The data centre invasion

Supplying data centre infrastructure solutions requires partners to have expertise and understanding of how businesses can realise long-term cost savings on operations and maintenance of data centres. What does it take to meet the demands of the new data centre.

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The data centre invasion
By  Piers Ford Published  February 22, 2015

“The channel needs to understand how the market shift towards new technologies such as cloud-based solutions can help create opportunities for more traditional infrastructure solutions,” he said. “Also, with governments trying to persuade large organisations to invest in more sustainable products there remain many reasons for the channel to understand how infrastructure investments, in particular in green products will increase. Expanding their product knowledge and training can help them ensure customers get the correct advice in the purchasing decision process.”

At one such local player, systems integrator EMW ME, regional director Rifaat Al Karmi is in no doubt that the data centre will continue its shift towards a service-oriented and economically efficient private cloud, giving the enterprise’s internal customers the ability to consume infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS) and software (SaaS) as service.

“The data centre infrastructure market is competitive but by maintaining our customer service and support standards we offer a local understanding and provide leading technologies,” he said. “We continue to work with large NGOs and government entities alike on various projects including data centre and associated mobility solutions.”

Al Karmi said that any channel player needs to provide a complete framework of consultancy and technology fulfilment of any customer’s data centre requirements. “We provide the latest market trends and analysis (including ROI) as part of this service and that helps our customers plan a solution that meets their requirements,” he added. “For network and technical consulting we provide IT infrastructure design of private/hybrid cloud, centralised and/or distributed data centres, and unified cloud-computing platforms. In business operation and management consulting we provide comprehensive management and cloud-service-enable consulting.”

According to Al Karmi, customers are striving to balance big data, cloud and Software-Defined Network (SDN) initiatives as more internal influencers put pressure on data centre operations. Channel players can respond by providing management system integration solutions that raise the level of automation and allow the unified management of different types and scale of data centres.

“The concept behind our vision in building a data centre is to introduce a modern architecture that focuses on three key pillars: openness, simplicity and intelligence,” he said. “This open approach provides flexibility to integrate any heterogeneous data centre infrastructure technology, and support any application or SDN protocol without disrupting services or leading to vendor lock-in. It is simple to deploy and integrate through automation and orchestration, enabling the provision and delivery of services with high reliability and performance at low operational expense. And it is smart, using cutting-edge analytical tools to provide visibility and intelligence to the network, giving end-users the customised experience they need in real time.”

Al Karmi said that as the margins on traditional infrastructure shrink, the channel will have to look at alternative technologies. As the data centre evolution continues, more and more organisations will invest in new applications to improve the efficiency and productivity of the data centre – reducing the strain on the infrastructure and moving relevant areas to cloud-based solutions.

This opens up the possibility for resellers and systems integrators to provide a range of long-term value-added services. For example, Hitachi Data Systems has more than 50 ways to measure costs in businesses specifically on the storage front. Anything that helps customers to be more agile – a key selling point most data centre propositions – will win the IT professional’s ear.

Aaron White, general manager for the Middle East, said that local players have clear opportunities to offer local specific and niche solutions such as smart solution billing and the monetisation of services.

“We are seeing the virtualisation of network server and storage, integration into the public cloud – especially in the consultant space – and the tangible benefits of big data as hot technology drivers,” he said. “Also demand for a lot of virtualisation and cloud-based solutions for private companies and traditional infrastructure maintenance in the government sectors. There are a lot of opportunities for partners to put together service level agreements around these requirements.”

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