Maruti Techlabs’ Lalit Bhatt on Cloud Computing — opportunities and challenges
We recently caught up with Lalit Bhatt, Project Leader at Maruti Techlabs. We were keen to learn more about his profile at Maruti Techlabs, how cloud computing has been an integral part of his work and benefits of cloud systems for the clients.
Hi Lalit, firstly thank you for the interview. Let’s start with your background and how you became interested in cloud computing.
Rohit Akiwatkar: What is your short bio? And as a project leader what are your day to day activities?
Lalit Bhatt: Before joining Maruti Techlabs in 2010, I was working at a leading Chip Design and Software Development Company as a software developer. It is difficult to explain my role at Maruti Techlabs because I literally hopscotch between different roles and technologies. If I am working on client’s cloud migration this week, next week I might be mentoring the junior developers or improving the infrastructure aspects. Currently, I am working on improving the backend system for our US based clients.
That’s a very interesting job profile. Thank you for sharing. Now let’s talk about your work in Cloud computing.
RA: How did you got involved in cloud computing? Or How did you start paying attention to cloud computing and what was your initial thoughts? How have your views evolved?
Lalit Bhatt: We have always advised our clients to adopt cloud computing and migrate their data to cloud for better management. Thus, since joining Maruti Techlabs, I was involved with cloud technologies. Cloud computing is a revolution in IT industry. For an in-house server, I would require setting up a local environment including backups, CPU usage monitoring and trigger notifications. Whereas in the cloud, you are free from such hassles. We have been providing cloud strategy and migration of all the major cloud providers — AWS, MS Azure, Rackspace, Google Cloud platform. But I prefer Amazon Web Services (AWS) think it’s leading this race.
RA: Why do you prefer AWS? Any particular instance that you can share.
Lalit Bhatt: One of our long-term clients were using Rackspace’s dedicated servers but owing to the dynamic business growth and scalability, wanted a solution which would provide cost-effective scalability in terms of IT infrastructure. We explored Amazon Web Services, performed the detailed comparison in terms of pricing, scalability & performance and completed migration in less than a month. Implementing AWS led to a reduction in hosting cost by 50%. The customer got an additional benefit of separate web server and database instances compared to existing setup. It provides single click scale up and down instance configurations without human support. Also, AWS has availability of unique subscription options (reserved instances, spot instances, etc.) to choose from at any moment. We use Amazon EC2, RDS, Route53, Amazon S3, CloudFront, CloudWatch, ElastiCache for software development.
RA: That sounds fantastic! As you have explained about the benefits of cloud, I want to talk about possible concern about cloud systems.
Lalit Bhatt: In terms of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), most cloud providers give hardware virtual machine (HVM). When talking about HVM, many will immediately get concerned with resource sharing, multi-tenancy, compliance, and security. As the servers are shared there is but a negligible security threat because the cloud providers regularly update their software and have a dedicated team for troubleshooting.
RA: What industries could benefit most from using Cloud Computing?
Lalit Bhatt: Generally, all the sectors can benefit from cloud technology. But it’s easy to realize gains in startups and small firms. Purchasing a server class machine is costly. Further, it requires regular maintenance and backup. Thus for a startup, it’s not possible to allocate a dedicated team/time for server maintenance. Also if the startup becomes an overnight success and requires more space it can easily increase in the cloud. Large organizations use redundant instances and autoscaling to keep their businesses safe in case of natural calamities. In an effort to do everything from offer better in-store customer service to fully leverage advances in manufacturing, companies from even most traditional and change-resistant sectors are seeing the writing on the wall: Cloud technology strategies cut cost and risk.
RA: Apart from the basic understanding of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS models, can you share latest technology trends in cloud computing?
Lalit Bhatt: I think cloud analytics, rich API integrations and hybrid clouds are the latest trends in cloud computing. Cloud analytics solutions that allow for digging into both usage and billing data will give IT leaders the power to quickly spot potentially costly services and prevent budget overruns. SaaS, PaaS and IaaS vendors will be pressured to provide rich sets of APIs, enabling security vendors and application vendors to provide value added services. Hybrid clouds i.e. a good mix of on-premise and cloud infrastructure makes cloud adoption easier. In-short whatever that makes utilization of cloud-based system better — monitor, manage and govern would be next trends.
RA: As you mentioned Hybrid Clouds as one of the latest trends. Is security the major concern for adopting this model?
Lalit Bhatt: Partly yes as legacy solutions, compliance and a host of issues can keep a portion of an IT roadmap anchored on premise. But achieving development speed is the main reason behind hybrid clouds. For example, a software firm having three servers — development, staging and production will adopt a hybrid model. Development server will be hosted on premise and other two on the cloud. Software development requires frequent communication with the server for committing the code multiple times. But using cloud servers for running queries frequently will require higher internet bandwidth so it’s advisable to uses in premise servers for development.
RA: For organizations that aren’t yet using the cloud, what’s the first step they should take?
Lalit Bhatt: Cloud is an enabler for technology transition for the next 5 years. How to move entire company’s data and applications into the cloud; keeping the privacy and security intact is the question. Obviously moving the entire system overnight without messing up is not possible. The first step would be to identify present cloud requirements and go for the cloud with help of cloud consultants and gradually migrating the whole system in parts.
RA: Moving to the last question — what do you think is the next big disruptive technology in conjunction with cloud computing?
Lalit Bhatt: I think incorporating Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is next big challenge for cloud providers. Once your models are ready, Machine Learning makes it easy to obtain predictions for your application using simple APIs, without having to implement custom prediction generation code, or manage any infrastructure. Major players have started taking steps to provide APIs; Google cloud platform, Microsoft API for Azure and AWS Machine Learning technologies are already available for the cloud users. AWS ML is at a nascent stage compared to Google ML and Microsoft Azure ML.
Lalit, Thank you so much for your time! Really enjoyed learning more about your background, how the world of cloud computing is evolving and what you are working on at Maruti Techlabs. You can read more about Maruti Techlabs here.