Richard O’Brien – Technical director, Triangle Computer Services
VENDORS & THE CLOUD
The most difficult thing from a traditional business partner perspective is that most cloud vendors have a publicly published price list, so you have a defined percentage margin that increases with the larger volume of cloud you sell. In the past vendors sold you the hardware, storage and software, now they sell it as a service and expect you to build a service on top of that.
We see the consulting process in front of migration to cloud as an opportunity, along with the ongoing management. Most vendors support the partner staying between them and the customer. The partner stays engaged because of its local knowledge but has to find somewhere else to get the margin. The base offering is very clearly defined so there’s a lot less flexibility, which means it’s in the partner’s interest to add and wrap services around it.
For example, there are a unique set of requirements around DR (disaster recovery). A vendor can come up with a generic solution but it still needs local engagement with the customer to deliver the full stack.
Fairness in terms of arbitrating when dealing with a cloud provider is important. Recently I was at an event where a small customer asked ‘’what clout do I have with the provider?’’.
A business partner has a consolidated view of customers, so you have a bit more leverage, especially if you know how easy it is to move your customers between clouds. Partners can provide a multi-cloud portfolio with the tools to help customers move quickly.
Distributors are being proactive in this space in offering portals and configurations tools. They’re taking on a consolidating role with a one stop shop to what a cloud solution might look like that covers all the moving parts from a pricing perspective.
When it comes to managing cloud business, some distributors have been quite proactive in supporting partners. They give you a drop down menu where you can see four or five different providers, look at the price per virtual machine, location, bandwidth and I will give you a bottom line price.
But it’s not about the initial cloud footprint, it’s about growing that and adding extra capacity and solutions.
There are a number of significant changes to the storage market that organisations must take into account when deploying solutions. There are currently a proliferation of vendors providing solutions ranging from ‘’white box’’ based systems to the traditional big iron. We have seen in the market a number of the niche players balance sheets struggling to deliver profits. In additional there have been a number of mergers and acquisitions, the highest profile one is the potential EMC/Dell deal. What organisations must measure as part of any solutions is the expected longevity of a potential vendor and the vendor’s products
There is a movement towards Software Defined everything. Storage is no different here, separating the cost of storage into hardware and software enables organisations to significantly reduce the TOC of their storage platform.
Day 1 costs are similar, however, when a refresh is required, organisations now have the storage software. Software Designed Storage has, in the past, been perceived as a platform for low data clue platforms. However, with IBM delivering the Spectrum storage family line and
‘’Separating the cost of storage into hardware and software enables organisations to significantly reduce the TOC of their storage platform’’.
CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE is becoming the de facto standard platform for enterprises to implement in their datacentres.
The success of the collapsing multiple operating systems onto one server has spread to the storage and network realm. And organisation planning to implement such a solution should ensure they have a thorough understanding of the impact such a shift will have on their ability to provide their services.
Hardware independence is important in the initial choice of a converged system in order to avoid being locked in .
Implementing the solution in the conjunction with existing infrastructure means that there are enterprise support and integration concerns. Ensuring that the chosen platform is right sized for the environment workload that is running on it but also scalable for future expansion of that workload need consideration.
Once operational the management of the infrastructure does not increase the operational overhead significantly or else it will just become a burden.the future roadmap of the chosen infrastructure is also important to understand what an impact that future plan will have on the existing or proposed infrastructure.
The points noted here provide a glimpse of the complexity that present day data centre IT environments have scaled to, regardless of the detail of the workload on them. As a result, while implementing such fundamental change to the platform needed for IT services, it is essential that such change is thoroughly understood to ensure that any migration is done with minimal downtime and impact of those services.