NetApp’s hyper-converged infrastructure, offer solutions for channel

By Arun Shankar   11 January, 2018
NetApp’s hyper-converged infrastructure, offer solutions for channel

Maya Zakhour, Head of Distribution and Alliances, Middle East and Africa, NetApp.

CHANNEL OUTLOOK 2018

NetApp is actively encouraging its partners to take advantage of certification programmes and to focus on specialisations. As part of its strategy to allow more time for partners to achieve their certifications in the current fiscal year 2018, partner audits will now be done annually and not half yearly like before. Equipping its partners with the right set of skills and knowledge to address the changing needs of the market, including incentives, is an area in which it continues to invest.

A new converged infrastructure solution, NFLEX, was launched this quarter and the vendor continues to build on the high demand for NetApp HCI, the industry’s first enterprise-scale hyper converged solution that delivers guaranteed performance, independent scaling, and Data Fabric integration. Hence, we are currently focusing on having our partners trained in these recently unveiled solutions.

Opportunities

The management of data can still be challenging, which in turn generates business opportunities. The manipulation of data involving storage of data on-premises, which must be sent to the cloud, opens up opportunities for other application businesses that help achieve this. It is very important to take these applications out to the market, so the vendor provides partners with the right platform for their customers, making it easier to manage their data.

Every market in the region has its own challenge and opportunities. For instance, Kuwait has great opportunities while Saudi Arabia has good potential as the economy stabilises itself, boosting infrastructure development. This shift opens up the market for NetApp solutions, as more customers require solutions to manage their complex data.

With the introduction of VAT in the UAE, customers need solutions to manage these new aspects of their businesses. Companies are expected to keep their bills and invoices for at least six years in the UAE, which will add complexities to data management. Digital transformation is another key driver.

Transformation of the channel should go in hand to hand with the transformation NetApp is presently undergoing, which is focused on flash storage, converged infrastructure, hyper-converged infrastructure, and software components. These focus areas are also NetApp’s fastest-growing market segments, and the company wants to help partners build service and recurring revenue opportunities around them.

Making partners and end customers understand digital transformation and equipping them with skill sets to adapt to the changing demands of the ecosystem is another key area of focus.

Landscape

NetApp’s goal is to provide the customer with a full-fledged solution rather than just catering to their storage needs. IT leaders attempt to respond to the need for information technology-as-a-service by using their own private clouds, while competing with public cloud offerings. In addition, they must address new sets of demands that go beyond reducing cost, increasing efficiency, and mitigating risk.

NetApp’s OnCommand Insight management software reduces the risks involved in complex technology migrations, such as moving to a hybrid cloud. With this solution, the IT infrastructure can be managed as an end-to-end service by integrating resources into the company’s entire IT service delivery chain. Detailed business-level reporting allows the end-user to immediately see how much storage, compute, or switching resources each business unit or application uses in each storage tier over a given period. All these features add value to what partners take to customers.

NetApp also provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify the management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. NetApp HCI delivers cloud-like infrastructure in an agile, scalable, easy-to-manage four-node building block. NetApp HCI is also an integral part of Data Fabric, NetApp’s vision for the future of data management, simplifying and integrating data management. It enables customers to respond and innovate more quickly because their data is accessible from on-premises to public cloud.

NetApp recently unveiled the latest version of ONTAP operating system, which will simplify customers’ storage architectures and prepare them for flash storage optimisation. A virtual appliance that can run on commodity server hardware and in the cloud, is the highlight of the new ONTAP 9 and is ready to take advantage of new 15-TB SSDs.

Forecast

#1 2018 is likely to witness more need for data, transforming the way we live our lives and do businesses from IoT initiatives, thereby facilitating cloud adoption. All of these will demand stronger infrastructures. According to the NetApp-IDC study, Become a Data Thriver: Realise Data-Driven Digital Transformation, every industry vertical is now witnessing the impact of digital transformation.

#2 Data will continue to be the core as business processes depend on converting data into actionable insights. Organisations must make investments in cloud while also adopting data services for hybrid cloud, in order to thrive in the digital transformation era.

#3 The local ICT industry will witness massive growth driven by opportunities in the government sector ahead of Expo 2020. The overall ICT spending is expected to cross $20 billion by 2020, with the Middle East region becoming one of the fastest growing ICT markets in the world for the next few years, according to IDC.

#4 Enterprises must ensure that their IT strategies and infrastructures are robust and agile enough to adapt to new trends and changing business needs, and accommodate unprecedented demands, in the years leading up to the Expo. Physical, digital and cyber security, Big Data and analytics are expected to remain buzzwords throughout 2018 as well.

#5 Demand for storage facilities is also on the rise with most Middle East countries investing significantly in the security of people, along with both IP and physical security gaining importance. This will present the largest opportunity for channel partners.

#6 Data will continue to become even more distributed and dynamic. IT infrastructures, application architectures and provisioning strategies will evolve rapidly to address new challenges in the hybrid cloud world. With data becoming self-aware, metadata will enable data to proactively categorise, analyse and protect itself.

#7 The shift of focus from Big Data to Huge Data is likely to drive the demand for new solid state-driven architectures. The ability to manage data in a secure, reliable, immutable and distributed way will emerge and disrupt the data center ecosystem. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality and edge computing will become more pervasive in 2018.


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