Fabric-Based Infrastructure Best Practices Could Deliver Six-Figure Savings

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Generate an RFI or RFP that reflects the IT department's understanding of business goals in the short, medium and long term, with expected service levels, planned growth and technology life cycle improvements. Vendors of FBI may modify configurations, change the nature of partnerships and require strict adherence to associated management software, while licensing, pricing and other terms and conditions change. Perform "what if?" analyses and risk mitigation strategies to determine what escape valves can be invoked.

Organizations are settling for 10 to 20 percent lower discounts on data center convergence than could ultimately be achieved, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that if organizations develop a negotiating strategy supported by IT and procurement they could achieve significant savings with fabric-based infrastructure (FBI).

Gartner defines FBI as an emerging area of vertical integration of hardware and software infrastructure with automation on top, which promises to help IT organizations realize their vision of a dynamically optimized data center. FBI differs from fabric-based computing (FBC) by enabling existing technology elements to be grouped and packaged in a fabric-enabled environment to achieve infrastructure convergence.

“IT procurement is often relegated to a subsidiary role after IT and business management has done most of the negotiations with the vendors. In some cases vendors will press users and IT to bypass competitive RFPs so as to expedite integration, shipment and setup of the solution,” said George Weiss, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “With FBI and converged infrastructures, the entire procurement process must be monitored and executed with careful guidelines, so that all parties involved in executing the deal understand what the deliverables, commitments and long-term implications of the FBI contract are.”

Gartner recommends 11 steps to evaluate, select and negotiate procurement of FBI or converged infrastructure solutions. “If these best practice steps are followed, there is scope for additional benefits and for discounts as high as 20 percent off list prices, depending on the nature and stage of the contract,” said Mr. Weiss. “We frequently see contract sizes in the $2 million to $3 million range when converged solutions are requested. Even 10 percent could offer the potential for $200,000 to $300,000 savings.”


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