Tomorrow’s data centre: zoning in on hyper-converged infrastructure

05 Dec 2017

HCI, also known as hyper-converged infrastructure, has been a buzzword in IT for some time. The benefits have been overlaid time and time again, specifically around agility, scalability and simplicity. At the same time, and somewhat conversely, confusion remains over the actual definition of HCI and how it differs from converged infrastructure (CI). This, combined with concerns of high start-up costs and job security, can present a roadblock to partners in their attempt to sell advanced solutions to their customers. So how do you separate the buzz from the noise? In this two-part blog, we’ll identify exactly what HCI is, what makes it unique and how partners can make a strong business case for different HCI systems. In doing so, we’ll debunk fears around job losses and demonstrate that, like robots, HCI and humans can co-exist.

humans robots

HCI – what is it?

Gartner defines a HCI system as “a platform offering shared compute and storage resources, based on software-defined storage, software-defined compute, commodity hardware and a unified management interface.”

What distinguishes HCI from traditional CI is that HCI systems consolidate resource pools into a single server, eliminating CI’s hardware approach and replacing it with a software-defined solution. The following visual offers a good comparison.


HCI – what’s the hype?

The hype around HCI lies in its ability to make businesses more agile by offering:

  • Scalability: HCI allows companies to quickly and easily add computing resources and processing power incrementally wherever and whenever it’s needed without having to alter other components.
  • Business value: HCI automates tasks associated with servers, storage and networks. As a result, IT administrators can shift their focus away from simply keeping legacy systems up and running and instead focus on developing service-orientated architectures.
  • Simplicity: The centric nature and modular design of HCI means data can be quickly and easily managed, monitored and deployed. HCI can also save time and money by side-stepping the complex configuration procedures associated with legacy infrastructure.

HCI – what’s the need?

It’s no secret that data is growing exponentially. IDC’s Digital Universe study predicts the world’s data will amount to 44 zettabytes by 2020, 10% of it from the Internet of Things (IoT).

Take a moment to put this into perspective: the amount of digital data in the universe will double every two years.

This influx of data combined with the our increasingly digitally-driven, cloud-focused philosophy and our desire for automation and technology integration is making it difficult for IT administrators to keep up.

That’s where HCI steps in.

HCI provides a simplified approach to modern-day business challenges so that IT administrators can deliver solutions faster without compromising performance, reliability and availability.

Why choose Arrow for HCI

Success in HCI is as much dependent on the partner as it is the technology. Customers rely on their partners to provide advice and support as well as the solution.

Arrow prides itself on understanding emerging and advanced technologies. Even more, Arrow prides itself on providing partners with the sales and technical capability to go to market and expand their initial sale or grow their existing install base.

In doing so, Arrow offers a range of marketing and development programs and training and enablement programs that are delivered via Arrow’s LEEP framework.

Arrow ECS ANZ General Manager – Sales, Daniel Danielli, says LEEP ensures partners don’t miss any opportunities.

“Our LEEP methodology is about assisting partners to land a deal, expand via upgrade and feature attach opportunities, extend via cross-sell opportunities, including reference architectures, and, when it comes to renewing, protecting the partner install base with our renewals engine,” he says.

“With Arrow, partners can leverage our expertise and access to the best emerging and advanced technologies to deliver a data infrastructure solution that matches their needs.”

Dispelling fears

One of the biggest fears around HCI is that it will reduce jobs. This isn’t the case. In fact, HCI offers a range of opportunities.

Arrow System Engineer (Storage), Michael Long, has worked in IT storage for more than a decade. He believes there are huge gains to be made from HCI.

“HCI won’t lead to job losses, just more productivity within data centres. Resources previously tied to one area will now be able to focus their efforts that generate business value, such as innovation,” he says.

Last month Daniel Danielli sat down with Matthew Hurford, NetApp Chief Technology Officer – ANZ, to talk through NetApp’s HCI launch campaign, which encourages partners and end-users to think ‘simple, not scary.’

To view the full video, click here.

Matthew says partners can leverage NetApp’s large install base of ONTAP-based systems to drive sales and increase repeat business and customer touch points.

“There’s an opportunity for partners to expand their footprint, talk about our portfolio of products that Arrow takes to market and really start to build out next generation strategic solutions for customers,” he says.

NetApp is positioning NetApp HCI towards the enterprise market with a focus on cloud, web infrastructure and workload consolidation.

So what sets it apart?

Here are some key messages that capture the competitive advantage of NetApp HCI:

  • Capture net-new customers: NetApp HCI provides flexibility, workload consolidation and guaranteed performance, and supports SLAs to promote HCI as an enterprise infrastructure centerpiece.
  • Extend your install base: NetApp HCI is Data Fabric–ready out of the box, providing integrated data services (file, object, backup and recovery) for customers to leverage their current and any future NetApp investments.
  • Provide value-added services: With NetApp HCI, you can leverage Arrow’s Channel Services to increase the value of the opportunity.

Through our solutions expertise, marketing and enablement programs and access to the best technologies, Arrow is well-positioned to help you in your journey to the provision of the next generation data centre.

Contact us to find out how easy it is to position HCI, capture net-new customers and extend your install base.