Every cloud has a silver lining: Why now is the time for the channel to take advantage of cloud computing

Michael Fischermanns, vice president cloud solutions at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Michael Fischermanns, vice president cloud solutions at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Today we are seeing cloud computing spreading across the IT landscape, offering businesses the benefits of scalability, speed and accessibility. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker¹  showed that cloud IT infrastructure spending climbed to nearly 30% of overall IT infrastructure spending in 1Q15, up from 26.4% a year before.

The cloud helps businesses of any size create products and services faster and with far greater reach than before. The eradication of barriers associated with on-premise systems now enables change and growth as fast as a business demands.  Indeed, most business solutions are suited to the cloud, which in turn opens up opportunities for the channel.

Becoming a cloud enabler is the future

Although it has come a long way in a short time, cloud computing is still in its infancy relative to its potential. To stay relevant and take advantage of the opportunity, channel partners must become cloud enablers, developing solution expertise, and even moving to a managed service provider model.

End-user customers will be looking for an IT partner that understands their industry, their business model and their customers, along with their commercial competencies and plans for the future. Indeed, a partner that can help them migrate to the cloud and develop a long-term strategy taking into account their needs, for example, in terms of back-up, business continuity and security.

This presents an exciting opportunity that will require a different way of working from the traditional reseller model. Savvy channel businesses will evolve to become a cloud partner, building an eco-system of vendors, service providers and ISVs to help with their transition, as well as training and support requirements.

At Avnet we see our role to work with business partners to help them manage this transformation, providing a wide portfolio and vendor agnostic approach to help them become an enabler of a cloud business strategy.

Reaping the benefits of the cloud model

Every cloud opportunity brings the potential for new and recurring revenue streams. From data storage and back-up, to security and compliance, business analytics and services, forward-thinking channel businesses must keep ahead of the game to provide the most relevant software, networking and security products.

Business planning will become easier as customers switch to a cloud-based managed service and therefore are less likely to move to a new supplier. Recurring revenue will mean the quarterly rush for contracts and revenue, to meet targets, will become a thing of the past.

The flexibility and scalability of the cloud also means that customers can expand their IT applications and infrastructure to support the business with minimal financial risk. This also reduces the risk to the channel with lower investment in stock. In addition, while training and education programmes have a cost, they can quickly pay dividends with consultancy and service fees.

The cloud wave is rolling on

We have seen that cloud technology has already established itself as a global mainstream solution. Uber has used cloud capabilities to transform the taxi industry, Airbnb has shaken up the hotel industry and Netflix has had an impact on the home entertainment market. No industry is immune to this change and adoption of a cloud strategy is top of the agenda for all businesses and the channel is no different.

All the benefits of the cloud can be realised if channel partners hold their nerve and continue to work together.

Posted under Cloud Computing, IT infrastructure

This post was written by on November 9, 2016

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What does the Cloud really mean?

Tristan Gwinnell, Cloud Solutions EMEA, Avnet, takes a look at what cloud really means

 

TristanThe term cloud means different things to different people. For consumers the cloud might be where they store their music and photographs. For others it might be Google Apps or Office365. If you’re a business user it could be a cloud-hosted application. If you run a datacentre it could be a way of optimising hardware. The list goes on.

All of these are types of cloud – essentially a means of providing computer hardware and software via the internet. In ‘technology years’ the cloud has been around for a long time. Salesforce launched in the 1990s with a mission to end software. Recently the technology has come in to its own and there has been a rapid increase in the types and number of cloud services and suppliers.

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Posted under Cloud Computing, IT infrastructure, IT Software

This post was written by on July 13, 2016

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Why I love to help partners and their customers find the right options for moving into the cloud

MicheleMichele Burgess is Avnet Services Alliance Manager, enabling partners to capitalise on the increasing demand for IT services by augmenting in-house teams with experts in Cloud, Digital and IOT solutions. 

Being a provider of IT solutions is sometimes not easy. I often feel for our partners. Over a coffee last month, one partner was explaining that after 12 months of hard work, they finally found themselves in front of their client to discuss migrating to the cloud.

It had taken them months of hard work to convince their customer that a cloud-based application was the right solution. They’d successfully completed a number of sales pitches and addressed a succession of stakeholders. On this journey they had sat in countless meetings, clocked up thousands of miles, drank too much coffee, sat up late at night producing slide decks and quoted numerous experts on why cloud is the best solution.

