Cisco and Hitachi Vantara: Navigating the Complexities of the Hybrid Cloud

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  June 20, 2023

As businesses increasingly shift their operations to digital platforms, navigating the complexity of multi-cloud environments has become a primary concern. The growth of hybrid cloud models is a direct response to businesses' need for agility and the drive to keep up with growing customer expectations. In an age of rapid digital transformation, organizations need to balance technology with business strategy, whether the goal is to support data storage and analytics, employee communications and productivity, or customer relationship management. Multi- and hybrid cloud has become the answer:  A recent Harvard Business Review survey noted that 85% of organizations use at least two clouds, with a quarter using five or more.

Indeed, the shift to cloud promises accelerated innovation, agility, and growth, along with cost savings from the now widely popular on-demand consumption model. However, the complexities of multi-cloud operations and spiraling cloud costs have left countless organizations grappling for control (and suffering from cloud bill shock). Among the biggest challenges is managing the increasing complexity and costs of these hybrid, distributed cloud environments. It’s not that companies don’t see it and, fact, they try to reduce their CloudOps complexity without sacrificing the ability to keep pace with customer expectations. But, it’s not easy and not all have been successful in managing multiple clouds effectively or economically.

Efficient multi-cloud management requires a new approach to IT that includes enhanced automation and simplification. It demands the integration of development, security, operations, and site reliability engineering practices into the design, build, deployment, and operation of applications and cloud workloads. It also demands the right skills and policies and necessitates a cultural shift in how applications are developed and modernized for the cloud.

Without a consistent strategy to manage cloud workloads, organizations struggle to capture the anticipated benefits from their cloud investments. However, by putting CloudOps and cloud financial operations (FinOps) at the heart of business strategy, they can leverage their cloud investments more effectively, leading to increased agility, efficiency, lower costs, and advanced data protection – all the benefits that drove them to the cloud in the first place.

This is where partnerships like the one recently announced between Hitachi (News - Alert) Vantara and Cisco come into play. The two have recently announced a collaborative effort help businesses simplify management of hybrid cloud environments, a task that has grown increasingly complex as businesses juggle the demands of innovation and operational efficiency. With more than half of companies having difficulty keeping up with the technology skills required to manage their clouds, according to the HBR survey, this partnership comes at an opportune time – for both customers that could use the support, and for Cisco (News - Alert) and Hitachi Vantara, which are presented with a significant opportunity.

As part of the arrangement, Hitachi Vantara will become part of Cisco's Service Provider and Solution Technology Integrator (STI) partner programs, enabling it to seamlessly integrate Cisco technologies with its storage products, giving it greater expertise and leverage as a data center infrastructure and hybrid cloud managed services provider. Hitachi Vantara now includes the Cisco UCS X-Series servers in its offerings to deliver a complete converged infrastructure (CI) solution. The server line becomes part of the Cisco and Hitachi Adaptive Solutions portfolio, combining Cisco’s compute and networking with Hitachi Vantara's Virtual Storage Platform (VSP).

Hitachi Vantara offers consumption-based managed services to Cisco customers looking for data center and hybrid cloud services, helping mitigate the impact of a shortage of IT talent, while enabling enterprises to adopt new and emerging technologies more effectively.

"As customers seek to simplify their data center operations, providing converged infrastructure solutions with managed services capabilities from two trusted global vendors can help them reduce risk and optimize their business outcomes," said Nick Holden, vice president of global strategic partners and co-sell at Cisco. "Together, Hitachi Vantara and Cisco make it easier for customers to navigate complex hybrid data center and storage solutions."

The partnership brings a wide range of benefits to enterprises.

  • Streamlining IT operations and enhancing performance and agility to drive growth through managed services for application and infrastructure management.
  • Maximizing performance and value from data centers to the cloud, accelerating deployments, and migration for improved operational efficiency and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) with a range of edge-to-cloud infrastructure services.
  • Speeding up time to market and realizing better outcomes by improving competitive advantage and control of infrastructure and service levels with expert strategy, design, and operational services.
  • Optimizing the value and benefits of storage investments by delivering superior uptime, while reducing risk with a range of data migration, storage implementation, data protection, and workflow automation services.
  • Simplifying the management of complex Kubernetes environments and associated enterprise application ecosystems.
  • Enabling businesses to focus on driving innovation and growth with a variety of service levels and options to proactively prevent issues or disruptions.
  • Providing a single point of contact and VIP support for ongoing guidance, best practices, and managing feature requests, which is ideal for complex data management, integration, IoT, and analytics initiatives.
  • Offering flexible, expert tiered service portfolio designed to help save time, control costs, and accelerate responses to unique business and technical requirements and challenges.
  • Providing a comprehensive, two-tiered program to build expertise and advance goals and career with professional certifications and digital badges.

In addition, the partnership supports new FinOps strategies, which have emerged as a critical aspect of managing multi-cloud environments. FinOps involves developing a cross-functional team of finance leaders, engineers, and dedicated FinOps practitioners as a cloud center of excellence. Their tasks include calculating costs, allocating cloud resources, and negotiating vendor pricing.

This approach, too, requires a significant cultural shift. It involves sharing investment decisions to ensure coordination on business strategy – something that is foreign to most enterprise business units. Developers, too, must consider cost-related matters, such as the impact of a product enhancement or modification on cloud investment.

As cloud consumption models become more complex and data-rich, the opportunities for FinOps to enhance the quality of cloud consumption and overall business performance will only multiply.  The Cisco-Hitachi Vantara partnership supports FinOps practices by simplifying cloud management and making it easier for FinOps teams to make more intelligent decisions about cloud investments.

Not least, the new relationship can also support sustainability initiatives. As the world grapples with environmental challenges, sustainability has emerged as a key corporate differentiator. Companies that commit to sustainable practices not only contribute to the well-being of the planet but also gain a competitive edge in the market. This partnership is another step in the right direction, as it aids in reducing the carbon footprint associated with maintaining large data centers, by optimizing and streamlining cloud operations.

"We're seeing a clear shift in market dynamics and consumer preferences that calls for integrated solutions, particularly from industry leaders like Hitachi Vantara and Cisco," said Steve White, vice president of channels & alliances, IDC (News - Alert). "These types of alliances are crucial to address a growing list of enterprise challenges that include sustainable practices, solution complexities, governance and supply chain issues, among others."

Edited by Erik Linask
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