By: Alyse Okumura, Marketing Coordinator & Chris Saso, SVP of Technology, Dasher

2015 is now in full swing, our clients as well as Dasher are looking forward to continuing the rapid growth we experienced in 2014!  In a recent December blog post, we outlined the evolution of IT industry trends of 2014 and we have made it our focus to address them to better serve our clients this year. I sat down with Chris Saso, our SVP of Technology to get a deeper understanding on what Dasher’s focuses will be this year and get his thoughts on the IT trends that will be prominent in 2015.

Alyse: In the last five years, we’ve seen computing trends such as VDI take time to ramp and become mainstream, what are some technologies that you see becoming top of mind for clients this year and in the future?
Chris: There is a proliferation of data because of social networking, mobile and cloud. Companies and end-users are used to their data being constantly available at their fingertips. Most companies don’t know what to do with this information. Hence “Big Data Analytics” and the rise of new technologies like HP Vertica, EMC Pivotal, VoltDB, SAP HANA, Cassandra, Hadoop, Tableau, and others (pretty long list and it’s still growing!) help us rationalize and make sense of this information. These applications provide companies with tools to make better business decisions based on their expansive “Data Lakes.” I think harnessing the data companies have and turning that into knowledge is probably the next frontier for corporations and it will span across many different fronts, such as marketing, sales, accounting, and finance. In the not too distant future, companies are going to make significant investments to further make sense of the data they already possess and try to monetize it. Dasher is actively making investments to help clients analyze their data with partners like HP Vertica, VoltDB, and EMC Pivotal, and others so they can focus on building and improving their products.

One of our main focuses in 2015, along with our clients is to examine our systems for security vulnerabilities. With all of the recent security breaches that have been in the press, information security is absolutely top of mind. It’s incumbent on companies to protect themselves from malicious entities and take precautionary measures. Some companies may have a false sense of security on how truly protected they are. [Article: Data Breaches rise as Cybercriminals outwit IT, NetworkWorld] Other companies have partnered with Dasher to take an active role in examining their IT environment and are moving forward with specific and meaningful steps such as the deployment of next generation firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, encryption systems, data loss prevention systems, risk mitigation systems and compliance management systems to protect their company IT systems from security threats.

Alyse: What steps has Dasher taken to diversify our portfolio?
Chris: Because of the diverse needs and requirements of our clients, we proactively research new technologies and add them to our portfolio. It is a challenge that we have responded to by growing our engineering team to enable us to build competencies in key solution areas.  As a result we’ve become exponentially more competent and valuable to our clients because we have internal assets that can speak with experience and agnostically about the entire technology landscape. We can compare and contrast solutions with confidence and first-hand knowledge of a wide variety of the leading options available in the industry. Rather than exposing the client to different solutions from the beginning of an engagement, we will first assess the clients requirements and work as a consultant matching their unique business challenge to the new technologies available in the industry. Some areas that will be key focus areas for us are Big Data, Security, Wireless, Public and Private Cloud, OpenStack, Converged and Hyper-Converged Systems and the use of new consumption models like Flexible Capacity (pay for what you use in your own data center) and SaaS or IaaS based cloud solutions where you don’t capitalize any hardware. Some of these new technologies will be a perfect fit or maybe good old fashioned virtualization on blade servers with shared storage is still the right answer for our clients based on their current needs. We bring our expertise and value to assess, architect and then present good, better and best scenarios across the complete gamut of solutions available.  Being on the leading edge of technology has its benefits, but it can be daunting to keep up with all of the startups in Silicon Valley and that is where we come in!

Alyse:  What are your thoughts about converged infrastructure?
Chris:  The advent of IT manufacturer “reference architectures” has enabled companies to spin up applications faster and more efficiently, especially if the company is resource constrained within their own IT department. Converged systems are turn-key solutions that provide ease-of-deployment, flexibility and optimization and have been pre-tested and pre-built to address specific business goals. Vendors like HP, Dell and IBM provide a complete stack based on their servers, storage, networking and software components. While other vendors like Cisco, EMC, and NetApp have teamed up to provide Converged Systems to the marketplace.  However, everything is changing because a new set of offerings are hitting the marketplace which are Hyper-Converged. Companies like Nutanix, Simplivity and VMWare with their EVO:RAIL initiative have combined two of the three components (Servers and Storage) into grids of flexible compute and storage that can be grown in small chunks to address the needs of the business. Piston Cloud Computing is taking a similar Hyper-Converged approach to their OpenStack distribution.

Dasher has years of experience providing custom “converged solutions” for our clients; bringing together best-in-class servers, storage, networking and software components into a robust architecture that is optimized for a specific customer workload.  This is one of the reasons we have diversified our vendor portfolio; to take advantage of industry innovation and allow us to seamlessly merge the best product offerings based on the customer’s needs and criteria.  We are able to work with clients that have already standardized on their choice server, storage or networking vendor and help them bridge the gap from classic IT to converged or Hyper-Converged systems.

Related articles:
Network World: Data Breaches rise as Cybercriminals outwit IT
Network World: 2015 IT Data Center Infrastructure Convergence Predictions
Tech Radar: Which areas of IT infrastructure will evolve and emerge in 2015?
Data Center Knowledge Center: Undocumented Changes May Result in a Security Breach