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Channel Chiefs Debate Relevance Of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure In The Enterprise

At a recent CRN roundtable, channel chiefs discussed whether hyper-converged infrastructure is useful in enterprise settings, and what customers are really asking for in storage.

"Hyper-converged infrastructure" might be the hottest buzz phrase of 2016 thus far, but storage channel chiefs disagree on its place in the enterprise market.

Michael Sotnick, vice president at Pure Storage, called hyper-converged an "interesting solution," particularly for remote and back offices.

However, he said, "Rarely do we see the hyper-converged [solution] in a tried-and-true enterprise scale-up, converged-infrastructure play."

EMC Senior Vice President Gregg Ambulos disagreed.

"They're everywhere," Ambulos said. "I mean, you look at [EMC's VCE] VxRail -- it scales. It can handle not only a midsized-organization remote office. It is what customers want. They're developing applications and they want to buy the infrastructure -- they don't want to have to do it. It's all about agility, it's all about time to market."

"This is what they want," Ambulos added. "You have to be in that game."

On the other hand, "customers may be asking for HCI, but they're asking for the wrong thing," according to NetApp's Bill Lipsin, vice president of worldwide channels. "That's incumbent on us and our sales teams and our partners to understand how it has to differentiate [between converged and hyper-converged]."

Sotnick agreed with that. "There is, to Bill's point, a tremendous amount of confusion in the marketplace over the different terms and what's happening," he said.

So who can lead customers through the complex terms and how to apply these new technologies?

"Partners get it," Sotnick said.

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