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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Delivering IT as a Service with a Software-Defined Data Center, Part 3: Putting ITaaS To Work

In Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we discussed the definition of IT as a Service (ITaaS) and highlighted several important trends your company should follow in order to successfully deliver ITaaS.

In Part 3 of this series, we will be covering how to put ITaaS to work in your organization.

As you can see in the chart above, delivering ITaaS is a top priority for many organizations. So what can you do to successfully deliver ITaaS in your company? Here are three primary lessons:

  • Your enterprise objectives must drive the ITaaS strategy and guide the transformation process.
  • Your plan must be created for your enterprise with steps to accommodate organizational change and areas to engage and collaborate  across different IT user groups.
  • Your enterprise must empower and enable your IT teams to reinvent themselves as a nimble innovative service provider, rather than a general cost-centric technology group.

Whether ITaaS encompasses new or longstanding IT initiatives and resources, there are several key organizational shifts and strategic decisions that are necessary to obtain the positive impacts your enterprise desires:

  • Changing the conventional IT mindset that revolves around managing infrastructure to viewing it as an agile service delivery model for ITaaS;
  • Gaining senior-level executive support and leadership;
  • Aligning roles, organizational structure and KPIs with a service-oriented delivery organization;
  • Adopting the tools and mechanisms to use ITaaS and the underlying infrastructure that enables it;
  • And building a governance framework that supports and fosters ITaaS.

Best Practices To Successfully Implement ITaaS

Internal Steps:

  • Conduct an internal assessment and alignment to business priorities.
  • Establish, socialize and plan the ITaaS strategy, based on these business priorities.
  • Review, build and refine processes and timelines.
  • Review and address project ownership and governance, as well as the evolution of people skills and knowledge.
  • Tackle technology and product issues.

External Steps:

  • Reach out for assistance from peers or partners that are experts and have undergone an ITaaS transformation. Besides industry colleagues, these may include meeting with VMware’s Accelerate Advisory Services and joining Peer Groups, including VMware’s CXO Corner.

Making the leap to an ITaaS can be tremendously beneficial to enterprises. Yet it is not as easy as changing a server vendor.

Achieving success requires a clear strategy and ongoing attention to strategic, as well as tactical elements of information technology. Gaining executive support is critical – IT must take a leadership position and obtain executive support for any ITaaS initiative and ensure that staff is attuned to the ITaaS model within an SDDC.

Download the whitepaper to learn more, and follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!

VMware Provides Blueprint for Cloud Provider Success

This is a guest post by vCloud Service Provider, Logicalis

By: Eric Brooks

If you’re searching for a public cloud provider for infrastructure services, you won’t have to look far; there is nothing short of a plethora of options when it comes to public cloud providers for infrastructure services.  The question is, which one should you choose and why?

Many infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers have chosen to pursue open source or free solutions and customize them to fit their own models. On the surface, this might seem like the best route. It gives the provider a simple, easy and free solution on which to build their hosted cloud offering. There are no contracts to negotiate and no additional costs to consider.  And since, in a commoditized market, it is often a race to the bottom line, the use of a free hypervisor helps to reduce the base cost of infrastructure components – an attractive option.  But as is often the case, the less expensive route isn’t always the best.

Providers choosing open source or community supported hypervisor solutions quickly find that providing SLAs for availability without enterprise-class support is a bigger challenge than they had anticipated. Innovation is left to the speed of the community and release cycles can be unreliable. Also, the lack of advanced toolsets for monitoring and management requires the provider to build their own custom tools, greatly reducing the time-to-market for new services. These free solution side make providing infrastructure and hosting services in shared multi-tenant environments very difficult for the provider – and frustrating for the customer – to say the least.

VMware has been leading the Intel/AMD virtualization market for over a decade, making it an important partner for an IaaS provider like Logicalis to turn to when building a public cloud service.  VMware’s vSphere platform is not just a hypervisor. It provides an advanced toolset for management through vCenter, an unparalleled monitoring suite in vCenter Operations, and easy end-user provisioning through vCloud Director. It also offers out-of-the-box capabilities for high availability and disaster recovery. The vSphere platform is purpose built for multi-tenancy use cases. These features – in addition to enterprise-class support for all products, industry best performance, and leading-edge innovation in the virtualization space –  mean fast times to market for new services and very tight SLAs for availability.

