Converged Infrastructure

When it comes to infrastructure convergence do you have a best of breed technology blind spot?

Guest blog written by: Scott Wood, Vice President, HP US Solution Architects

 

We all develop preferences for brands.  Global Companies would not have spent over a half of trillion dollars in brand marketing last year if they did not think it worked.   At home I see it when my kids cannot wait to point out the new brand of basketball shoes they want this season.  My twelve year old son was recently lobbying for the new LeBron 11s.  My wife has a strong preference in pocket books and I prefer certain brands of golf clubs.   This same brand preference and loyalty is very common in the technology industry but the stakes are much higher and it may be preventing you from meeting your broader business and cost goals and as a result it could be creating a blind spot.  In a Forrester Consulting survey of 194 global IT decision makers, respondents gave “high weights to integration, manageability, and cost, with surprisingly low weights to best-of-breed components and industry peer references.”  Yet in practice, many of us in the industry see strong brand biases and personal allegiances preventing companies from achieving the benefits of full convergence.

 

In many information technology organizations technologist will often identify their role or position by the technology brand.  For example, the Cisco Network Architect, or the EMC storage manager, or the HP Server administrator….  There are many reasons why this identification happens.  It could be where all their technical training and certifications were developed, they may have been successful with that company’s product in the past, had a great support experience, or have had strong relationships with the companies engineering, and the list grows on.  In these cases when you look to choose a converged architecture solution you are not just picking an architecture but you are now sending a message or statement about your team’s jobs and positions.  It would be completely natural for people to become defensive and put their positions, jobs, or value to the organization above the solution decision.  This brand bias can lead a company to continue down the best of breed approach in opposition to more important business goals.

 

What is not easily understood today for most companies are the costs associated with implementing a best of breed technology strategy.  The costs fall into several buckets

  • Integration costs – the cost in both time and resources to integrate the technologies
  • Training costs – both the depth of training needed to in order to manage the integration and the amount of training because of complexity
  • Support cost – multiple companies to work with and resolution delays because of hand-offs, difficulty of fault isolation, and ownership
  • Capital costs – convergence can offer simplicity and complete eliminations of architecture layers that are not available in a best of breed strategy

These costs need to be compared with the benefits of a converged solution.  A few of these benefits include: 

  • Increases in staff productivity,
  • Improve qualify of IT service delivery,
  • Better rate of return on information assets and
  • Increased agility to meet new opportunities or competitive challenges.

In a recent study by HP we showed that a converged infrastructure solution could lead to a 35% capital investment saving in servers, a 40% savings in storage along with a 66% operating expense savings over a three year period.   And, customers that move from a traditional three tier data center network architecture to a two tiered network based on HP network solutions will see a 25% reduction in capital expenses and a 30% savings in operational expenses over a three year period.   These are significant savings to an IT budget that is continuing to see pressures to reduce cost or potentially shift costs to innovation spend.  Please refer to the following white paper, titled Simplify your IT—accelerate your business, for a more extensive look at the business benefits of HP’s converged infrastructure.

 

How do you avoid the blind spot?

There are things you can do to insure your technologists are better aligned to the organizations goals and objectives and help prevent natural brand allegiances that could have a negative impact.

  1. Make sure your job descriptions are not tied to brands. 
  2. Organize around the service not the technology. 
  3. Tie goals and bonuses more closely with cost or business goals

I will explore each of these in more detail in an upcoming post.

Comments
Troy Tiner(anon) | ‎10-22-2013 11:44 PM

 Well put.  Serve the business needs not the pieces that serve the architecture.

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