E-commerce players like Manipal eCommerce Limited (MeCOM) have to be always ahead of the technology curve. This is essential for the company since its clientele includes major Indian consumer brands like Kurlon (the maker of mattresses, furnishing and furniture products). Due to this need, MeCOM constantly introduces changes in tune with its growing business and data center requirements. As the latest initiative on this front, MeCOM is now contemplating a new set of requirements from its data center located in Bangalore.
MeCOM was formed in 1996 with the aim of delivering quality e-Commerce solutions that bring value to the customer. Today, the company’s customer base includes multinationals, government organizations, public sector companies and large private sector enterprises. However, its core customers are sister concerns and group companies. Growth in customer base over the years has meant that MeCOM has to meet the needs of a variety of customers with differing data center and other IT infrastructure requirements.
Now, the challenge here is not just MeCOM’s own expansion, but also that of its major customers like Kurlon. This brings into the picture a different sort of data center requirements. At the moment, MeCOM has 20 servers from HP, IBM and Fujitsu (running on quad core, dual core and Xeon processors). SAP is the main application (the company plans to migrate to a newer version soon). Some of MeCOM’s IT infrastructure is located in remote locations.
With multiple locations to look at, a disaster recovery (DR) setup is a key requirement from data center infrastructure. Hence, the company is considering outsourcing of its current data center facility so that DR can be moved to this location. The company has six factory locations, of which one can be used as a DR site. Right now, the DR operation is manual — tapes are moved physically from one location to the other.
“Right now, with regard to our expansion, the dilemma is whether to outsource the operations or get it managed by an in-house team,” explains Vineet Ghildyal of MeCOM. Interestingly, the company had considered the outsourcing option in 2009 as part of its new data center requirements. Since the option proved expensive, MeCOM did not go for it.
When it comes to the new requirements for its data center, MeCOM is clear that the deciding factor for an outsourcing vendor will depend on the particular business in question. Ghildyal says, “Data center activity is no longer specialized, since there are many vendors now. Further, cost is a driving factor. It will be very critical to look at the different redundancies being provided.” The service level agreement (SLA), which has to be driven by each business’ demands will also be a major part of the new data center requirements.
As part of its new requirements for data center infrastructure, MeCOM is considering wide area network (WAN) acceleration for network devices. The company is looking at this option as part of its new data center requirements, as the current leased line facility creates several network performance issues.