The opening day of the recently held WHD.India 2013 had a session titled “Reaching the next level of hosting” by Prashant Jain, Director, CtrlS. It was the last session of what had been a long exhausting day with multiple sessions lined back-to-back. Spent up with the proceedings of the day, my mind had started wondering how much booze would be too much booze to drink at the succeeding ConneXion Party so as to remain sober enough to do research work for the sessions scheduled for next day.
As the emcee invited Prashant on stage, I was expecting yet another run-of-the-mill session that was titled to come across as genuinely interesting and informative, but was actually rife with product pitches of the company. What followed pleasantly surprised me.
One of the only three talks out of a total of 22 at the two-day event that were more substance and less frill (the other two being ResellerClub‘s and Verisign‘s), it had Prashant talking about the hosting space, ongoing changes, future possibilities and steps web hosting providers can take to reinvent themselves. He did talk about CtrlS too, though, but it was just a one-minute introduction in the beginning and a two-minute service overview at the end.
If only we have more such pleasant departures at all industry events, everybody can expect to derive more value out of these conferences.
We sat down with Prashant the next day to discuss CtrlS’ Cloud services, DCIM, DR on Demand, much known 99.995% uptime SLA, and some of the industry best practices. The complete video of our interaction is below, and a print version with the highlights follows after it.
We have designed our datacenters in a way so as to ensure that we are a green building and every single operation we do, from the smallest task to the largest, is eco-friendly.
Q: Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and a broad overview of the services CtrlS provides; not only DCIM, but ones for which it is relatively less known too.
A: I am Prashant Jain, Director of the online services at CtrlS. While we are known for DC Infrastructure services, we also provide Disaster recovery, Managed hosting, Cloud services and various other hosting services for our SMB clients.
Q: CtrlS is one of the few datacenters in the industry with a ‘Green IT’ initiative. Now considering the mammoth investment that is needed for putting the proper infrastructure and technology in place for green IT, how does CtrlS manage to provide datacenters that are eco-friendly, energy-efficient and easy on balance sheets at the same time?
A: We have invested a lot of time in modelling datacenters throughout the world. CtrlS is Asia’s Largest and India’s Only Tier IV Certified Datacenter.
Our in-house infrastructure team monitors our PUE on a daily basis. PUE is a measurement that defines how much power we consume and how energy efficient we are. We have designed our datacenters in a way so as to ensure that we are a green building and every single operation we do, from the smallest task to the largest, is eco-friendly.
Q: A penalty backed SLA of 99.995% uptime is another one of your forte. How does CtrlS ensure maximum uptime for its IT infrastructure?
A: So, as a Tier IV datacenter we ensure that we provide the highest level of SLA in the industry, i.e. 99.995%., for all our offerings, like datacenter infrastructure, disaster recovery, storage, backup, hardware, network , security solutions etc.
We achieve this SLA by having a built-in N+N redundancy in every single area of our datacenter, be it our bandwidth, hardware, infrastructure, or services.
Q: What measures does CtrlS have in place to ensure security of mission-critical Internet operations at its datacenters?
A: We ensure that mission critical applications of customers are protected by having a 8-zone security built in each level of our datacenter.
Not only do we follow all the international standards that are there, but we also ensure that we are open to third party audits for security purposes, so that we can maintain this high standard of security.
Q: Can you share with us the modus-operandi of CtrlS’s DR on Demand and its Pay-per-use pricing model?
A: Disaster recovery services in India have been available since long, but they are priced very high and cost as much as the original equipment and the infrastructure.
To cut down these costs, we have used a pay-per-use model, which means that the customer only has to pay in the event of a disaster. At other times when the infrastructure is not being used, only a minimal amount is charged. This ensures that the customer pays only for the resources he uses and not for the complete infrastructure. The pay-per-use model is available for our Business Continuity Planning Services as well.
Q: Please throw some light on the CtrlS CLOUD.
A:The CtrlS Cloud is available in three variants. One is the ‘Enterprise cloud’ based on a VMware platform, second one is ‘Real Cloud’, which supports Xen Hypervisor and a lot of the other virtualization technologies available, and the third one is ‘Cloud VPS’ based on the Parallels Virtuozzo machine.
We use all three platforms to ensure that we are able to position our products for different market segments and different kinds of needs, ranging from enterprises to ISVs.
Q: This one is regarding launch of CtrlS’ new datacenter in San Diego, California. What value do you expect to derive from it? Also, any plans to expand the global footprint further?
A: We’ve already had Tier IV datacenter facilities in Hyderabad and Mumbai. We noticed that a lot of international customers were looking for a presence in the US and to cater to that demand, we came up with the new facility.
This expands our footprint in the US and to ensure that both our international and Indian customers can leverage it fully, we have geo-targeted CDN available between our US and Indian data centers.
Q: Being in the data center business since long, and having observed its trends in the past, how do you see the future of the Indian datacenter industry? Also, with respect to the SMBs, do you think many of them are waking up to the need and cost-benefits of outsourcing data center services?
A:So datacenter industry in India is quite nascent. There were not many datacenters in India till about 5-6 years ago, except for the large telecom players. But recently we have seen a couple of carrier neutral datacenters come up and the kind of capacities they’ve are phenomenal.
The SMBs are now waking up to the fact that they can host in India. Most of the hosting business earlier was done at the US datacenters because of the lack of availability of datacenters in India. So we have ensured that there is quality infrastructure available in India, and speaking of quality, which is one of the main reasons why people go to the US, there are only 26 Tier IV datacenters all over the world and we in India are proud to host one of the only such facility.
Q: Can you tell our readers 5 most important points they need to consider while choosing a datacenter?
A:Yes, so after a lot of years in this industry, and seeing the datacenter trends, we believe that there are 5 major parameters that SMBs should consider while choosing a datacenter.
The first one, of course, is SLA, because the kind of SLA that a datacenter provides you defines what kind of up-time you will get. The second one is the kind of security that the datacenter has, including the number of zones of security, quality of resources, etc.
The third one is financial stability because the datacenter industry is very capital intensive. Fourth, the kind of services a datacenter provides, the more the number of varied services that they are offer, the higher the level of their skill and expertise is. The quality of support is also one of the defining factors.
Q: To wrap up, what’s in the bag for Q3 & Q4 of 2013?
A:We have decided to concentrate on providing white label cloud services for web hosting providers and ISVs to help them launch their own cloud services. We are also working on providing high availability platforms for customers.
We have launched some new products recently like Parallels Virtuozzo machine (DaaS) and a lot of newer technologies in terms of virtualization, including the Parallels cloud platform, which we expect to grow phenomenally in the next two next quarters.