Logicalis has been able to build a cost-competitive, enterprise-class IaaS offering for both existing and new customers thanks to our tight partnership with VMware’s service provider group which has a service provider licensing model that is well aligned with the consumption model of all its providers. It enables Logicalis to grow its VMware presence as customers continue to see the benefits of moving to the cloud, ultimately giving the end user a better IaaS experience as well.

Want to Know More?

Eric Brooks is a cloud solution architect for Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider.

Delivering IT as a Service with a Software-Defined Data Center, Part 2: 4 IT Trends To Watch

In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed what IT as a Service (ITaaS) is and why it’s important for your company to thrive. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take a look into IDG’s 2012 survey and the four key IT trends your company should follow in order to successfully deliver ITaaS.

Trend 1: Changing Mindset, Roles and Organizational Structure is Paramount

Success with ITaaS requires IT to take a strategic outlook and break down IT silos. To stay competitive in the market, IT must overcome internal barriers and cope with growing competition from established service providers that offer a proven value proposition for outsourced cloud, IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) models.

One vice president of IT for a $2 billion firm summarizes the new IT era as, “It’s not about support, it’s not just about providing capabilities, it’s about truly providing services in the context of leadership and achieving equal footing with other departments such as marketing, sales, HR and finance.” He later adds, “This dynamic means you can’t have merely good performance. You’ve got to have great performance that is sustained all the time.”

Similar challenges are being reported from other CIOs, CTOs and VPs, as needs for a more flexible IT framework that can adapt to a rapidly changing 24/7 business environment increase. According to another vice president and CTO of a $500 million firm, ITaaS can serve as a way to reduce risk and trim costs through a build-versus-buy approach.

Trend 2: It is Vital to Attain Executive Support

Over 64% of survey respondents acknowledged a need to acquire executive endorsements of ITaaS business objectives. However, educating senior executives and middle level managers about the benefits of ITaaS can be challenging. One CIO in particular noted, “You have to take every opportunity to discuss technology decisions as well as the pros and cons of a decision. You need to talk about why an approach such as ITaaS may align better or worse with a longer term strategy for the business.”

It’s common to encounter “pockets of resistance” from “conservative” and highly change-averse IT staff. Therefore, it’s important to get your staff “attuned” to the ITaaS model, so that they understand the reasoning behind the realignment of resources to support the change.

Trend 3: Organizations must Refactor ITIL and ITSM Practices

56% of the survey respondents in IDG’s survey said “Refactoring Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and IT Service Management (ITSM) practices, procedures, and metrics across all domains… to accelerate the adoption of ITaaS” is a high priority. At the core of this concept is a need for clearly defined standards and a clear vision of technology and ITSM lifecycles, which can be done by assessing core architecture capabilities and then expanding the process.

One senior operations manager at a $3 billion consumer packaged goods firm explained that their organization has worked to define core architecture capabilities, and shared, “we have created a huge metrics-driven scorecard focused on resource allocation and innovation, solution delivery, the percentage of the roadmap that is completed, service level agreements (SLAs), scheduled up time, support staff satisfaction levels, percent of run budget as a percentage of revenue, and more.”

Trend 4: Organizations Must Redefine Their Core Architecture to Accelerate ITaaS

2/3rds of IDG’s survey respondents cited the importance of “defining core architecture capabilities for service delivery with consistent standards.” It’s next to impossible to embark on an ITaaS strategy without a Software Defined Datacenter that enables IT departments to organize consistent governance and standardized systems. Surveying and assessing all dimensions of an IT infrastructure and workload portfolio is necessary in order to identify the right mix of internally delivered services and broker with external service providers.

One VP of IT for a $2 billion firm noted that agility is not about accommodating every technology that comes along. “What it means is that you have to select the things that will become part of your core architecture…and you have to try to do that in a way that does not completely box you in for the next 20 years.”

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where we’ll share tips on how you can put ITaaS to work in your organization. Download the whitepaper to learn more, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!

Common Challenges When Moving to the Cloud and How to Avoid Them

By: Massimo Re Ferre’, vCloud Architect

In this post I am going to touch briefly on the challenges organizations usually face when moving to the cloud. Once organizations understand the value of moving to the cloud, they often need to work around a few hurdles to exploit the full value of it.

The Incompatibility Issue

The first problem most organizations face when moving to the public cloud is the fact that there is often a complete disconnect between what they have in-house and how the service they are buying online is consumed.

All cloud service providers rushed in the last few years to create “connectors of sort” to make the mixed experience more homogenous.

