With digital transformation now an imperative for enterprises, IT organisations are moving quickly to a cloud-centric DevOps model – and they are leveraging Kubernetes to help them get there.

This is the word from Nazeer Ahmed, Brand Manager for Hitachi Vantara at First Distribution, who describes cloud computing as “an unstoppable force” in the enterprise IT landscape.

As they move more of their business processes to the cloud, the need for new applications and services based on containerisation is becoming apparent.

“Most of the respondents to a recent global survey said they are now running containers in production – in fact, the number has doubled in the last couple of years,” Ahmed says.

The overwhelming choice for container orchestration is Kubernetes, which is used by three out of four organisations.

“This survey was done before the pandemic,” Ahmed points out. “With the changes that Covid-19 has brought about, and the acceleration of digital transformation, we are seeing that the cloud-native approach is now even more prevalent than ever.”

He explains that the traditional DevOps model was monolithic, usually a waterfall approach, with thousands of lines of code cascading down to developers, and then shared with operations.

“What microservices and containerisation does is bring an agile approach to DevOps, allowing development teams to get closer than ever to the operations teams. It allows for the creation of Lego-like building blocks for development that are fast and portable, and able to be used on-premise and in a multi-cloud development structure.”

In fact, this approach is already becoming mainstream in the enterprise environment but now Hitachi Vantara is offering an orchestration platform that makes the management and deployment of Kubernetes and related services so much easier.

Kubernetes itself is not a standalone product, but forms part of a number of solutions which support organisations’ digital transformation goals, explains Tom Christensen, Chief Technology Officer and Customer Advocacy: Northern EMEA at Hitachi Vantara.

Among the solutions that Hitachi Vantara offers are a converged stack, of data centre in a box, with Kubernetes running on VMware or Red Hat.

Hitachi Vantara also employs Kubernetes in its application modernisation projects, when moving applications to the cloud; and in its IoT platform for edge-to-core-to-cloud to help customers on the digital transformation journeys.

For deploying containers at scale, Hitachi Kubernetes Service (HKS) is the solution that First Distribution is now bringing to the local market.

“The main challenges our customers are facing are complexity, security, automation and the management of Kubernetes, exacerbated by the skill gaps in the market,” Christensen explains. “Clients are looking for simplification and a consistency way to securely deploy, manage, monitor and govern Kubernetes clusters across major cloud providers and on-premise.

“This is why we think there will be a growing need for a Kubernetes service that address these needs on-premise and across multi-cloud vendors.”

He believes that what’s needed is a way of accelerating application deployment in an agnostic way. HKS is a completely vendor-agnostic, API-driven solution that offers the following:

  • Unified and standardised management of Kubernetes across on-premise and cloud infrastructures, with no need for expertise in AWS, Azure or Google.
  • A central federated control plane for many Kubernetes clusters and lifecycle management.
  • The ability to provision Kubernetes in an agnostic way across multi-cloud vendors.
  • A self-service catalogue for application deployment.
  • A control plan that can be delivered via software as a service (SaaS) or on-premise.
  • Both hypervisor and bare metal support.
  • Security and simplification.

“HKS manages all the DevOps headaches that customers have to deal with,” Ahmed explains. “It enables organisations to adopt cloud-native implementations faster, and helps developers to effectively use and consume IT-based container services.”

Ahmed points out that one of HKS’s main value-adds is the fact that it can be deployed both on-premise and in a multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environment – and this is particularly relevant in the South African environment, where most of the hyperscaler cloud providers are now available.

As a leader in the cloud market space, First Distribution is well placed to help its partners maximise the HKS opportunity, Ahmed says.

First Distribution has a long history with Hitachi, having served as a value-added distributor for their solutions for the last five years.

“There is good synergy with the vendor,” Ahmed says.

Working with First Distribution and Hitachi gives partners and customers access to extensive training and customer support, he adds.

Kubernetes may be mainstream in the enterprise development space, but it’s still relatively new in the reseller environment, according to Ahmed. “The current addressable market is small, but there is massive opportunity.

“Some of the bigger organisations, like banks and financial institutions, are already on the journey to a more agile DevOps space, paving the way for Kubernetes to go mainstream.

“So there is opportunity in the channel – we just need to bring the solutions to the table.”

With First Distribution’s existing cloud aggregation platform, partners can offer customers HKS as a service.

For agile data centre infrastructure solutions, or where HKS forms part of a larger enterprise solution, First Distribution can offer Hitachi finance to the end user on a lease or as-a-service model.

Training and support is another value-add. “The Kubernetes service is not something that partners sell every day,” Ahmed says. “We are helping partners to understand the solution offering better, so they can position it with their customers.

“In addition, because of our long relationship with Hitachi, we are able to leverage their skills during the HKS sales cycle.


About First Distribution

First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Our offering includes a product portfolio of global leading Data Centre, Cloud, Networking and Cyber Security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on premise, private cloud and public cloud end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors. The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff to support and manage vendors with an unrivalled level of expertise, ensures that our partners have the key elements required for success. First Distribution additionally hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.

More information on First Distribution, visit https://firstdistribution.com


About Hitachi Vantara
Hitachi Vantara, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., guides our customers from what’s now to what’s next by solving their digital challenges. Working alongside each customer, we apply our unmatched industrial and digital capabilities to their data and applications to benefit both business and society. More than 80% of the Fortune 100 trust Hitachi Vantara to help them develop new revenue streams, unlock competitive advantages, lower costs, enhance customer experiences, and deliver social and environmental value.

For more information, go to www.hitachivantara.com.