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16 March 2022
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Peter Tretyakov: "In the ICL&Huawei demo lab, hypotheses are confirmed and IT projects are born."

In 2021, the ICL group opened a demonstration laboratory designed to develop, adapt and test new technological solutions for Huawei. The main goal was to form a technological ecosystem that would accelerate the digital transformation of regional companies. Peter Tretyakov, Business Development Manager of ICL Services, talked about how it works, what makes it unique and which companies can test the vendor’s corporate solutions.
— Peter, please tell us — what is the purpose of the demo lab and why did you choose to focus on Huawei solutions?
— We’ve been cooperating with Huawei since 2014, conducting numerous joint activities for the promotion of Huawei products, solutions and projects based on the vendor’s decisions. The demo lab is the next step in our cooperation. It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the functionality of the vendor’s products in practice, and conduct the so-called Proof of Concept (POC). POC is needed to confirm or deny the validity of the hypothesis, as well as to evaluate its effectiveness. It does not involve a completed implementation, so the demo lab helps to make it happen quickly and cost-free.
How does it work? For instance, we come to the customer and say that Huawei equipment provides such-and-such systems and information services. These services work according to this scenario, help to achieve such-and-such results and we are ready to demonstrate them right now on the vendor’s equipment either at our site or at your place. This makes it easier for our customers to evaluate and make decisions regarding the implementation of new IT products.

In addition, we, as a service company, also use the demo lab to simulate our own various system operation scenarios, train our engineers and provide them with a space for experiments.

— What specialists are involved in the demo lab?
— The demo lab is located in one of our Kazan offices, but not everyone has physical access rights. Selected system architects and engineers work with the equipment. For customers, we can arrange a tour, perform remote testing and give them remote access to the necessary configuration. When the relevant documents are executed and the POC plan is approved, the customer can also take the system to their office and test it in their data center. Any test, however, is done in the presence of our engineer.

— What guided you when you launched the demo lab?
— There are many ways to test Huawei equipment. The manufacturer has a lot of options — for example, every Huawei R&D center has labs where any customer can set up a specific hardware configuration. Huawei’s Russian office has OpenLab, a large laboratory containing virtually all popular solutions. Our lab is not that big compared to the vendor’s capabilities. When choosing, we focused on key equipment and products that are important to our company for both service and supply.

— What can our customers test in the demo lab?
— In our lab, customers can test the capabilities of one or a pair of Huawei Dorado 5000v6 storage systems. For example, they can verify the effectiveness of deduplication and compression for different types of data, test the possibility of simultaneous read and write access to a logical volume that has two independent copies on the HyperMetro storage. In addition, you can test fault tolerance, check different replication scenarios and simultaneous operation of multiple functions, see how the array behaves in various circumstances that affect performance and more.

Developers will be interested to see and test the TaiShan 200 servers on the 48-core Kunpeng 920 server processor. There are also two Huawei RH2288H v5 servers on x86 processors and network equipment for switching the test data center.

The configuration is quite flexible, arranged as conveniently as possible, while also taking into account all possible scenarios. We, in turn, are always ready to support testing, help develop a plan in relation to the business task, request the necessary test licenses for the software and much more.

— What customers can use the demo lab? Is there a restriction for any areas of activity? And under what conditions can they test their hypotheses?
— Any company that is interested in Huawei systems and products can contact us. These may be companies involved in banking, energy, oil and gas refining, transportation, government agencies responsible for public safety and many others. We are ready to find individual solutions for each specific business task. Testing is completely free. You can leave an application on our website.

— Are there any plans to develop the demo lab? Are you going to improve it?
— Yes, the lab will be expanding this year. We plan to add the OceanProtect x8000 backup system, network access equipment and Wi-Fi for tests.

— Has the lab had any instances of testing for projects? Were they successful and what results did they produce?
— Yes, our equipment does not stand idle, with requests scheduled for a month in advance. We have conducted several POCs for commercial customers, including banks, trade and telecommunications companies. I would like to note that all the tests were successful because we know how to set up certain functions correctly and what to expect from the equipment.

For example, one customer was interested in how the array performance degrades when any of the system components fail. Sizers that calculate performance will not give such estimates, so you have to test — and that’s what we did in our demo lab.

Another example are All-Flash (systems using only solid-state drives) Huawei storage systems that have excellent performance of algorithms optimizing recording and saving space. The manufacturer claims a high duplication and compression ratio on most types of data most commonly stored on systems. You can see the effectiveness of compression and duplication at our stand in the lab. Perhaps this will be the most popular testing goal this year.
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