Keeping up with demand to scale can be exhausting, however, the tech market is only going to continue to snowball. Scale Computing integrates storage, servers and virtualisation software into an all in one appliance-based system which is scalable and easy to manage. Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO at Scale Computing, tells us about the importance of the company’s successful channel programme.
How does your offering enable customers to store data – can you explain how it is helping customers in the region?
As a hyperconverged solution, the HC3 platform combines software-defined storage with compute and virtualisation to reduce the overall cost while improving reliability.
By providing our own hypervisor, HC3 integrates the storage directly eliminating the need for storage controller VMs or storage protocols. This provides an efficient data path for applications to achieve high levels of IOPS on commodity storage devices. It eliminates the need for an SAN or NAS and makes the storage more highly available as it is automatically pooled and distributed across every node in a cluster. If a disk or even a node fails, the cluster can recover almost instantly without data loss.
With HC3, the storage is an integrated part of the system and is completely automated for unmatched ease of use. There is no storage configuration required to begin creating VMs which also makes scale out as simple and easy as adding a new node to the cluster.
HC3 benefits customers by providing enterprise-class storage that is easy to deploy, easy to manage and easy to scale out. This is ideal for both the data centre and for edge computing due to the low cost of deployment and simplified management. With a built-in hypervisor, built-in software-defined storage and built-in high availability and disaster recovery, it is well suited for any industry that requires affordable, reliable, efficient computing infrastructure.
How do you allow customers to derive value from their data?
Customers can only derive value from their data if they can access it. IT can be very complex and difficult to manage and when IT systems go down, access to data is interrupted. With Scale Computing, the platform is self-healing and can automatically identify, mitigate and correct any IT errors. As a result, Scale Computing’s HC3 platform is designed to achieve maximum uptime even when local IT resources and staff are scarce.
When IT platforms are up and running, organisations are able to run, access their data and build more value overall.
How important is it that customers are able to access and utilise their data from anywhere at any time?
It really depends on the organisation and how vital immediate access is. We see in some industries such as healthcare where doctors and nurses are on the move, accessing their applications on tablets and other devices is crucial. This is where VDI is a great solution. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, refers to the process of running a user desktop inside a virtual machine that lives on a server in the data centre. It’s a powerful form of desktop virtualisation because it enables fully personalised desktops for each user, with all the security and simplicity of centralised management. VDI enables customers to streamline management and costs by consolidating and centralising the desktops while delivering end-users mobility and the freedom to access virtual desktops anytime, anywhere, on any device.
How important is edge computing in the region?
Customers are looking for a solution that delivers the core functions of a data centre and that is scalable in size. Edge computing brings with it the need to deploy many micro-data centres of varying sizes and a proper platform should be able to scale up or down to accommodate these needs. When flexibility, ease-of-use, high availability and TCO are required, Scale Computing offers a proven infrastructure solution. Our patented technology transforms isolated locations into converged, unified, micro data centres for edge computing and our partnerships with Lenovo and Schneider Electric create a global footprint for our partners to sell through.
Edge computing is starting to grow across EMEA, the Middle East and South Africa. More organisations are understanding the value and are looking to move towards an edge model. Although edge is gaining a lot of recent traction, it refers to the need to operate away from the main data centre and this demand is not new. Many customers in the retail, healthcare or manufacturing space have long had the need to operate effectively across remote sites. However, with edge computing becoming more imperative, we are seeing a growing traction towards the need for micro data centres, particularly in regions with limited Internet connectivity. Businesses still need to operate even when the Internet is slow or unreliable, therefore in these areas edge creates a model that allows for consistent business solutions in an inconsistent environment.
Is there an element of AI involved in the way your products work?
There are several elements of AI in the architecture of HC3.
For cluster stability, there are intelligent state machines that monitor all aspects of the cluster health and make decisions based on cluster health conditions to correct error conditions or minimise the impact of failed or faulty components. These state machines make the cluster more than just highly available, they make it self-healing to be more resilient and require less hands-on management systems remain running at remote sites.
Within the storage architecture, automation fully configures the storage so there is no manual configuration of storage groups or pools for the administrator. There is machine intelligence that monitors disk usage across storage tiers to both optimise data as it is being written to either flash or spinning disk storage and to recover and self-heal from failed or faulty disks. Both reliability and performance are managed by AI on HC3.
How does Scale Computing integrate with other technology partners to make solutions more powerful and efficient for customers?
Scale Technology Partners want to sell customers their respective solutions, but those same customers often want to purchase the entire infrastructure which surrounds that solution or application. This can delay important projects while customers source the hardware and services to implement that particular solution and sometimes the result of that delay is the project stalls in ways that negatively impacts business operations.
Scale Computing ensures that our technology integrations are turnkey. That eliminates the above delay, plus those applications and solutions instantly become highly available, leverage Google Cloud Platform as an off-site disaster recovery solution and can be deployed on the edge as an IoT solution. The entire infrastructure is easy to manage, which means their partners only need to be experts at the partner’s solution.
What trends are you seeing that are shaping the channel?
End customers are asking their channel providers for ways to simplify their IT platform, as well as lower costs. Scale Computing’s converged platform simplifies deployment and management by eliminating hardware and software silos. No specialised training or certification is needed and no hypervisor license or on-site IT expertise is required. Our technology uses machine intelligence to detect and mitigate infrastructure problems in real time and maximise uptime.
The platform is designed to run straight out of the box and its intuitive as a smartphone and powerful as a full data centre. As a result, the implementation of our systems can be completed in minutes to deliver the lowest edge acquisition and deployment cost in the world. A typical Scale customer reduces ongoing management costs by up to 80% due to the platform’s automation and machine intelligence.
How important is the channel to Scale Computing?
The channel is critical to the way Scale Computing operates, we have a 100% channel-focused model and believe in working within a close partnership. Our channel partners have the local expertise, skills and knowledge to help customers find the best solutions for their needs. We work with our partners throughout the entire sales process and also offer training, enablement and joint marketing efforts to ensure we can not only provide them with the technical background, but to help them to grow their business. We also take the time to listen to our partners and understand their needs. Recently we revamped our programme and also implemented a new subscription-based OpEx payment model that enabled partners to increase profits and improve customer service.
How do Scale Computing channel partners train end-users to effectively use their solutions?
Scale Computing was established on the idea that IT infrastructure should be easier to use and cost less to manage and maintain. That idea is reflected in the simplicity, scalability, high availability and affordability of our HC3 virtualisation platform.
Typically, the formal training takes place on-site during an installation. Most of our customers simply plug in their HC3 appliance, set it up in under two hours, migrate and install their applications, and then get on with the rest of their day. However, we also hear from customers that they want to take advantage of every capability HC3 offers, learn best practices and customise the system to their unique requirements. For those customers, we offer HC3 Advanced Training. This customised, one-on-one training is designed to provide advanced insight and best practices for Scale Computing customers on how to get the most from their HC3 system and virtualised environment. This training will focus on the areas they are most interested in so they can take full advantage of their HC3 investment.