The Big Data ecosystem in India is at par with leading markets – Qubole

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Companies create and store data on a continuous basis. Data analytics play a huge role in business growth and applying insights to derive meaningful and useful data assessment had always posed a great challenge, time and cost. Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) is a way to utilize open source big data processing technologies in the cloud, has a host of advantages and runs on-demand saving time and cost.

Team NewsBarons connected with Nikunj Vora, David Hsieh and Joydeep Sen Sharma from Qubole, a cloud-based Big Data as a service developer. Qubole helps enterprises take full advantage of the cloud to make processing more accessible in an enterprise setting, while reducing complexity and cost and has been associated with known brands like Ola, Saavn, Capillary Technologies, Quora, Pinterest and Under Armour amongst other equally recognised global entities.

NB: Explain Big Data as a service?

David: Big Data as a Service is a way to utilize open source big data processing technologies (like Hadoop, Spark, Hive etc) in the cloud.

It’s an alternative to on premise or a hosted deployment. Big Data as a Service has a number of advantages, including faster time to market, no capital expenses and overall lower costs. In Big Data as a Service, hardware infrastructure is dynamically provisioned from the cloud, and it runs on-demand so it’s much more time and cost efficient.

NB: How is Big data useful for organisations?

Joydeep: Most companies today are gathering a lot of data from various sources – mobile apps, websites, consumers, etc. But actually deriving meaningful insights from the data is easier said than done. Big data analytics comes handy at this stage. Along with gathering lots of data and its analytics using big data tools, organizations are becoming smarter in making better decisions. Big data and analytics are being extensively used within an organization to streamline processes such as marketing, operations and human resource management and also to provide better customer experiences and product offerings.

NB: What is the size of the analytics market in India?

Joydeep: As per an Analytics India Magazine report that came out in June last year, the analytics market in India stands at $1.64 billion in revenues annually and is growing at a healthy rate of 28.8% CAGR.

NB: How secure is the service, understanding that all information is stored on cloud?

Joydeep: Security is a top concern of enterprises adopting big data solutions in the Cloud. Fortunately – there has been tremendous progress amongst Cloud Providers, Open Source software and Solution providers that address this concern – and as a result we are today finding cloud adoption accelerating in verticals like Government and HealthCare where security is paramount.

NB: How does one manage Big Data security challenges?

Joydeep: Key areas of concern that we see are around Data Encryption, Data Location, Cloud based authentication and authorization, Perimeter Security and compliance with standards like SOC2 and Hipaa. In the specific area of Big Data processing – we see interest in technologies around data anonymization and fine grained access control to data sets. Security in the Cloud is substantially different and harder than Security within a data center. Companies are using rented hardware that is also used by other tenants – and this leads to requirements of much stronger lock down of data assets.

One of the benefits we bring to our customers is offering a pre-integrated big-data solution that already incorporates most of the security technologies and best-practices applicable in the Cloud. As we have discovered – this is a complex undertaking and solutions like ours reduce the time to quickly go to production using Big Data in the Cloud (and also mitigate the need to hire domain specialists to build such solutions from scratch – which as these reports emphasize – is a key bottleneck to big-data and cloud adoption).

NB: What are the challenges you face in the Indian markets compared to other developed markets like US?

Nikunj: The Big Data ecosystem in India is very much at-par with leading markets like the US. Some of the world’s best talent and innovation is taking place right here and we see a very close integration of innovators, users and companies between India and other markets. There is evidence for this in the fact that all leading Big Data providers have a large engineering and support base in India with a growing local customer base.

As more and more local companies pivot towards data driven decision making throughout the organization, Big Data will enter the everyday lives of the traditional companies, something that has started to happen in the more mature market for a few years now?

NB: What will the next phase of growth for Qubole?

Joydeep: As is well known – public Clouds are growing at a frantic pace. AWS reporting growing 64% year-on-year in their most recent quarter. Specialist Big Data firms (like Hortonworks) are also growing north of 50% year-on-year. So we feel very optimistic about the growth rate in this market and are anticipating a 2-2.5x growth this year. We have also seen a very clear shift towards the public Clouds in our markets in the last couple of years – with large enterprise companies seriously considering a public Cloud based architecture.

There are many parallel trends that are evident. One is the increasing importance of Data Science. Secondly – more and more data is going real-time – particularly with the emergence of the IoT space. Ease of use and SaaS based self-service analytics is redefining the analytics space in the same way that Gmail redefined Email.

Exploiting cloud based hardware for cost effective and fast data processing is a trend that Qubole pioneered – and we see increasing opportunity there as hardware configurations and purchasing options for compute and storage proliferate. A similar proliferation of choices continues in the Big Data software space as well – with new entrants (like Apache Flink) showing up at regular frequency. The complexity of navigating these choices and having an optimized, production-ready and well supported Big-Data stack is going to make it increasingly natural for customers to gravitate to Big-Data-as-a-Service solutions like Qubole.

NB: Qubole has raised a significant amount of fund. Where will that be deployed?

David: Qubole is looking to use the funds to fuel sales growth in PAAC, India North America and Europe apart from investing in expanding our partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Google. We are also expanding our engineering centre in Bangalore to extend our technology and innovation leadership.