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How Demand and Capacity Management can Streamline Service Requests in your Cloud Environment

Eric TisdaleBy Eric Tisdale

What does Request Fulfillment have to do with Demand and Capacity Management in Service Management? Are these process areas still relevant today, as IT concentrates more on delivery of Cloud Services?

As we know, the Demand and Capacity Management processes are closely related, with increases or reductions in demand driving capacity plans and delivery. Service Requests in Request Fulfillment are often thought of simply as wishes for “stuff”. Linking these three process areas and connecting and leveraging of ITSM and virtualization tools at your disposal will be key to supercharging your ability to handle cloud requests.

Leveraging automation will streamline provisioning of requests for both private and public cloud offerings. When your Request Fulfillment process is synergized with the Demand and Capacity processes, you will provide high value to your customers. Why? Because drastically reducing provisioning times and facilitating application and infrastructure teams means IT is much more efficient at providing services.

Do you have these issues?

  • IT tells me they can build a virtual server in a few hours. Why does it take us 90 days to deliver?
  • Why are we just now hearing of this new requirement? I was told this project was approved in last year’s budget, but this is the first the first request I have seen. Why doesn’t the Business communicate with us (IT)?
  • How could this project have doubled in size in a week? What could have changed since our last demand report?

For successful and timely delivery of components for any server, storage, or application request, the below areas should be well thought out and planned:

  • Re-imagine your Request Fulfillment approval process with automation tools by creating application and infrastructure blueprints that facilitate delivery efficiency
  • Don’t be afraid to ESTIMATE! Too many times folks in IT think they have to have every Gigabyte accounted for and each contingency covered to provide an educated guess for future demand. As requests move through their lifecycle, think in terms of:
    • Small, medium, or large request
    • 40%, 60%, 90% confident that the request is accurate
    • Estimates at 120, 90, 60, and 30 days out from delivery
    • Engage all stakeholders (Program Management, Account/Business Relationship Management, Infrastructure and Line of Business Architecture, etc.) in the gathering and input of demand data
    • Enable capacity management to become more agile and adaptable in responding to resource demands by providing comprehensive visibility into current capacity to allow enhanced demand forecasts with virtualization management tools that you may already own
    • Abstract applications from infrastructure, and then infrastructure from resource pools to drive agility in the fulfillment process
    • Utilize predictive analytics in virtualization tools to assists in applying demand and allocation-planning principles for enhanced utilization of resources, leading to shorter fulfillment cycles
    • Break down the silos that inhibit your Request process. Enable linkage of each ingredient of a service request into a single request record and integrate all electronic or paper forms utilized for demand funnels, requirements gathering, etc. into your service request tool.

Future posts will explore the above topics in more detail.

Building key relationships between the Demand and Capacity Management and Request Fulfillment processes and integrating them within your environment will culminate in a greatly enhanced procurement and request delivery experience for your customers. You many find that you have many of the enabling tools necessary and simply need a strategy and plan for implementation.

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Eric Tisdale is a Transformation Consultant based in Louisville, KY.

VMware’s Internal Cloud – A Use Case for Operating a Cloud at Scale

Ahmed_cropped By Ahmed Al-Buheissi

OneCloud is VMware’s internal cloud that is used by the various internal departments to test, experiment, demonstrate and train on the different products at VMware. It is an impressively large cloud, hosting about 80,000 virtual machines (VM’s), with about 40,000 running VM’s at any one time. It is used by R&D, Internal IT, Education, and Field sales, to name but a few.

The VMware Operations Transformation team engaged the OneCloud management team to discuss and understand the operation of such a large cloud. The following are some of the areas that were explored:

Evolution

The cloud was first established in 2012, where it started in a single datacenter and one core. The following year it expanded rapidly into a second datacenter and three more cores.  Soon the word spread and new tenants were invited. By the end of 2013, the demand was so high, it almost ran out of capacity. This means that 2014 was primarily focused on increasing capacity, both vertically and horizontally, and at scale. The team almost doubled in size, and spread across five datacenters in different locations around the world.

