Growing network connections and the steadily rising influx of data have put greater demands on organisations’ network infrastructures.
Many enterprises are now preparing for network modernisation, driven by the need to be more agile, responsive, competitive and cost effective.
Over the last 10 years, the way we interact with data has evolved beyond anyone’s expectation. Billions of connected devices are overloading global networks with requests every second, and users demand always-on, instantaneous access to applications and services.
Virtualisation and cloud models are scaling applications at a pace to meet demand but require greater network agility and performance, as well as reduced operational cost and complexity.
All of these factors are placing pressure on an infrastructure that, frankly, was never architected for these growing demands. The 3rd platform and how cloud, mobile and big data operates and how the network responds to these demands requires a new way of thinking.
To truly modernise, organisations must holistically move to the New IP – a user-driven, software-centric, virtualised infrastructure based on open standards and offering low operational expenditure (OpEx).
Many customers believe that a software-based approach (Software Defined Networking, SDN) will deliver the automation that they need to fit the new business challenges.
SDN is more than just hype or beta technology right now. It is well established in production environments and is being shipped regularly to customers around the globe. SDN is redefining the networking landscape and therefore a necessary part of any future business model.
The channel’s greatest opportunity
The channel definitely does understand that the future lies with the provision of software-defined ‘everything’ and you can see the likes of Intel, VMware and Brocade discussing how infrastructure, storage and networking solutions can provide a complimentary solution for enterprise of all size.
Partners need to understand and prioritise whether they want to build a specialist capability or choose to partner with a specialist in these key areas.
In the channel today we are seeing a growth in ecosystem partnerships to deliver these end-to-end capabilities for the customer. Our belief is that it is important that partners choose what they are good at and stick to it, and if they need a specialist addition then find those specialists to partner with.
This is for two reasons – the speed and the cost of retaining and broadening skills is difficult. The old saying of ‘get niche or get big’ is becoming even more important.
From a commercial perspective it is becoming even more apparent that customers are seeking out a unique depth of skill for those partners that have an aptitude and understanding of applications.
It really is all about that at the moment and with unique insights comes the ability to charge more and your rate card will be healthy for some time to come.
Deepen your skill set
This changing shift to a world of software-defined everything has introduced the need for a deepening of the skill set partners bring to the table. We are now in a space where we are moving from implementation to architectural design and integration capabilities. The shift is no longer putting an appliance into a rack and plugging in the cables.
We need experts to discuss the strategic possibilities of the network – the impacts, rules and managing data. The 3rd platform will introduce agility and greater programmability.
The deeper the networking skills our partners can bring to the table will have a direct impact on their value to customers and will lead to differentiation and lead to higher professional services rates.