As Cloudera plans India market expansion, CPO Sudhir Menon signals growing adoption of hybrid data solutions by Indian companies


Cloud solutions are dominating the data management landscape, with enterprises across the globe quickly embracing Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud to match pace with the global digital transformation for fuelling growth and driving business model innovation. With more and more Indian enterprises looking to invest in digitisation and adapting new ways of leveraging their data for improved business performance, cloud infrastructure is now a critical component of Indian IT infrastructure.

Amidst this backdrop, global hybrid data company Cloudera is making significant investments to expand its operations in India, with plans to invest Rs. 500 crores over the next two years to strengthen its on-ground presence as it looks to double down on helping businesses in their hybrid and multi-cloud journey, its
Chief Product Officer Sudhir said in an interview with

ET Spotlight

“We are also committed to hiring, training and retaining the right talent for Cloudera in the country. The opening of this CoE facility in Bengaluru, along with our Chennai office earlier this year, is a testament to this. We have hired Indian talent in product engineering and development for our Bengaluru facility and will continue to do so in the years to come,” Menon said.
The adaptation to the hybrid data solutions by Indian enterprises has also been boosted by the ongoing digitization drive of the Indian economy. As companies in India are looking to switch to digitally driven business models, cloud computing solutions have played an increasingly bigger role in enabling this transformation. Lower total cost of ownership, innovation facilitation, enhanced operational efficiencies, and the ability to readily meet and respond to customer expectations is another reason that Indian enterprises are looking toward implementing hybrid data solutions.

In India, Cloudera’s customers include leading Indian businesses such as

, Bombay Stock Exchange, and , among others, as many of them transform and scale their business operations by leveraging the use of hybrid multi-cloud technologies.

To shed light on the Indian market opportunity for Cloudera and how the hybrid data company is helping enterprises in their digital transformation journey, spoke to
Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

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ET: Cloudera recently opened its revamped and newly expanded Centre of Excellence facility in Bangalore, as well as its Chennai Office, and has announced plans to ramp up investments in India. Could you give us more insight into this?

Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera: The Asia Pacific region (APAC) is one of the fastest growing markets for Cloudera and our investments in India have helped Cloudera tremendously with both product delivery and customer adoption in the region.

Cloudera Bangalore Center of ExcellenceET Spotlight

Our newly revamped and expanded Center of Excellence (CoE) facility in Koramangala, Bengaluru, builds on Cloudera’s stellar track record of delivering some of the most successful open source products in the history of software, from India. Core capabilities driven out of the Bengaluru facility include public cloud, software development, product security, data warehousing, machine learning, data engineering, quality and site reliability engineering, release engineering, infrastructure and tools development, program management, and information security.

India is an extremely important market for Cloudera and we have been making significant investments to grow Cloudera’s presence in the country. We are also committed to hiring, training and retaining the right talent for Cloudera in the country. The opening of this CoE facility in Bengaluru, along with our Chennai office earlier this year, is a testament to this. We have hired Indian talent in product engineering and development for our Bengaluru facility and will continue to do so in the years to come. We are proud of the impact that our team in India has made so far in delivering the hybrid data platform to our customers and plan to invest up to INR 500 crores over the next two years to strengthen our on-ground presence.

ET: What are some of the major trends and themes emerging from India with regards to hybrid cloud? Could you share with us a roadmap for Cloudera going forward, with a focus on your plans for the Indian Market?

Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera: Over the last two years, we have witnessed Indian organizations embrace technology and undergo an immense digital transformation for business continuity and adapt to the new hybrid work environment. Among several emerging technologies, hybrid and multi-cloud architectures have become critical to support remote operations and allow enterprises to digitally scale up their operations. A
study by IBM found that the cloud market has now stepped into a hybrid and multi-cloud era. According to the study, 99% of Indian organizations are using a varied combination of hybrid cloud architecture, and 78% said managing cloud operations across multiple environments on a unified platform is extremely important for successfully deploying and implementing digital initiatives across the enterprise.

