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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.”