May 2008

Data Centre:The Heart Beat

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Globalisation, Diversification, Expansion, Acquisition and Merger are some of the key business drivers for any growing and aspiring organisation or corporate house. The entire business scenario is getting complex and comprehensive day by day. Today, enterprises can not imagine running a business without the complete availability and support of Information Technology (IT). IT is inevitable and the challenges associated with IT are also inevitable.

Government of India (GoI) has launched National eGovernance Plan (NeGP) with key focus on building base infrastructure such as SWAN (State Wide Area Network), CSC (Common Service Centre), and SDC (State Data Centre).

The need for Data Centre (DC) has emerged as one of the key requirements with higher dependency of departments on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based online applications, optimisation of computing resources, complexity and  challenges in managing them. To make a Data Centre facility available for 99.999%, it becomes mandatory to have all the non IT components delivering the above service level. The non IT infrastructure comprises of power, environment (temperature and  humidity), fire detection and suppression, raised floor, electrical and data cabling.

The service providers create and provide the DC facilities to the enterprises, who choose not to build their own DC. These DCs provide services to multiple clients. Sify enjoys the leadership position in providing such Multi Tenant DC / Commercial DC. Building and managing Multi Tenant DC face different challenges compared to a standalone DC for an application or

Success of any DC depends on an effective service delivery framework. A mature service delivery platform ensures that services are rendered in the most proficient manner. Stringent process helps to control and restore confidence in the service provider and therefore brings services as per their expectations.

 for an organisation. In multi-tenancy DC, each client brings its own complex hardware, system software, applications, requirements (like high availability, security and response time) which may need different non-IT infrastructure. Such complexity continues in managing them over a period of time. Therefore, the service provider becomes an ideal partner for an enterprise to build and mange the DC.

Uptime Institute has come out with standards from availability point of view. The standards  are:

Tier I- Uptime of 99.671%
Tier II- Uptime of 99.749%
Tier III -Uptime of 99.982%
Tier IV -Uptime of 99.995%

Typically, clients choose Tier III kind of DC and have some of the facilities like power, environment designed for Tier IV standards. This helps in improving the overall availability with marginal cost increase.

Processes and Certifications

After building the DC, the next step and challenge is to ensure that it runs on a non-stop basis. All the vendor contracts, processes and people are tied together to deliver the required Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Hence, managing a DC becomes equally important aspect in the life cycle of a DC.

Success of any DC depends on an effective service delivery framework. A mature service delivery platform ensures that services are rendered in the most proficient manner. Stringent process helps to control and restore confidence in the service provider and therefore brings services as per their expectations. Relevant process and certifications reassure the internal and external customers in managing all aspects of the DC.

Management of a DC is not to be treated in silos for the above neither is it the summation. This can be achieved by cohesive function of process technology and skilled people around the DC infrastructure.

The DC needs to be audited on IT, non-IT infrastructure, processes to find gaps to rectify and sustain the SLAs.

It is the level of maturity in bringing together the people, processes,infrastructure and tools that matters in delivery of trusted Data Centre services on continuous and sustainable basis

Sify has more than a decade of experience in Internet, network and Data Centre solutions. Sify offers managed connectivity options, which can provide enhanced end-to-end managed connectivity. Sify operates on vendor neutral backbone built on large capacities from multiple players. The capacities are on multiple undersea cable systems going out from cable landing stations in Mumbai and Chennai.

SIFY is a pioneer in Data Centre services. Some of the highlights are as follows

  • India’s first level 3 DC was built by Sify in year 2000.
  • High Level of maturity of operational processes, vendor relationships
  • Data Centres are ISO/ BS compliant adhering to industry standards.
  • DC providing industry standard SLAs
  • Experience of more than 200 man years contributing to Sify’s core business.
  • Project Management expertise.

The services of Data Centre are: building, management and auditing. Sify can be a strategic partner as it can provide end-to-end services for a life cycle of Data Centre delivered through Sify’s Services Framework.

As a DC expert, Sify delivers fully Managed Data Center Solutions. The skill sets, resources and infrastructure entirely compliment each other to provide complete management of mission critical sites and applications. Sify’s mature service delivery practices and security standards have set the highest service delivery standards in DC services. The range of services cover the entire spectrum right from core infrastructure to high end management and proficiency services. Sify provides various service options that allows outsourcing either partially or completely to the experts while concentrating on the core lines of business.

High Availability:

There are multiple levels of high availability solutions available starting with the basic Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)array for the disk system to Disaster Recovery/ Business Continuity Management (DR / BCM ). One of the core requirements of organisations is to have backup of updated data and transactions running on systems. This translates into need for a highly efficient solution to help retrieve the most recent data on account of system or application failures. Another interesting service under the high availability portfolio is Server Load Balancing (SLB). The need for SLB arises from the fact that high number of user requests can not be addressed by a single web or application server. A Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Management (DR / BCM) plan is required when dependency on application is high. BCM 25999 is the worldwide standard for DR/ BCM best practices. Sify has certified associates for BCM 25999.

