Opportunities Abound!

XaaS is less pure technology and more about how companies can harness a powerful technology to cut cost and lift efficiency

By Dhirendra Pratap Singh, eGov Bureau

Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services can be divided into Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). As these services are created and offered by the cloud service provider, you need not purchase additional infrastructure for use at your own premises (servers, application programmes, operating systems).

Says Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst, Gartner, “Xaas i.e. any thing as a service is a delivery model. It is a way how the services or any software will be consumed in future. Some parts of that are already in the process like what here is software as a service. They are services that are consumed through different delivery models, which is through a internet in which data, storage, maintenance and everything is done by a third party. As a user I can use only as a consumer over an Internet and I will call that software as a service..”
With IaaS, customers get on-demand computing and storage to host, scale, and manage applications and services through cloud vendors’ data centres. This allows customers to scale with ease and quickly meet the infrastructure needs of an entire organisation or an individual department, either globally or locally. EMC, HP, CRM, Google, Verizon are examples of IaaS providers. For the customer, say a government or a private enterprise, there is no need to buy and maintain servers, data centres, or to build backup and redundancy infrastructure.

PaaS customers get the operating system, a fully relational database, and consumable Web-based services that provide security-enhanced connectivity and federated access control for applications. IBM, CSCO, VMW and Oracle are examples of PaaS providers. For the customer, there is no need to buy operating systems, database or Web service licenses.

“Software as a Service is very promising field which really brings a lot of things”

Nita Verma,
Sr Technical Director,
National Informatics Centre,
Ministry of Communications
and Information Technology,
Government of India

How do you see the scope of XaaS i.e. anything as a service?

As for as three aspects of cloud-Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service are concerned-they are already been initiated. Especially if you look at Infrastructure as a Service, it is very much available; you want virtual machines with this configuration. It’s happening very well. Software as a Service is very premising field which really bring a lot of things.
But the problem is people who are delivering software. They are not changing their model. I am quite hopeful that would happen. It has a lot of potential specially Software as a service. On the other hand, I feel that platform as a service and infrastructure as a service are very routine.
According to you, what is the advantage of Cloud Computing?

XaaS has all the inherent advantages for virtualisation. It has a lot of promises for private and government. Whether in terms of time to deploy any application and you don’t have all the tender processes, technical process, scalability becomes much faster. As an organisation your agility goes very high. In terms of cost, it gives a lot of positives. Initially, with very small piece of infrastructure, you can increase it as the load increase. So, it is very useful.
Is security an issue in Xaas?
Security is a big point. If we see informations in public domain then security is not as much important. If go towards citizens’ data, today we are more ready for private kind of clouds. But the major concern is need to have a control an policy for government data that lie in the cloud.

Dr N Vijayaditya
Controller of Certifying Authority,
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

“Each technology has its own pros and cons. With the cloud computing, issue of security is yet not solved. The complex of security in the government is very complicated”

SaaS online services are subscription-based, on-demand applications and hosted services, providing end users with a consistent experience across various client devices. Microsoft SharePoint Online is an example of such a service. Google, Amazon, SalesForce.com, IBM, Zoho and CRM are examples of SaaS cloud providers.

Says Asheesh, “Today I can only have application access but I also want to create those kind of application, for which I get platform, that is called as platform as a service. So, these vendors will give me a platform to create SaaS enabled application, also through the internet in a different delivery models. There are some situations where these delivery models may not be useful for everyone, so hybrid model will continue to sustain and will continue to work. No single organization will completely depend upon these kinds of services. ”