However the problem isn’t so much related to having a “single pain of glass” (no that’s not a typo!) but rather lies in the fact that the underlying constructs are completely different.  This has complex ramifications in how you move stuff around and how you manage the private and public portion of your hybrid infrastructure. Very few will want to do an all-in into the public cloud, so this is a real problem.

VMware has a unique advantage here by leveraging and using the very same end-to-end software stack in all of use cases, be they public or private. This is what I usually refer to as the “no boundaries hybrid cloud” where the demarcation line between what’s public and what’s private is potentially hard to draw.

The Security Issue

The public cloud concept is often tied to multi-tenancy which is essentially the concept (in a nutshell) that allows cloud service providers to build efficient shared infrastructures that they can sell in secure (virtual) chunks to their customers.

No matter what, for many enterprise customers this is a big source of concerns. I am not here to judge, just to share what I have seen in the field. This is such a broad problem that even big cloud service providers that historically advocated shared infrastructure was the only “true cloud” have compromised by allowing customers to consume dedicated resources (at a price).

The Reliability Issue

This is a very hot topic. There is a lot of discussion around whether cloud applications should be self-healing or the cloud infrastructure should provide resiliency services to applications that have not been designed “for fail.”

While I am well aware that there are a lot of organizations that are embracing the former model, there are a lot more (orders of magnitude) organizations that are dealing (and will be dealing in the short-medium term) with applications and software that require a resilient infrastructure.

But fear not. While VMware products and public cloud services are known to be optimized for the latter scenario (applicable to the majority of the organizations out there), we are well aware that we need to address the requirements of the other class of applications and there is work being done in the back to address that. Stay tuned.

The Network Issue

This is an interesting one. I am especially keen to this because in the part of the world where I live (Europe) it is often a big roadblock (in some countries more than others).

Network bandwidth and reliability is often one of the more frequently used reasons (or excuses?) to not adopt public cloud services.

This is why, I believe, the VMware partnership model with our vCloud Service Providers is so powerful.

By enabling our cloud service provider partners globally with our software stack, we create an opportunity for our joint customers to find a compatible public cloud data center that is at “reasonable distance” from the on premise (private) cloud data center.  This could range from big local Telco’s (where proximity is measured with the scale of the size of a country or state) all the way to small local service providers (where proximity is measured with the scale of the size of the city).

No matter the actual distance, consider also that many of these cloud service provider partners are network carriers as well that could sell high-bandwidth and low latency connectivity to our joint customers, making the “no boundaries hybrid cloud” even more a reality (even from a network perspective).

Conclusions

These are the four most common roadblocks that I often hear from customers that are approaching public cloud services. VMware and its partner ecosystem are in a unique position to be able to mitigate them as much as possible so the promise of the value of the public cloud can be exploited as much as possible.

We are well aware that these are not the only challenges end users face when moving to the public cloud, especially because different personas have different requirements (and hence challenges).  However, we are working hard to be able to serve efficiently the broadest audience possible. It’s game on.

For future updates, be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter.

Massimo currently works as at VMware as a Staff Systems Engineer, vCloud Architect. He works with Service Providers and Outsourcers to help them shape their Public Cloud services roadmap based on VMware cloud technologies. Massimo also blogs about Next Generation IT Infrastructures on his personal blog, IT 2.0.

An In-Depth Look at vCloud Connector 2.0

By: Matt Sarrel

I recently started using the vSphere client to manage vCloud Connector (which according to VMware most people were doing anyway) – it’s a great alternative to the web interface I previously used for vCloud Connector.

You can still use vcloud.vmware.com to evaluate vCloud with a 90-day free trial, browse listings of service providers, and use resources like message boards, support, and instructional materials (such as documentation and tutorials).  The vCloud Connector 2.0 download is also hosted on the site.

It’s easy to use the vSphere Client to manage vCloud Connector:

  • Log into the vCloud Connector Server and then go to the Server and the vSphere Client tab.
  • From there, you’ll manage vCloud Connector through the traditional (Windows-only C#) vSphere Client’s Home page under the Solutions menu.

vCloud Connector is a great tool for linking private, public, and hybrid clouds.  I find it very powerful to be able to move applications, workloads, and templates between vClouds from a single management interface accessible via the vSphere client.  Built in and transparent features, like multi-part transfer, compression, and checkpoint restart makes transferring workloads reliable and easy.

