2014 saw the emergence of competing concepts of converged cloud and hyper-converged cloud infrastructures. From close of the year and into the New Year, analyst and media discussions have turned to the Internet of Things and a belief that hybrid clouds are now the way forward.
This won’t silence the arguments about what amounts to true converged. In fact, the growth of these technologies will no doubt increase the number of conversations that everyone will hear throughout 2015, such as when hybrid clouds will reach increasing maturity.
In the past, vendors and their customers predominantly talked about the cost benefits of cloud adoption, but during the course of 2014 their focus shifted. Customers want to access technologies that don’t just save them money. There is a predominant need for truly converged cloud infrastructures and even rival hyper-converged infrastructure offerings to deliver new services and applications to market faster and gain a competitive advantage over rivals.
Talking with customers
The old considerations regarding the ability to upscale and downscale according to market demand, stability, and the need for secure cloud systems still apply. In 2015, vendors will therefore need to take a more consultative approach than they may previously have done.
In order to be amongst the successful companies this year, they will need to speak with their customers about how their IT spending is to change, what drove their spending in the past and about what it will be like throughout the year. Without this dialogue vendors will fail the challenge of developing the capability to predict demand and analyse how the market fundamentals are changing.
These fundamentals include the prediction that software-defined networks and storage will drive data centre infrastructure innovation. Enterprises are expected to evaluate them more seriously than they have done previously – much due to the fact they wish to increase the level of automation within their data centres, leading to a sharpened focus on operations and management (OAM).
This software-defined world is very much driven by the growing importance and prevalence of hybrid cloud adoptions, which are driving the growth of flash and other underlying technologies, and customers are wanting to solutions to an ever more complex technology landscape.
To reduce complexity, resellers will need to work with vendors that improve their sales engagement and their ability to offer effective IT and cloud consultancy. So any kind of cloud infrastructure, whether it is truly converged or hyper-converged, has to operate in a way that makes technology simple as well as secure.
Software-defined architectures, on-premise private cloud and hybrid cloud models tend to benefit from converged cloud infrastructures because they meet customer needs: a high level of software automation and a software-defined network capability.
For example, Colt has an information delivery platform, delivering integrated network, data centre, voice and IT services with a converged infrastructure. The company recently deployed a workspace-as-a-service offering within its data centres to maintain its virtual desktop infrastructure and data within its physical sites while gaining the flexibility and economic benefits of a cost-per-user model.
“We are thrilled that we are now able to offer our fully managed cloud workspace-as-a-service experience to a broader customer base in complete confidence, and concentrate on delivering a first-class service to our customers,’ said Hugo Harber, VP, portfolio and strategy, IT Services, Colt.
The solution was offered to more than 3,000 concurrent users for one local government project, and deployed within only four weeks from delivery. Colt’s example demonstrates that converged infrastructure is building momentum in the industry. It is advancing by becoming the fastest route to enabling private and hybrid clouds. With a truly converged infrastructure comes a lifecycle assurance with maintenance and service upgrades for the, creating a highly efficient and secure way to keep software and systems up to date.
Sourced from Nigel Moulton, CTO EMEA, VCE