Nearly every day, I have conversations with individuals at enterprises, governments and other organizations who are looking for an alternative to hyperscale public cloud offerings. Often, they’re driven to transform their current processes due to siloed IT environments. Many businesses are addressing these challenges with an on-premises hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution, which provides improved operations and a cost-effective data center that aligns with the rapid changes to a customer’s preferences.
Most IT professionals don’t have hands-on experience with HCI simply because they are consumed with daily operations to manage and maintain legacy architectures. That’s one reason they turn to CDW: We’ve helped hundreds of businesses successfully transition to HCI solutions that include Nutanix, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Dell EMC.
Expert Services Position Customers for Success
CDW’s comprehensive suite of HCI services includes asset tagging, rack and stack, data migration, hypervisor implementation and training. The process starts by analyzing the customer’s requirements and business goals, and then developing a methodology to achieve them. That’s followed by a meeting with the customer’s IT team to discuss options and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Next comes a series of deployment processes, including installing the equipment, verifying that it’s 100 percent operational and cabling it all into the customer’s core network. CDW then starts up everything, creates file systems, establishes credentials and integrates with VMware plug-ins.
CDW does about 40 percent of that work. The rest is handled by the customer’s IT team, with CDW shadowing to ensure a successful integration of this new technology. This teamwork approach is key for success because it’s an opportunity for the IT team to learn how to efficiently create resources such as spinning up virtual machines, adding nodes and expanding storage pools. In the process, they get comfortable handling the kinds of tasks that will become their day-to-day responsibility.
Training Boosts ROI in HCI Environments
This hands-on transfer of knowledge is also key because, for most teams, HCI is a new concept. With traditional, on-premises data centers, supporting a business unit’s new project meant running it through a gauntlet of network, server and storage teams. It can take weeks or months to provide the IT resources for new or current business projects, which is the driving force for many businesses transitioning to HCI solutions: Their business units want IT resources to be like electricity, where they simply flip a switch and immediately get the power they need.
Many IT organizations prefer tailored, hands-on training to be able to provide that level of responsiveness in the new HCI environment. And when they do, the return on investment soars, because HCI delivers all of the agility that prompted the migration in the first place. This can also save money if business units no longer feel a need to engage in shadow IT projects by using hyperscale services to get what they need ASAP.
Migrating to an HCI environment doesn’t have to disrupt business processes for an extended time. In fact, that’s one of the big surprises for organizations that use CDW. For example, Green Dot, an issuer of prepaid credit cards, was used to major IT makeovers taking several days to roll out. With CDW, its HCI cutover took less than 30 minutes.