Data centers across the country are transforming before our very eyes. The journey to the cloud each organization takes is different, but convergence is a common thread. Driven by the need to reduce complexity and cost for the end customer, the “converged stack” is becoming an increasingly popular way to offer pre-configured product bundles for specific virtualization use cases.
All of which gives Trend Micro channel partners a fantastic opportunity: to offer completely integrated cloud packages featuring their own services – including security. It’s the perfect recipe to drive sales and differentiate in a highly competitive market.
Birth of the stack
We’re seeing an evolution in the building blocks that are required to grow and transform data centers, with an increasing demand for workloads to move quickly to the cloud. Data centers need to support this transformation by ensuring the stacks in which these workloads transition to the cloud are built faster. The journey started with hypervisors installed on physical hardware, but architectures soon became more complex – with networking and storage also added to the mix. Thus, the “converged” or integrated stack – combining compute, storage and networking in a silo-busting virtualized package.
Things are evolving again with the hyper-converged stack, taking advantage of software-defined data center technology to reduce cost and complexity even further for the end customer. The idea is for hardware, networking, storage, hypervisor, operating system and applications to be made available in a single ‘black box.’
It’s no surprise IDC estimates the global market for converged infrastructure will be worth $17.8 billion by 2016[i].
Time for converged sales
So how can the channel profit from these rapidly accelerating industry trends? At Trend Micro we’re excited by the data center revolution driven by virtualization and the ‘software-defined’ architectures. But we’re also aware of the security blind spots that cybercriminals are only too ready to exploit if organizations don’t install virtual-ready security solutions like Deep Security. It’s why we announced at VMworld last year that the latest version supports and extends the micro-segmentation capabilities announced in VMware’s NSX network virtualization platform for added security.
With this in mind, and the knowledge that cloud customers increasingly want a simple, integrated solution with one supplier who owns the solution, Trend Micro channel partners should start driving ‘converged sales’. The channel has always needed to bake in its own value to attract customers; now we have a perfect storm of opportunity to do just that – providing pre-fabricated virtual packages with all of the above components plus threat protection, so customers can shift workloads to the stack without worrying about security and compliance.
The value channel partners can provide to end customers in the cloud era is converging various solutions and selling them as a bundle. The cloud has made software acquisition very easy as the complexity of the solution is handled directly by the partner. A “converged sale” takes this philosophy to the sales process, enabling customers to buy tightly-integrated solutions as one single bundle. Channel partners, such as cloud service providers, can take compute cycles from AWS, Azure or others, add an app/service, including security, and provide that as a complete solution to end customers. They “converge” and “sell” integrated solutions and add their own services offering.
The converged sales strategy gives partners a complete story: it helps drive their differentiation in the market, it grows their portfolio services offering; and it gives them a reason to call on customers who are transitioning their workloads to the cloud.
[i] “Worldwide Converged Systems 2012-2016 Forecast: Adoption Fueled by Faster Time-to-Market Demands,” Nov. 2012. Source: IDC