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As organizations' IT needs keep on fueling demand for datacenters, suppliers are faced with the challenge of coming up with technologies that make these facilities more efficient. Datacenters and the cloud are not mutually exclusive, which makes the landscape more complex for service providers once the latter is added to the equation.
According to Cisco México's datacenter business development manager Alejandro Vidal, data analytics and hyper-converged infrastructure are two of the most notable trends in ensuring datacenter efficiency.
BNamericas spoke to Vidal to learn more about other technologies that are gaining ground in the datacenter business and the opportunities available to equipment and services providers.
BNamericas: What factors are driving the demand for datacenters in Mexico?
Vidal: Every client has IT needs that require servers to run internal processes, such as ERP or CRM platforms. Companies address these needs by having their own infrastructure, resorting to public clouds, or outsourcing datacenter services.
The first trend I see is cloud computing, as clients are moving to both public and private clouds. Clients are interested in having certain applications in their own cloud and then migrating them to a public cloud setting.
Secondly, hyper-converged infrastructure is gaining ground in an interesting way. Hyper-convergence basically consists of a modality whereby the server, computer, storage, and network are available in a single software-defined infrastructure.
Last year we focused on making this concept known and promoting it. Now we are seeing a lot of interest as well as applications and uses that will push the demand for hyper-convergent infrastructure.
BNamericas: What other trends are making datacenters more efficient?
Vidal: I would undoubtedly say big data and analytics.
For instance, we have products that have network switches and sensors that allow monitoring the network's components by using algorithms. These show how applications interact with each other and interconnect with the different programs in the environment.
Once the solution maps everything that happens in the network, it makes recommendations on how to improve performance.
BNamericas: Will we see more datacenters being built or existing ones being revamped?
Vidal: Revamping is definitely a trend, as next generation processors hitting the market are faster and more efficient. Thus it's possible to do more at greater speeds.
The cloud is also helping with the consolidation of datacenters by migrating part of the infrastructure to public cloud settings. At the moment there are solutions that help migrate infrastructure from public clouds to private datacenters and vice versa.
BNamericas: Given these technological advancements, what are the opportunities for datacenter equipment and technology suppliers?
Vidal: Software solutions are becoming quite important. Cisco is investing in software solutions in order to optimize our clients' applications. This is why we acquired business software company AppDynamics in October.
The move has been successful among our clients, for whom we are conducting analysis to improve the performance of their applications.
Companies are also interested in becoming service providers for Microsoft's Azure Stack hybrid cloud platform.
BNamericas: What's your criteria to select partners?
Vidal: Datacenters not only involve hardware components but applications as well.
The alliances we have to provide full datacenter services cover elements from physical infrastructure to storage solutions for convergent infrastructure. Therefore, we are working closely with storage partners.
We both look for integrators and seek to form alliances with suppliers for companies we are already partners with, such as Oracle and SAP. This way we can offer integrated solutions, with each partner contributing with its own expertise so that we can deploy new applications.
BNamericas: What will you do to maintain your position in the Mexican datacenter market?
Vidal: We have been the leading company in the BladeCenter server field in the last three quarters, according to rankings from US tech company BMC.
Hyper-convergent infrastructure will be key. This infrastructure can even be taken to public cloud settings because it is easy to install. You can install three hyper-convergent nodes in one hour and that can be subsequently scaled up to 32 until you form clusters. We will see more of this market trend.
In addition, we will continue focusing on datacenter-specific software, which we are already tackling with AppDyamics, our Tetration platform, and new switches and analytics.
These are some of the solutions we will be focusing on in the Mexican market in 2018.
About Alejandro Vidal
Alejandro Vidal joined Cisco in 2006. His first post in the company consisted of finding partners for Cisco Emerging Technologies. Since 2010, Vidal has held several positions in Cisco's datacenter division. Before joining Cisco, Vidal worked for tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Microsoft.