One of NetApp’s most valued global partners, European-based SCC is designing solutions for real-world needs, skipping the hype and concentrating on what clients need to compete today.
“It’s no longer about hardware or software — it’s about delivering services that accomplish business needs. The future of infrastructure is everywhere and anywhere, and will be business-driven by nature.” Ross Winser, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner.
For senior solutions architect Phillippe Hellec, the complexity of choice that customers face when designing or refreshing their data centers is why he is passionate about his role at SCC.
“Speed is the new scale,” said Phillippe, during a coffee break at Insight Barcelona. “The customers we work with are eager to modernize their IT operations to support business agility. But this means looking at emerging technology solutions with a critical eye. The growing plethora of options available requires an ability to step back and separate the hype of what’s new from the reality of what is needed.”
Phillippe Hellec joined SCC, the first private IT group in Europe, with over 2,500 customers in more than 5 countries, to lead their NetApp/Cisco data center practice in France. He admits that helping clients navigate through the current climate of disruption to implement next-generation data center strategies is very motivating.
“Every day, I work on 4 or 5 files that I go through step by step, with mostly virtual meetings. What I like most is working with my clients face to face on their data management issues, thinking together to find the right balance between business integration, performance, scalability, operational flexibility and cost.”
Planning and Partnering
Recently, Philippe technically led a multidisciplinary team during a process of designing an innovative platform for massive “Big Data” data hosting initiative. This project took seven months to be delivered at one of the largest financial services organizations in Europe.
“This was a new client opportunity for us,” admitted Philippe. “They had been working with another technology vendor for a long while – and that vendor is a good vendor – so we had our work cut out for us. We were not a favorite, but were confident about the added value of our solution. We had to be very convincing for the customer to make the right choice on a project for the future.”
Philippe said there were two reasons SCC won the deal – partnering and planning.
Five Consideration Criteria
When designing a data center solution, SCC solution architect Phillippe Hellec considers the following for every client project:
- Vertical Differentiation – what is unique in this industry that will impact the client’s technology decision?
- Time-to-Market – how will the new data center design accelerate the client’s ability to serve their line-of-business leaders?
- Risk Mitigation – how will the SCC design decrease risk for the client across multiple touch-points; performance, agility, reliability, stability, cost, etc.?
- Future-Proof – can the technology decision grow with the client – what elements will support the decision into the future?
- Support – what are the right SLAs and governance for this client across a global, single point-of-contact support framework?
De-Risking the Decision
“We spent seven months with this client before they made their decision. We looked at multiple use-cases and architected several solutions before landing on the right one. Getting the architecture right is often like putting a giant puzzle together. Our job is always to design and explain the smartest solution possible. “
Philippe’s enthusiasm for the value of the FlexPod solution for this client was infectious.
“We have multiple technologies to select from but FlexPod was the right choice in this case,” he continued. “FlexPod brings the best of Cisco together with the best of NetApp – so you have a world-class solution for networking, compute, storage, data management, and support.”
What impressed the client was the tight partnership between the three companies – SCC, NetApp and Cisco.
“FlexPod is the leading converged infrastructure in market today and is continuing to grow at a fast pace,” said Philippe. “There is on-going investment, with CVDs and reference architectures being released almost every month, plus the fact that FlexPod has a consistent design based on NetApp’s Data Fabric strategy. This means that FlexPod can grow with a client. There is no lock-in.”
Philippe said that FlexPod regularly consults with solution integrators like SCC to solicit advice for the product roadmap.
“At SCC we are customer-facing. We have to live with everything we design and implement for our customers. The value of the FlexPod team is that they’re constantly looking for feedback to improve the technology and meet client needs. To have a direct line right into the joint engineering team is huge value for SCC and SCC customers. That is where the hype evaporates. Together we are designing solutions that meet real-world needs.”