Posted by Brian Forbes Sr. Director, Global Alliance Marketing
If you haven’t already heard about VSPEX, you will. VSPEX is EMC’s proven infrastructure for virtualizing data centers and desktops, combining EMC storage technology with VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud, VMware View and other VMware cloud infrastructure solutions that can be sized and configured for a wide variety of organizations. EMC rolled out VSPEX today – you can read more about it here.
Why is VSPEX important? For one thing, it’s proven. VSPEX are complete, pre-validated solutions delivered by trained and authorized channel partners. EMC has validated these architectures thoroughly and even established a dedicated facility—VSPEX Labs—to test customer-specific configurations and provide working demos.
Another key aspect of VSPEX is flexibility. Leveraging the built-in automation and resource elasticity of VMware cloud infrastructure, VSPEX enables organizations to adapt efficiently and quickly to evolving business needs. With VSPEX, customers can consolidate multiple workloads on VMware cloud infrastructure that is sized to deliver predictable performance. VSPEX’s tight integration means that customers can manage their private cloud deployments using VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite.
There’s much more to say about VSPEX, so look for updates here in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out the solution overview on EMC’s Web site.
Posted by Kannan Mani Technical Solutions Architect
Check out the video below where Jason Kosaftis from EMC and I discuss on the upcoming joint webcast series - virtualizing Oracle databases. The combination of VMware vCenter™ and EMC FAST Cache dynamically provisions server and storage resources to allow maximum performance at scale in virtualized Oracle environments. With the latest release of VMware vSphere® and the fully automated Storage Tiering capabilities of EMC VNX Unified Storage, Oracle DBAs and IT infrastructure teams can now accelerate server and storage resource provisioning and minimize database performance tuning while maintaining maximum availability.
During these webcasts you will hear from EMC and VMware Engineers, as well as end customers and IT executives from some of our largest customers discuss on cost savings, performance and efficiency they have achieved using VMware and EMC technologies. Please visit the links below and register today.
Maximum Performance and Availability for Virtualized Oracle Databases with VMware and EMC Hosts: George Trujillo, Tier One Database Specialist, VMware and Sam Lucido, Solutions Consultant, EMC
Seven Corners Inc. Industry: Travel Insurance Partners: VMware, Cisco, NetApp, Netech Challenges addressed: Frequent server outages and implementing a private cloud
Posted by George L Reed II, Seven Corners, CIO and Pearl Goitia, VMware, Sr. Customer Reference Manager
When travelers need international health insurance, trip insurance and specialty benefits, they look to Seven Corners, Inc. for protection. When Seven Corners needed to improve the availability, agility and efficiency of its IT infrastructure, it looked to solutions from Cisco, NetApp and VMware, delivered by Netech Corporation.
We recently talked with George L. Reed II, Seven Corners CIO, to get his perspective on how he and his team went from wanting a new solution to stop frequent server outages and improve efficiencies to implementing a private cloud that will take Seven Corners to the next-level of self-service IT.
VMware: Can you give us some insight into what you were facing in mid-2010 when you put out your initial request for information?
George L. Reed II: We were still reliably delivering 24/7 services, but much of our technology was approaching end of life, and daily outage and recovery costs were approaching $3,000. We calculated that without new technology by December, we could be facing business-disrupting failures. We needed to quickly design and build out a more reliable infrastructure and look for ways to increase efficiencies that would reduce the time and costs of delivering new services to market and support the company’s eight-year plan for continued double-digit annual growth.
VMware: What did you do first?
Reed: I contacted three integrating partners and asked them prove to me that they understood my problem, then put together a solution from best of breed practitioners and a project plan that would show us up and running in three to five months. Netech, a Midwestern U.S. provider of IP-based integration services and participant in Cisco, NetApp, and VMware partner programs, came in with exactly what we needed—an already validated and proven Cisco UCS, VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and NetApp storage solution that could be implemented quickly and without a lot of maintenance. That was the first step.
VMware: Was speed of implementation for the VMware, Cisco and NetApp solution a factor?
Reed: Yes. Speed to implementation was as critical a factor as scalability. In our business, customers are clamoring for new services and time to market determines which company gets their business—typically the first to deliver wins 60 percent of the revenue. The agility and flexibility we’ve gained from this infrastructure help us deliver products faster, quickly identify and reduce losses on unproductive programs, and rapidly capitalize on successes.
VMware: Did the joint solution deliver immediate results?
Reed: Absolutely. When the infrastructure went live mid-November, Netech helped with our initial physical-to-virtual (P2V) migrations, including a critical Web server scheduled for testing in the new environment before it was moved into production. Perhaps fortuitously, the failure we thought might happen in December occurred within just minutes of P2Ving our first Web system. When the physical server blue-screened, we were forced to forego testing and move the full production environment onto the new virtual server. It ran perfectly the first time and has worked flawlessly ever since.
VMware: Since that time, what other results have you been able to achieve?
