Converged Infrastructure: A simple approach to a complex need

As an IT solution provider, you’ve done your job well over the years by building up your clients’ infrastructure, adding on all the solutions they’ve needed to grow their business and sharpen their competitive edge. But it might be time for a leaner, more simplified approach to satisfying your customers’ IT needs.

New Converged Infrastructures (CI) offer solution providers a chance to help clients of all sizes to improve the management, efficiency and performance of their IT systems by combining a data centre’s key components – computing, servers, storage and networking – into one pre-integrated, vendor-certified system that’s centrally managed through a single dashboard. CI helps to break down the IT silos, as well as the costs to manage them.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructures (HCI) take that original concept a step further with a more software-defined approach to managing the data centre. HCI allows providers to add more components to the mix, like comprehensive data protection. HCI is becoming more popular among medium and larger size enterprises, especially those with remote offices and offsite workers.

Both flavors, though, provide a cost-effective foundation for building private and public cloud computing platforms, as well as a more efficient system for managing VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). Combining the network, server, storage and management platforms that typically make up virtual desktop environments into a central infrastructure helps to simplify the complexities of managing, scaling and provisioning those components.

A word of caution. While CI provides strong customer benefits, the very nature of a hardware solution manufactured by one vendor can prove risky. Every solution provider knows the dangers of putting all their eggs in a one-vendor basket. To protect yourself and your customers, make sure you have a solid relationship with this vendor, and be sure that it is backed by clearly defined pricing and Ts&Cs (Terms & Conditions), before locking into the partnership.

Whatever vendor you settle on, CI will most likely be an important part of your solutions offering moving forward. The overall CI market, according to IDC’s recent Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker report, states the market increased almost 9 percent year over year to $3 billion during last year’s fourth quarter. For the full year, CI revenue rose 8.3 percent to $10.6 billion and is expected to climb to almost $18 billion by the end of this year, accounting for nearly 13 percent of total storage, server, networking and software spending, IDC reported.

The rapid market growth has ensured that there are still plenty of sales opportunities. Lower average selling prices of CI systems not only sparked market demand but have also helped nudge businesses toward the more comprehensive HCI systems. Those IDC numbers, by the way, do not include revenue from support and maintenance contracts.

CI and HCI systems might eventually replace traditional solutions, but they won’t replace the IT solution providers who continue to help their customers lower IT costs, improve efficiencies, and grow their business.

To learn more about trends that are impacting your business, join the Channel Partner Program.

Check out these articles for more information:

Channel Chiefs Debate Relevance of HCI

Converged System Revenue Increases

The State of CI

The Challenge of Selling CI in the Channel

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