Gartner recently updated its 2017 IT spending forecast, raising its projection to 2.4% growth, up from 1.4%. All good news for those of us in the technology industry.
Within that growth, Gartner expects very modest growth in data center infrastructure—just 0.3%. But that doesn’t mean solution providers focused on data center should expect minimal growth. In fact, far from it. While the overall data center spend may not see much uplift, how and where that money is spent is shifting dramatically.
There are plenty of high-growth, high-demand opportunities for data center growth, provided you offer the right solutions. We sat down with our Channel Solutions Architect, Jim Linden to talk about five areas where Global Convergence is experiencing growth—and expects to grow well into the new year:
1. Data Center Automation
Everyone wants to do more, faster, better and for less. Data center automation solutions give that to customers, leading to lots of momentum in the market. Customers’ ability to set up a data center application on a server, coupled with the proper networking storage and everything that goes with it once took months. Now it can take hours.
The savings and economies of scale that benefit customers are substantial. It also eliminates a lot of “Shadow IT,” or lines of business going behind the IT department’s back to bring a solution on board. Companies like Big Switch Networks and Edgecore Networks are helping to transform the way the world connects.
Another big opportunity revolves around containers—virtual servers in which vast amounts of East-West network traffic travels—dramatically decreasing the amount of time a server sits idle while limiting the number of OSes necessary to process the traffic.
Whereas traditional virtualization solutions running a hypervisor layer, these container platforms, popularized by Docker, share one OS and can generate a marked increase in application density and boot performance per physical host.
Add in network traffic visibility solutions from companies like Gigamon and Big Switch and it becomes easy to manage and control applications, users and access in a secure environment. In addition, containers are easier to start/stop than traditional virtual machines and they are capable of breaking down large applications into smaller components to increase efficiency.
3. Performance Monitoring
Packet capture, network forensics, application performance, security monitoring at the virtualization layer—there’s a lot involved when it comes to maintaining the health of a network. Gartner estimates that network performance monitoring is a $1.6 billion market growing at 20% annually.
Offering solutions like Savvius gives solution providers a distinct advantage, as they’re able to help customers better diagnose problems through packet-level analytics for application and network performance.
This analysis provides all the critical data and insight necessary to reduce risks and resolve problems. Solution providers that can help customers gain more control through effective monitoring and investigations will win more business—and more loyal customers.
4. Network Visibility
A close relative to network performance, network visibility is a necessary as first step to monitoring the performance. After all, security and monitoring tools are only as good as the data they receive.
Today’s sophisticated cyber-threats rely on dropped packets and over-subscribed ports to find and exploit vulnerabilities within a network. Having a sound network traffic visibility solution is critical to analyze and route traffic effectively and securely. IDC expects the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) market, of which traffic visibility solutions are a component, is expected to grow at 69% annually through 2021, according to IDC.
Network TAPs from companies such as Garland Technology, allow you to access and monitor your network in passive (listen only) or active modes to feed your security tools and support filtering, aggregation and load balancing.
Finally, there is XaaS—everything as a service model showing no signs of slowing down. Businesses of all sizes are increasingly looking to “servicize” many aspects of their IT and business in order to avoid costly upgrades and investments and remain more scalable—plus enjoy OpEx or CapEx flexibility.
Unfortunately, many solution providers don’t have the reach and scale to provide full-scale XaaS solutions. But they don’t have to. GCI’s IT nFusion service aggregates pooled professional and managed services integrated with hardware, software, or licensing components into one, easy-to-manage solution that you can offer to customers.
Putting it All Together
Clearly, there’s a lot of opportunity within the data center to keep solution providers—and their distributors—going for quite some time. One more thought on the subject: One of the big drivers of these new data center technologies and services are the lines of business looking to be more nimble and productive.
Today’s LOBs have more independence and more purchasing power than ever before. XaaS models and cloud-based solutions can get them up and running on even the most advanced and complex applications in a fraction of the time—and cost—compared to previous data center generations.
More automation, monitoring and visibility mean you don’t have to make a six-figure investment up front. We’re moving to a zero-touch deployment model in which configurations can pretty much be done with the push of a button.
It’s a Great New World. Global Convergence is ready. Are you?
To speak to a Global Convergence representative about how to take advantage of the latest data center trends, contact us at [email protected]