Author Archives: Eric Ledyard

Cloud Economics – The Impact of Cloud Computing

By 2020, Cloud is expected to be a $240B industry. It’s no wonder then that businesses are trying to figure out how to harness this power to achieve agility through IT Transformation.  In this “Cloud Economics” infographic, VMware outlines the types of clouds being deployed, adoption rate of leading countries, and forecasts on what virtualization means for jobs and market competition in the years to come.

Application Relocation and Virtualization of Business Critical Applications

AUTHOR: Vladimir ‘Val’ Taft, Business Solutions Architect

Sandy was a reminder. As Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Eastern seaboard of the United States, it brought devastation and human suffering across 15 states. The storm’s destruction flickered across the digital world as well, causing flooding in some of the major data centers, including those in lower Manhattan. As a result, it brought down a number of high-profile web sites and critical applications.

Speaking of extreme situations, I vividly remember working on a project to plan the relocation of a data center out of what had been and, with the recent events in the Middle East, became a war-zone location again. Relocation of 24×7 business critical applications (BCA), not surprisingly, was squarely in the path of this time-critical project. The pressure was real!

These are extreme situations, but even data center move is akin to a natural disaster in that it necessitates a relocation of an application to a different site, albeit at a known date.  Business critical applications are called that for a reason – they are critical to the business.  So even a regular data center move, for example due to a lease expiration, poses many questions for the CIO: How easy it will be to relocate our business critical applications?  How long will it take? Will our IP addresses change? Will it break our legacy applications? What type of downtime will be required? How much new equipment remains within our existing service-level agreements (SLA) and service-level objectives (SLO) commitments?

Deploying an application as a set of virtual machines and storage virtualization greatly simplifies this process and streamlines application relocation. The IT industry seems to now be in agreement that virtualized applications are easier to deploy, run, scale and relocate. For these and other good reasons it is only a matter of time until BCA virtualization becomes a recognized best practice for contemporary IT.

There are, however, a number of barriers hindering BCA virtualization as they:

  • Typically constitute a group of integrated, interdependent applications (known as an application affinity group)
  • May contain legacy applications, thus may be susceptible to breaking down with infrastructure and/or IP addressing changes
  • Need a mature platform as a service (PaaS) infrastructure as relocating a BCA onto an unreliable platform may and usually does create a big problem
  • Tend to have stringent SLOs and highly customized infrastructure, thus require cumbersome infrastructure- and application-specific disaster recovery (DR) methods
  • Require multiple non-production environments to support elaborate software development lifecycle (SDLC), which require changes to be done in technical and organizational synchrony
  • And may warrant  building an enterprise-wide consensus as its implementation plans and schedules require a wider, more elaborate coordination.

When the CIO faces these obstacles, it is not uncommon to do nothing, that is, continue business as usual. This problem avoidance is not a good strategy however, as it leads to:

  • Sub-optimal workload sourcing
  • Longer outages of the business critical applications
  • And higher costs for relocation and recovery.

How real are the technical risks in BCA virtualization?  It took the IT industry a relatively short time to iron out the engineering risks – and by now virtualization of the major IT infrastructure components has become a routine endeavor. The typical low-hanging fruit have been the infrastructure components owned by the corporate IT and not directly visible to the end users. This includes: directory servers; print servers; communications and security appliances; and JEE platforms including WebSphere, Weblogic, and JBoss. Over the past few years, virtualization of the enterprise-class databases: virtualization of MS SQL Server and Oracle, including its clustered variant – Oracle Real Applications Cluster (RAC), has been done and vague supportability concerns have been demystified. So, in actuality, BCA virtualization is a number of problems each of which has been sold. In fact, many of them have to be tackled at the same time, which may be daunting in some cases.