Reed: The biggest overall gain has been ROI. For example, by successfully reducing daily outages from an average of 12 across our core physical servers to zero, we’re saving at least $750,000 in annual downtime costs. In addition, in our test-driven software development environment that makes use of agile software development, we expect we’ll save more than $200,000 in development costs and take more than three months off delivery time. Since deploying the new shared IT infrastructure, we’ve also experienced other significant benefits, including:
Spending less time running reports – Aggregate performance reports that used to take up to six hours to complete now run in less than 10 minutes
Using less storage – With NetApp deduplication technology, we’re using 60 percent less storage, the equivalent of a year’s worth of new capacity
Gaining more time for new projects – Last year some 80 percent of our IT dollars went into break-fix. In the last three months, that percentage has dropped to 16 percent with recovered resources being applied to new-project work
We thank George for his time and invite you to learn more about the private cloud solution at Seven Corners.
Posted by Link Alander, LSCS, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Services and Pearl Goitia, VMware, Sr. Customer Reference Manager
When an organization is in the throes of a large virtualization initiative, it’s sometimes hard to remember the beginning. That isn’t the case at Lone Star College System (LSCS) where Link Alander, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Services, is crystal clear on how they got started, the goals they have achieved and what they have left to accomplish. I recently caught up with Link Alander to ask a few questions about how things are going at LSCS.
VMware: Tell us about LSCS and the number of students you support.
Link Alander: LSCS is a publicly funded, two-year community college located in Houston. It’s the largest institution of higher education in the area and the largest community college system in Texas. We’ve had tremendous student population growth in six years. Today, LSCS has 78,000 “traditional” students pursuing two-year associate degrees from multiple campus locations. We also provide educational opportunities to 23,000 “nontraditional” enrollees through nondegree courses and adult education programs.
VMware: What challenges were you looking to overcome that led you to consider virtualizing your datacenters?
Alander: When our new CIO, Shah Ardalan came on board in February 2008, LSCS already had a small VMware installation. I was tasked to redesign our core systems. Instead of supporting a confederation of multiple sites, I wanted us to move to a consistent, centralized model for all IT services, which meant reining in our six campus sites, as well as the eight smaller satellite centers that accessed our data, but couldn’t afford their own datacenters. Our team believed that virtualizing the majority of our physical servers was critical in order to efficiently manage the centralized environment and provide high availability for our key campus applications. We started at about 5 percent virtualized and have quickly moved to 93 percent virtualized.
You can hear Link describe our progress at LSCS in some detail:
VMware: Why did you subsequently choose the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution?
Alander: We evaluated Microsoft’s Hyper V, but it was very immature compared to VMware vSphere. When we completed a virtualization assessment to evaluate the consolidation opportunities and calculate the potential savings, the ROI on a joint VMware, Cisco and EMC solution spoke for itself and we got approval to move all of our campuses to the new environment quite easily.
VMware: What advantages has the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution provided to LSCS?
Alander: There are many, but let me give you one example. LSCS is committed to guaranteeing “five nines” availability for Tier-1 applications. VMware, Cisco and EMC provided the only solution that could provide the high availability we required. Now, we have virtualized nearly every Tier-1 and -2 application, including our new ERP system, Active Directory, Exchange, and SQL. We’ve also built a private cloud, which has enabled us to achieve greater elasticity and flexibility.
VMware: What impact has the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution brought to your IT infrastructure?
Alander: We’ve experienced tremendous benefits from improving operational flexibility and efficiency to improving environmental savings. We’ve dramatically reduced deployment times, achieved high availability and improved disaster recovery. On the cost side, we’ve achieved significant savings in power, space and cooling. We’ve obtained ROI in just three years and nine months—and we’ve reduced hardware and capital costs by about $600,000, which is a tremendous improvement.
VMware: Thank you for your time, Link. We hope to catch up with you again next year at VMworld.
Nine out of ten IT professionals believe that cloud computing will be the primary IT delivery model by 2015. And according to the 2011 Role of CIO Report, 66% of senior IT executives still need to learn more about the cloud than they do now.
In this free, online conference, several industry experts will offer guidance on how to:
Explain cloud and rationalize its business value
Prepare your network for the cloud
Plan for and manage security breaches and compliance concerns
Anticipate legal considerations before signing a contract
Get the most out of cloud SaaS services
This one-day event offers unparalleled thought leadership for CIOs, risk officers and compliance professionals on strategies for extending security and compliance to the cloud. Register today!
VMware was delighted to be a Gold partner of the first annual Dell World event, which took place last week in Austin, TX. We are looking forward to partnering with Dell to change the face of IT and impact the global economy.
Our CEO, Paul Martiz, spoke about the future of virtualization at the keynote address stating, "The cloud era is the next really major iteration of consumer computing and enterprise scale computing.” Click here to view an article on InformationWeek.com that details Paul’s automation vision.
As you are aware, the “Cloud Era” is here, it is real and VMware, in partnership with Dell, is leading companies around the world in their journey to Cloud Computing.
VMware and Dell have partnered to bring our joint customers a rich portfolio of solutions and services that can help customers achieve a simplified, more efficient, flexible, cost-effective, service oriented IT environment. These offerings include:
The recently announced Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Service
VMware vSphere and View available directly from Dell as OEM offerings on all mainstream Dell servers, with support provided by Dell to enable a single point of contact at Dell for our joint customer’s VMware infrastructure purchasing and support needs
From the desktop to the data center to the cloud, VMware is working with Dell to deliver a full portfolio of end-to-end virtualized solutions aimed to deliver to our customers greater IT and business agility, lower IT costs, simplified management, improved security and IT control; all aimed to help our customers succeed in today’s hyper-competitive business environment.