Mobile devices' use and availability is creating a constant and increasing flow of information in the form of data and content that needs to be organized and stored. As a result, companies are demanding solutions to help them handle the migration from their traditional infrastructure model to a more virtualized environment.
IT solution providers are seeing a huge business opportunity here, offering a wide set of solutions that allow users to migrate to the cloud in the most cost-effective way.
BNamericas spoke to Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi Data Systems' global services senior VP, about this niche and the solutions provided - globally and in the region.
BNamericas: What are the current market trends that benefit HDS?
Abdessamad: The big trend is the explosion of data and content, especially unstructured content, things that are created outside the data center, like mobile applications and software. These are an enormous challenge for companies to be able to store, manage and archive data, and do so in a cost-effective manner. So content is an area for us at the moment; we call it Content Cloud and we're offering solutions in that space.
BNamericas: So it's mainly content?
Abdessamad: Many companies are really transforming their IT infrastructure to a more cloud-ready infrastructure, and we call that moving from a traditional data center to an information center. It's not about data anymore; it's all about information, so large companies are transforming to a variety of verticals, like financial services.
BNamericas: What's different from your company compared to others that offer similar services?
Abdessamad: Our technology is very cloud related, cloud enabling. We have multiple tendency, the ability to share, so we have a lot of technology that allows us to build a cloud tech solution that's sustainable. Our service allows the client to migrate from where they are today in a traditional model to the cloud environment, and to do this in the least disruptive way possible. The risk now is that everybody knows they need to move to the cloud, but they have a business to run so they can't just pick up and go.
BNamericas: What does Latin America represent in market terms for HDS?
Abdessamad: It's definitely an early adopter of technology, which is very good for us. When we talk to system integrators here about the cloud and new solutions, they're talking the same language that you can hear in the US and Europe.
The region is adopting the same type of technology and has similar types of concerns about how to migrate to the cloud. I've also seen a bit of entrepreneurship, which shows that they're more risk takers. I was surprised to see that. So, I don't see a huge difference between Latin America and the rest of the world in terms of adopting technology or being open to trying new things.
BNamericas: Which types of company are you offering your services to?
Abdessamad: Our focus is principally on large enterprises, like systems integrators and service providers. We go to the market with our partner channels, and directly. The difference is really that we have a strategy that speaks for itself, which is about one platform for all data. So whether you do content or infrastructure, it doesn’t matter what type of data you have, or how much it's growing. We need a common platform and that includes virtualization and all the features that you see normally today.
BNamericas: And how do you implement your technology with your clients' existing platforms?
Abdessamad: One of the key features that we have is virtualization, which allows us to virtualize the environment and inherit anything that's already there - an open integrated platform that is flexible, because virtualization gives the client an open standard and an open way to integrate with other applications.
BNamericas: Other companies have brought up the problem of how to manage software license agreements when the company's applications are distributed in the cloud. How do you approach this issue?
Abdessamad: Well, those things are still being worked out in the market. A lot of companies are focusing on new applications, new deployments. So instead of replacing or starting all over, the new applications that are coming online are going to do that in a different way, through a cloud to see how it works first and then move on.
I think there is a lot about cloud and how cloud can be deployed. Large enterprises are mainly focusing on the private cloud, in their premises with no security issues, so there is no license issue. They're looking for the agility of deploying their applications and allocating new resources.
BNamericas: In which verticals do you have the highest demand?
Abdessamad: The healthcare vertical is a big focus for us. But we're working in all verticals, like government, financial sector, communication and entertainment, security.
As each vertical is going through a transformation, we offer very horizontal applications that can be applied to all of them. We decided to specialize in building solutions that can fit in all verticals.
BNamericas: But regardless of this horizontal solution, the demand must be different depending on the vertical, right?
Abdessamad: I think the consumption models are different. For example, the healthcare vertical. They don't really care about technology and what you're deploying; they care about how I provide patient care, medical records.
Financial services are all about scales, performance, reliability, speed of the business. It’s a different set of requirements. In the health sector they want a complete solution, but in the financial service they tend to focus more on the bits and pieces.
BNamericas: Where do you see the company in the next year or two?
Abdessamad: Our fiscal year ended in March 2010, and we grew globally 18%. That's all I can tell you, as we are in a quiet period.
But I'm very optimistic about the future. We see a strong market, which is transforming, moving from traditional infrastructure. We also see a different consumption model, which presents huge opportunities for growth, and I think we are very well on line to take advantage and to grow in that direction.
As senior VP of global services, Hicham Abdessamad leads Hitachi Data Systems' worldwide professional services and customer support organizations, overseeing the strategic direction and execution of the services and support strategy.
Before being named to his current position, he served as VP of global solution services and, before that, as senior director of Hitachi Data Systems' global software line of business.
Prior to joining Hitachi Data Systems, Abdessamad worked for EMC, running the global practice for the open software division, as well as the global practice for EMC's information management software division. He also worked at StorageNetworks, where he helped pioneer the storage service provider model and played a key role in transforming the company into a software and services company.
Abdessamad holds a degree in computer engineering from Suffolk University.