The features that I’ve described above are part of the Core Edition of vCloud Connector.  There’s also an Advanced Edition of vCloud Connector that offers Content Sync and Datacenter Extension.  The ‘Core’ edition of VMware vCloud Connector is available to all current vSphere and vCloud Director customers as a free download – it is also included in the latest vSphere suites. To get support for the Core edition of vCloud Connector, you must have an active support contract for vSphere or vCloud Director. The ‘Advanced’ edition of vCloud Connector, which includes the Datacenter Extension and Content Sync features, is available exclusively as a part of the VMware vCloud Suites.

Content Sync lets you manage and publish a vSphere folder or a vCloud catalog and subscribe to it from another vCloud.  This is huge time saver because now you don’t have to manually copy folders and catalogs.  Any new or modified templates are automatically synchronized between subscribing catalogs.  Now an organization can have one large catalog across multiple clouds, which makes it easy to expand and move workloads between locations.

Datacenter Extension features extend private datacenter networks to public cloud networks, via a layer 2 connection over an SSL VPN tunnel.  This makes it possible to move workloads between clouds while retaining network settings (including MAC and IP addresses), so that other applications or users in the datacenter can continue to consume and use the workload.  Most importantly, other system management solutions can continue to manage the workload without any changes because network configuration remains the same.

This can all be done from within the vSphere Client, which makes managing multiple vClouds very accessible to virtualization administrators.

For future updates, be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter!

Matthew D. Sarrel (or Matt Sarrel) is executive director of Sarrel Group, a technology product testing, editorial services, and technical marketing consulting practice based in New York City and San Francisco.  He currently writes for Enterprise Networking Planet, eWeek, PCmag.com, and GigaOM, blogs at TopTechDog, and publishes the Insights & Opportunities newsletter.  You can follow him on Twitter: @msarrel.

Delivering IT as a Service with a Software-Defined Data Center, Part I: What does ITaaS Mean?

In a recent blog post, we skimmed the surface of the journey from virtualization to IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS), but what exactly does ITaaS mean, and how important is it to the success of your enterprise?

Mobility, cloud computing, social media, consumerization, big data and analytics have become deeply integrated into what makes up today’s enterprise. With this, the pace of IT change is rapidly increasing, resulting in a shift in the way organizations use and consume IT resources. More and more companies are releasing new service delivery models that promise to transform IT as people once saw in the past into a revolutionary new IT of the future.

ITaaS: From a mere dream to reality

In order to keep up with rapidly changing business needs, organizations are turning to virtualization and cloud computing to become more agile and boost resource efficiency. One of the most disruptive components born out of this movement is ITaaS.

Though once only an idea, ITaaS has now become a reality with the Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC). The SDDC virtualizes compute, storage, networking and security resources so each can be deployed and managed in a highly automated fashion and creates an on-demand self-service for each. By leveraging a SDDC, IT provides a simple and transparent way – including a direct view of services and costs – to provision and enable a dynamic IT infrastructure that relies on a cloud and software-based foundation to support the agility your enterprise demands.

Why is ITaaS important for my company to thrive? 

ITaaS shifts away from the horizontal mindset of traditional IT – the success of an ITaaS solution depends on thinking about IT vertically, with a clear understanding of business needs from the top and creating a solid, pre-configured building-block foundation of virtualized resources at the bottom. The virtualized building blocks can be combined and deployed with a single click of a button, giving IT the power to quickly and reliably respond to constantly changing business needs and become a true, strategic enabler of the business.

According to IDG’s “Cloud Innovation Study: IT as a Service”, 76% of survey participants in the United States, EMEA, APAC and Latin America indicated that ITaaS was critical if not very important for enterprise success. Benefits of an ITaaS reported include:

  1. Reporting on line of business IT usage costing (68%);
  2. Enhanced ability to manage compliance and regulatory requirements (63%);
  3. And improved customer service (62%).

ITaaS sounds great for my company. How do I get there?

Download our whitepaper, “Delivering ITaaS With a Software-Defined Data Center” to learn more. In Part 2 of our “Delivering IT as a Service with a Software-Defined Data Center” blog series, we will take a deeper dive into IDG’s findings and discuss the four key trends to follow in order to successfully deliver ITaaS to your enterprise. Stay tuned!

For future updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP!

What Can Cloud Do For Your Business?

How is cloud computing delivering greater flexibility and reducing IT costs for business?