Our recent
Enterprise Data Maturity research reported similar findings of an anticipated shift towards a hybrid multi-cloud in the next 18 months. Among cloud options, multi-cloud emerged as a clear favorite, with 54% of IT decision-makers from organizations in India indicating their preference for multi-cloud architectures in eighteen (18) months’ time. This is a sharp increase from the current 25% that have already implemented this approach for their enterprise data management and analytics. Hybrid multi-cloud enables an organization to be flexible, agile, compliant, and scale according to its needs. It is the best of both worlds, allowing organizations to balance security, governance and compliance needs with dynamic workloads. With the emergence of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing and 5G, adopting a hybrid multi-cloud environment will enable organizations to harness these technologies to make quicker and better-informed business decisions.

However, we also see many organizations moving to the cloud without much consideration for future data needs. An organization’s cloud strategy and overall digital transformation initiatives should align with its strategic goals and be driven by the aim of deriving more insights from its data. This should stem from adopting a data-first strategy by clearly defining how their business delivers value, and how data unlocks this value through informed decision-making.

Security is also becoming a huge concern for Indian organizations. As organizations accelerate their digital transformation and continue remote work arrangements across international boundaries, data is being created and consumed from multiple locations, adding layers of complexity to existing cybersecurity challenges. Unsecured Wi-Fi, personal devices, shadow IT and other unauthorized applications can expand the threat surface and increase the loopholes of which cybercriminals can take advantage. Having secure, open data management and governance across environments equips organizations with the means to practice proactive governance on their data that fuels growth.

India has always been a poster child for needing to solve problems at scale and as Indian enterprises have undergone digital transformation, the use of analytics for data driven decision making has exploded. India has always been a very cost and performance conscious market and hybrid architectures make a lot of sense in that regard.

At Cloudera, we believe data can make what is impossible today, possible tomorrow. We are sharpening our focus on APAC and are committed to helping businesses in India and the broader APAC region with their hybrid and multi-cloud journey to achieve the level of integration that allows applications and data to move seamlessly across the disparate infrastructures and the management of any environment holistically and securely.

ET: A combination of private and public cloud is fast becoming the preferred choice by enterprises for data management. Talk to us about the Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) and the key advantages of hybrid cloud for enterprises.

Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera: Cloud solutions dominate today’s data management landscape, yet many organizations struggle to gain value, drive innovation, and manage costs. A simple and secure hybrid data platform supporting both IT strategy and business needs is critical to making data accessible to all, without breaking security or the bank. Businesses can work towards building a data-driven culture by empowering everyone with access to data needed to make the right decisions while maintaining agility and secure governance.

In today’s digital world, profitable and transformational businesses require multiple analytics workloads, data science tools, and machine learning algorithms to run against the same heterogeneous data sources. Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) is a hybrid data platform designed for unmatched freedom of choice – any cloud, any analytics, any data – for faster and easier management of enterprise analytics for data anywhere, without compromising performance, scalability, or security. CDP brings together a combination of features that synthesizes public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises data services and infrastructure to enable multifunction data analytics for any data, any cloud, at any time. Key offerings include:

  • A unified, flexible, and secure platform for a consistent experience regardless of which user accesses it. Organizations will just need to build their data apps once, after which it can be run anywhere for cost, performance, data residency, or regional cloud availability. This also reduces the time to value for organizations leveraging their data for real-time insights for quicker, well-informed decision making.
  • A single pane of glass visibility, where organizations can manage both virtual machine–based and containerized analytics across their entire hybrid environment. Having a full view of its data and access to data across its entire lifecycle allows an organization to offer self-service analytics to its staff or even business units, making them self-sufficient.
  • Provides organizations with a connected data lifecycle, which takes into account the holistic view of the entire data journey from edge to cloud across data-in-motion and data-at-rest. This allows organizations to run real-time data analytics, whether it be edge analytics, streaming analytics, operational analytics, and/or machine learning analytics.

With CDP, organizations can fuel growth with speed and control for both business and IT, driving value with performance and cost efficiencies while creating a data-driven culture with flexibility and simplicity for increased user productivity. A hybrid data platform such as this empowers businesses to make smarter, data-driven decisions with the ability to access and analyze all data across public and private clouds and on-premises. Organizations need no longer sacrifice capabilities for choice and can focus on building their data-driven future by accessing data and analyzing it without limitations.

ET: Give us a sense of how far the hybrid data cloud industry has come in India and where you think it’s headed?

Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera: In truth, it is unsurprising to see the rise of the hybrid multi-cloud. For enterprises, a multi-cloud strategy utilizing both public and private clouds presents an enticing option to diversify risk, increase security and maximize innovation. In the past, businesses tended to hesitate to move critical workloads or sensitive data to the cloud, especially to the public cloud. That is changing now. Businesses have come to realize that employing multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud for that matter, need not be mutually exclusive. We are seeing cloud-enabled use cases like IoT, AI, and ML being used at scale by our customers across the globe. A recent
study by PwC analyzed more than 250 emerging technologies to identify those that would have the greatest business impact across industries. The study shows that out of the lot, 8 of the technologies had the most potential which PwC called the Essential Eight. They are- artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), blockchain, drones, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality (VR).

We see that organizations are doing, or aiming to do, more with their data, and reducing the time to value. Across the board, there are a multitude of requirements, processes, and capabilities in place involving current and future analytics. Regardless of which part of their data and analytics journey they are on, all organizations can benefit from improved efficiencies and making business-critical decisions with real-time data. The most innovative and successful organizations recognize data as a strategic resource that demands its own strategy.

Adopting an organization-wide, integrated, governed, and secure data-first strategy can help organizations do more with their data. It outlines the need for a hybrid data architecture that allows data to flow and is able to leverage data in this heterogeneous landscape. A hybrid data platform, such as Cloudera’s CDP, fulfills both business and IT needs, empowers an organization to leverage its data throughout the entire data lifecycle in any environment while also ensuring data security and lineage. With the ability to derive real-time insights from data that are compelling enough to provoke action, the organization can achieve greater agility, resilience, and innovation – critical capabilities in today’s ever-evolving digital world.

Organizations primarily using on-premises infrastructure were previously unable to scale their data applications to the cloud. This trapped their usage to on-premises infrastructure, and limited the returns of their earlier investments when they were unable to tap into the clouds on demand for added agility.

At the same time, early cloud adopters who have successfully completed cloud migration and have workloads shifted to the cloud are likely to be working faster and more efficiently. However, the issue is that their applications and data are often siloed on different clouds, and may require yet another architecture that can be secured and governed, while allowing them to aggregate and integrate the data from these disparate, siloed sources.

Cloud adoption is a journey, and no two problems that our customers face are ever the same. At Cloudera, we have been helping companies with their hybrid and multi-cloud journey to achieve the level of integration that allows applications and data to move seamlessly across disparate infrastructures and the management of any environment holistically and securely. Globally, we work with customers who are leaders in their own industries in financial services and insurance, telecommunications, and manufacturing and more. In India, we are also focused on the retail and ecommerce, public sector, and healthcare industries. Some of our key India customers include
Axis Bank
Yes Bank,
Bombay Stock Exchange, and
Reliance Industries Limited.

ET: You’re a seasoned tech leader as well as a successful entrepreneur. Share with us your key learnings from your journey as an entrepreneur that you bring to this role as Chief Product Officer at Cloudera

Sudhir Menon, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera: I have been fortunate enough to have been at the forefront of data and analytics for most of my career. I have had the privilege of working with some of the most demanding customers across the globe and partnering with them in creating lasting value for them. The first phase of this wave was about creating enabling technologies and Cloudera was an early winner in that space. The second wave was about seamlessly expanding capacity to drive higher agility and we have seen a ton of cloud adoption in the past 5 years. As that wave starts to crest, we are seeing greater appreciation for unified tooling, better cost control, an understanding of cloud concentration risks and the rise of data sovereignty requirements which are once again powering change which closely aligns with the vision that we have had all along. This is truly the democratization of analytics by making hardware, software and analytics truly available to everyone, from the newest startup to the most storied enterprises.

Solving the latest set of problems will require us to continue innovating in open source as evidenced by our efforts in products like Apache Iceberg, Apache Airflow and our continuing investments in security, governance and lineage as cornerstones of analytics execution both on-premises and in the cloud. This is something that has been part of our DNA since our inception. Simultaneously, as an open software provider supporting full life cycle analytics, we are uniquely positioned to help our customers get the highest value for their cloud investments at the highest agility. Our opportunities to innovate have never been greater and we have never been more excited about our future or our ability to bring cutting edge innovations to our customers.

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