Organization

The OneCloud team consists of about 80 full-time staff, divided into an Infrastructure Operations team and a Service Operations team. The structure closely aligns with VMware’s cloud operations model, as documented in the VMware whitepaper Organizing for the Cloud.  

Service Operation

The OneCloud team runs like a separate business, with its own service desk and support structure. The team utilizes ServiceNow to manage the IT Service Management processes, such as Incident, Problem and Change management. They also have their own service delivery liaisons who manage the relationship with tenants, and help in understanding their use of the system, upcoming projects and any future demand.

Infrastructure Operations

This use-case is a live example of utilizing VMware-on-VMware, where VMware products are utilized at the hypervisor, networking and storage levels, then for provisioning and automation, and also for monitoring. Most of the VMware vCloud Suite of products are used for running the OneCloud infrastructure.

Hear more at VMWorld!

If you want to hear more about operating OneCloud, please join us at VMworld 2015 on Wednesday Sept 2nd at 2:30PT for the session: 80,000 VM's and growing!  VMware's Internal Cloud Journey told by the People on the Frontlines.  Hear the people who helped create and manage this large cloud talk about their experiences.

To add this session via the VMworld Schedule Builder, search for OPT5972.

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Ahmed Al-Buheissi is an operations technical architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Strategizing and Modernizing your Cloud Delivery Practice

Part 1 – Establishing your Cloud Business Management Practice 

By Khalid Hakim, Charlie McVeigh

History, particularly IT history, sure does have a way of repeating itself.

Think back to the 80’s and the advent of mini computers.   Mini computers were widely adopted by business units because of the perceived difficulty and cost of having the IT organization implement business solutions on the corporate mainframe.   In the 1990’s it was the PC.  Again, Corporate IT was seen as too slow and too expensive for the business solutions that were needed.  In the  2000’s  it is the advent of 2nd and 3rd generation Internet applications followed quickly by  the mobile computing revolution.  Like a broken record, corporate IT organizations were perceived as being slow and expensive to react to these new business demands.   Now that we are  in 2015, IT organizations are fighting the proliferation of public cloud offerings that business units cannot seem to drink up quickly enough.

What is common to each of the historical phases that are described above?  Business units that consume IT services perceived that they could procure IT services and applications more quickly and at a lower cost than corporate IT organizations could provide them.

What does this mean for the CIO in the modern era of IT?  It means that CIO’s must adapt or run the risk of being rendered irrelevant in relation to the way IT is consumed today and into the future.  It means that  CIO’s must now get on board with the concept of “running IT like a business.”  It means that CIOS’s must evolve such they are arbiters of technology and understand economically where is the best place for IT workloads to run.  Is it private cloud?  Public cloud?  Hybrid?  Outsourced?  Insourced? SaaS?  Iaas?  PaaS?  The choices are nearly endless - and you get it - todays CIO must be versed in all of these capabilities.

Todays effective CIO is asking and seeking answers most of the following questions:  Can you tell me on the spot what your total cloud spend is, and, what that spend is comprised of?  What's the cost for you to deliver a unit of cloud service (IaaS for instance)? And what about your consumers: Who consumes what service and at what cost?

Can you identify the services used and the cost allocation for each service? How is your cost efficiency compared to that of other public cloud infrastructures? How can you use that type of information to optimize the cost of your existing and future operations? How can you create a showback report to each of your stakeholders?

Let’s say that you're the VP of Cloud — think through how you would justify your data center investments. Have you proactively analyzed demand vs. capacity and how this is impacting your forecasting/budgeting exercises?  How can you scale dynamically to fulfill your consumer needs? Have you thought about your goal to optimize the cost of delivering cloud services? "What if" scenarios, benchmarking, and the reduction and optimization cost and price of your cloud services should be considered as well. Don’t you need closer monitoring to the quality of your delivery, such as continuous analysis and improvement? Have you thought of aligning your efforts with the corporate marketing and promoting your cloud services value?

