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Channel opportunities evolve with IT ecosystems

07 Apr 2014

With the increasing growth of IT, smart devices and the internet of everything, IT systems and the data centre environments that support them are becoming increasingly diverse as IT departments consider how best to deliver IT applications and business processes to their organisations.

There’s an opportunity for the channel to help today’s organisations choose their own 'data centre ecosystem', which may include on premise data centres, colocation facilities, hosted or managed services, or the endless cloud options available such as private, public, community or hybrid clouds.

Keep in mind that the trend is towards an outsourced model and is validated by IDC who believe cloud services and data centre services will grow by 24% and 14% respectively year-on-year.

Application dependent architecture

As the cloud and data centre service provider market has matured, resellers and integration partners need to start engaging in conversations with their clients to understand the business drivers and financial parameters surrounding their IT strategy.

Armed with this information the channel can help their clients determine the most effective manner to deliver their business critical applications. This is called 'application dependant data centre architecture'.

The approach relies on the channel taking a consultative approach and mapping the IT solution to the application, whether that is email, web services, CRM, ERP, supply chain management or any other unique business process.

Channel providers also need to consider each application against such criteria as security, sovereignty, latency and criticality, along with the financial and political context if they want to establish the best means for their clients to deliver the service internally to their own business.

Channel providers should keep in mind that when weighing up the benefits of integrating different types of data centre architectures businesses need to consider all the risks involved.

For example, the various IT ecosystems specific to verticals such as finance or the telecommunication industries often need to keep their critical data in a location that’s close to their premises.

Different cloud; different benefits

These different types of 'clouds' available offer their own advantages; with the public cloud model, the services provider holds ownership to the entire physical infrastructure and software. Businesses purchasing access to these resources are billed only for time, bandwidth, and storage used.

This model is often integrated when organisations are not constrained by security or data sovereignty concerns. In comparison, private cloud allows businesses to host resources in a dedicated, virtualised environment.

This model enables the organisation to address the risks associated with multiple users and shared resources, however it does require a substantial initial investment and subsequent capital expansion as additional capacity is needed. It also does not provide for short term bursts of growth.

Lastly, there is a hybrid hosting solution that mixes cloud computing and dedicated hosting. It uses a secure, private network to connect services and servers or private clouds within the corporate network, and more flexible resources within the public cloud.

In this way, the user realises the low-cost adaptability of cloud computing with the security of its own servers, all through a single management interface.

With various cloud platforms available, it can be difficult to decide which option is the best fit for an organisation.

Resellers and integration partners who are focused on consultative solutions over those who simply deal in components will be able to establish the most effective solution for their customers operations.

By Paul Tyrer, VP Pacific, Schneider Electric – IT.