Do Converged Data Centers Mean Smaller IT Teams?

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Are converged data centers a disruptive technology for the IT teams at traditional data centers? And can IT solution providers find another practice area in offering business change and cultural consulting services to end customers embarking on a converged data center strategy?

While the converged data center holds the promise of more efficient power usage and administration, it’s failed to win over a few key constituents so far – data center workers afraid of losing their jobs and IT solution providers who say that early programs from some vendors have favored direct sales over channel sales.

But others say that IT solution providers should take heart in a new opportunity brought about by the move to converged data centers – helping companies with the cultural changes that such migrations inevitably bring up.

"This is an area where many resellers are providing our technologies," HP’s Gary Thome tells Channel Insider. "Customers will be looking to our channel partners for help on how to evolve organizations to take advantage of the technologies coming out."

HP is one of a handful of big vendors pushing a converged data center strategy. Dell is offering one that includes technology of other vendors, such as Brocade. And Cisco has also introduced one, and has been widely criticized by partners for initially leaving all but the most elite channel partners out of the sales plans. (But recently distributors Westcon and Ingram Micro have announced support for Cisco’s portfolio, making the solutions more widely available to channel partners.)

Thome, HP’s chief architect for HP’s Infrastructure Software and Blades says that in his talks with data center workers, he’s found many are afraid for their jobs.

As storage, networking and servers are forged together, experts in each domain area wonder if their expertise will still be required. But Thome has some reassuring words for them

"These teams have real expertise areas," he says. "We don’t think it makes sense to combine the groups and give access to everyone. They serve very critical functions to the organization, so instead we’ll redraw the boundary lines around these organizations to make them work more efficiently with each other."

For example, if you give everyone the same access, a storage expert may bring down the network or a networking expert may lose data. HP’s vision calls for closer ties between the teams and the server expert becomes what HP calls a "super administrator"

Still, HP and others have promised greater efficiency to push these converged infrastructures – and efficiency means centralized management. Will each of the functional teams – storage, networking and compute – become smaller even if they do remain intact?

Thome wouldn’t go out on that limb.

"I’ve never seen organizations get rid of people," he says. "Administrators are constantly pressured for time. For them anything that can relieve some of that pressure is a positive step."


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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