HCI or Hyper Converged Infrastructure are becoming a great asset for the modern-day enterprises who are scaling up too fast. Here are the viewpoints of Rajesh Ramnani, Regional Director, CPSD, Dell EMC India, on how these boxes are coming to the rescue of fast growing enterprises who want their DC inhouse with flexibility and scalability. Excerpts.
What are the challenges HCI solves for the customers?
Converged Infrastructure (CI) helps enterprises to focus on delivering business results rather than spending scarce resources on maintenance and IT architecture considerations. Using CI effectively and smartly, servers, storage and networks can work together, out of a box and the resultant infrastructure can be installed, deployed, updated and managed easily. This helps to optimize corporate IT’s performance, minimize its cost, and maximize its business value. The need for CI is primarily due to increased complexity of IT and a congruent explosion of business demands worldwide. Traditional data-centers are unable to cope with the workloads now being witnessed across enterprises particularly with the emergence of virtualization. The clear advantages for an enterprise of deploying CI are lower total cost of operations, increase in operational performance, and enabling enterprise IT to trade commodity work for more value-adding work.
With CI, infrastructure is less a business constraint and more a business enabler. What CI does is to bring together coherently the various data-center components into a single form factor (an appliance) that can then be centrally managed. Thus, a converged infrastructure minimizes compatibility issues and simplifies the management of servers, storage systems and network devices while reducing costs for cabling, cooling, power and floor space. There are many clear advantages of deploying CI. For one, CI enables IT to consolidate and standardize systems and deploy and scale infrastructure rapidly. It helps to increase utilization rates and lower costs and at the same time simplify infrastructure management. Business risk is reduced through improved reliability and integrated approaches to security and disaster recovery business innovation and agility are increased through faster time to market. With computing on demand, business and IT people can experiment more, prototype more, and innovate faster. Converged infrastructure can meet pragmatic objectives around cost, performance, risk, and agility. CI can also shape how your enterprise operates and innovates in a world with fewer technological constraints. CI adoption can provide the opportunity to rethink and rebuild the infrastructure services organization, with less attention to shoring up weaknesses and more attention to meeting future business needs. Since a distinct advantage of converged infrastructure is to enable rapid provisioning of new services (read apps), new networks can be created and the services can be provisioned quickly—even during an unfortunate downtime—by deploying the last good configuration protocol.
“Manufacturing and retail outlets like Mohan clothing (Blackberry formal wear), publishing houses like Penguin Random House, educational institutes, smaller financial institutes like Mirae Asset, smaller government offices like WEBEL and IT and IT enabled services like TASEC are other key customers for hyper-convergence in India.”
Regional Director, CPSD
Dell EMC India.
Why adoption of HCI happening in India?
HCI is the fastest-growing part of the IT infrastructure market today as businesses of all sizes desire for substantial infrastructure simplification. In India, hyper converged infrastructure systems are attracting the largest amount of interest among the converged systems portfolio. Its software defined approach which abstracts the compute, storage and networking on a single plane is a key factor for the rise of interest in HCIS. HCIS’s single-vendor support model and ability to match a large number of use cases offers greater benefits and eliminates complexity. As per IDC, India would be a USD 63M market for HCI by 2020. & the market is expected to grow at a GAGR of 43%.
Who are major adaptors of HCI?
Customers across all industries can benefit from the adoption of converged systems. Organizations large and small, from all industries, who are striving to modernize their infrastructure in order to compete in today’s digital age will benefit from an integrated system and converged infrastructure environment.
We are currently seeing multiple user groups utilize HCI in their ecosystem. These include:
- Datacenter Operations In charge : For ease of management and control
- Software developers and analysts : For easy of configuration and testing
- Remote Offices : For ease of deployment and implementation
- I.T service providers : For ease of creation of cloud like environment
- Offices with limited IT skills : For ease of Installation and maintenance
Given the fact, cloud and hosting are gaining grounds and customers are moving out from on premise, what is the importance of HCI?
With all of its benefits, HCI technology is swiftly displacing the traditional “best of breed infrastructure.” Traditional 3-tier architectures are no longer the de facto, on-premises standard. Indeed, one of the key benefits causing the displacement of the traditional approach is the ease and speed of deployment of HCI.
There are a few gaps we need to be aware of in cloud; firstly do we have the necessary connectivity to the cloud? Sometimes the quantum of bandwidth required is massive, especially if the location of cloud datacenter is outside of base country; secondly what matters is the duration for which the resources are desired, growth estimates and lastly regulatory matters. All these are manageable in case the user is a single person and want fast outcomes or just wants to test their ideas, however for organizations they have to think on all the above aspects, do we have a solution which provides benefits of agility, scalability and cost, but at same time provides flexibility of choice to post workloads in house or on external cloud?