(I can hear you thinking, enough with the questions already…)

What I would like to share with you today is a 6-month program (shown in the diagram below) to transform your cloud initiative into a successful robust cloud business management practice. The goal of the Cloud Business Management (CBM) service is to set up a cloud business management practice to enable effective, efficient, and agile business management of your cloud services.

Cloud Business Management

The following components are addressed in the full cloud business lifecycle service.

  • Cloud Business Manager Workshop – Educate the cloud service delivery teams on the foundations of cloud business and financial management aspects including costing, pricing, showback/chargeback, budgeting, forecasting, and cost optimization.
  • Cloud Business Strategy Assessment – Evaluate the IT business operational maturity of an organization and compare with VMware recommended practices. VMware will recommend possible strategies and propose a plan that best fits the organization IT and business models.
  • Cloud Services Definition – A comprehensive methodology to define cloud services and their constituent components end-to-end.
  • Cloud Services Costing – Understand Customer’s cloud services cost end-to-end and create a service-based cost allocation and classification strategy for Customer’s cloud services.
  • Cloud Services Pricing – Help Customer set a cloud pricing strategy and propose rates for the various components and offerings. This includes showback, cost recovery, investment funds, and driving particular behavior.
  • Cloud Services Marketing – Set up the cloud services marketing strategy including branding, marketing objectives, cloud service positioning, communications plan, value measurement, cultural considerations, and catalyst of change. Also, identify types of promotions and drivers of cloud services consumption and behavior impact.
  • Consumption and Showback / Chargeback – Help Customer develop a process for reporting on cloud service consumption and billing for cost recovery using VMware vRealize™ Business Advanced. In addition, determine the required people roles and dashboards.
  • Cloud SLM and Contracts Management – A comprehensive Cloud Service Level Management process including SLA and OLA templates between Cloud Infrastructure and Tenant Operations teams and the consumer. Additionally, basic vendor contract management process is provided.
  • Cost Optimization – Develop and execute a cloud cost optimization repeatable process that includes competitive analysis, benchmarking, public cloud comparison, and cost savings realization.
  • Cloud Services Budgeting and Forecasting – Develop a cloud-service-based budgeting and forecasting process to enable a more efficient demand and supply chain supported by the vRealize Business Advance cost model.

So, how is this valuable to your organization?

  1. Help your business consumers be accountable for better management of their cloud spend  rate cards, showback, chargeback, service tier options, and fair recovery of IT costs
  2. Help you make informed decisions for hybrid cloud, cost takeout, application rationalization, intelligent workload placement and bill of cloud
  3. Empower your IT to deliver on cloud promises for the desired quality, at the right cost by creating tighter alignment and accountability between IT, Business, and Finance
  4. Present you a comprehensive cloud business management practice within your IT organization leveraging your investment on vRealize Business and enabling you to run your cloud like a business
  5. Accelerate your transformation journey to an IT organization that is more consumption and cloud-service based

In our next blogs, we'll cover the cloud business management components in greater details to help you plan for your Cloud Business Management (CBM) practice within your organization.

And if you're heading to VMworld, don't miss this session!

VMworld 2015

Using vRealize Business for Cloud Business Management

IT services and applications gradually rely on cloud services that provide more flexibility and agility for IT providers to supply the value to the business on demand. However this change also introduce new challenges to manage a dynamic environment that needs to scale economically per consumer’s demand. The cloud model can facilitate the shift to a business focus for the entire IT hierarchy—from the top to the technical teams managing and delivering the cloud. But to achieve the full business value of the cloud, companies need to put in place a more specialized and robust Cloud Business Management (CBM) practice. The CBM practice addresses the key business aspects of cloud operations.  Khalid Hakim, global operations financial and business management architect, and Kobi Katzir - Senior Product Line Manager at VMware will shed light on this new business practice using VMware vRealize Business to move your cloud management to the next level in maturity and position it as a strategic partner to your business consumers and line of businesses.

