their data and were aware of the importance of network storage to their business in terms of cost, ease of management, data protection and disaster recovery. The significance of data has been further emphasized after these attacks.

Various enterprises are now devising policies for data protection and are seriously looking at storage solutions that come along with data protection and disaster recovery strategies. Network Appliance has some extremely effective and innovative solutions in this area and we have many organizations implementing these in India. Our solutions can help customers recover their data much faster than any other approach in the market today.

What storage technologies and trends will prevail in the coming years?
Currently, the network storage market in India is relatively small in percentage when compared to the total disk storage market in India. This scenario will clearly change in the coming years with network storage gaining a dominant share. I also understand that the storage market will very soon overtake the server market. Open, standards-based, and innovative storage technologies that enable automated data protection and provide efficient use of storage resources will be generally accepted globally.

Who do you see as your major competitors?
At the moment it is the server vendors whose market share we are planning to take. Just as it happened in the case of routers, where special purpose approaches such as those of Cisco came to dominate over the use of general purpose servers for the routing function, similarly companies like Network Appliance will increasingly dominate the storage area for the data storage function, as opposed to the use of general purpose servers for this increasingly complex function. In times to come specialised storage vendors such as Network Appliance will emerge as the dominant players. According to a recent study by the major independent agency "INPUT", Network Appliance solutions offer a 70% TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) advantage over competitive offerings in the database environment making our offerings the most cost effective storage solutions for the Enterprise.

How do you position Network Appliance in the content delivery products market?
As per the latest IDC reports, Network Appliance has figured in the Number one position in the caching market the market for content delivery. IDC interviewed companies using Network Appliance's ECDN (Edge Content Delivery Network) solutions, and documented the actual ROI these companies have realized. Average payback times was an impressive 100 days approximately. Our leadership in the content delivery market is due to our innovative solutions like NetCache, Content Director and Reporter. NetApp's content delivery solutions enable enterprises and services providers to offer streaming, video on demand, and application acceleration solutions. The caching approach also helps organisations to save on bandwidth.

Recently Network Appliance has been ranked in the Top 10 of Fortune Magazine's "100 fastest growing companies." What do you think made this possible?
Merrill Lynch in a recent analysis report has described Network Appliance technology as a "Disruptive" technology which would significantly change the way storage solutions are architected. It is the leading edge technology, efficiency and effectiveness of Network Appliance solutions and the emphasis on customer satisfaction that have led to Network Appliance's impressive growth record. The key technology in Network Appliance products is its industry leading WAFL (Write Anywhere File System) technology. We continue to expand on WAFL and build best-of-breed technology for data snapshots on top of it. We also lead in technology initiatives like iSCSI and DAFS (Database Accelerator).

In what verticals do you think storage is popular in India?
Network Appliance solutions have been adopted in a large variety of industries and verticals. Among the key verticals are banking and finance, telecom, manufacturing, software development and design, and oil and gas. We are also trying to specifically address several key application markets like CRM, telecom applications, ECAD and MCAD and seismic exploration.

Is there any change happening with the capacity of filers when compared to the entry-level offering? How much is the change?
Our capacities have been growing very rapidly. Our smallest solution starts at 200 GB. Customers can scale the same system without any need for change of storage unit or technology going up to high-end filers that offer 18 TB capacity. This is unlike many other approaches in the market, which require customers to keep changing their technologies as their needs grow, even with the same vendor.

Can you highlight on your global partnerships with companies like SAP, Legato, Oracle and others.
We have partnered with leading application vendors like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft and have certified configurations and best practice guides. We also offer joint professional services with these partners for implementation of solutions. We have also certified configurations with all major solutions vendors in the backup and disaster recovery areas with companies like Veritas, ATL, Legato and Brocade.

Mahesh Rathod can be reached at

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