Cloud computing – The future of the Indian media industry

The future of the Indian media industry

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Cloud infrastructure is the new growth driver for the IT industry worldwide. Cloud infrastructure grew by as much as 46% in the last quarter of 2018 and exceeded US$ 80 billion in 2018 compared to US$ 55 billion in 2017. Amazon Web Services (AWS), with a share of 32%, is the market leader followed by Microsoft AZURE with a market share of 16.8%. Although Google Cloud with a market share of 8.5% is currently third, it is the one to watch with one of the highest growth rates of 93% in the past year. Alibaba (4%) and IBM Cloud (3.1%) are also contenders and a variety of smaller players make up the balance aggregated market share of 35%.

Almost 80% data is still stored in captive server infrastructure. Thus, there is huge scope for this segment to grow exponentially.

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Enterprise Cloud is, therefore, the new focus for Google. It’s Google’s solution to the problems users face while using Cloud solutions from various eco-system providers as claimed by Google’s CEO Sunder Pichai at the Google Cloud Next’19 event in San Francisco. Google Cloud’s new open platform –Anthos – is claimed to let a user run an app anywhere with simplicity, flexibility, and security while embracing open standards. The applications can be run without modification on existing in-house hardware as well as on public Clouds.

Anthos’ hybrid functionality will be available both on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and on-site data centers with GKE On-Prem. For those using AWS, Azure or any other Cloud platform, Anthos will permit workload management with the freedom to deploy, run and manage the applications on the chosen Cloud. This can happen without requiring administrators and developers to learn about different environments and APIs.

As Anthos is a 100% software-based solution, it can be quickly started on existing hardware with no forced stack refresh. This allows users the freedom to modernize at their own pace. As GKE is a managed Kubernetes service, the latest feature updates and security patches are automatically updated.

Anthos Migrate at present is provided as a beta to help auto-migrate virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises, or other Clouds, directly into containers in GKE with minimal effort. This unique migration technology helps in the migration and modernization of the infrastructure in one streamlined motion, without upfront modifications to the original VMs or applications thus freeing IT teams for more creative or productive tasks.

Google has partnered with and is working closely with more than 30 hardware, software and system integration partners ready to help customers leverage Anthos capabilities. Customers want to develop and deploy their applications anywhere — on-premises, in the public Cloud, or in multiple public Clouds seamlessly and securely.

Partnership with Cisco enables industry-leading data center, networking and security technologies to be effectively used with the Google Cloud technologies. In addition, partners such AS VMWARE, DELL EMC, HPE, INTEL, and LENOVO have committed to delivering Anthos on their own hyper converged infrastructure for their customers.

System integrators like Accenture, Arctiq, Atos, Cognizant, Deloitte, HCL Technologies, NTT Communications, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and WWT are building services and solutions to help their customers integrate with Anthos.

The greatest strength for Google comes from its huge developer community and its philosophy and support for open source environments unlike most of its competitors. Active installations of Kubernetes apps grew by 65% this past quarter. These Kubernetes apps are generally available, with commercial and open-source options, and include prebuilt deployment templates, simple licensing and one consolidated Google Cloud bill. Anthos makes things simpler — simpler to operate, simpler to secure, simpler to modernize and simpler to write.

Google’s interest in media
Google has a lot of interest in media and 9 out of 10 top media organizations are already on Google Cloud. It is also actively working with the financial services and healthcare industry. The Indian media industry has been storing a huge quantity of data on its in-house servers and in most cases, faces tremendous challenges in scalability, reliability, retrieval as well as obsolescence.

An operation across multiple centers in multiple languages also is a serious handicap for retrieval in an in-prem ecosystem. Most organizations do not have data security and disaster management strategies. This is a serious issue for media organizations, as they hold large stores of public documents of extremely priceless value to readers and the community. Archiving and safekeeping of data at multiple locations is paramount for media organizations.

It will be interesting to watch Google grow in this area, as it is expected to bring new innovation into the marketplace with immense flexibility and immensely simply open source accessibility.