Taking into account the wide scope of technical complexity and potential organizational issues, BCA transformation needs to be approached as an enterprise-wide program. Here are just some of the critical prerequisites the CIO will need to address:

  • A comprehensive business case analysis must be done in the enterprise-wide context that includes facilities, business continuity (BC), DR and strategic IT planning
  • A design must be completed and a budget defined for a set of non-production environments for the BCA virtualization and a highly available production PaaS
  • A credible plan must be defined to guide the implementation, rollout and cut-over to production.

To get your BCA virtualization initiative off the ground, you will need to:

  • Draft a high-level plan for your BCA virtualization initiative and start the process for the inclusion of BCA virtualization in the strategic IT plan
  • Review your business case with the corporate executive management, obtain preliminary budget approvals required to get started
  • Include your BCA virtualization initiative in the strategic IT plan
  • Negotiate a realistic timeframe for completion (18 – 24 months is desirable)
  • Expedite the planning phase and building consensus by having your business case analysis for the BCA virtualization completed early in this process

Technical complexity of BCA virtualization and cost comparison with the business-as-usual baseline is not a trivial exercise. It requires understanding of all facets of IT, including the applications portfolio, technical infrastructure, facilities, DR planning, security, organizational readiness, and last but not least – value engineering. As CIO, it is important to prove to yourself and to your IT organization that for your enterprise, BCA virtualization will indeed lower the TCO for enterprise applications, streamline DR, and help data center mobility.

Which brings us back to planning a data center move and applications relocation.   Readiness for common situations like data center relocations, and even more so –  mobility in the face of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy or earthquakes as well as those man-made – call for BCA virtualization . And, yes – it does help to be prepared.

VMware Accelerate can help with expeditious business case analysis and the blueprints for successful IT initiatives, thus shorten the critical path to the enterprise-wide BCA virtualization and application relocation readiness.

Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information

 

Back to the Future

Author: Bill Kirwin

I am currently reading a book (77 Shadow Street, by Dean Koontz) where the main antagonist is called “One.” One is comprised of trillions of bots; nanocomputers that have common architectures and specialized functions that can create new biological forms. The attribute that makes them One is a collective consciousness and singular directive. I will call One an amalgamism in that it expresses itself as a single organism while being an amalgomous assemblage or pooling of computing resources.

I am also reminded of Thomas J. Watson’s alleged 1943 statement, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Today, I believe Mr. Watson was wrong by a factor of five.

My prediction is that within 10 years, today’s cloud computing diaspora will be viewed as one abstract entity, a common seamless pool of resources to build, deploy, and apply solutions. It will be location independent, device agnostic and deliver the collective aggregation of big data and intelligence of the masses. It might even be self-analytical and intuitive as well as self-healing.

I project that in 10 years over 50 percent of business computing transactions will occur on this platform, rising to 80 percent in 15 years. Whatever infrastructure remains outside this pool will be virtualized resources that are not incorporated. These non-federated resources will probably remain so due to regulatory and security issues that require extra hardened protection.

So what are the implications of this ubiquitous computing utility? First let’s look at the IT industry.

Hardware – Over the next 10 years, commercial data centers will shrink by attrition as their private/hybrid cloud footprint shrinks due to the rapid shift of economy balance toward hosted solutions. There will be a common, commoditized hardware architecture (x86?) that will primarily be marketed to a relatively small number of utility providers with huge, globally decentralized data centers. It will be almost as exceptional for a business to have its own computers as it is today for a company to generate its own electricity.This transition looks identical to the one that took place in the late 1800s as utility power companies began to be the norm for power generation and provisioning. Also, telecommunications companies have followed a similar model, as many smaller entities came together to form a few large collectives that provide centralized services regionally.

Key insighthybrid cloud is a transitionary state and will likely grow over the next 3-5 years and then fade as architecture within the 10-year planning horizon. This rise and fall will be driven by the complexity (and resulting cost) and corresponding cloud economics.

