Deep dive video with Datalink on ITaaS, converged infrastructure and cloud.
Today’s IT landscape offers more choices than ever, but the paradox of choice means that this makes it harder for users to find the right solution for their environment. Pervasive virtualization, converged infrastructure and cloud solutions all have the goal of simplifying IT – but technology is not a silver bullet; more than ever, users need to have trusted advisors that can span the gap between existing technology and process workflows and the new environments. System integrators and value added resellers are the first place that most customers turn to for purchasing and deploying new technology solutions. The channel can still play a critical role in the changing face of IT. As Wikibon research explains in The Business Value of Converged Infrastructure Topologies, application integration holds the most value; infrastructure’s job is enabling the applications and the channel can help make sure that converged infrastructure deployments fit into customer application environments. As enterprise IT are turning to hybrid cloud solutions, CIOs should look for partners that can help match applications to the appropriate environment, which can be a combination of internal IT, public cloud and SaaS solutions.
As converged infrastructure adoption has grown in recent years, a growing number of channel providers that specialized in storage or networking have expanded to offer more of the infrastructure stack. Wikibon recently followed up with Datalink, a data center services and solutions provider, whose portfolio includes NetApp/Cisco FlexPod, VCE Vblock, EMC VSPEX, HDS storage, VMware vCHS and much more. Datalink has a long history in the storage business and with the wave of convergence and cloud has expanded to a full data center focus. Datalink’s Virtualization Practice Manager Kent Christensen explained that the company helps companies move towards what they call the “Virtual Dynamic Data Center” and IT as a Service (ITaaS). Datalink measures customer progress along “cloud maturity stages”: consolidation, integration, automation, ITaaS and federation. Converged infrastructure offerings are a tool for helping customers advance along this cloud adoption spectrum by creating resource pools, which allow for more agility and simplified operations. While converged infrastructure offerings promise simplified deployment and operations, channel partners like Datalink still have work to do with “integrating” the solution into a customer environment.
A critical part of the engagement is that before the infrastructure is even considered that there is an understanding and rationalizing of the application portfolio. While most enterprises have deployments of public cloud and SaaS applications, it has often been through decentralized usage by lines of business rather than as an IT program. Datalink helps IT departments regain relevance through a more deliberate and managed usage of these valuable tools instead of allowing shadow IT to proliferate. Datalink offers labs (Datalink On Demand Labs), proof of concepts and cloud readiness assessments to allow customers to touch and interact with cloud solutions before making any changes in-house. Some of the current popular engagements include Microsoft application rollouts, disaster recovery solutions in public cloud and consulting on how to build hybrid clouds (Datalink was one of the first partners for VMware vCHS).
Action Item: The road to hybrid cloud is going to be multiple projects for most users including private (perhaps with converged infrastructure), public cloud(s) and SaaS; it’s best to bring along some knowledgeable guides for such a journey. Companies like Datalink provide important knowledge about applications and expertise with a breadth of hybrid cloud solutions; allowing for choice with guidance.