Is your datacentre a BMW or kit car?

Anthony Elvey Anthony Elvey Managing Director, VCE APJ

One of my customers recently called me on a Saturday morning. “You’re kidding me,” I said to him when I picked up the phone. “What’s gone wrong? Has one of our VBlocks malfunctioned? Should I be getting out the SLA documents?”

“No,” he told me. “I’d like to invite you to a game of golf. Ever since we installed VBlocks – and ever since I stopped having to continuously patch my datacentres – I’ve literally gotten my weekends back. And I’d like to thank you for it.”

This is why, in my opinion, converged infrastructure is not a fad. It’s the future.

Datacentres are all challenged by three knotty issues: technology, process, and skills. Straightening them out is essential for businesses to compete from a winnable market position. One of my other customers is in the healthcare space. For his business, a three-day service outage costs them more in lost sales than a fully-furbished converged infrastructure solution like the one we installed for them.

Other industries like airlines and FSI also suffer from this acute level of downtime disruption. If you don’t have the right technology – in this case, converged infrastructure – and a sufficient calibre of skills and processes in place, your business can end up bleeding millions of dollars a day.

The underlying issue is that the three issues I mentioned are rarely tackled head-on by CIOs. Why? Because they’re too busy with day-to-day maintenance and break-fixes to even think about strategy. Take away those hassles, and you can focus on getting high-value work done. I don’t have to patch or run regular diagnostics on my iPhone, which leaves me free to communicate and work the way I need to. That same consumer drive towards effortless user experiences needs to permeate the datacentre too.

With the converged infrastructure model, all those hassles get handled by companies like VCE – from the initial systems integration through to the ongoing patching, upgrading, and maintenance of those systems. This is the same business model that car companies like BMW operate. Even after you buy the product, everything remains the responsibility of the manufacturer. Comparatively, many companies in Asia are still operating datacentres as though they’re kit cars – and simply cobbling together parts as a result of knee-jerk requirements isn’t a strategy that can support application performance as it grows.

The benefits of the “BMW model” of converged infrastructure go far beyond cost savings and operational efficiency. For Fox Sports, the greatest benefit of deploying VBlocks has been that its most talented IT people can now work on editing, delivering, and reticulating content rather than round-the-clock maintenance. They get to do work that’s exciting, has a definitive impact on revenue, and doesn’t consume their weekends. Improvements in staff retention at Fox Sports have been enormous.

The question for all CIOs today is simple: do you want datacentres that are sold, installed, and maintained like BMWs, or kit cars?

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