Hello and welcome to BankinYourCloud.com. My name is Scott Key and I joined VMware just over a year ago to start a Financial Services Industry vertical program for the company. Prior to joining VMware I spent 17 years in the Financial Services industry working at Citi. I started a collector, then a collection manager, then stubbled into technology as our collection unit got their first x86 PC's and none knew how to use them or fix them when they did not work. So by necessity I figured out how to use and fix the PC's and the rest is history, that was late 1994. Over the years I held several different technology roles including the Chief Architect of Citi's Consumer International division for about 3 years. In the last 3 years at Citi as a SVP, I started the server optimization programs at Citi, which included virtualization on all platforms, and grew that into a global program that included cloud strategies and saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars and yielded what today is one of the largest virtualization programs in the world.
Two years ago, when I was still at Citi, I wrote an eight part blog series on www.virtualization.info called The Hidden Challenges of Virtualization (give it a read). The blog series focused on all the non-techincal challenges firms face as they try to move from physical to virtual. Two years later, as I spend time with many financial firms in my new role at VMware, I have noticed there is a similar theme for cloud computing.
While there are definitely technical decisions to be made around cloud computing, those decisions and implementation of the technologies chosen are the easiest of the challenges...well that may depend on what technology solutions you chose...but hopefully you get the point, and VMware can help you if you are struggling with the technology pieces.
Many financial firms are taking the steps of moving their virtual clusters to a private cloud model, and in doing so they are getting to an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model. Automating the creation and provisioning of VM's, the OS and often even the core tools (i.e. monitoring, capacity, security tools, etc.) are a step in the right direction but do not carry the impact and fanfare often expected. Why not?
As an example, when a development team from a business unit request an environment for development purposes, they enter the request into some sort of system that kicks off a process...a process that takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days before they get the environment ready to use. Even using virtualization, which has cut out days, if not weeks, from the past physical hardware provisioning timelines, we still see the 30 to 90 day windows. Why is this? Because all of the legacy processes for request, approvals, change records, application installations, security admin functions for accounts, configuration of applications, etc. are the bottlenecks in these processes that take so much time.
If you are providing virtual instances today for development environments through a manual process, it still probably only takes 1-3 days to create the VM's and put on the standard OS build and other tools. If we call it 3 days, that is nothing in what could be up to a 90 day timeline for the complete environment ready to use and delivered to the developers. So when you achieve IaaS and fully automated VM provisioning and cut that 3 days down to, oh let's say 1 hour, you have not made any impact to the business in their need for the environment ready to use. This is why the step, although important and needed, of getting to IaaS is no more than a small feather in your cloud hat...there is much work to be done to make an impact for your business and create the agility they need and want.
This is what many banks are realizing today, few have attacked this head on and achieved PaaS (Platform as a Service), many are scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to get there. There are some great lessons learned in this space and ways to take baby steps and achieve wins to get your firm to PaaS and make a real impact towards business agility.
As I continue this blog series, I will cover the following topics, and maybe a few more, on how others have achieved PaaS and created business agility.
- Tackling legacy processes
- Standards and centralization vs. the business silos
- I have hundreds or thousands of applications, how do I automate and package them all?
- Self-Service Provisioning
- and many more we come up with during the journey!
Stay tuned for more!