The Inside Scoop: Marketing Hyperconvergence
by Leona Heslehurst, on 29th February, 2016
Just when you think the pace of change in IT is faster than ever, along comes another seismic shift. Like hyperconvergence. We’ve helped clients market many new technologies over the years, driving EUC, Flash, VDI and cloud introduction to Australian businesses.
Fortunately, those of us who love working in technology aren’t in it for a quiet life, but at RAW, we have learned a thing or two about the marketing tactics that work. We know that it can sometimes be handy to get some inside information about new trends, so we caught up with someone to share with us the latest on hyperconvergence.
Andrew Silvers, ANZ EBG Alliance Manager at Lenovo, says customers who have been spending more dollars than they’d like on traditional storage have much to gain from hyperconvergence. Increasing adoption of social, mobile, cloud and big data applications have intensified the pain felt by IT departments wrestling with complex – and costly – storage environments.
‘Often Flash storage fixes the problem for the moment, but it is not realistic to pay that performance premium for everything. Adding more devices can just add to the confusion, and it is too costly for just keeping the lights on,’ said Silvers. Sometimes the simple response is to turn to cloud solutions but, when you look past the hype, cloud is unlikely to incur lower costs, and integration can be a thornier proposition than it appears at the outset. That isn’t to say we’re going to have an anti-cloud rant – it definitely has its place in the sun, just it isn’t right for everything.
Hyperconvergence brings together all of an organisation’s storage, compute and virtualisation resources, integrating them into a single server appliance managed through hypervisor software. These resources effectively become building blocks that can be easily and quickly managed. ‘This is the architecture that cloud is built on, but you can do it in-house, without the integration issues you’d associate with external cloud solutions,’ said Silvers. ‘Hyperconvergence builds one server at a time, keeping the cost of management lower than traditional approaches.’
The cost savings are not to be sniffed at. An IDC report identified TCO savings of 58 percent over five years from a hyperconverged solution using Nutanix unified management software. Other hypervisor offerings are available from VMware, SimpliVity and DataCore, each with their own strengths. From a hardware perspective, Silvers says, it is important to be aware that not all hyperconvergence solutions are available on all hardware. Lenovo’s strategy has been to build reliable hardware that is not tied in with any single software vendor, but rather to work readily with them all. Given that his organisation is without the heavy traditional storage sales targets – and therefore vested interests – that seems a smart choice, and the performance focus keeps them on top of customer satisfaction ratings year after year.
‘A lot of customers have investment in storage products already, and want to protect that. Others just don’t want to get shackled to a single vendor for years to come. It is important that IT professionals are aware of the long-term implications of their hardware choices when building a hyperconvergence solution,’ explained Silvers.
Those ramifications are very much in the mind of many IT managers thanks to changes in the market. Dell’s high-profile acquisition of EMC2 is of particular interest. A reported price tag of US $67 Billion will mean they need to shift a lot of storage. Not surprisingly, the deal raises questions about the prospects of hardware-neutral solutions in the future. Messaging that reflects customers’ concerns will reassure them that you understand their challenges.
‘More than anything, now is the time that businesses need a trusted advisor that has no vested interest in either hyperconvergence solution. They need a technology partner who will help them to navigate a path to all the long-term cost and management benefits while retaining their freedom of choice,’ said Silvers. While technologies come and go, one marketing strategy that remains absolutely consistent is devising a blend of inbound and outbound communication that outlines your status as a trusted partner. That means consistency, well-planned messaging, and the right frequency; too often may crowd your busy customer, too scarce and you may find yourself overlooked. Needless to say, being informative, helpful yet not invasive requires a deep understanding of customers in your market.
For more information and support to design hyperconvergence campaigns with the wow factor, contact the team at RAW. Now is a great time to take the lead on a trend that is getting a lot of attention from all sizes of organisations in all industries.