In terms of IT infrastructure and services; 2011 has seen cloud offerings provide a serious alternative to the traditional “in-house” approach. Take up has been greater in some areas than others, with cloud backup becoming one of the most popular as companies “dip their toe” into cloud technology.
However with vendors increasingly investing in what has become a very competitive market, we only see its impact growing in 2012 as confidence increases in this form of IT delivery and prices are driven down.
At EACS our own cloud backup system undoubtedly has a future in this market and compliments other EACS services to provide a complete IT package for our customers.
Server virtualisation has continued to dominate infrastructure upgrades; there are very few companies who are not adopting, or planning to adopt, this form of delivery when it comes to upgrading their infrastructure.
VMware maintained its dominant position in this market, but perhaps not as much as they would have liked. Version 5 of vSphere was released in the latter half of 2011 with new features and increased performance in a number of areas. However their new licensing model, which aimed to align costs with the benefits of virtualisation rather than with the physical attributes of individual servers, generated much debate.
As Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor matures; 2012 could be a challenging year for both VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer. The case for Microsoft is further strengthened when Hyper-V is considered alongside their System Center suite of products. This means a single vendor can provide a fully integrated and managed environment.
With regard to storage, our NetApp partnership continued to grow stronger in 2011. We achieved NetApp Platinum partner and ASP status, which means NetApp has recognised EACS as having superior sales and technical expertise in their full product line.
In addition, EACS is now an EMC Affiliate Partner for their VNXe range of storage systems, which offer an affordable unified storage platform for smaller businesses and has proved popular in the market place.
In terms of general storage, technologies like VDI and Virtualisation have placed far more pressure on storage to deliver data at greater speeds. SSD and Cache help in this area but the thirst for I/O is driving new specialist products and it’s an area EACS will look closely at in 2012.
Another vendor worth mentioning is Veeam, who have continued last year’s success with many more awards, including the Gold Award for New Technology at VMworld 2011. It’s our product of choice for backing up and replicating virtual environments outside of using built in storage based functionality. Previously limited to VMware only, Veeam announced in November that version 6 of their Backup and Replication product supports Hyper-V.
A further growth area for 2012 will be Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. As IT becomes ever more critical, businesses need to examine the health of their IT estate, be proactive in providing enough capacity, but also be able to recover quickly in the event of a disaster. Our Cloud Backup, virtualisation, storage and monitoring solutions provide many technologies to simplify this and even automate the process.
Virtualisation also provides the opportunity for customers to upgrade their environment in terms of operating systems and applications. However this means there are new technologies to learn and support. All this change must be completed with minimal disruption to the company, its employees and its customers.
EACS is sympathetic to this and we continue to work very closely with our customers to provide confidence in their new environment, both during and after deployment, through support and management.
2012 will see the team continue to deliver projects to a high level, while leading with the technical innovations that continue at a pace in this industry.