Digitized data in India to explode in 2018: Vivek Tyagi, Western Digital

The digitally connected enterprises will spike the demand for high capacity storage devices, says Vivek Tyagi, Director - Business Development at Western Digital India

Data continues to grow at an exponential pace with social, mobile, analytics and the digital journey of enterprises in India reaching a higher maturity level. How would CIOs manage the data? What are new storage devices to control the information sprawl? IDG India spoke to Vivek Tyagi, Director of Business Development, Western Digital Corporation India on the company’s focus areas for storing large amounts of data across Indian enterprises.

Edited Excerpts:

What is really changing fast in the enterprise storage market from a technology perspective and how is Western Digital geared up for its India business for 2018?

Storage, now in 2018 is more built around data itself, because of the data explosion that’s taking place in the industry and enterprises are looking to leverage that data in an effective manner.

WD focuses on Big Data and Fast Data : Vivek Tyagi

1.    Big Data: Data generated in large volumes for companies to store and analyze. We are creating large capacity Hard drives for archival storage, for the datacenters including launching 12 TB hard drive for datacenters. We are moving to microwave assisted recording that will have the ability to create very large pool of large sized hard drives.

2.    Fast Data: The data on Mobile phone, connected cars, IoT devices etc. needs to be accessed immediately.  We classify that data at the edge to run analytics and that needs response very quickly. At the edge, we have consumer solutions like solid state drives for laptop and tablet with the flash, which will continue to grow very rapidly in 2018.

The data with all the payment banks is digital currency, in form of data or bitcoins; it is in the form of data. The records, certificates, land records to name a few are getting digitized and thus adding to the data sprawl. The travel information in the form of maps is also stored as data. Basically every piece or business of our life is becoming data. Hence it is critical on how companies store, manage and make use of this valuable information. Western Digital helps customers to be the right custodian of data.

Almost half the world’s data is stored on Western Digital products. We are segregating this data on a broad level in two categories. One is Big Data, being generated in large volumes, which you need to store and analyze. For big data we are creating large capacity Hard drives for archival storage, for the data centers. We recently launched 12 Terabyte hard drive for the datacenter. Next year we targeting a new technology for 14 terabyte hard drive. From the magnetic side, we are moving to the micro wave assisted recording that will have the ability to create a very large pool of large size hard drives.

The other one is Fast Data. For example, for a Mobile phone, you need to access data immediately, or for connected cars, IoT devices etc. We classify that piece of data at the edge to run analytics and that needs to respond very quickly. At the edge we have consumer solutions. On the laptop and tablet we have solid state drives, with the flash, which is growing very rapidly and continue to grow in 2018.

More data means more headaches of all kinds for CIOs in terms of investing in technologies for data storage. What exactly are CIOs & IT decision makers of India Inc. expect from modern storage vendors?

Too much data is becoming unmanageable for people because historically, data used to get stored on tapes, which is offline and it is unreliable to run analytics or AI on it. Traditional data storage has been designed to store files in blocks, and it often requires conversion process to convert offline materials to online information in order to run analytics or AI.

“Too much data is becoming unmanageable for people because historically, data used to get stored on tapes, which is offline and it is unreliable to run analytics or AI on it. ”

Vivek Tyagi

Director of Business Development, Western Digital Corporation India

However, Amazon started the new technology known as the S3 cloud or ‘object storage’ where we can easily store huge amounts of data as well as access it. Western Digital launched a product for object storage in 2017, targeting storage of large amount of data. It starts from 500TB and scales to 50 Petabytes. This is the right solution designed for CIOs to tackle their challenges related to data storage.

All CIOs in India are highly cost-conscious and datacentre operators are looking at reducing operation cost, power-cooling cost, rack space, footprint cost etc. We are solving these problems with larger capacity hard-drive, and in the context of power- cooling, WD launched the helium-filled drive under HGST brand. Therefore, previously air used to get filled but now the helium – filled drive has the capacity to cut the power consumption of your hard-drive and make it more reliable.

