Hyperscale Data Centers: Provisioning The Needs of IT
By SI Team
Friday, January 31, 2014
LSI Corporation (NASDAQ:LSI) designs semiconductors and software for storage and networking at datacenters and mobile networks. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in California, the company has a market cap of $4.38 billion.

In a candid chat with siliconindia, Gautam Srivastava, SVP-Corporate Marketing and Human Resources of LSI Corporation shares some interesting insights about the impact of hyperscale data centers in the IT space. He also talks about the lack of integration of hardware and software in IT in the present day enterprise and the challenges he faces in his job.

Q: What are the new technology trends that you see shaping the industry's future?
A: Very large or hyperscale datacenters, operated by Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu, are the fastest segment of server growth, built to accommodate the massive growth of consumer data and the shift to cloud storage. These companies are deploying technology in different ways with tremendous long-term implications for IT, including the enterprise. As a result, CPUs, memory, storage, and networking gear will become fungible resources that will be optimized for specific uses to achieve the highest performance with the lowest possible cost of operation. These hyperscale datacenters will emerge as did the utilities we are all familiar with, such as water and electricity, able to benefit from scale efficiencies around particular applications in this case search, e-commerce, or social networking. They will excel at a particular application (which many of them already do), but also able to deliver that application at a lower cost than anyone else. Ordinary enterprises will find it difficult to do this in-house as well or at as competitive a cost.

Q: From your point of view, what is that one technology need of enterprises which is not satisfactorily being met by current solutions present by vendors?
A: Integration. IT inside an enterprise is still challenged to integrate different hardware and software from a variety of vendors to provide a full suite of applications to its internal clients (typically office workers). I predict the solution will not be to find a new, better way to integrate disparate applications and their underlying infrastructure, but rather a typical IT department will, by design, do less by doing more of what is not differentiated (such as email, messaging, word processing, or other typical business applications) in the cloud, and only doing on premise what is strategic and differentiated. Moving to the cloud will alleviate a lot of energy managing things that do not matter to strategic outcomes, and ideally IT will do more of what does matter to strategic outcomes.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face in the role as an SVP? How do you overcome them?
A: Our company is critical to trends and developments in the datacenter. Like most deep technology development companies, we like to talk in technical terms. It is a challenge to get people in our company to tell a simple, consistent story that is understandable. That is where my challenge lies, and I think it is one the confronts many marketing and human resources leaders in technology companies how do you get current or potential customers, investors, or employees to really understand how our company and products tie to larger business and personal outcomes. So, for example we simplified our message and spend a lot of time talking about how we see a "data deluge" as a result of all the devices in the world and people online. That explosion in data requires innovation at a semiconductor level to enable data to be captured, stored, shared, and mined. By aligning with a simple problem and a huge area of growth, our solutions become more valuable and understandable to our stakeholders.

Q: What are the three biggest issues facing business leaders today?
A: One critical issue faced by leaders today is figure out how to grow amidst a generally muted macro-economic environment. Another problem is how to do more with fewer resources; be it less money, less people and get more efficiency whilst macro-economic growth is limited.

Business leaders also need to figure out how to excite people, particularly young people, about work and their potential for impact in the world without the answer being centered on money or lifetime assurance of employment.

Q: Innovation in technology has become important in these times. Can share with us, some of the steps you take to encourage innovation within your team.
A: I try to encourage an innovation environment by openly debating alternatives toward accomplishing a goal, and insisting we take different positions. I also focus on encouraging people to take the risk to try something different every year knowing that I will protect them if it fails. On occasion, I also get out of the way and avoiding asking too many detailed questions that could discourage speculation, risk taking, and innovation.

(As told to Durgesh Prakash)

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