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Khalid Hakim is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice. You can follow him on Twitter @KhalidHakim47.

Charlie McVeigh is an IT business management strategic advisor, and you can follow him on Twitter @cbmcveigh

Transforming Your IT Operations

The way customers now consume technology has changed significantly.  They are becoming more comfortable using platforms such as e-commerce marketplaces.  In the US markets alone, online sales are predicted to grow by almost 60% to over $400B by 2018.

IT organizations are now aggressively trying to transform their technology platforms from static legacy infrastructure to the dynamic, agile infrastructures provided by virtualization, cloud and the software-defined data center.

In this short video, operations architect David Crane shares why your focus needs to include more than just technology when moving to a new technical architecture and infrastructure for IT operations. Analysis of, along with the planning and design of your future state operating model, are just as important if you want to realize the full benefits of transformation.

Change Management’s Balancing Act

worthingtonp-cropBy John Worthington

I had some interesting discussions with a client about Change Management the other day. There was considerable focus around the risk matrix; after all, the risk of a change dictates approval flow….change is about managing risk right?

Balancing ActThe change management challenge is about balancing positive risk (value) with negative risk (service interruption), and as always we want to maximize positive risk and minimize negative risk.

From a change management perspective, maximizing positive risk is focused on acceleration and velocity. In order to do this, we need proven repeatable procedures. Building a library of proven change models will not only provide higher quality (via repeatability), but a rich source of information for automation that can further increase velocity (and time to value). Standard changes are an easy and logical place to start building this library.

The focus on minimizing negative risk, and a desire to perfect the risk matrix, can divert attention to the process. Don’t get me wrong, we do want a consistent way to assess risk across all stakeholders, but tuning the risk matrix will not build repeatability into the process and will not by itself reduce risk.

It’s the actions taken by change management practitioners - change managers, CAB Members and change analysts - that can increase the velocity of change while reducing risk. This is accomplished by fine-tuning a library of predefined procedures for known types of changes.

So if the powers that be seek to slow the process down by formally reviewing more and more changes, don’t focus on the risk matrix --- at the end of the day the powers that be will decide what needs to be reviewed (think change freeze, major incidents) and it won’t matter what the risk matrix looks like.

The risk matrix is a guide that should direct all staff to do look at how changes can be more effectively modeled. As the library of repeatable changes increased, as automation is enabled, risk can be managed at higher velocities. Start with standard changes and move up from there; the risk matrix is likely to take care of itself.


John Worthington is a VMware transformation consultant and is based in New Jersey. Follow @jMarcusWorthy and@VMwareCloudOps on Twitter.

 

Cloud Capable, Now What?

Part 1 – Defining Your Vision is the First Step to Creating a Cloud Operating Model

Dion ShingBy Dion Shing

In a recent consulting project, I worked with a customer to help design their cloud operating model. The key focus was on designing an operating model that would support a specific purpose. It was not so clear, however, what that purpose was.

Defining a Purpose Before Developing a Cloud Operating Model

As we went through the workshops, it was clear the customer understood that:

  • Operational processes adapted for cloud computing should underpin the cloud operating model
  • Integration with enterprise service management processes would be necessary
  • Standardization and automation form key principles of cloud computing which can be achieved by integrating process, coordinating people and enabled through technology

What was still ambiguous to them was how they could define an appropriate cloud operating model and structure that would solve their specific business issues.

Our initial recommendation was to develop the cloud operating model in iterative stages, addressing the majority of the business cases, but not all of them.

The Incremental Approach

The first scenario they focused on aimed at building competencies toward Cloud Service Provider Level 3 maturity (VMware’s Cloud Maturity Model) in increments over a medium time horizon.

As we progressed with that scenario, another business case emerged in which the customer would provide cloud computing services to external customers in the same time horizon. This necessitated a change to the design of the cloud operating model and required Level 5 maturity, focusing on the processes in service and business control.