With quantum of data growing over a period, your customer might not buy storage as Capex in near future. Is cloud a viable option for them?

There was a trend in the market few years ago where everyone felt that cloud is next generation storage mode, but we see hybrid model is growing in demand. There is certain data that needs to be on premise and certain data that can be pushed to cloud. So to be compatible with cloud we launched object storage solution which is completely compatible with Amazon S3 cloud. Our customers have the ability to move data in and out of cloud to premise. 

Do you expect 2018 to be the year of the flash? What opportunities and road blocks do you see, because even today, the flash will not replace an HDD in entirety across datacenters and customers’ sites?

Actually, flash adoption has been taking place even in 2017, and adoption will continue to grow, going forward. Every enterprise or individuals’ data belongs to Fast data and Big Data. For fast data, it is absolutely necessary to have Flash, because you need faster response time. And then you’re willing to pay for it.

Wherever you are doing a backup of your data, hard drive will continue to support it, because you don’t need a quick response. If a Telco by the government mandate has to keep data for 7 years, you are not often accessing the data, so why do you need to spend money to put it on flash?  Hard Drives are sturdier as well compared to flash drives. We will live in a world of tiered data depending on what type of data, and you will keep it either on flash or hard drive, but definitely the adoption of flash continues to grow.

What according to you will be the big trends accelerating WD business in 2018? Do you see new set of verticals in India?

Yes, we are exploring many new areas, like adoption of storage in automotive sector (telematics, infotainment, and navigation requiring flash storage), IoT, adoption of drones (videos captured require flash storage), connected homes, (set-top boxes recording video, Smart TVs,) etc. More the world and things are connected, more of the generated needs to be stored.

Vivek Tyagi’s Key Priorities for India | 2018

1.    Create more awareness about object storage in the market.

2.    Emphasise on disaggregated storage or direct attached storage at user end.

3.    Improve channel ecosystem and country reach with strong alliances.

There is also a new notification by India government for the mobile manufacturers to make phones in India with an additional duty imposed on the finished imported mobile as part of their “Make in India” campaign. Hence, I expect that new manufacturers would enter in this segment as India is second largest mobile market in world. This will also accelerate our business as we are a leading supplier of internal flash storage for mobile phones.

BFSI, manufacturing, Government, Healthcare continues to be our key verticals. But we are looking at the new verticals which generate large amount of data and the data continues to grow along with the company. Couple of segments that fit well with this are media & entertainment because video resolution is gradually increasing to HD and 4K over a period. Similarly, another segment is life sciences, because a lot of research is taking place in areas like pharmaceutical, biotechnology, genomic research etc., which need to store the data for further reference. Hence, we are focusing on media & entertainment and life science as new verticals.

Western Digital acquired SanDisk and HGST (Hitachi Global Storage Technologies) in the recent past. What will be your integrated channel ecosystem story and how different would it be in future?

Western Digital has been a dominant player in the field of channel distribution and also SanDisk had a well-entrenched channels in enterprise and also across retail. As we speak, the integration of three companies Western Digital, SanDisk and HGST (Hitachi Global Storage Technologies) is just about to complete soon. In 2017 we have been operating through separate channel partners but with this integration, we will operate together as a company. For distributors and channel partners, they have a wider portfolio of products to reach in the market from 2018 onwards.

What would be Vivek Tyagi’s top 3 priorities for 2018 as India leader for WD? Can you mention Western Digital to us in single sentence?

First and foremost, we have to create more awareness about object storage in India. We want to work closely with companies to create disaggregated storage at their end. Historically, SAN or NAS storage were used but because of the cost; we are pushing for disaggregated storage or direct attached storage that puts the flash or hard drive directly into the server, which is high priority area for us. And we have to definitely improving the channel ecosystem and user reach through various alliances across the nook and corner of India.

It is the most trusted partner to keep your data with, would be my summary of Western Digital.