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Gujarat SMEs log on to cloud services

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With Gujarat accounting for over 10 per cent of the three million-odd small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, is set to launch its for the segment from the state. SMEs in Gujarat are said to be looking at data backup and email management services, along with data and business analysis by cloud solution providers.

Earlier this year, at the ninth meeting of the National Board for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Virbhadra Singh, minister for micro, small and medium enterprises, said the government would collaborate with service providers to provide latest information technology and software to small units at cheaper rates. "Small entrepreneurs are unable to afford expensive software packages. Keeping this in mind, our ministry proposes to launch cloud computing for the sector, in collaboration with service providers," Singh had said.

Cloud computing is a set of services that provides infrastructure resources using internet media and data storage on a third-party server. In the cloud computing environment, SMEs would not have to own the infrastructure. Therefore, they would not be hit by any capital expenditure and instead, can utilise the resources as a service and pay according to their usage of the resources.

Hitachi plans to introduce offering cloud services for SMEs in Gujarat by the next financial year, before taking the service to other states. Tata Communications, too, has announced plans to target about 30 per cent of the 380,000 small and medium scale units across Gujarat for the adoption of its recently-launched cloud services. The company has launched two new products, InstaApps and InstaCompute, as part of its cloud services.

"With over 10 per cent of SME representatives in Gujarat, the state is an ideal launch pad for cloud services. As a company, we are looking at catering to both large enterprises, as well as SMEs. However, since SMEs are not very aware about cloud services, we would start offering the services in Gujarat, since we are sure about quick penetration here. Once that happens, we would seek to offer cloud services to SMEs in other states," said Sunil Chavan, director (software group & cloud solutions), Asia-Pacific, Hitachi Data Systems.

As part of its cloud services, Chavan said the company was looking to offer solutions to large enterprises, SMEs and individuals alike. "So far, offering cloud solutions to individuals is unheard of in India. However, the trend is going to pick up by next year. We would be one of the first to offer cloud services for individuals. For this, we are in talks with telecom operators to partner us in offering cloud solutions for consumer needs like data backup," he added.

In India, the cloud solutions industry is estimated at around $400 million, and this is set to grow 10-fold to $ 4-4.5 billion by 2015. Citing an IDC survey, Chavan said the Indian market was the most mature, in adoption of cloud. technologies and high usage levels of converged systems. According to the survey, despite growing needs for more advanced data centre architecture, the Indian market, especially Gujarat, faces fundamental concerns such as managing email growth and backup.

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