Due to the time frames, an organic growth strategy would take too long and not be sufficient.  This necessitated a different approach with respect to structure. Considerations for partnership and outsourcing were put forward, altering the design of the operating model with a heavier focus on developing processes for vendor management and service brokerage.

What this highlighted to me was how critical it is to understand the overarching enterprise goals and objectives as you set out to design and build a cloud operating model that will meet your organization’s needs.

The example I just laid out represents a process that was effective, but is it possible perhaps to make it efficient as well?

What’s Next in This Blog Series?

As I continue with this blog series I will:

  • Lay out an approach for establishing a cloud operations transformation strategy that is matched to the goals and objectives of the business
  • Examine why the IT department should play an equal role in establishing and shaping business strategies and business models to support the development of innovation and sustained competitive advantages
  • Explore how a cloud organization structure and operating model can be designed based on different enterprise strategies and how to manage the implementation of the change.

Dion Shing is an Operations Architect based in Dubai.

3 Simple Steps for Benefits Realization throughout Your IT Transformation Program

Keng Leong ChoongBy Keng Leong Choong

An IT Transformation initiative to build a Software Defined Data Center or cloud does not end with the completion of technical delivery (i.e. deployment and migration to the new infrastructure and automation tools). Many organizations have invested huge sums on their IT transformation initiative only to achieve no sustainable benefits because of loss of enthusiasm and resistance to change.

To avoid letting your IT Transformation initiative rot and die, you need to ensure that the benefits you envisaged at the start, usually in your business case justification, are being realized at the end. This is done through a benefits realization management process.

What is Benefits Realization Management?

John Thorp, author of “The Information Paradox”, wrote that:

“It is a central tenet of the Benefits Realization Approach that benefits come only with change and, equally, change must be sustained by benefits.”

Benefits are only realized if the organization changes the way it operates, and the organization will only change if they see motivation to do so.

“Benefits do not just happen. They don’t just automatically appear when a new technology is delivered. A benefits stream flows and evolves over time as people learn to use it.”

You must set expectations that realization of the full benefits of transformation will not be immediate and will only grow over time as your organization adopts the new technologies and processes.

“Benefits realization is a continuous process of envisioning results, implementing, checking intermediate results and dynamically adjusting the path leading from investments to business results.”

It is important to establish regular tracking and reporting of the benefits realized and ensure that is communicated across the organization. 

Changing the way people think, work and manage is critical to achieving IT Transformation goals.

3 Simple Steps for Benefits Realization Management

So how do you establish a Benefits Realization Process? These 3 steps should be part of your IT Transformation plan.

Step 1: Define Expected Benefits

At the beginning of the IT Transformation initiative, it is very likely that you would have developed a business case for embarking this journey. Also, you will probably have identified the tangible and intangible benefits which will be achieved at some time in future (e.g. 2-3 years).

If this has not been done, you need to do it now!

Step 2: Run the IT Transformation Initiative as a Program

As I mentioned above, the initiative doesn’t end when you completed your technical delivery. To justify the investment, you have to produce results and show business benefits accomplished during the time span defined in the business case.

To do this you need a program office that manages the transformation program for the entire time span.

Step 3: Monitor, Track and Report on Benefits Realization

As John Thorp pointed out, to realize the benefits, you need to change. The best way to achieve this is to adopt a balanced scorecard to track IT transformation benefits realization from financial, people, process and customer perspectives.

Balanced Scorecard for IT Transformation

Tracking and reporting on SDDC/ Cloud adoption and usage is also important, as the faster workloads are migrated to the SDDC, the faster you achieve the cost saving goals. The longer it takes, the financial benefits become opportunity costs.

choong_migration_tracking

Consistently tracking and communicating benefits realization throughout your IT transformation to executives, senior management, the IT organization, and even the business at large is not only vital to the overall success of the program but can determine whether your IT organization is seen as trusted innovators and strategic partners, or just a necessary (and replaceable) cost center.
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Choong Keng Leong is an operations architect with VMware Professional Services and is based in Singapore. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

6 Processes You Should Automate to Provide IT-as-a-Service

kai_holthaus-cropBy Kai Holthaus

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) is one of the current paradigm shifts in managing IT organizations and service delivery. It represents an “always-on” approach to services, where IT services are available to customers and users almost instantly, allowing unprecedented flexibility on the business side with regards to using IT services to enable business processes.

