In an exclusive Q&A with ChannelPro, vice president of customer solutions Steve Grady says the system builder is moving fast into software-defined networking and the Internet of Things—and taking partners along with it.By Joel Zaidspiner
It was more than just a name change when system builder Equus Computer Systems Inc. re-branded itself Equus Compute Solutions last month. It was also the latest evidence that a changing IT landscape is forcing old school white box customizers to make changes of their own. In this exclusive and lightly edited Q&A, recorded last week at the ISC West conference in Las Vegas, Steve Grady, the company’s vice president of customer solutions, explains why and how Equus is adapting to new demands in the marketplace, ongoing DRAM shortages, and more.
ChannelPro: Your industry is changing a lot. How are you changing with it?
Steve Grady: So Equus has been a great provider to the VAR community, in terms of their compute needs, for quite a few years. And now the VARs are evolving. They’re looking for new ways to increase their business. They’re adding managed services. They’re adding private cloud. So they’re really looking for ways to grow their business, because the VAR business is a tough business to be in.
So, likewise, Equus has to come to the table with some new things as well. So we’ve recently rebranded our company a bit to go from Equus Computer Systems to [Equus] Compute Solutions.
And what that means is we still have the fundamental ability to do custom hardware, and that’s really sort of our secret sauce. We always build exactly what our customers need for their solutions. We’ll do custom branding and software imaging, and whatever they need to turnkey their solutions, we provide it, especially at the hardware level.
But now, going forward, there are a lot of new applications…We’re really looking a lot at things around software-defined infrastructure. That’s really our new emphasis, to be able to support the software-defined data center, software-defined networking, software-defined storage. So that means Equus is bringing some new, more integrated solutions, both hardware and software. So it’s kind of a new Equus going forward here.
ChannelPro: Which are your hottest selling form factors right now, just in terms of units shipped, in comparison to what sold well in the past?
Grady: We’re really seeing more focus on servers now. It’s just with the explosion of the cloud, both public or private, and the trend is that the big guys like Facebook and Google and Amazon are all going to white box solutions. They’re not buying branded product. They’re actually specifying their own configs and having them built to their specifications, not only to save money, but they’re more dense. They fit in their data center architectures better.
So we’re seeing a lot of folks embrace that…We see a lot of 2U appliances, sort of the 3.5 inch compute and storage. They may be heavy compute; they may be heavy storage…That’s a very popular architecture now, that 2-inch, the 2U rack, 3.5-inch-high chassis where you can put lots of processing, do multiple nodes in the same box, put up to several hundred terabytes in each chassis. It’s really a flexible way to configure your needs. So we’re seeing a lot of that form factor going out for public, private, [and] hybrid cloud applications.