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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: The Evolution of The IoT and Data Management

June 26, 2017 No Comments

In today’s always-on, connected world, exponential data growth driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) is placing unprecedented demands on the data center, and current IT environments are struggling to handle the influx. To address continuously changing data center needs, IT managers are turning to converged and hyperconverged solutions to simply and quickly deploy IT. Gordon Lord, Director of Channel Strategy from APC by Schneider Electric discusses how these technologies are poised to revolutionize infrastructure deployment and management, why IT managers must facilitate the growth of converged and hyperconverged systems to meet changing IT demands and why the need for these solutions demands new types of alliances and partnerships to fulfill growing data center demands.

  • Q. How is the rapid proliferation of data brought on by technologies such as the Internet of Things driving new demands in data center and IT management? How is edge computing helping to address some of these new demands?

As the IoT phenomenon continues unabated and contributes to a massive influx of data, it is becoming more clear that outdated IT data center architectures will struggle to keep pace. Companies not only need to store growing amounts of data, but they also need to process it much faster. Data from IoT connected devices is becoming increasingly valuable to everyday business functions, and it is necessary for organizations to have instant or near real-time access to this data.

As data transmission and bandwidth needs mount, the rising number of connected “things” is driving the need for more compute outside the centralized data center. To respond to these needs and address IT concerns, edge computing deployments are increasing. In fact, according to a recent report by Business Intelligence, it is estimated that 5.6 billion IoT devices owned by enterprises and governments will use edge computing for data collection and processing by 2020.

Edge IT places compute and storage at the edge of the network, closer to the point of aggregation and collection. This setup reduces bandwidth and latency issues common with traditional and cloud data center architectures, enabling businesses with the data accessibility needed to succeed in our digital world. For example, when it comes to applications such as on-demand streaming with services like Netflix, the amount of data processing required to stream generates too much lag time with a centralized data center approach. By placing small edge data centers at the more local telco storefront, streaming companies can provide quality content to their users nearly instantaneously—significantly reducing any latency issues that disrupt the viewing experience.

The need for edge computing also cascades into the industrial world. As more industrial devices become connected, there is a greater need to compute and evaluate edge data with the goal of decreasing bandwidth and latency issues. Edge IT provides a robust and ruggedized high-availability network that can be critical in ensuring all data is collected and routed correctly.

  • Q. What benefits do converged/hyperconverged infrastructure solutions provide businesses that are managing increasingly complex IT systems?

The IoT era brings opportunities for businesses to extract value from data like never before—if they have the right infrastructure in place. To take full advantage of these opportunities, converged and hyperconverged solutions can help solve infrastructure complexity, reduce costs and positively impact operational efficiency.

Converged infrastructure operates by grouping multiple IT units into a single, optimized computing package, combining existing servers and storage under a management interface. While converged IT creates higher efficiency and density in the data center, it also increases IT agility by combining existing servers and storage under a single management interface. In a converged architecture, IT components can still be used as originally intended, but are managed from a single pane for virtualization.

Via IoT, data is expected to grow exponentially, and data centers will need to become more agile and cost-effective—this is where hyperconvergence comes into the mix. Hyperconvergence moves away from multiple discrete components that are packaged together, instead integrating compute, storage and network elements in a single, software-defined enclosure. Hyperconverged IT deploys virtually and is managed from a single administrative pane, without the need for deep technology skills. As data center IT managers increasingly need to add capacity quickly and streamline the ongoing management of their environment to meet big data demands, a hyperconverged solution provides the agility, simplicity and effectiveness needed in the IoT era.

Overall, converged and hyperconverged IT solutions allow the fast and easy integration of a physical infrastructure into a virtualized environment, simplifying management, increasing utilization rates and reducing costs.

  • Q. What are some of the challenges of deploying converged/hyperconverged IT solutions that businesses should be aware of?

Converged and hyperconverged solutions require high levels of efficiency, standardization and protection, and as a result, vendors must deliver the power-protection, reliability and simplicity required for these increasingly sophisticated architectures.

In a multi-vendor solution, the process for ensuring system component compatibility can be complex, expensive and time consuming for end user and channel organizations. However, vendors can eliminate this responsibility from their partners by delivering cohesive total solutions that simplify IT commissioning and management, ensuring the highest levels of protection for complex mission critical systems. Ultimately, vendors must guarantee joint interoperability with validations and certifications to ensure compatibility and integration—providing customers with certainty in their investment.

  • Q. Why is it important for vendor organizations to work together to develop joint solutions for end user clients? What industry forces are precipitating this need?

As businesses face the growing challenge of balancing increasingly complex IT systems with faster speed to market requirements, it is more important than ever for vendors to work together to provide their channel partners and customers with the most simplified, easily-deployable solutions that fulfill today’s connectivity and reliability needs. Vendor partnerships and alliances are imperative, now more than ever, to provide complete and reliable solutions, allowing partners to shift focus from their IT challenges to business growth and solutions for their customers, and eliminate any concerns about their physical infrastructure.

  • Q. In what ways does APC by Schneider Electric work with partners to address the changing needs of IT?

With expertise in integrated IT architecture and software, APC by Schneider Electric works with the top OEMs in converged infrastructure to provide completely cohesive solutions. By providing the assurance of pretested, proven system compatibility and data center design of converged systems, APC enables our customers to deploy IT faster than ever before. We’ve invested heavily in alliances, validations and integrations to help our partners, managed service providers and end users capitalize on the opportunity of converged and hyperconverged IT and the growth of corresponding services to ensure their physical infrastructures can integrate with major vendors.

 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: The Evolution of The IoT and Data Management

Gordon Lord, Director of Channel Strategy, APC by Schneider Electric

Gordon Lord is Director of Channel Strategy at APC by Schneider Electric and is responsible for driving profitable revenue and partner enablement in collaboration with APC by Schneider Electric’s distribution partners.

He joined the firm in 1995 as a customer service representative and has spent the majority of his career in channel sales at APC. Prior to his current role, he held the position of director of IT distribution and channel marketing for over five years. He took up this position after spending almost two years as director of worldwide channel program.

Prior to this, between 2004 and 2006, he held the position of director of national channel accounts, and from 2001 to 2004, he was a national account manager. This followed two years as a district manager between 1999 and 2001 and three years as an inside sales rep, between 1996 and 1999.


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