Meet our new friend called Hybrid Cloud. This encompasses putting workloads on resources of choice, if the project is critical, requires high uptime, faster deployment and must adhere to regulatory norms, users can deploy their workloads on their in-house (private) cloud and for all other workloads they can choose public cloud, just a simple drag and drop can allow them to move their workloads seamlessly between clouds as well, sounds convenient, well it is, all that is required is a trigger, and that trigger is Hyper Convergence
What are the advantages of Dell EMC?
Dell EMC is the only vendor providing end-to-end rack based solution that integrates the network as a part of it. We also have management console taking care of not just the compute, memory and network but also of completely software defined solutions like self-servicing, charge back, automation that are Dell’s uniqueness. VMware being a part of Dell EMC, we are the only one having appliance based hyper-converge solution end-to-end on VMware. Jointly, we have created the hyper-convergence solution and we do not have to rely on multiple technologies to move forward on our hyper-convergence journey. Ideally, all software should work tandem with each other and this can happen only when the software is developed as a product from a single factory, which we have jointly achieved. Thus, our customers can experience seamless support in all spheres from a particular vendor. Otherwise, issues may creep in terms of support and management.
Dell EMC’s VxRail offers configure-to-order flexibility to meet any use case. From an architectural standpoint, VxRail’s key performance advantage is its ability to deliver this simplicity in a distributed enterprise starts with its tight integration between VMware vSAN and the vSphere hypervisor. This is dramatically different from every other hyper-converged storage solutions that require the installation of a virtual storage appliance on each host.
How this solution is stacked for different types of customers?
Dell EMC’s hyper-convergence solution has two key offerings. One is our appliance based offering, known as VxRail and the other is rack based offering called VxRack. Now, both of these categories come in two options – VMware based option wherein the end to end solution is based on the VMware software stack and the mixed hypervisor option wherein the customers have the flexibility to choose the kind of hypervisor that they would want to deploy. The reason for having two different options is predominantly because a big chunk of the market is tilted towards VMware hypervisor, hence; we have an offering dedicated for VMware. Also, there are a set of customers who would want to have flexibility. Thereby, we provide the second option as well.
What are your market challenges?
While hyper-convergence is only 3 to 4-year-old, the old software has been running for so many years now. Many customers are still in the phase of migrating from traditional technology to hyper-convergence and we have a lot to do in terms of changing the mindset of the customers. Also, it is a challenge at the customer end in case they have already made heavy investment on the old world technology but are now looking for shifting to hyper-convergence. The customers also raise concern about everything being provided by a single entity as their dependence on that becomes very high. However, we ensure the right kind of support and documentation to customers to enable them continue with a seamless hyper-convergence journey.
Who are the major customer of DELL EMC for HCI?
Starting from finance to manufacturing, IT and ITeS, telecom and government, we have several smaller and larger companies as customers in India. Companies like Kotak Bank, NetMagic Telecom, Infosys, Disney, Accenture, KPIT, Harley Davidson (both India and global) are our major Indian customers. Manufacturing and retail outlets like Mohan clothing (Blackberry formal wear), publishing houses like Penguin Random House, educational institutes, smaller financial institutes like Mirae Asset, smaller government offices like WEBEL and IT and IT enabled services like TASEC are other key customers for hyper-convergence in India.
What kind of revenue growth are you seeing for next 2 years for HCI solutions?
The HCI marketing is growing at a phenomenal pace of 40 plus percent YoY. In India the growth potential is even higher as many organizations who are in next phase of growth and looking to embrace new technologies are considering HCI as their primary choice for their infrastructure needs. In line with market growth the revenues in this segment are expected to grow at min 60% for India.
What the partner opportunity in this space?
Customers are looking at automating their IT set-up, they want to do away with dependencies on skilled manpower, and the first building block which allows them to embark on the journey of a private/hybrid cloud are HCI solutions from DellEMC. Partners realise that this is natural progression and next level of growth for them if they want to sustain in a competitive IT services space. For any partner opportunity is not just infrastructure sale, but host of additional services like Implementation, migration, support as well as sustenance which comes along with this. In long term there is a potential for implementing a self-service environment like Infrastructure as a service for customers who want complete automation.
What are the commitments for the partners?
All DellEMC partners who have been selling Infrastructure and associated services qualify to sell DellEMC HCI gear. DellEMC runs development camps for all focus partners which enables them not to just position and sell these system but also skills them to implement, support and sustain these systems. DellEMC also runs programs which helps all focus partners with Demo systems that can be used for customer demo or to set up a CoE lab in their premises. Apart from this DellEMC has regular customer’s road shows jointly with partners. Focus partners also enjoy rebates and higher margins on certain specific solutions under DellEMC HCI portfolio.