Software – Software as a service (SaaS) will be the predominate delivery model for an increasing number of business applications, which require additional security parameters and offer centralized services such as tax and payroll processing. The term “community cloud” was tossed around a few years ago to describe cloud environments and applications that were industry specific; such as healthcare and finance. There will be fewer and more dominant application service providers and a cultivated supply of start up players, of which over 95 percent will be acquired or not survive. The remaining 5 percent will break out to be next-generation commercial SaaS providers.

Patent law will become as important as innovation as a driver of acquisitions. Competitive differentiation for businesses will be found through optimizing business process and creative use of software, but not by customizing software itself. However, platform as a service (PaaS) will continue be available for new application development for in-house use and for commercial developers. Software will be provisioned by consumption models rather than licensing models.

Key Insight – There will be 10-20 market dominant SaaS enterprise market leaders driven creatively through acquisition from a farm system of smaller developers.

Services – The services market will largely migrate from complex implementation engagements driven by the need to integrate disparate systems and merge private and external cloud solutions to optimizing business processes and developing service delivery systems for IT management. This will be a key efficiency driver, as service labor costs become the dominant IT cost driver over the next five years.

As market forces have taken the hardware market down to “seeds and stems” and driven the software market to the lowest cost model of usage based pricing, it has shifted the IT market to a professional service based model. Professional services will be the next frontier for cost reduction. Reducing the complexity of IT will reduce the need for professional services, thus enabling an ever-increasing demand for IT. However, it remains to be seen how the cost elasticity will increase the overall IT market size.

Key Insight – Complexity of IT systems will be radically reduced by singular cloud solutions, which will steamroll the market to those solutions. 

Thus, in 15 years there will be One compute resource that will provision transparent, abstracted, automated and well managed IT and inform commercial enterprises both large and small. This platform will enable new levels of innovation as businesses compete for market efficiency and creative solutions.

Accelerate Advisory Services can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers? Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”

Bill Kirwin is an analytics consultant for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.

 

 

VMworld Barcelona: CIO musings with Carl Eschenbach and Rob Jenkins

Carl Eschenbach, VMware COO, and Rob Jenkins, EMEA Executive of Accelerate Services, discuss CIO’s main barrier to cloud. HINT: it’s not the technology.

Aligning our Cloud Vision to Customer Strategies

by: Reid Engstrom

In our experience, enterprise customers the VMware Accelerate team works with are looking to a number of specific cloud-related initiatives to address these business and IT objectives and strategies, including how to:

  • Drive to a more virtualized data center infrastructure
  • Start a private cloud
  • Address the increasing number of new client devices within the stakeholder community
  • Determine how to develop applications using a more modern, cloud and mobility capable approach

Gartner recently reported the top three business and IT strategies for 2012:

Top three business strategies in 2012:

  •  Increase business growth
  •  Attract and retain new customers
  •  Reduce enterprise costs

Top three IT strategies in 2012:

  •  Deliver business solutions
  •  Reduce the cost of IT
  •  Develop or manage a flexible infrastructure

When we first talk to customers, we find they tend to focus their interest in terms of these initiatives and projects, but they do not necessarily refer to the business benefits and value as a result of a successful implementation.

By not probing for the business and strategy drivers for these cloud initiatives, as a CIO, you failure to understand the linkage that may put your project/proposal in jeopardy.  Senior management has many project requests in their queue, and the ones that usually rise to the top are the ones with clear alignment to moving the key business strategies and value dials.  This is good value-selling practice that can be used to get buy-in to your overall IT initiatives from your peers as well as the board of directors.

VMware’s Accelerate Advisory Services consultants have delivered business cases and implementation roadmaps to address the key cloud initiatives enterprise customers are undertaking across many industries.  And, we have developed standard and modular statements of work that align to these unique projects and reflect the type of deliverables that customers have found very beneficial in supporting their strategies and initiatives.

Accelerate has also developed strategy blueprints that illustrate the component execution roadmaps and architecture necessary to make effective progress within these key cloud initiatives our customers are undertaking.  The blueprints are based on our experience over a wide range of customer situations across multiple industries and are typically combined based on the customer’s scope. .