Security:

Security is a ever changing target. Organisations needs to be ready to face the most challenging security threats from a casual visitor gaining access to classified information to a hacker exploiting the latest discovered vulnerability in an OS or application. Addressing the security scenario requires proper control over physical and logical security. Proper visitor registration procedure, physical security guards, deployment of card and biometric access control, surveillance cameras are few steps in physical security. An organisation requires devices and processes for logical security. Firewall, IDS/IPS, antivirus, anti spam are the first steps towards providing security. Procedures start from the basic patch application to penetration tests and audits by external agencies. ISO 27001 is the global standard for Information Security Management. All Sify Data Centres are ISO 27001 certified.

Sify’s comprehensive Information Security Portfolio offers:

Network Security Solutions- Management of Firewall / VPN, IPS/IDS, Content Security, Multifactor Authentication, End Point Security and Network / Application Performance

  • Digital Identity and Data Protection Solutions covering Data Protection and Privacy, Transaction Security, Documents Rights Management
  • Governance, Risk and Compliance Solutions covering Information Security Consulting, Enterprise Security Services, Information Assurance Services and Compliance Services.
  • Managed Security Services
  • Security Operations Centre (SOC) offerings include Managed Content Security Service and Security Management, Administration and Reporting
  • Management Services:

    In managed services offered to an organisation there are options of handling everything in-house to do service wise outsourcing to total outsourcing to a service provider. Information Technology Information Library (ITIL) is international standard in IT services delivery. Other skill sets include certifications from Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle, CISCO, Juniper etc. Sify has certified associates for ITIL and vendor services.

    Data Centre Migration

    For most organisations servers, storages and network, and security devices get added to existing Data Centre in an ad-hoc manner.

    After a well planned new Data Center is ready for service, it is essential to have proper transition of IT assets from existing environment (DC/ typical ICT setup) to a state-of-the-art technology DC. DC migration is a complex activity as the transition from existing setup to the DC has to happen with no or minimum downtime. Some of the steps include developing inventory of IT assets and finalising  the time lines for migration. Planning the resource requirement is also critical. The implementation stage would start with physical packaging and transportation of the devices. Before the devices are pulled out from the old setup a co-existence setup needs to be deployed in the new setup, data migration and testing of user’s reachability to the DC needs to be tested. Overall, the project plan with fall back options needs to be in place with  analysis and mitigation plan for risks being developed. In short, Data Centre migration is a combination of science and art.

    Sify Technologies Limited Launches New Logo and Identity

    Sify Technologies Limited (NASDAQ National Market: SIFY), a leader in Consumer Internet Services and Enterprise Services in India with global delivery capabilities, unveiled the new visual identity of its corporate brand recently. The new logo is a reflection of Sify’s outlook and nature of business: a fresh, vibrant and eco-friendly green signalling a new, paper-free world, counterpoised by a business-like, dependable grey. The fonts are distinctive and futuristic. In graphic terms, the dot over the ‘i’ in the name has moved forward, and stands for the Company’s promise to keep its customers and stakeholders ahead. For the promise of “Keeping you ahead” reiterates Sify’s focus on technology, innovation and new services aimed at keeping customers in the lead by giving them a competitive edge using Sify’s services. Unveiling the new brand identity, Mr Raju Vegesna, Chairman, MD & CEO, Sify Technologies Ltd., said, “Sify has always been a pioneer and leader in terms of technology and services innovation, and has constantly set industry leading processes and standards. We are now poised to grow further by leading the market with new products & services timed to catalyze the markets both on the enterprise and consumer sides of the business. Our new identity is a reflection of this drive, and is young, fun-loving, dynamic, energetic and self-assured, but with a strong focus on customers and market leadership”. The change signals to customers that they are interacting with a revitalized company committed to keeping them ahead with dependable, high quality products and services. The new identity is also aimed at contemporizing the brand, and giving it a cool image along with its technology credentials. This is a key factor in building the value of the Sify brand, whose cutting edge and high quality service delivery are a result of technological capability, expertise and experience. A contemporary brand image will also contribute to the company’s ability to attract and retain the right talent for its growth and development.Sify is among the largest Internet, network and e-Commerce services companies in India, offering end-to-end solutions with a comprehensive range of products delivered over a common Internet backbone infrastructure. This Internet backbone reaches 236 cities and towns in India.

    A significant part of the company’s revenue is derived from Corporate Services, which include corporate connectivity, network and communications solutions, security, network management services, enterprise applications and hosting. A host of blue chip customers use Sify’s corporate service offerings. Consumer services include broadband home access, dial up connectivity and the iWay cyber café chain across 164 cities and towns. Sify is recognized as an ISO 9001:2000 certified service provider for network operations, data center operations and customer support, and for provisioning of VPNs, Internet bandwidth, VoIP Solutions and integrated security solutions, and BS7799 certified for Internet Data Center operations. Sify.com the consumer portal of Sify has sub portals like www.samachar.com, www.walletwatch.com, www.sifymax.com and www.chennailive.in, www.bangalorelive.in, www.mumbailive.in, www.hyderabadlive.in the city based live video on the web. The content is available in 5 Indian languages, which include Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

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