This brave new world requires a higher degree of automation and orchestration than is common in today’s IT organizations. This blog post describes some of the new areas of automation IT managers need to think about.

1&2) Event Management and Incident Management

This is the area where automation and orchestration got their start – automated tools and workflow to monitor whether servers, networks, storage—even applications—are still available and performing the way they should be. An analysis should be performed to study whether events, when detected, could be handled in an automated fashion, ideally before the condition causes an actual incident.

If an incident already happened, incident models can be defined and automated, implementing self-healing techniques to resolve the incident. In this case, an incident record must be created and updated as part of executing the incident model. Also, it may be advisable to review the number of incident models executed within a given time period, to determine if a problem investigation should be started.

It is important to note that when a workflow makes these kinds of changes in an automatic fashion, at the very least the configuration management system must be updated per the organization’s policies.

3) Request Fulfillment

Automation and orchestration tools are removing the manual element from request fulfillment. Examples include:

  • Requests for new virtual machines, databases, additional storage space or other infrastructure
  • Requests for end-user devices and accessories
  • Requests for end-user software
  • Request for access to a virtual desktop image (VDI) or delivery of an application to a VDI

Fulfillment workflows can be automated to minimize human interaction. Such human interaction can often be reduced to the approval step, as required.

Again, it is important that the configuration management system gets updated per the organization’s policies since it is part of the workflows.

4&5) Change and Configuration Management

Technology today already allows the automation of IT processes that usually require change requests, as well as approvals, implementation plans, and change reviews. For instance, virtual machine hypervisors and management software such—such as vSphere—can automatically move virtual machines from one physical host to another in a way that is completely transparent to the user.

Besides automating change, the configuration management system should be automatically updated so that support personnel always have accurate information available when incidents need to be resolved.

6) Continuous Deployment

The examples provided so far for automating activities in an IT organization were operations-focused. However, automation should also be considered in other areas, such as DevOps.

Automation and orchestration tools can define, manage, and automate existing release processes, configuring workflow tasks and governance policies used to build, test, and deploy software at each stage of the delivery processes. The automation can also model existing gating rules between the different stages of the process. In addition, automation ensures the correct version of the software is being deployed in the correct environments. This includes integrating with existing code management systems, such as version control, testing, or bug tracking solutions, as well as change management and configuration management procedures.

In an ITaaS model, automation is no longer optional. To fulfill the promise of an always-on IT service provider—and remain the preferred service-provider of your customers—consider automating these and other processes.


Kai Holthaus is a delivery manager with VMware Operations Transformation Services and is based in Oregon.

Top 5 Tips for Organizing the Cloud

You’re ready to reap the rewards. Is your organization ready to deliver?

5 Tips for Organizing the CloudThe technical and business advantages of the software-defined cloud era are well understood. But all too often a critical aspect of adopting the cloud model is overlooked: the organizational impact. The fact is the transition to the cloud changes roles, skills, processes and organizational structures. Yet, many IT leaders become so focused on the vision of the cloud—or its technological requirements—that they lose sight of whether their IT staff is properly prepared for the new world.

The resource, Top 5 Tips for Organizing the Cloud, will help you prepare for—and execute—a successful move to the cloud.

Green vs. Grey — Rethinking Your IT Operations

Neil MitchellBy Neil Mitchell

Can you really create a new greenfield IT organization with no legacy constraints?

In this short video, operations architect Neil Mitchell explains that while anything is theoretically possible, most IT execs need to face the reality of impact on legacy IT operations.

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Neil Mitchell is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice and is based in the UK.