These strategy blueprints include how to:

  1.  Evolve to an optimized virtual data center
  2.  Leverage the cloud to deliver Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  3.  Drive to an end-user centric computing model
  4.  Develop on an optimized cloud application platform
  5.  Drive virtualization infrastructure management maturity
  6.  Design a comprehensive cloud security model
  7. Virtualize business critical applications

We expect to see more and are starting to get several requests for future-looking customer initiatives that include: Leveraging the public cloud where it makes sense, extending virtualization across the data center with the software defined data center (SDDC), and developing IT capabilities that run as a service provider or broker to enterprise stakeholder and subsidiary organizations.

VMware will continue to develop and extend the component strategy blueprints to address these new requests and cover other common customer initiatives as required.

As CIO, when you begin looking at your virtualization cloud strategy or the need for an implementation roadmap to address one of the key initiatives listed above, look to the VMware Accelerate team for a proven and collaborative engagement process that can help you realize the benefit of aligning your staff and stakeholders to a target state built on current market perspective, and, a roadmap that leverages the VMware vision

Accelerate can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information

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IaaS, then PaaS, then SaaS, then… We’ll See

AUTHOR: Enrico Boverino

It‘s been a few years now since companies started to implement and use cloud computing. It’s been an interesting journey so far that is probably only at the beginning of what cloud computing can really mean to our lives, to the way we interact with each other, to the technology that will enable the creation and diffusion of applications and services.

And in this journey, we went through some usual stages of Darwinian IT evolution. We all remember the time when the main messages were around the definition of cloud, and what the IT industry could agree with. Deployment models, delivery models, management capabilities and above all, strong voices that explained how cloud was not only technology, but that it represented new economic models that companies could use to provision IT compute and services. Despite a few differences, the industry came to an agreement on private, public and hybrid as well as on IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and “every letter you can think of” as a service.

Now most organizations have started at least one cloud project, with the promise of costs savings and faster time to revenue tangible, but the attention shifted from “WHAT cloud is” to “HOW can we do it?”:

  • How can we implement a private cloud?
  • How can we exploit hybrid cloud resources?
  • How can we reshape our application portfolio with new cloud-ready apps?
  • How can we enable our users’ mobility?

Now that the attention is on implementing cloud projects and the resulting measurable benefits, it’s probably worth considering how most of the companies approached and began to transform IT.

Results from CIO Customer Solutions Group’s  2011 Global Cloud Computing Adoption Survey showed that the majority of IT organizations started a cloud project from islands within their organization, labs for test and development purposes, or from non-critical applications like email, CRM and help desks. Some put the attention on re-architecting the infrastructure to standardize the compute power and reduce operating costs. Very few, below 10 percent of those interviewed, defined an IT strategy and a phased roadmap to transform IT in a cost-efficient and flexible engine able to deliver what the business requires to grow or to produce services that can improve revenue streams and customer satisfaction.

Further, findings showed that moving forward on cloud projects without a phased roadmap, justified in many cases due to shortage of resources, existing contracts, risk-adverse organizations, and security threats-frequently resulted with implementations of siloed services likely to deliver only partially their real value.

It’s very common today for those of us on the VMware Accelerate team to see many IT organizations with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) implemented, some in a very mature state with end-to-end provisioning time in the order of hours, and close to 100 percent virtualization. Admittedly fewer organizations have chargeback and capacity under control, but still very advanced.

However, surprisingly these same organizations are then working on platform as a service (PaaS), and  they are often still in the “what is it” stage as a totally new and distinct initiative. Similarly after PaaS, these organizations will be focusing of SaaS and then ?aaS, when the initial letter of the acronym will be coined by someone. In most situations there are already SaaS applications in use, with the least-effective examples started by the lines of business that have bypassed IT, especially when we look into sales and marketing applications.