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Posted under Cloud Computing, IT infrastructure, IT Software

The drivers we’re seeing for cloud migration

Karen Griffith, Practice Lead, Cloud Solutions EMEA has over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry. She and her highly skilled technical team work with customers within the full lifecycle of Cloud Services, from the initial asset discovery, pre-sales including POT’s and POC’s, to the Cloud Strategy and Architecture Services and on to the cloud migration, transformation and automation services

Migrating to the Cloud is not a new concept and yet is by no means a declining one. Cloud migration means different things for different groups, whether business users or the IT technical team. On the surface, the drivers for migration appear the same, however the value cloud brings to various parts of the organisation can be very distinct.

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Posted under Cloud Computing, IT infrastructure

The Software-Defined Data Centre Explained: Part II of II

Steve Phillips, CIO, Avnet Inc.

In part one of this article, we examined how data centres have evolved, and why current solutions are leaving some businesses searching for what they believe is the next evolution in data centre architecture: the software defined data centre (SDDC).

In this post we’ll examine how soon SDDC’s may become a reality, what obstacles are holding it back, and identity a few of the vendors to watch out for as SDDC becomes a reality.

HOW PROMISING AND HOW SOON?

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2014, the SDDC—part of what they refer to as “software-defined anything,” or SDA/SDX—is still firmly in the Cycle’s first stage, where the promise of technology has yet to be grounded in the context of real-world application.

That hasn’t stopped Gartner from calling software-defined anything “one of the top IT trends with the greatest possible impact on an enterprise’s infrastructure and operations,” according to Computer Weekly.

EARLY OBSTACLES TO ADOPTION

While the potential for SDDC may be great, embracing it is more of a revolution than an evolution. The migration to a virtualized environment could be embraced by traditional data centres as time, budget and business need allowed, with virtualized racks next to traditional hardware racks.

On the other hand, software-defined data centres require common APIs to operate: the hardware can be pooled and controlled by software or it can’t. As a result, companies with significant legacy infrastructures may find it difficult to adopt SDDC in their own environments.

One way for existing data centres to avoid the “all or nothing” approach of SDDC is by embracing what Gartner began referring to as “bimodal IT” in 2014. Bimodal IT identifies two types of IT needs:

  • Type 1 is traditional IT, which places a premium on stability and efficiency for mission-critical infrastructure needs.
  • Type 2 refers to a more agile environment focused on speed, scalability, time-to-market, close alignment with business needs, and rapid evolution.

A bimodal IT arrangement would allow large legacy IT operations to establish a separate SDDC-driven environment to meet business needs that call for fast, scalable and agile IT resources, while continuing to rely on traditional virtualized environments for applications and business needs that value uptime and consistency above all else.

Over time, more resources could be devoted to the new SDDC architecture as the needs of the business evolve, without requiring the entire data centre to convert to SDDC all at once.

WHAT VENDORS ARE LEADING THE SDDC CHARGE?

Given how different software-defined data centre architectures are from traditional and virtualized environments, it’s a golden opportunity for new and emerging vendors to gain a first-mover advantage on some of the entrenched data centre giants.

APIs: The critical components of SDDC are the APIs that control the pooled resources. OpenStack’s API is the open source market leader at this point, since many vendors currently rely on their own proprietary APIs to control their hardware.

Computing & Storage: Emerging players like Nimble Storage and Nutanix are at the forefront of the SDDC movement, but data centre incumbents like IBM, HP, Dell, NetApp, Cisco and EMC are right there with them.

Networking: While Cisco, Juniper and HP are certainly the focus of the software defined networking space, startups like Big Switch and Cumulus Networks are gaining significant market interest, funding and traction as the SDDC model gains momentum.

Converged Infrastructure: Two additional initiatives worth keeping an eye on are VCE and their VBlock solutions, as well as NetApp’s Flexpods integrated infrastructure solutions. These products are designed to meet the needs of both “clean sheet” and legacy IT environments interested in pursuing the bimodal IT approach.

So while the reality of the SDDC may be a few years away for many IT environments with considerable legacy investments, it’s certainly a new and compelling vision for the data centre.

More importantly, it appears to be the solution IT is looking for in the always on, mission critical, cloud-ready and data-rich environment we operate in today. Expect to hear more on this topic in future Behind the Firewall blog posts.

Posted under Storage, Virtualisation