Commercial vigour in ASEAN boosts demand for next generation technologies

By Bennett Wong, Vice President & General Manager and Mohamed Noorul Huq, Solutions Director, Avnet Technology Solutions, ASEAN

The countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN for short have always been known and favoured for being “exotic” destinations with colourful histories, diverse cultures, beautiful landscapes and beaches. While that remains true, the region’s image has evolved considerably and is now fast gaining attention on the economic front. With the formal establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in December 2015, the region is quickly becoming an intimately connected market.

As of the end of 2014, the region recorded a combined GDP of US2.6 trillion, making it the third largest economy in Asia, and seventh in the world (AEC, 2015 ).Bennett Wong Avnet

With the regional economic integration in ASEAN, there has never been a more exciting time to do business in this part of the world. The thriving growth in mobile and next generation technologies, the prevailing trend of IT consumerization and the foreseeable rise in commercial activities across the region will equate to a massive IT adoption and spend opportunity.

As Avnet sits at the core of the technology supply chain, we are able to help create this new and exciting future by leveraging macroeconomic changes and collaborating closely technology innovators and the channel – all with the end goal of meeting the business needs of the end users.

In recent years, we have been investing in developing dedicated teams that are focused on transforming technology into business solutions. One of these teams we is the ASEAN-based converged infrastructure (CI) solutions team, led by Mohamed Noorul Huq. In the following sections of the blog, Noorul shares his insights into the growth potential of converged infrastructure, including the drivers for adoption, challenges and ways in which companies can capitalize on these opportunities.

 Simply put, the realities of IT today can be summarized this way: more users, more devices, more data, and faster evolving technology. In an earlier post from Max Chan, Avnet Technology Solutions Asia Pacific’s vice president, global information solutions, he discussed the ways companies can ride and survive today’s information tsunami as well as how they can better manage and analyze their data to improve decision-making, and predict future outcomes. Related to data deluge and increased pressures to bring down business costs, companies are investigating new approaches to data center management, which leads me to the topic of converged infrastructure.
Mohamed Noorul Huq

Mohamed Noorul Huq

Converged infrastructure refers to the integration of multiple technologies including servers, storage and network, as well as the management of power, cooling and facilities and associated software, support and services. The goal of consolidation is to unify systems, simplify the management of IT, create greater agility and efficiency, improve time to market and business value, and very importantly, to reduce expenditure. The choice of delivery model is largely determined by the customers’ specific needs. Methods include reference architecture (system design), integrated systems (preconfigured and vendor certified bundles of hardware and software), and software-driven hyper converged.

The promise that converged infrastructure will reduce IT complexity, combined with significant financial benefits and improved organisation flexibility and agility, make it a must-have for solution providers looking to meet the needs of their customers and remain competitive. The worldwide integrated systems market accounted for approximately $12.8 billion in spending in 2015, and this anticipated to reach $20 billion by 2018.[1]

photodune-1768580-office-job-m What will drive the adoption?

  • Time to service / fast deployment: Responding more quickly to new business requests and reducing the time to provision new infrastructure. Through simplified infrastructure management, converged systems give administrators more time to strategically contribute to the core business.
  • Reduced infrastructure complexity: Pre-integrated, pre-validated solutions that work right out of the box and provide a single point of contact for all technical support issues, greatly decreases time required for problem resolution.
  • Demand for virtualization and big data: Application-specific demand, including desktop virtualization and enterprise applications, and big data, make integrated and hyper converged systems attractive options. End users can deploy easily without purchasing best-of-breed components separately. With CI, all the components are designed to work together and can support a highly agile virtual ecosystem.
  • Green Initiatives: New initiatives around energy efficiency call for downsizing the IT footprint and, in turn, reduction in power and cooling.

Major considerations for adoption 

  • ROI overtime versus costs: End users may be concerned about upfront cost or have doubts about projected ROI. Though the initial cost for converged systems is higher than purchasing the individual components separately, the cost of integrating these parts – to the point where they are ready to run on demand – is much higher than the upfront converged infrastruc­ture product. There is a need to understand the cost and efforts involved in integrating the system’s different components, ensuring inter-operability, compatibility and unified management, and positioning converged systems to provide enhanced ROI over time.
  • Understanding of workloads suitable for CI: While virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is one of the most common and best-use cases, there are many other reference systems that end users may not be aware of.
  • Sharing of resources: End users may be worried that another IT department run-away application might starve their application for resources.
  • Single vendor lock-in: Preconceptions of being locked to a single vendor solution.
  • Migration: Concerns on how to move to CI.

Overcoming the Challenges

For all the abovementioned challenges, there needs to be a knowledgeable business solutions partner advising end users on how they can reduce complexity and which converged infrastructure delivery model is best for their company. End users can require pre-sales support, quotation and full integration services including hardware assembly, racking, cabling, device configuration and hypervisor configuration to build these solutions. The supplier also needs to be able to focus on providing data center solutions, up to and including CI, as well as training and enablement, blueprints and playbooks, and consolidated technical resources that support their end partner organisations’ complex technology needs.

Companies are recognising that it is no longer enough to simply supply products and parts to clients. Where converged and hyper converged infrastructure are concerned, business partners need to be able to transform technology into business solutions through consultative approaches, leveraging their data center and virtualization portfolios, coupled with integrated architectures. Most importantly, they need to have the expertise, in-house capabilities and carefully selected portfolios of services, software and hardware from the world’s best technology providers, to enable them to create tailored solutions, designed to address their own customers’ unique business challenges.

[1] Source:  Avnet BIO estimates based upon Gartner and IDC industry data.


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