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Cloud computing for enterprise apps: India Infoline's twin approach

Jasmine Desai, Principal Correspondent

For a company with varied interests in the financial services space with offerings ranging from equity research, equities and derivatives trading, commodities trading to loan products as well as investment banking, it is necessary that it optimally maintain its IT backbone. On this front, India Infoline Group (comprising the holding company, India Infoline Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiaries), did conduct an experiment much heard of, when it comes to

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 A year ago, India Infoline needed to upgrade its trading software, which runs at its peak during trading hours, and ran on 70 odd servers. India Infoline took ten days to migrate around 54 broadcast servers to the cloud, as against the almost six weeks timeframe required to provision a server in-house.

"For the success of cloud computing in our enterprise environment, it was essential to ensure that both the versions of our trading application ran fine during migration. It was a tough call when it came to procuring 70 more servers to run the new application in parallel," says Sankarson Banerjee, the CIO of India Infoline.

Since it was not possible to buy 70 additional servers, Banerjee settled on using Netmagic's cloud computing service. "We must have been one of the first companies in India to run production servers on the cloud," says Banerjee. These projects started off with the migration of two servers. Since the performance of broadcast servers is time sensitive, there were doubts about the Netmagic cloud's performance capabilities. Scalability issues were also concerns, when it came to auto scaling. Another concern for India Infoline revolved around backups of data on the cloud. However, these worries proved to be quite unfounded in nature.

India Infoline's second experiment with cloud computing for the enterprise started off when the company encountered issues with its email system. "Email is not a core function, but getting it wrong can be costly. Most of our users are basic email users, and we had to make sure they are not inconvenienced," says Banerjee. These glitches were numerous, including unreliable email delivery, limited features, poor spam filtering, and excessive usage of bandwidth. India Infoline had many options on this front, but they were expensive. So India Infoline decided to opt for Google Mail as the cloud computing platform of choice for the enterprise. "It integrates really well with Outlook and has low predictable TCOs. The best part was that everyone was familiar with it," says Banerjee. Google Mail's built-in spam control is a blessing, according to India Infoline.

Talking about cloud computing's benefits for enterprise applications, Banerjee says, "I don't have to worry about predicting our technology roadmap now." Apart from this benefit, utilizing cloud computing for the enterprise also reduces India Infoline's technology infrastructure management headaches.