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Data centre directions 2014 roundtable: Reinvention and renewal

Jennifer O'Brien | Feb. 11, 2014
A group of select attendees gathered at an exclusive roundtable lunch to discuss data centre predictions for 2014 – with a key focus on the software-defined data centres promise and vision.

The partner challenge
Infront Systems' managing director, Allan King, said there are a number of challenges facing partners as customers transform to a world with Cloud computing and the journey towards converged infrastructure. But none so dire, he warned, as the monster issue lurking in the closet: the general deskilling of the partner.

"We have had a general deskilling of our industry over the last ten years, which is now making it incredibly difficult, from a partner community, to be able to spin up or require those skills needed to provide those complex orchestrated services.

King said the general deskilling is wreaking havoc across the partner community. "You try and hire someone today that hasn't been in the industry longer than 15 years and say, 'I need you to write a script.' They say, 'what do you mean?' Microsoft has done a wonderful job in providing commodity-based services. What that's done to the broader community is create a generalist in IT.

"But now you're asking us to be able to have that single click model over complex services through an automated fashion that requires deep understanding of all the elements to get somebody to understand how it all comes together, and the guy can't write a script? The guy doesn't know a programming language? He knows how to hit a 'next, next, next' button."

WhiteGold Solutions commercial director, Leigh Howard, said complexity brings opportunity for resellers, particularly crucial now that Generation Y's are demanding simple, manageable IT solutions and implementations, even in the datacentre.

"I don't know why we have a skill shortage in the IT industry because we absolutely need those skills. Because isn't it the role of the reseller or the integrator to translate complexity into simplicity for the end user?

"The end user, unfortunately, like it or not, is becoming the Gen Y of today. They're the influencers, they're the decision-makers. They've grown up in a world where they can go 'next, next, next' and it just works for them. They've got a smart phone that they've grown up with. They were on an iPad at the age of three and four, playing games and swiping and tapping. They don't want complexity," he said.

"Their expectation of the datacentre environment, whether running an enterprise software portfolio, the demand is it should be simple, and it probably should be and we are probably moving towards that. It is the channels role to translate that complexity. The vendors are bringing out some brilliant software to do that, but you need the skills to translate that into something that is not complex because the customer has a right to demand that they can just swipe tap, splat, whatever they do."


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