Cloud and virtualisation are dramatically changing the footprint of the enterprise datacentre. Fewer new applications are being deployed on premise and fewer still on physical servers.
As more applications are moved off premise, fewer ports are needed to connect the servers.
Virtualisation is continuing to reduce the number of servers, amount of storage and ports used. However, it is increasing the need for the remaining ports to perform.
Customers will need to upgrade those ports to 10Gb Ethernet.
The onsite datacentre continues to be critical in application delivery to the enterprise user, either in the cloud or on the premises, but in no way are things becoming less complex.
IT needs to connect everything while managing mobile Virtual Machines (VMs) and end users. Manual processes can mean more errors, and less efficiency.
We have found that many IT organisations need better operational processes to manage their networking, servers and storage. Yesterday's datacentre offerings simply don't and won't get the job done tomorrow.
Standard Ethernet can no longer support modern servers, running multiple virtual servers. Today's networks simply need more bandwidth. Furthermore, virtualisation is changing application architecture by separating application layers across multiple VMs on multiple physical servers.
Processes that were once handled locally by the server CPU are now distributed across the datacentre on multiple servers, creating increased traffic across the network and adding to congestion. Multiple systems, tools and manual processes can send opex through the roof.
It is no longer acceptable to use seven different management tools to run a datacentre – not least because organisations simply don't have the IT staff to support them. Many vendors don't provide sufficiently holistic management tools, in my view.
In many cases, customers are purchasing their 10Gb Ethernet ports as part of a storage consolidation or virtualisation project, although many enterprise data centres have not yet upgraded to accommodate the new networking requirements.
This could represents an enormous opportunity for resellers and integrators, which could be part of some very large IT projects.
To be included in the conversation, however, VARs need to align themselves with those storage and virtualisation projects. They also need to offer value when delivering integration services for the project.
As hardware margins erode and funds shift away from hardware, resellers need more services opportunities. However, resellers are not always able to capitalise here. One of the problems is the tools they often sell lack real integration capability.
Meanwhile, most vendors' datacentre solutions are built for the very large enterprise or service provider market – not the mid-market. This means partners often try to force overprovisioned and overly complex products and services into their mid-market customers' businesses.
Most channel partners are not selling to companies like Google. The channel is better served with a platform designed for the mid-sized organisation's datacentre.
Mark Pearce is EMEA director of channels and alliances at Enterasys
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