Converged infrastructure (CI) solutions are growing in popularity with enterprise IT departments, given the technology’s potential to simplify IT operations and reduce costs as business needs change and expand. Yet deploying CI solutions can be tricky and complex without specialized expertise. StrataCloud is helping value-added resellers speed deployment and reduce the complexity of installing CI systems. Tamara Ells, Arrow Electronics’ director of NetApp Sales, discusses the CI trend and how StrataCloud’s SDI Install complements its FlexPod CI offerings.
StrataCloud: Describe the demand for converged infrastructure solutions today and for what types of businesses/use cases is it most viable?
TE: The integrated infrastructure market represents a tremendous opportunity—growing 8.3 percent year-over-year to $10.6B, according to IDC. The flexibility and efficiency of the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution from NetApp and Cisco is allowing companies to transform their data centers. Now, with the availability of FlexPod built on NetApp’s All-Flash FAS storage, the performance, agility and economic savings of FlexPod become even that much greater.
StrataCloud: What challenges do your partners have in deploying converged infrastructure systems such as FlexPod at their customer sites?
TE: One of the biggest challenges in deploying FlexPod has been that each configuration has a degree of complexity that requires high-end engineering resources to install and implement. This can require man hours from the solution providers’ professional services team and can delay the ability to get the customer’s FlexPod up and running in a timely manner.
StrataCloud: How did you determine that teaming up with StrataCloud would help address these challenges effectively and efficiently for your partners?
TE Our “Flex with Arrow” program focuses on providing our NetApp solution providers with best-of-breed tools to remove the complexity and accelerate the time to market in delivering FlexPod solutions, all while maintaining the flexibility that FlexPod was designed to offer. StrataCloud aligns well to this approach as it allows our partners to deploy proven FlexPod configurations more quickly and efficiently, while allowing the solution provider to free-up engineering resources to focus on the advanced migration and customization needs of the end-customer. Using SDI Install, our partners will be able help their customers stand-up new or old applications in the FlexPod infrastructure in a matter of hours, instead of days.
StrataCloud: How do you think that StrataCloud will help partners and their end customers achieve better return from CI?
TE: Leveraging the blueprints that StrataCloud has developed for multiple validated designs of FlexPod will allow the end-customer to more quickly realize the true benefits of having a FlexPod infrastructure, and partners will see higher returns from the ability to turn more projects and achieve higher customer satisfaction levels.
StrataCloud: What are the most important characteristics and qualities that you look for in technology providers when building strategic relationships?
TE: Arrow looks for technology partners that are complementary to our current supplier lines and that allow us to differentiate offerings to and through our solution provider community. We are ultimately looking for partners that are willing to work in concert to develop a strategic plan that will drive incremental growth and profitability for our solution provider ecosystem, and those that are willing to co-invest in achieving those goals.