Cloud computing is still in its early days: EMC’s Srivastava


At computer storage giant EMC, Amitabh Srivastava, president of advanced software division, said he’s solving problems of wider scope and greater depth than he would have been able to had he stayed on at Microsoft. In 2011, Srivastava, then head of Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, left around the time Nadella was promoted as the head of Microsoft server and tools business. Srivastava told ET that he believes a cloud-computing revolution is still in its early days and large cloud platforms such as Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services will need to equip themselves with next-generation enterprise technologies. Edited excerpts:

How do you view the cloud computing market in India?

Whether it is social, smartphones or market place, India is going to be a huge market. That’s why everyone wants to come here. It’s not just not about getting the economies of scale and cost. Most of our important products are being developed from here.

What are the latest trends in the world of cloud computing?

One is that data is growing at a massive rate. Operational expenses of client companies is directly proportional to the amount of data generated. And that’s not a sustainable model. Clients are asking us to solve problems so that even as data grows, their operational expenditure is not related to that. Large enterprises such as banks now need choices on different cloud environments. Thirdly, clients need the simplicity of cloud computing without the constraints of working on a cloud. Everyone likes public cloud, whether its AWS or Azure, but they still need to take all the data and take it to the public cloud.

Analysts say this industry has evolved through three platforms. Mainframes, PC and client server, and cloud and big data. Today, we are at platform 2, trying to get to platform 3. Even though Azure and AWS have proven their significance, they still are not able to meet the total demand in the market. We are making products that can work in a much more complex environment but can offer the same level of simplicity of public cloud.

What do you think of Microsoft’s current cloud strategy compared to 4 years ago when you were there?

I see them exactly where they were before. They are a partner of EMC and we sell storage for Windows server. I think Xbox is awesome, the Microsoft server business is doing well. Yes, there are challenges on the client and tablet side but they’ll figure it out. They have a big enterprise business although their Azure does not have all the features an enterprise would need. Our strategy is to take learnings from Azure and Amazon Web Services and iterate that for the next generation cloud.

What do you think of Satya Nadella as Microsoft CEO? 

I know Satya and I wish him good luck. He has a challenging job. The industry is at a transformation point. I think it’s an exciting job.

Do you ever think you could have stayed back at Microsoft? 

I don’t. My entire career is built on experiences. 14 years at Microsoft was a joy and it was very successful. I wanted to look at a new set of problems and not just from a Microsoft perspective but a much broader perspective. I felt that (Microsoft) is not the best place to solve if that’s what I wanted to do.

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