The Importance of Good IT Reference Architectures
When it comes to IT there is no end of the potential products and services that can be combined to create a potential solution. The challenge is that solution providers don’t have much patience when it comes to being asked to test all those configurations themselves.
When it comes to IT there is no end of the potential products and services that can be combined to create a potential solution. The challenge is that solution providers don’t have much patience when it comes to being asked to test all those configurations themselves. After all, most customers today are a lot more interested in mean time-to-value than anything else. They don’t want to have to wait for a solution to be validated—or, worse yet, discover something doesn’t work months after they’ve already deployed it.
For that reason reference architectures in a world where IT environments have never been more complex are crucial, especially when it comes to emerging technologies such as all-Flash arrays. Case in point, Pure Storage just announced that is has added reference architectures for deploying its all-Flash arrays within Microsoft SQL Server and Citrix XenDesktop environments, which adds to previously published configurations for Cisco UCS Blade Servers, Cisco Nexus switches, VMware vSphere 5 and VMware Horizon 6.
To put some additional weight behind that effort, Pure Storage also has decided to offer customers support for IT solutions built from these reference architectures from either the Pure Storage partner or one of the vendors providing products that have been validated as part of the reference architecture. Michael Sotnick, vice president of Global Channels and Alliances for Pure Storage, said the idea is to extend the benefits and rewards of the Pure Storage Converged Infrastructure (CI) program to partners that don’t necessarily want to provide support themselves. Partners that do provide their own support clearly will make more money than those that don’t, he noted, but this option creates another tier in the program.
The cost of providing IT support has become a major issue for solution providers. While potentially profitable, it can also be a money pit. The root cause of a problem is hard to discern when a solution consists of multiple products. For that reason alone it’s often in the best interest of the solution provider to stay within the confines a prescribed reference architecture. Whatever problems occur within that reference architecture probably have been seen before and can be easily rectified.
Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect “green field” opportunity. All IT fields are almost by definition brown, which means customers usually have some sort of legacy IT infrastructure in place that they need connect to whatever new solution being acquired. But the degree to which solution providers can limit that liability as much as possible within the confines a reference architecture, the happier both they and the customer are likely to be.