XaaS offers a new approach that will transform the delivery and consumption of IT services of a company in future. This is, however, possible only when a company goes through the complete cycle of virtualisation. There are millions of people around the world today who use virtualisation to save time, money and energy while achieving more with the computer hardware they already own.
It enables organisations consolidate and get more from existing or new servers, help save more on power, ensure high availability and business continuity at much lower cost besides helping organisations save more on operational expenses. Cloud computing will be the next logical stage in adopting of virtualisation and transforming IT.
Governments in developing countries’ can benefit from the latest and best services available, and need not reinvent the wheel. They can use ICT to reform public sector services and provide online services. It will also allow them to cut spending on IT infrastructure, manage IT and labour resources more efficiently.
In India Port community system provides a single interface for members of the port community across 37 ports in India to access critical information readily and securely. In Gujarat, computer based security solution is in use to stamp documents digitally, to safeguard against duplication and fraud.
Says Dr R Siva Kumar, CEO Natural Data Management System (NSDI) & Head Natural Resources data Management System (NRDMS) Division, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, “The market trend and opportunities in anything as a service is tremendous. In India it is happening slowly and steadily, not the way it should have happened. In Geo-Spatial data, people having a lot of data, but they have not capability to provide services as such.”
He adds, “Clouds computing to succeed you need collaboration and sharing. In government and private sector, the important thing is to share-sharing of data or resources . If people have no consciousness of sharing; they won’t have the knowledge about resources. Unless you locate the data, you can’t discover the data; unless you discover it you can’t explore it.”
Market Trend and Potential

Dr R Siva Kumar
CEO, NSDI & NRDMS Division, Department
of Science & Technology

“Clouds computing to succeed, you need collaboration and sharing. In government and private sector, the important thing is sharing of data or resources”

The cloud computing market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40 per cent by 2014, from an estimated $66.7 million in 2009, driven by cost and performance efficiencies, says IT research firm IDC. Gartner estimates that, over the course of the next five years, enterprises will spend $ 112 billion cumulatively on SaaS, PaaS and IaaS put together. North American and European markets represent the largest markets from a geographic perspective.

Software as a service (SaaS) is being used to deliver a variety of e-Government cloud services such as Singapore’s Trade Net-a Single electronic window platform that enables important stakeholders within the supply chain to reduce the time needed to facilitate the trade process.Says Nitin Mishra, VP, Product Management, Netmagic Solutions Pvt. Ltd, “In 2009, SaaS had a worldwide market share of USD 9.6 billion while IaaS had a worldwide market share of USD 1.3 billion. By 2013, the SaaS market will grow to USD 17 billion while in the same time frame IaaS will have an almost six-fold growth to USD 7.6 billion. IaaS will be on a high growth trajectory given that it provides options for customisation and standardisation which is what customers will need for retaining business agility.”ChallengesOrganisations have to understand that cloud computing is not for every one. Safety and security levels are concerns that how secure would be the platform and how easy or difficult it would be to recover that data. Dr N Vijayaditya, Controller of Certifying Authority – Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, says “Each technology has its own pros and cons. With the cloud computing, issue of security is yet not solved. The complex of security in the government is very complicated.” He adds, “Make sure what type of security you are looking for. Security is important for certain applications. With cloud computing you have certain solution but not all the solutions. It helps the government but at the end of the day your data is very-very important and it needs to be protected. There are many areas where it helps government but issue of security must be looked deeper. In its adoption a careful step must be taken.”There are concerns for some other manufacturing industries special in rural areas in India where the internet connectivity could be a challenge in itself. If the internet connectivity is not 24×7 then it will hamper your work.

Asheesh RainaPrincipal Research Analyst, Gartner

“Leveraging a hybrid model accomplishes several benefits. Specific aspects of existing IT infrastructure (say, storage and compute) occur in public cloud environments, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise”

Hybrid is a future. Asheesh Raina, “Leveraging a hybrid model accomplishes several benefits. Specific aspects of existing IT infrastructure occurs in public cloud environments, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise. The use of hybrid computing acknowledges and validates the fact that not all IT resources should exist in public clouds today — and some may never exist in public clouds.”

While Indian universities have been very slow in adopting cloud computing technologies to virtualise learning and to encourage greater collaboration, the potential is huge. For example, IBM’s Academic Skills Cloud offers free cloud space to a number of U.S. Universities through which the course curriculum is made available for free, to be accessed anywhere and at any time on students’ laptops. The IDC study says that since cloud computing is at a nascent stage, there is an issue of lack of awareness, which affects the overall adoption of cloud computing in India.