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Monthly Archives: January 2014

4 Ways a Software-Defined Data Center Reduces TCO

By Aernoud van de Graaff

I worked with several IT organizations last year to develop TCO studies to determine the financial impact of moving toward a software-defined data center (SDDC). And for each customer, an SDDC reduced TCO in one or more of the following areas:

1. Lower hardware (and hardware-related) costs

  • Server, storage and network consolidation, pooling, and virtualization enable you to get the most out of your existing hardware investment.
  • Automation of performance and capacity management, and dynamically optimizing hardware utilization, reduce your hardware footprint even further.
  • If you have dynamic workloads, making use of a hybrid cloud model to instantly burst workloads to a public provider eliminates the need for peak-sized capacity.
  • Less hardware directly translates into reduced power consumption maintenance and data center footprint requirements.
  • You are now hardware-agnostic and vendor-neutral. Your applications will run on any hardware, which allows you to choose your vendors, demand better discounts, and / or make the move to other (cheaper) vendors.

Example: A large service provider more than doubled the number of VMs running on its cloud environment after implementing capacity management tools. And, based on our recommendations, decided to add more memory, avoiding a $1.3M USD hardware investment.

2.  IT operations automation

  • Through automation you can now monitor, adjust, heal, and optimize your infrastructure without human intervention. This will significantly reduce the operational tasks for your system administrators, freeing them up to work on higher-value projects.
  • Automation will also reduce the number of human errors, reducing fire-fighting and limiting the need for dedicated operations roles.

Example: Another client needed 45 percent fewer admins to manage the enterprise’s virtual environment after implementing automation. The automated environment also lowered OpEx costs by 25 percent and increased efficiencies, including the number of projects that IT can now run for its business users. The organization is on track to manage its 10-20 percent projected growth without additional headcount.

3. Cloud automation

  • Automated provisioning gives your users direct control over what, where, and when to (de)provision the infrastructure he/she requires, without manual intervention from your IT staff.
  • A policy-based deployment ensures that your Dev, Test, and QA workloads run in the same conditions as the Production environment. You avoid technical problems (and costly errors) with workloads that may, for example, run fine in QA but have issues in Production due to different security settings.

Example: An IT department I’m currently working with has transformed its traditional environment to a private cloud, reducing the number of incidents related to implementations by 85 percent.

4. Cloud use in practice

  • The traditional way to set up and provision infrastructure to end users (such as developers) takes time. Once the infrastructure is delivered, your users have a tendency to not let go of it. Some users will hoard infrastructure just to make sure they have it available when they need it.
  • When infrastructure is delivered almost instantly, there is no need for your users to hang on to unused capacity. And, with the right management tools, you can determine whether infrastructure is actually being used (or not).
  • If your users don’t pay for infrastructure, hoarding tendencies will continue. However, implementing a pay-per-use policy (or at a minimum, showback of cost incurred) will sharply curb this behavior.
  • Providing infrastructure as a service can also result in increased usage, because it’s so much easier to get it up and running. To keep costs down, you will need active management to ensure that each provisioned environment adds value to the business.
  • Projects will also run more efficiently, as there is no need for users to wait for available infrastructure when projects kick off and also throughout the project when extra capacity or an additional test environment are needed.

Example: My recent engagement with a financial services customer revealed that 25 percent of the provisioned infrastructure was not actively used.

A software-defined data center can reduce the TCO of your infrastructure, allowing you to redirect IT resources to innovation initiatives that will add true value to the business. That’s why more and more IT executives are incorporating the software-defined data center into their strategic plans.

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Aernoud van de Graaff is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in the Netherlands. You can follow him on Twitter @aernoudvdgraaff

Successful Cloud Transformation Must Go Beyond Technology

By Michael Hubbard

Cloud technology has matured in recent years, offering cost optimization, security, and quality of service for the full range of enterprise requirements, not just tactical needs. Yet many businesses have adopted cloud services in an ad hoc fashion with IT organizations tending to focus on the part of a cloud transformation that comes naturally to them—the technology. IT leaders shouldn’t forget that success equally depends on transforming how IT operates, factoring in people resources, processes, financial management, governance, service delivery, and communication, along with other areas, as highlighted by this new interactive infographic.