VMware recently hosted IT industry analyst Maribel Lopez in an engaging live webcast, “Add Cloud to Your Business and Watch it Grow,”  focusing on the benefits of cloud computing and why companies of all sizes are seeing growth as a result of moving more and more workloads to the cloud.

Applicable to current VMware customers and others, this webcast focused on defining cloud, answered the question of “why cloud” and covered the benefits of cloud, such as:

  • Responsiveness:  Making business cloud initiatives portable and manageable
  • Ease of Onboarding Workload and Management:  Including reliable transfers of workload and data from private cloud to hybrid or public cloud and back
  • Security: vCloud Services deliver robust protection across private and public clouds, including network security
  • Compatibility and Interoperability:  Confidently support new and existing applications across clouds

In addition, the webcast provided an open discussion regarding the potential pitfalls of the cloud, as well as what to look for in a cloud service provider and how to use VMware Cloud Credits as an easy on-ramp to the cloud.

So, what can cloud do for your business?  Take the time to understand more about the benefits of cloud computing and find out if now is the time to make the move to the cloud or to move even more of your on-premise IT to VMware vCloud Service Providers – test drive a public cloud from a vCloud Service Provider today!

Visit www.vmware-golive.com to learn more, and be sure to follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter to learn more!

Another VMware Cloud: AppSense Runs Its Public Cloud on VMware

Why should you move to the cloud with VMware and one of our vCloud Service Providers? As Abdul Hummaida, Development Project Lead at AppSense, shares, “From a development perspective, if someone comes to me to request hardware my first question to them is, ‘Why would you need to buy hardware rather than use the iland cloud?’”

AppSense, headquartered in the United Kingdom and with offices around the world, focuses on the creation of complete user virtualization – giving users the ability to seamlessly transition between electronic devices and the flexibility to work in any way they want. With a growth rate of more than 30% year-on-year, the demand for AppSense’s software has meant an increased need for faster development and testing.

AppSense needed to address two major challenges:

  1. Scalability Testing – AppSense needed to be able to execute massive and aggressive scalability testing, which required an infrastructure capable of mimicking its enterprise clients’ environments of hundreds of thousands of people. To ensure such scalability would mean continually purchasing large amounts of hardware.
  2. Performance – AppSense engineers needed to test, tune and optimize the company’s software products by working with different versions very quickly and ideally in parallel. Even though the company has testing labs with traditional hardware, AppSense didn’t want to have to spend 4-5x more capital expenditure and needed a way to run multiple versions of its software products in parallel.

Abdul decided that the best option for the company was to find a cloud-based solution that would meet the company’s objectives in a cost-effective and timely manner. AppSense eventually decided to work with iland, because as Abdul states, “iland was the only vendor that allowed us to run desktop operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows 7, etc. Our software products are deployed on both server operating systems and desktop operating systems and so it was important to us that our prospective cloud vendor and partner should be capable of meeting those requirements.”

By working with iland, AppSense has been able to achieve the following benefits:

  • Scalability testing – enabling hundreds of VMs to be spun up to represent a customer’s environment and allow for aggressive software testing in that environment;
  • Performance – with iland’s cloud infrastructure, engineers are able to spin up environments rapidly on-demand vs. the weeks it previously took to purchase and set up new hardware.
  • Cost savings – by not having to buy large amounts of hardware to develop and test its software products, AppSense’s IT department has been able to change its financial model into a case of zero CAPEX vs. healthy OPEX.

With the speed and agility the iland cloud offers, AppSense is able to bring its software products to market quicker, contributing to the company’s bottom line much faster than the traditional hardware environment ever could.

Furthermore, Abdul shares, “We were impressed with the honest and upfront interaction and willingness of the iland team to understand the issues that were specific to our business. We were delighted with the quick access we had to iland’s technical individuals and their proactive approach to working with us on developing our cloud platform.” 

What’s next for AppSense? As the company introduces more enterprise software products, the team plans on leveraging the iland cloud platform to meet increased demand instead of buying more hardware. Additionally, as more team members adopt the cloud for the flexibility, agility and speed of deployment it offers, it shows that the cloud is quickly becoming the infrastructure platform of choice for the company.

Check out the case study to learn more, and be sure to stay tuned for even more Another VMware Cloud customer stories! Visit We Speak Cloud to learn more about the success of these customers, and follow @vCloud and @VMwareSP on Twitter for future updates.