Cloud over India
India is the new focus for the Cloud market and AWS and Azure already have their data centers in Mumbai. Google has launched its first Cloud region in India, hosted across three Mumbai data centers, each housing a separate Cloud availability zone. This would mean that clients can now have the billing in Indian rupees. Many of the regulatory issues are also expected to be sorted out.

Mumbai is the fifth Cloud availability region in Google’s Asia Pacific roll-out with Singapore, Taiwan, Sydney and Tokyo being the other four in this region. Google now has 13 live Cloud regions around the world, compared to Amazon’s 16 and Microsoft’s 36. All these are interconnected and Cloud data could technically reside or flow seamlessly across locations in the distributed server network.

The public Cloud services market in India will reach US$ 1.8 billion this year, according to a forecast by Gartner, up from US$ 1.3 billion in 2016. The market research firm expects the market to reach US$ 4.1 billion in 2020. These figures include everything from Cloud advertising to Cloud infrastructure, application infrastructure, and Cloud-based business process services, among other offerings.

The Indian media industry needs to arrive at a cost-effective strategy for data porting and storage, considering that there will be a major transformation in the systems for business and editorial and the use of data in the future. One might say that the musty newspaper physical archive was an earlier incarnation of the Cloud. However, no matter how automated, in order to preserve, update and bring life to this valuable resource, media organizations will have to leverage the new Cloud in the sky.

Today, millennials read the news on smartphones, not newspapers. Second, advertisers are fleeing print. With social media reporting news virtually as soon as it happens, few have the patience to wait till the next morning for newspapers. Dailies in the West are fighting back with their online sites, putting up news as soon as it breaks.

Newspapers have tried to monetize their digital editions with mixed success so far. Today’s consumers are viewing, sharing and listening to more online content than ever before, and expect immediate and constant access on a multitude of devices. The proliferation of this data is increasingly necessary for media businesses to bypass the public internet, ensuring they have the flexibility and scalability to respond to data demands and to devise fiendishly clever revenue streams.

Outwardly, the print canvas in India seems different. Regional media print sees new horizons and print media has a new lease unlike in the developed economies. However, the Indian print media leaders are mostly aware of the vulnerabilities and that the digital evolution blowing in from the West will at some point make landfall in India. Consolidation is yet to take place and it could well lead to multi-channel and digital conglomerates.

The opportunity for print media in digital transformation lies in increasingly turning to Cloud-based analytics with faster insights creating easier access to their growing amounts of data while reducing operational costs. More media businesses must start leveraging global data centers and the Cloud to scale their digital transformation.

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Characteristics of the Cloud

Essentially, the Cloud is an internet-based storage of data allowing access and exchange. It should provide services on demand, with internet accessibility, with pooled resources and provide instant capacity expansion on demand to handle any peak load factors.

Billing is normally usage based and periodical. The basic premise of Cloud infrastructure is that the user does not have to spend CAPEX for resources and upgradation. There is unlimited scalability and the pay model is essentially an OPEX model.

The Cloud service models are software as a Service (SaaS) where business operations are carried out on the Cloud; Platform as a service (PaaS) where the customer-created applications are deployed to a Cloud; and, Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) where the server space is taken on rent for storage, or for computing resources.

There are generally four kinds of Cloud deployment models. The private Cloud is an exclusive virtual space for a single organization accessible only to authorized users within the organization. A community Cloud is a shared resource for several organizations belonging to a specific community. A public Cloud is available to the general public or to a large industry group and is generally provided by an organization selling Cloud services. A hybrid Cloud, on the other hand, is a multiple Cloud architecture with flexibility to port data across Clouds.

Limitations of Cloud computing technologies

As per the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) in the United States, “The decision to embrace cloud computing technology is a risk-based decision, not a technology-based decision.” In addition to the data security and privacy risks inherent in Cloud technology, its characteristics and features also elicit a number of institutional challenges and considerations that must be taken into account.

These include questions regarding data sovereignty and jurisdiction, the licensing and registration requirements imposed on CSPs and data centers, the effect of corporate business strategy on the relative utility of Cloud computing, the interplay of financial intermediaries and Cloud technology, the loss of governance resulting from outsourcing IT functions to the Cloud, and supply chain guarantees necessitated by the multiplicity of actors in the Cloud model.