Michael Hubbard is the Vice President of Enterprise Services, VMware North America,
and is based in Chicago.

 

Cloud Transformation and Its Impact on IT Service Delivery

By Franck Besnard

I believe that 2013 was the inflection point for private cloud adoption within large enterprises embarking on their journey to cloud computing. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure estimates that approximately two thirds of x86 workloads are on virtualized infrastructure.[1] We’ve now entered the post-x86 virtualization era, with large enterprises such as SAP—with 80 percent of its global infrastructure virtualized—touting the benefits of virtualizing business critical applications.[2]

Last October, I participated in VMware’s CIO Event Europe in Barcelona, and many of the senior IT leaders attending acknowledged that now is the time to embrace private cloud and reap the associated benefits.  In addition to taking advantage of lower costs, improved operational efficiency, and increased business agility that cloud computing brings, IT now has the opportunity to provide real business value through innovation that can drive growth and directly impact the bottom line.

Yet these same IT leaders also understand that it’s not simply a technology or architecture play, but a true transformation that will occur over multiple years, impacting people and processes within their IT organization. One participant asked me how he could reduce TCO by an additional 50 percent if his data centers were already 80 percent virtualized, and my answer was straightforward: “By changing your IT operating model.

A private cloud infrastructure solution allows IT to achieve cloud service provider economics in the data center by leveraging a software-defined data center architecture. This architectural approach delivers virtualized infrastructure services (compute, network, security, and availability) with built-in intelligence that provides benefits allowing IT to:

  • Automate through software-defined environments, especially networking
  • Streamline complex business critical application deployments
  • Orchestrate IT service management processes
  • Standardize IT systems deployed on the infrastructure
  • Deliver true self-service and chargeback to lines of business
  • Provide predictive analytics on business usage

The dynamic environment of a private cloud presents challenges to IT operations that have been established for static data center architectures, but it also represents a major opportunity. Changing the operating model for the way in which IT delivers services will provide significant savings, and it will also require an investment in people and processes—for example, the training costs of developing new skills, or the change management involved as a result of moving to a model of automation.

To achieve the benefits of operational efficiencies gained from cloud computing, existing IT processes must be streamlined and new ones implemented while your IT organization is transitioning to become much more proactive. In my experience, most large enterprises will take at least three to five years to realize the full transformative benefits of cloud computing.

Keep in mind that the IT evolution is a journey. The way that successful CIOs leverage virtualization to transform the IT organization to become more service-oriented will be a combination of innovative technology and adapting to a new way of operating that’s focused on delivering business value.

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Franck Besnard is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services based in France. Follow him on Twitter @besn0847



[1] Source: Gartner “Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure” by Thomas J. Bittman, George J. Weiss, Mark A. Margevicius, Philip Dawson, June 27,  2013

[2] Solution brief: “Virtualize Your SAP® Environment, A Joint Solution Offering from SAP and VMware to Increase IT Agility and Minimize  Virtualization Risk

 

Learn from VMware’s Lessons on Transforming the Business with Private Cloud

At VMware, the process of testing and optimizing products often starts by implementing them in our own IT organization. Join us tomorrow at 10am (PST) for a free webcast and get the inside scoop on lessons learned from moving VMware’s Dev/Test provisioning to private cloud.

Kurt Milne, VMware Director of Cloud Operations Marketing, will lead the conversation with executives from the VMware Dev/Ops team, who will share their personal experience with a private cloud environment that supports rapid prototyping and innovation that wasn’t possible before.

For the Ops team, blueprints, policies, and cloud automation and management have provided agility and improved performance. For the Dev team, requests for instances are completed in a day, their work is no longer interrupted while they wait for dev/test instances that hoard scarce infrastructure resources.

So, how does it add up? Learn the keys to how VMware’s IT organization reduced provisioning from four weeks to 24 hours, and improved the productivity of 600 developers by 20 percent.

Register here for “Increased Agility and Lower Cost Automated Provisioning in VMware’s Private Cloud.

