As the tech world goes virtual, Heather Wright polls some experts about their views on where resellers stand to gain the most.
Westcon's national manager of innovation and services Darryl Grauman, Duncan Bennet, VMware vice president and managing director and Michael Warrilow, Gartner’s Infrastructure Software Team research director, offer some industry insight...
Beyond the desktop
Grauman says he’s seeing two key growth areas beyond desktop virtualisation: copy data management, which he believes is the next growth area, and virtualised networks.
Copy data is the data created by all the business systems making a copy of everything in production – backup, snapshots, disaster recovery, business continuity, test and development, analytics...
Storage software and hardware company Actifio claims that can result in ‘an average of 13-120 excess duplicate copies of data’, ‘with a massive increase in your required storage footprint, bandwidth requirements, backup windows, labour intensity and just plain complexity’.
Actifio's offering ‘essentially virtualises your disparate protection and availability in storage applications into a single data management appliance that lets you recover anything instantly...”
Grauman, says Actifio’s offering has already been adopted locally by companies including MetService and IAG.
“It’s a really, really big area, alongside VDI,” he says, with the top 300 New Zealand companies key targets.
“Imagine what this will do to the market. It’s going to cannibalise a significant amount of the storage market. Think what will happen. The cost savings are phenomenal. If I’m competing with another reseller in outsourcing and my cost is one-third the cost of theirs...”
He says Westcon is working with several New Zealand resellers keen to offer an ‘as a service’ model.
The virtual network space is also an area Grauman says resellers should be getting excited about. Offering the opportunity to put the smarts in the switch layer into software and leave the switch purely as a transport layer,
Grauman claims it’s an area which ‘is going to shake up the industry second to none’.
“I can’t wait for the launch of VMware’s NSX,” he adds. VMware announced general availability of its NSX network virtualisation software last month.
Grauman says the distributor is already seeing customers putting $1 million network upgrades on hold pending trials and testing of NSX. Japan’s NTT has deployed a pre- cursor to the product, and Grauman says he’s keeping a close eye on how it works there.
While he’s unsure what sort of savings virtualisation of network infrastructure could bring companies, he says it’s likely to be very similar to the way virtualisation impacted servers and where ‘companies are now spending one tenth on a virtual server’.
“But it’s taken 10 years to get server virtualisation [to this point]. It will take us two, three, four years to fully understand network virtualisation.”
Warrilow agrees that virtualised networks are increasingly coming to the fore, but that it’s a longer term game. “It’s probably more of a conversation for next year” he says.
Instead, in the immediate future, he sees demand for virtual storage.
“If your customer is sick of spending money on storage vendor x or y, there’s an opportunity for classic education and pre-sales for where software-based storage may come in,” Warrilow says.
He adds that there is still plenty of scope for proof of concept, and more design and configuration work for resellers focusing on software defined storage, balancing out some of the loss of hardware sales.
Meanwhile, Bennet’s hit list for where channel can most capitalise on virtualisation is topped by the aforementioned virtual servers as companies move off Unix, management and automation of virtual environments, end-user virtualisation, and virtualisation of the network and storage.
“In all of these areas there are not just technology resale opportunities, but significant services opportunity for resellers as well,” Bennet says.
“Not all partners specialise in all areas. Not all server partners will specialise in end user and not all partners will set up cloud offerings. You need to look at what part of the solution you want to specialise in.”
Grauman adds resellers need to think carefully about their business and ‘do some forward training’.
“Right now people need to become experts. You can’t be a jack of all trades and master of none," he concludes.
"Become an expert in virtual desktops, data centre virtualisation, server virtualisation, copy data management. Take one and become a deep expert in it.
"Because the worst thing you can do is walk in as a generalist and be competing against an expert."
To read part one on virtualisation click here