Besides our main partners, with which we cooperate very intensively and with which we have the highest partnership status, over the years we have also built up a good experience with the lower stated partners. We see these partners as an addition for those clients that want advice in turnkey projects. In short, to broaden the ecosystem.
We are a software-defined company, but that does not mean that ePact has no opinion or cannot give advice to clients that do not have their own software standard or to clients that want to employ an end-to-end overall solution approach.
We often see that these clients are won over by the appliance approach whereby a single vendor offers a solution in which software and hardware are tuned to each other. The support story in particular, where you have just one point of contact, is often a decisive argument for an enterprise client.
If you are looking for good manageable endpoints with which you can work out a total policy, then the support software offered by IGEL is exactly what you need. The Universal Management Suite makes the management of all endpoint devices possible, and thus optimises any End User Computing (EUC) project. Thanks to the support from all remote display controls (Blast, ICA, PCoIP, RDP etc.), digital workplaces are rapidly getting closer to the users.
Zerto is a DR recovery solution that operates entirely on the hypervisor layer, and moreover makes affordable near-synchronous replication available. Because it can be deployed both on-premises and in the cloud, Zerto is often seen as a permanent DR / Business Continuity tool, but also as a tool that helps support migrations, and even serves as protection against CryptoLocker ransomware. Zerto can be hired for a restricted period, so that the switch to Cloud resources, or to another hypervisor, can be done almost without noticing. Zerto makes online cross-hypervisor replication possible. Thanks to the transparent reporting and user-friendliness, this will enable any system administrator to succeed in expanding a continuity plan with very sharp RPOs and RTOs.
Hardware independence is part of ePact’s DNA; in this respect, we always follow the client’s preference. If the client has no particular preference, or if we are working on a turnkey solution or a greenfield project, then we do of course advise on the choice. In this case, we look at among other things how ‘open’ the hardware supplier is. For instance, Mellanox is a switch and adapter supplier that is more open and that delivers quality, affordable network material. Hardware and software are also offered separately, so no monolithic block is involved. In software-defined networking terms, we refer to separating the control and data planes.
The background of Mellanox as an InfiniBand player and their self-developed ASICs give them the possibility of putting fast data centre switching on the market that can from the basis of a software-defined data centre. These 10/25/40/50/56/100Gb/s switches can not only form the basis for among others a VMware NSX, but they can also be used in a vSAN Hyper-Converged project or when linking a hypervisor with a converged configuration with Tintri or Nimble storage. The affordable, fast interconnectivity makes different designs possible, so that the accent can be laid on the software.
As a software-defined load balancer that can run on x86 servers as well as on VMs and containers, AVI Networks is ideally suited for the elastic expansion of application services. Thanks to the knowledge of the applications and the integration with VMware vCenter, the load balancing capacity can be scaled automatically and proactively. Central management and a clear overview with real-time visualization of the application and the micro-services make the difference with other load balancers. AVI Networks is a versatile component that should not be underestimated in a software-defined data centre.
Nimble enables us to help clients further that cannot go fully virtual, so those with a physical workload besides the virtual workload. Nimble succeeds in combining the best of both worlds (the physical and the virtual ones), as well as guaranteeing the speed with their flash-optimized design. The analyses of INFOSIGHT are the most striking, which forms the bridge between the storage counters and the virtual machines. Nimble’s Scale-to-Fit gives you the option of scaling without disruptions, both with scale-up and scale-out. If required, a new type of controller can also be introduced (so without downtime). For VMware clients, the vVOL support on the Nimble systems can also offer simpler and more efficient management. For instance, a switch can be made to storage-based policy management, which fits in entirely with VMware’s storage vision.
ePact has the ambition of making the difference using software. In turnkey projects, we always check the client’s hardware preference and then design the project depending on his requirements. If this concerns x86 hardware, we often work with Dell servers. If a client has no preference, or is not bound to a corporate standard, then we choose the x86 servers of SuperMicro. An important driver in this respect are the low costs, considering all server suppliers use the same components anyway: CPU, network cards, memory, disks, SSDs etc. The difference with so-called A-brand suppliers is that they retain a server range for longer without changing the underlying hardware components. From the point of view of the software-defined vision and the abstraction that a hypervisor applies to x86 hardware, we do not consider this to be an advantage. We want to monitor the hardware developments more closely. In short: invest in software, not in more expensive hardware that does the same thing – that is our motto. But naturally, as always: the client ultimately decides.
We see ExaGrid as secondary storage, which can be used for both backup and archiving purposes. We can use this to help clients that require longer backup retentions, but that do not want to compromise backup and/or restore speeds. A crucial factor here is ExaGrid’s ‘landing zone’ technology, whereby recent, current data can be processed quickly and cold data can be moved on to the part where adaptive deduplication and compression can be done. Through a well thought-out integration with multiple backup applications – in our context very often with Veeam – you link the flexibility and simplicity of Veeam to the speed and storage capacity of ExaGrid. Scaling with ExaGrid also guarantees the retention of the backup speeds.
Clients that want reliable A-class servers and want to get started either on their own or under our supervision, can rely on our Dell EMC product knowledge; on the server side in particular we are able to translate the Hypervisor or Hyper-Converged infrastructure perfectly into a balanced kit list.
Also, we often see that clients want complete solutions, a sort of building blocks containing the software, hardware and support.
If clients want everything to be fully taken care of and want to purchase everything within one single consortium, then VMware – Dell EMC can be a logical choice. In spite of the fact that VMware follows its own course at Dell EMC, we do see that they are jointly involved in putting building blocks on the market whereby everything is attuned to each other and everything has been redesigned from scratch.
A successful example of this is the Hyper-Converged solution: VxRail.