4 Tips to Make Your IT Transformation a Success

By Gene Likins

Accelerate consultants are fortunate to work with a wide variety of IT organizations. Our clients vary by industry, global footprint, size, and competitive landscape. But one common theme among IT leaders has been that true IT transformation involves much more than just updating the technology. In fact, technology consistently ranks low for the challenges IT executives brace for as they push their organizations to modernize and shift toward ITaaS.

With ITaaS, the expectations and ground rules for IT are rapidly changing from “internal shared service” to “quality services at a competitive price.”  As IT, our customers are no longer captive; they can easily work directly with public clouds and SaaS vendors. This conjures up a new meaning to “rogue IT.”

With any trend or shift in an industry, there are always those companies that lead through innovation and/or necessity. Based on our experience with these ITaaS leaders, here are a few recurring themes worth considering for your IT transformation.

  1. Set up a governance structure
    This structure should empower service managers to prioritize and fund end-to-end services, rather than point projects. For example, an end-to-end IT service might focus on quarterly budgeting and planning. This is made up of infrastructure, ERP, BI, and dashboards. Strategically minimize IT point projects that are simply limited to deploying one particular technology or application.
  2. Deploy services incrementally
    Avoid the “big bang” approach to launching services—agility is the name of the game now. Two potential options are to quickly deploy a couple of simple services across a large number of businesses, thus maximizing the footprint of the impact. Another option is to focus many services on a single business unit to showcase deeper impact. Either way, the incremental approach will enable iterations, which will enable IT to monitor and refine the outcome.
  3. Avoid wholesale org changes
    First gain a sense for the services and service level agreements (SLAs) you will offer. Develop the IT operating model to deliver IaaS then ITaaS with a private cloud. Then use the operating model to gradually build a new organizational structure. There has been much discussion about cloud centers of excellence (COEs). One weakness I’ve observed with COEs has been accountability. An alternative may be to form a small greenfield team to start. This team could then generate some quick wins and slowly grow to eventually envelope the existing IT model over time.
  4. Market IT services –   Never forget, that as a services business, you must always market and promote your services. Put in the effort and invest in communication and marketing plans to ensure customers are seeing the value, and that you are advertising the successes right back to your customers. Being IT no longer gives you an excuse not to market yourself.

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Gene Likins leads the VMware Accelerate Advisory Services practice for North America and is based in Atlanta.

Claim an Early Win with a Hybrid Cloud Approach

By Reid Engstrom

“IT should be run like a business.” It’s a popular idea among IT organizations, but what does it actually mean? Usually, it means they would like their organization to have better-defined processes that provide their business stakeholders with expected outcomes. And yet with most of my strategy engagements, I find that the IT organization’s catalog of service offerings is neither well-defined or accurate—even among enterprise-class organizations.

The number of marketing-savvy compute/cloud service suppliers is growing fast. Service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) set the bar high for stakeholder expectations, including fast provisioning, clear pricing, and well-defined levels of service. And IT needs to catch up if it wants to be competitive.

What is the IT organization missing?

  1. A consistent, comprehensive list of IT services documented so that stakeholders understand and can respond to them
  2. A pricing structure and menu that allows end users to select the appropriate service and quality level to satisfy their needs

There is often an extended transition/development time to ramp up to this kind of service offering, with extensive changes to IT processes and skill levels. That’s why I often recommend VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, which can provide organizations with a viable offering as an interim solution.

First, an IT organization can leverage vCloud Hybrid Service to quickly provide a service offering with clear product- and service-level definitions, plus specific usage-based pricing. Later the service can be positioned as a longer-term hybrid solution. This allows IT to manage its internal virtual infrastructure consistent with the external vCloud Hybrid Service, as well as moving loads back and forth when its internal private cloud service capability matures.

This hybrid cloud approach—leveraging vCloud Hybrid Service while IT develops its internal capability—provides the IT organization with an important early win, along with experience “running like a business” toward the goal of transforming into a true service provider.

To learn more about using VMware vCloud Hybrid Service to extend your data center into the cloud with the tools and processes you already have, watch this short overview video.

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Reid Engstrom is a VMware Accelerate Advisory Services strategist emeritus.