Dr Sundar Raj Vijayanagar , Chief Technology Officer , Srei Equipment Finance Limited
Srei's cloud journey started in 2015 b.y implementing google mail and replacing Lotus Notes. We had a vision for 2020 that we would be running completely on cloud with minimal business loss and with maximum resource efficiency. Kanoria Foundation is a huge conglomerate of four big entities; Srei Equipment, Srei Infra, Quippo & India Power. We have another eService non-profit group, named Sahaj which is another frontal face of the Kanoria Foundation running PAN India based on liaison with local agencies by relentlessly interacting with different government organizations and the B2C market place providing 24/7 IT support.
The journey was not easy. We had a local data centre in Kolkata where all the hardware was nearing end of life. We were running on risks. On one hand, we had the challenge to reduce the operational costs and on the other hand the need was to sustain in this competitive market place with high-end technological advancement.
At Kanoria Foundation we embraced the Cloud First Strategy. Our thought process was at that time to provide the best infrastructure across the organizations, with the ability to perform more flexibly and cost-effectively to conduct day-to-day business. Our priorities were to go with SaaS (Software as a Service). In absence of SaaS we would go with PaaS (Platform as a Service). In case of absence of both we planned to move to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
A brief pictorial representation is given below highlighting the benefits and the differences among the three approaches.
In the beginning of the journey we built a solid team comprising brilliant solution architects, sharp business minds, and critical analytical personnel. To start with, we established a tactic road-map which helped the team immensely. We were fortunate enough to get best-partners from IT and consulting firms.
Migration of our legacy enterprise solutions onto a cloud environment was one of the major challenges. We had almost all business requirements along with cloud drivers and 3–5-year growth plans.
We introduced Testing as a new unit in Srei to measure the pre and post migration performance level. Multivendor project needed an orchestrated fusion where introducing "Change Freeze" for a complete month was a mammoth task. Our leadership team understood the potential risk and they gave immense support in getting the stabilization window.
We had a well-designed business impact analysis strategy in place which was validated by a third-party vendor.
Still I personally feel, we could have
done a much better job with respect to disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
It has been a year, since we are successfully running on cloud with minimal business impact. We are helping our partners to provide the necessary support to achieve their SLA goals. But unfortunately this is an emerging infra market place where obtaining a satisfactorily managed infra service is still very challenging.
To conclude, I would strongly recommend first putting a reasonable strategic blueprint in place which will help those planning to move onto the cloud. We took a phase wise path to achieve our goal. If your data centre is serving different groups of companies in that case it is better to design a DR setup first as a primary, then switching back as secondary or vice-versa.
My best wishes to my fellow comrades who are determined to move onto the cloud in another year or two. The sooner you go for cloud migration the better ROI your business may expect. Good Luck!