CRN Exclusive: Scale Computing Forms Partnership With APC Giving Partners A 'Powerful' Micro Data Center 'In-A-Box' Solution

Scale Computing has formed a new partnership with APC by Schneider Electric to create a turnkey hyper-converged solution that executives say will lead to higher margins for channel partners and enable solution providers to scale capacity and computing power at the edge quickly.

"This is pretty powerful," said Bill Barnier, sales manager at Bloomfield Hills, Mich.- based solution provider Data Partner, who partners with Scale. "They can do power back up, the compute and the storage, all in one box. That's powerful to be able to put all of that in one appliance at the remote edge. That will definitely be something that customers would have interest in, especially those who have a lot of remote sites."

Hyper-converged specialist Scale Computing has been chosen as an Alliance Partner by APC by Schneider Electric to support its hyper-converged Micro Data Center Xpress solution, which combines a purpose-built infrastructure with a physical management wrapper for hyper-converged architectures. Xpress is a complete and energy-efficient IT solution that is pre-tested, optimized, and able to be rapidly deployed. APC said it creates a reliable and robust environment to leverage the best of on-premises and multi-cloud infrastructures.

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On the Scale Computing side, the company touts its HC3 hyper-converged platform as a data center in a box with server, storage and virtualization integrated into a single appliance. With no virtualization software to license and no external storage to buy, HC3 products reduce out-of-pocket costs and simplify the infrastructure needed to keep applications running.

"If you order a Scale system, we can have you deploying virtual machines within 30 minutes after you unbox it. What we want to do is reduce that even further now with APC," said Jason Collier, co-founder of Scale, in an interview with CRN. "Going in and being able to put in this system very rapidly gives the partner additional services and additional products that they can offer at higher margins."

"We want to give channel partners something where it is exceptionally easy to deploy this micro-data center or edge data center component, and we have several methods in which we're going to take that to market," said Collier.

In one customer use case, Scale is looking to deploy its own hyper-converged solution with Xpress inside a grocery store chain in Europe with 9,000 locations.

"If we can just drop one of these things in at each one of those locations and it takes no time to set up and can even be preconfigured to the point where you can drop it in and turn it on, then basically that store is up – that's where in these larger distributed deployments it's going to make the channel partners way more efficient in being able to deliver those services to the end customers," said Collier.

Data Partner's Barnier said the packaged solution would open up the doors to new customers.

"A lot of companies are looking to have the local feel and touch," said Barnier. "We're doing software-defined WAN and we're trying to build out and put things at the edge – even the firewalls are going that way – security at the edge. So this is a really good offer."

A recent report by research firm MarketsandMarkets said the edge computing market is expected to surge from $1.47 billion in 2017 to $6.72 billion in 2022, at a CAGR of 35 percent.

According to IT research firm 451 Research, micro data centers on the edge are growing in popularity with a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent over the last three years. Sales of micro data centers are expected to hit $30 million in 2018, up from $18 million this year.

More customers realize the benefits of embedding compute and storage capacity closer to where the data is being generated, according to Carrier. By deploying Xpress, partners can give customers the flexibility to quickly scale capacity and computing power at the edge, saving businesses time, money and resources.

Collier said partners would be able to offer services to help deploy technology like active directory or ERP systems. "What we wanted to do in hyper-convergence is to get the channel partner out of being the auto mechanic trying to keep the car running, and just put them in the driver seat so that they can drive the car from point A to point B – help start making the company make business decisions," he said.

Sacha Wingers, business director at Netherlands-based solution provider Copaco, who partners with Scale, said the solution was a "micro data-center-in-a-box solution."

"Collaborating with these market leaders will make sure this hyper-converged solution has an optimized configuration and performance," said Wingers, in an email to CRN. "We believe this turnkey solution will have a great impact on the SMB-sector and that it will be very successful."

In November, Scale launched was it called the industry's first hyper-converged system purpose-built for edge computing environments, HC3 Edge, which gives customers the benefits of the company's HC3 on-premises appliance-based solution on small form factors that meet edge requirements.

Indianapolis-based Scale has over 2,700 customers deploying its solutions. Collier said Scale expects to become profitable by mid-2019.

"We will be the first profitable hyper-converged company out there in the marketplace. We are exceptionally excited about that. That puts us in a unique position that's going to give us quite a bit of staying power within the industry," said Collier. "2018 is going to be a break-out year for us."