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Which Data Center Use Cases Are Best For a Value Added Reseller Business Plan

June 19, 2017

Which Data Center Use Cases Are Best For a Value Added Reseller Business Plan

The data center is evolving, and VAR operations must evolve as well. The new data center must accommodate more services and more capacity, and that means resellers need to develop new marketing strategies and lines of business to accommodate those new demands. Competitive VARs are adding new expertise to their business plans and new use cases to stay competitive in the data center market.

Now is the perfect time to expand data center sales. Gartner anticipates worldwide IT spending to total $3.8 trillion in 2015, up 2.4 percent from 2014. Worldwide spending on data center systems alone is expected to reach $143 billion, up 1.8 percent from last year. Much of this growth is being driven by new data center technologies and new infrastructure to accommodate new platforms such as mobile devices, software-defined networking (SDN), and big data. To take advantage of these new data center opportunities, VARs must be prepared to present new uses cases that resonate with customers.

A Use Case for BYOD and Mobile Users

The addition of mobile users has been an ongoing headache for IT managers. The introduction of increasingly sophisticated handheld hardware has led to more requests to support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and for corporate handheld devices to serve as network workstations. Though mobile hardware gives companies more versatility and BYOD offers the potential of real hardware savings, incorporating mobile into the data center is no trivial task. Having a mobile networking use case is an essential part of any VAR’s portfolio.

When developing a mobile/BYOD use case, be sure to account for IT managers’ most common concerns about incorporating uncontrolled mobile hardware into their networks:

  • Data exposure – Smartphones and tablets get stolen, and employees could use their devices to store sensitive company data. Provide secure swipe capability as part of your mobile use case to secure sensitive company data.

  • Password protection – Users tend to store passwords where they can find them, such as on their smartphones. Implement steps to ensure that users do not store sensitive data where it can be exposed, and come up with an encryption strategy to protect such data.

  • Bandwidth management – Data centers must contend with both external users accessing the enterprise from outside the network and users logging in when they are on site. Bandwidth management must be part of the strategy. You also will need to make sure the wireless infrastructure is robust enough to handle additional traffic.

  • Malware security – Protecting the data center from BYOD-delivered malware is also essential. That means taking steps within the data center and implementing policies to protect company-controlled mobile devices.

These are just a few considerations, but you should incorporate some BYOD/mobile user use case for the data center.

Software-Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization

Virtualization and SDN are becoming mainstream solutions that separate the physical infrastructure from network services to deliver dynamic access to software-controlled network resources in the enterprise and in the cloud. Here are some use cases to consider adding to your portfolio to accommodate SDN and NFV in the data center:

  • Network access control – This involves setting appropriate privileges for users and devices throughout the enterprise. The software tools are used to follow the user or device and manage access privileges at different parts of the network.

  • Network virtualization – An ideal solution for multi-tenant networks, virtualization abstracts the physical network with a software overlay that spans multiple racks in the data center, offering granular control and even security services.

  • Dynamic links – Create dynamic connections between data centers and enterprises. The SDN can control quality of service as well as bandwidth allocation to optimize data traffic.

  • Data center optimization – Both SDN and NFV allow you to fine-tune application performance by orchestrating workflows, validating networking configuration, and applying other software controls.

Big Data Use Cases Can Mean Big Revenue

Of course, SDN and NFV are also useful for big data use cases. Demonstrating big data capability as part of your business plan will open up some real revenue potential. Although specific big data use cases will vary by customer and industry, there are some universal use cases that can be adapted to almost any type of customer:

  • Big data exploration – Showing businesses how to find new insight from existing data can be invaluable. Most companies have terabytes of data available that can be tapped to address any business problem. Applying big data techniques to break down data silos and explore new data possibilities can be the first step to a bigger big data engagement.

  • Customer profile – Developing a 360-degree perspective on target customers is a use case all businesses can apply. Online retailers, for example, want to know about shoppers, and banks want to know more about customers’ financial strategies. Big data gives them the tools to analyze existing data and unstructured data sources such as social media in order to identify customer preferences, sentiment, and behavior patterns.

  • Operations – Big data can reveal problems with operations performance, such as production bottlenecks or areas where there is excessive waste or cost.

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) – More components and devices are being equipped with Internet-enabled sensors that can share data. That data is being used as part of big data analytics to streamline manufacturing processes, to improve supply chain performance, to track product inventory, and for a host of other applications.

  • Data warehouse optimization – Promote IT efficiency by identifying what data is used and “active” versus the data that can be archived to a lower-cost computing platform.

  • Data security – Data security is a growing concern for every enterprise, especially those with sensitive digital assets and in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance. Big data can provide real-time security monitoring for traffic anomalies as well as provide new strategies for analyzing event and machine data.

Data center strategies must evolve with the times, and resellers that are able to develop new data center and use cases as part of their business plan will be able to stay ahead of the competition. There are many new opportunities in data center integration. Take a close look at your customers and your target market and determine where there’s the greatest need for a new kind of data center use case.