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Issue of June 2006 
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Infrastructure Strategies '06

The building blocks

Server operating systems and databases are the most popular packaged software among Indian enterprises. With Linux slowly catching up, the EPS market is likely to expand further. by Toms Mathew

Organisations continue to invest in this category. 81 percent of organisations have invested in EPS in years past, last year 52 percent took the plunge and for the current year it's 44 percent

According to the IS survey, Enterprise Package Software (EPS) has been and will continue to maintain a key position when it comes to the IT spending of medium and large enterprises in the country. 44 percent of respondents said that they will continue to invest in EPS in 2006-07. While 44 percent of respondents across industry verticals evinced interest in EPS, the services sector including healthcare, hospitality, logistics and ad agencies had the largest share of EPS wannabes (71 percent) followed by government/PSU (56 percent) and manufacturing (50 percent).

 81 percent of organisations have invested in EPS in years past, last year 52 percent took the plunge and for the current year it’s 44 percent.

Survey Findings
  • Server operating systems are attracting investments followed by databases.
  • Organisations in the services vertical are investing the maximum in server operating systems and databases.
  • Linux has arrived with services and IT/ITeS verticals being the early adopters.
  • Reliability and low cost of acquisition are the top two reasons for using Linux.

The Leaders 

Linux is making inroads. The survey reveals that 48 percent of organisations across verticals are using Linux in some form or the other. Among the top users, services (71 percent) takes the lead with IT/ITeS (62 percent) and government/PSU (53 ercent) being other significant adopters

Server operating systems (93 percent) are the most popular software in this category; databases (72 percent) come second. The use of server operating systems is highest among BFSI and services. In terms of planned investment, services again takes the lead with 57 percent planning to invest in it. Windows (89 percent) continues to rule the roost with Linux (31 percent) coming second followed by Unix (11 percent). The rationale behind Windows’ supremacy is its perceived user friendliness.

Linux is making inroads. The survey reveals that 48 percent of organisations across verticals are using Linux in some form or the other. Among the top users, services (71 percent) takes the lead with IT/ITeS (62 percent) and government/PSU (53 percent) being other significant adopters. The reasons for preferring Linux are its reliability as a platform (55 percent), low cost of acquisition (47 percent) and low TCO (23 percent).

Reasons for not using Linux are a preference for Windows (63 percent) and lack of support (24 percent) and lack of IT staff with Linux skills. Among the verticals that prefer Windows are government/PSU (86 percent), FMCG/consumer durables (70 percent) and BFSI (63 percent).

“Nothing comes for free”

Mani Mulki
VP-Information Systems
Godrej Industries
On why tools such as knowledge management have few takers- The implementation of knowledge, identity and infrastructure management depends on the culture of an organisation. Knowledge management is how an employee thinks and how you go about documenting his thoughts and ideas. In knowledge management the rationale behind decision-making, price-increases or decreases is not captured.

With connectivity options available easily, organisations are investing in messaging servers. Three years back there weren’t many options when it came to connecting locations. Today decisions can be made online, it’s faster and the infrastructure is available.

Linux- Nothing comes for free. Managements think that Linux is free and hence put pressure on the IT department to use it, but they do not realise that one has to pay for the services.

An operating system should be chosen on its technical qualities. Some of the advantages of Linux are that it is robust and stable, but its use in verticals such as education and government would be more appreciated.

It has its disadvantages too; support is still an issue besides all the applications are not available on it.

Databases will grow

Relational databases are second on the priority list in EPS. With organisations deploying applications such as CRM, ERP, SCM a database is crucial. BFSI (79 percent) has the maximum penetration, followed by telecom (76 percent) and manufacturing (75 percent). The survey also point out that the overall database use is quite high (72 percent) with 17 percent planning to invest in the current financial year.

Communication within the organisation is as important as is doing so with the outer world. The IS survey shows that 64 percent of organisations across verticals have invested in a messaging server. The top three verticals in terms of messaging server deployment are BFSI (74), FMCG/consumer durables (73 percent) and chemical and pharma (67 percent).

Microsoft Exchange (41 percent) continues to lead but faces competition from Lotus Domino/Notes (30 percent). FMCG/consumer durables (59 percent) has the highest adoption with IT/ITeS and government/PSU having 50 percent each. Manufacturing (37 percent) and telecom sectors prefer Lotus Domino.

Government/PSU (67 percent) has the maximum users for Web/Proxy with no intention of investing in the same for the current year. In the Web server category, IIS (41 percent) leads followed by Apache (21 percent).

“Linux is cost effective”

D K Mehrotra
Managing Director
LIC
D K Mehrotra stresses on the need to identify the core business of an organisation before making investments.

To invest in server operating systems and databases depends on the core business of the organisation. Ours is a financial organisation and considering the kind of databases we have, our core business revolves around these two pieces of software. I think identity security and the others will only play a peripheral role for some time to come. 

Presently, apart from databases, we don’t have the others, at least in the current year’s plan. We will definitely use them if we see the need for it.

Right now, we are using Linux. We migrated from Unix to Linux as the latter could endure our requirements. As an operating system, Linux is sustainable. It is also cost effective, because of which we can migrate our mission-critical business applications to the new system, while our in-house software development centre still produces around 99 percent of our software.

We do not see the need to invest in other systems. But we intend to give our global customers the best possible experience and therefore, we are open to making changes.

The rest of the pack

Tools such as knowledge management, performance optimisation tools, infrastructure management and identity management lag behind. Of those who have invested in these, infrastructure management (28 percent) has the maximum users when compared to performance optimisation tools (17 percent), knowledge management (15 percent) and identity management (15 percent).

IT/ITeS (24 percent) seems to be keen on adopting knowledge management tools, while FMCG/Consumer durables (33 percent) and IT/ITeS (24 percent) are into performance optimisation. Infrastructure management has quite a few takers in FMCG/Consumer durables (43 percent) and BFSI (34 percent). 26 percent of BFSI plans to invest in infrastructure management tools during the current fiscal.

Recommendations
  • Those who have invested in the basic EPS components should look for advanced tools such as knowledge management and performance optimisation.
  • Linux on the server is a strong alternative as application support in areas such as messaging and databases are good.
  • EPS is crucial for applications, hence it needs to be scalable.

— With inputs from Rishiraj Verma and Vinita Gupta

 
     
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