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Issue of March 2004 

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The Smart Enterprise

The issue of intelligence in the enterprise was examined in detail at the 'Intelligent Enterprise' roundtable conducted at Technology Senate 2003.Panelists comprised enterprise users from areas as diverse as airlines, shipping, pharmaceuticals, and banking.

The panel came forth with innovative suggestions on how to make enterprises more intelligent. Deepak Shikarpur, Executive Director, Computer Society of India moderated the discussion. Here are excerpts from the discussion, which deal with enterprise storage issues.

M.S.V. Rao, Director, Dept of IT, Air-India said:x

It will be a great help, if data is transferred in a compressed format. Today's compression methods are all software-driven and not really satisfactory when it comes to DR. This is why compression is an issue that the storage industry should address, possibly with a firmware solution, to bring greater efficiency.

Real-time replication of data is also an issue at most DR sites. When we talk about multiple replications, it deals with transfer of data through communication links. More data means that bandwidth and related issues are multiplied.

There should be mechanisms to send out alerts in case of theft/misuse/ sabotage of information so that the owner can take necessary precautions. It is a very good idea to have hard disks with in-built utilities for these.

RP Dumasia, GM, Head - IT, The Great Eastern Shipping Company said:

The biggest number of PC crashes on board ships is due to the hard drive. This is due to factors like rolling of the ship and vibrations when the ship starts. In such a situation, we have to actually instruct users not to start their PCs till they reach the deep sea or when they are in a port.

Maintenance of equipment on ships is a problem. It is not always possible to have service personnel onboard during voyages and for 24 hours when ships are at port. This is why we look forward to technologies for desktop PCs that are hot-swappable. The advantage of this technology is that users can perform the replacement themselves. It will go a long way in making things easier for most operating units of ours.

C Yella Reddy, Senior VP, IT, Global Trust Bank said:

When we talk about compatibility, we actually talk about the future and existing generation of compatibility issues. The lifecycle of a hard disk and its compatibility with older generation hardware are also to be considered.

V.V.R. Babu, CIO, ITC said:

Web-based applications take a lot of centralized storage that runs into Terabytes. Currently, e-chaupal uses normal desktop PCs to provide direct access to this huge storage. Being a centralized application, the application does not create problems. However, PC downtime is a problem. It should be possible to recover from any problem using a remote tool at the desktop level.

We are planning to move to thin clients so that there are lesser maintenance issues in remote locations.

The panelists:

M.S.V. Rao,
Director, Dept of IT, Air-India

Gopal Shukla,
CIO, Dabur India

Sanjay Rawal,
GM - IT, GlaxoSmithKline

Consumer Healthcare

C. Yella Reddy,
Senior VP, IT, Global Trust Bank

V.V.R. Babu,

R.P. Dumasia,
GM, Head - IT, The Great Eastern Shipping Company

Satish Rajkumar,
Manager - IT, Volvo


Deepak Shikarpur,
Executive Director, Computer Society of India


The interest shown by enterprises towards deployment of thin clients for Web-based applications is a trend that is catching on. The multiple advantages offered by thin clients from monetary, maintainability, and manageability perspectives are the prime drivers. It is also interesting to observe the trend towards real-time replication of data at DR sites. This indicates that enterprises have started looking at the performance issues related to DR. DR has progressed from being a concept to a necessity.

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