Today's IT environments aren't fields of silos but interconnected ecosystems, and convergence is key, as publications like ZDNet have been pointing out over the last year. The same holds true within the data center, where trends like virtualization and software defined networking continue to break down barriers between compute, storage, and networking.
For convergence to succeed, however, effective integration is key. You need to know how each piece is going to affect the rest of the ecosystem to make things work and prevent things from breaking. IT and procurement decision-makers at your customers' organizations also know that that knowledge is necessary, but they may not actually have it. That's where you come in. And when it comes to Big Data sales, if you know the data center, you stand a much greater chance of making the sale.
Within the data center, Big Data deployments impact not only compute, but also storage and networking. Understanding the impact and how it can be addressed will help you overcome objections and tailor successful deployments that result in yet more Big Data sales for your business.
When it comes to storage, for example, Big Data has big demands. Writing for Data Center Knowledge, Krishna Kallakuri pointed out that with Big Data, "the amount of data increases rapidly, thus the storage must be highly scalable as well as flexible so the entire system doesn't need to be brought down to increase storage." He further observed that "Big data translates into an enormous amount of metadata, so a traditional file system cannot support it." So what kind of storage infrastructure do your customers need? Should they consider more traditional physical storage appliances, or perhaps newer, trendier approaches like virtualized, cloud-based, or software defined storage? Data center expertise will give you the tools to answer these questions, helping you make more Big Data sales.
As far as the network goes, meanwhile, there are a couple of considerations. For example, Big Data storage and processing will increase east-west traffic within a data center, as Sean Michael Kerner wrote for Enterprise Networking Planet; this increase in internal traffic will demand an "intelligent networking infrastructure." Do your customers' infrastructures stack up? If not, what will they need to get up to fighting weight? And that's not even getting into the security concerns that Big Data raises. If you want to make Big Data sales in heavily regulated verticals like financial services or health care, you'll need to know what kind of additional security solutions they'll need to protect the vast amounts of customer or patient information they plan on gathering.
On top of all of that, the data center today is undergoing a transformation. Technologies like the aforementioned virtualization and software defined networking, as well as cloud computing and distributed infrastructures, are maturing. All these changes will affect any Big Data solution's place in the ecosystem. Knowing how—having data center expertise—is therefore a significant advantage when it comes to Big Data sales.
Are you feeling less than confident about your data center expertise? Developing the knowledge base you'll need for success isn't as daunting as it may sound. Your distributors can provide the resources and training you need to get up to speed. Ingram Micro, for example, is prepared to increase your profitability through education in data center products from leading vendors like Cisco and IBM, as well as many others.
How has data center expertise—or the lack thereof—impacted your Big Data sales? Let us know in the comments.