Wednesday, 17 September 2014 18:23

Cloud forecast, so HDS takes a new tack


Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has traditionally addressed the requirements of the high-end enterprise market. How is the company responding to the continuing shift to cloud computing?

The traditional market for HDS has been the one or two hundred largest organisations, but the growing use of public and hybrid cloud services means that while they aren't necessarily spending any less on IT overall, they are spending less with enterprise vendors, HDS CTO for Asia Pacific Adrian De Luca (pictured) told iTWire.

Furthermore, there is a large SME market in Australia, and "HDS does not serve that particularly well," he conceded. But cloud is changing that - SMEs generally cannot afford to hire IT engineers, so they are "naturally switching to cloud services."

Consequently, while HDS intends to maintain its sales to government and enterprises in Australia, it has adopted an 'extend beyond' strategy that will see it also selling actively to cloud providers, either directly or through partners.

HDS is responding to enterprises shifting from on-premises infrastructure to managed private clouds by working with "our two go-to-market partners for enterprise," Mr De Luca said.

Midrange customers are being addressed through Global Storage, a Victorian-based reseller that is currently particularly strong in the TAFE and local government sectors, and Queensland-based SureBridge IT which is a big player in the state government market, he said.

And to reach SMEs, HDS is working with distributor Avnet. The model here is that HDS owns and operates systems located in Sydney, and Avnet provides its resellers with white-labelled services such as Exchange or SharePoint for resale to small businesses.

HDS sales staff are being given incentives to sell Global Storage, SureBridge or Avnet offerings, Mr De Luca noted.

The growing use of public cloud infrastructure for certain workloads is also an issue, especially as big players such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have local data centres.

So HDS is providing integration with the public cloud, such as file tiering and archiving. The company has partnered with local and global data centre operators to put its infrastructure close to AWS, Google and Microsoft equipment, improving performance and reducing bandwidth costs.

"We've positioned ourselves to deliver the hybrid cloud experience," he said. "Can we take public cloud and make it better? Yes we can."

"Now we can virtualise public cloud providers," and without that it is very difficult to move from AWS to Azure, for example.

IDC predicts a 10% drop in traditional sales over the next two years coupled with a 35% improvement due to new cloud-oriented business, Mr De Luca observed, but noted "We continue to grow faster than the industry benchmark, as we doubled our private cloud revenues across Asia Pacific within our last financial year."

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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