All this could generate duplication of efforts, redundancy of technology, new large lines of budget and likely longer projects to have it up and running. Maybe it’s been the quest to define the cloud and categorize delivery models and services that led to this, maybe because of recent economic conditions that IT had to concentrate on innovating IT in order for IT to reduce costs first. The challenge of demonstrating tangible value of IT to the business and customers, of innovate the business through IT in a consistent and enduring way still remains.

The definition of a cloud strategy to lead IT transformation can be the right approach to capture the company direction and create an IT function as broker of IT services over time. Through the use of internal and external resources, this service broker function will be able to have the agility to fully generate business value while controlling operating costs.

A cloud strategy should describe where IT organizations will need to grow, how to mitigate risks from business changes, how IT investments can be efficient and predictable. The result will likely be that IaaS, PaaS and SaaS will not be separate initiatives with redundant resources but guided by an overall IT Transformation plan that can be defined in five key areas:

  • On-demand services: Service portfolio and catalog with standardized offerings and tiered SLAs, actively managed and governed throughout its lifecycle, and with end-user access via a self-service portal
  • Automated provisioning and deployment: Automated provisioning, release, and deployment of infrastructure, platform, and end-user compute services
  • Proactive incident and problem management: Monitoring and filtering of events, automatic incident resolution, and problem diagnosis
  • Cloud security, compliance, and risk management: Security, compliance, and risk management policies embedded into standard configurations enabling policy-aware applications and automation of security, audit, and risk management processes
  • IT financial management for cloud: IT cost transparency and service-level usage-based ‘showbacks’ or ‘chargebacks’ using automated metering and billing tools

VMware is introducing, in collaboration with many partners in the Cloud Ops Forum, Cloud Operations Services to frame these five areas as critical management capabilities to unlock the full value of cloud computing for efficiency, agility and reliability benefits and transfer knowledge to the end-customer community.

VMware Accelerate Advisory Services can help address the challenges of moving strategically to the cloud by predicting and defining the many impacts to your organization, as well as providing architectural knowledge and operational strategies. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information

Enrico Boverino is Business Solution Strategist for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services based in Italy. You can follow him on Twitter @eboverino.

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Eight Simple Rules for Protecting My Corporate Data Assets

AUTHOR: Blair Hicks

When my daughter was eight, she promised that she wouldn’t date boys until she was 30.  Now my daughter is 15, and it turns out that I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped.  If you are a parent, you can probably appreciate how I feel.  We all want our children to be safe and there is no safer place for them to be than at home.  But the reality is that our children have to venture out into the real world if they are to ever grow into productive members of society.

By the same token, I agree that there is no safer place for my company’s information assets than in a Tier 4 secure data center with complete air gap isolation.  However, the reality is that my data has to be accessible in order for my business to operate.  If your job is to secure my data assets, you may have thought you had 15 more years before you had to worry about securing that data in a virtualized data center—I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

I have defined “Eight Simple Rules for Protecting My Corporate Data Assets,” which I’d like to share with you.  Follow these, and we might just get through the next few years:

1.       Firewall rule changes should not delay my time to market.

  • I appreciate that my expanding business is introducing all sorts of complexity into the security environment. That expanding business is also how I can pay for all those firewalls.  Bottom line—when my team requests a new service, that service should be delivered rapidly and fully operational—inclusive of any firewall rule changes needed to support the requested service.

2.       Changes to another department’s or another tenant’s firewall rules should not impact my business.

  • If your firewall strategy relies on periodic maintenance windows to implement changes, then there are two major problems.  First, business opportunities don’t wait for maintenance windows.  Second, establishing a maintenance window presumes that the change poses a risk to existing services.  The business demands driving the adoption of cloud technology necessitate dynamic changes that can be performed without disruption of existing services in a global 24×7 environment.

3.       Make sure my information is secure following infrastructure changes.

  • Infrastructure components are leveraged to meet dynamically changing application requirements. Information security policies cannot be contingent on specific infrastructure components.  Subsequently, infrastructure changes such as migration to a different server, data store, or even datacenter must not expose the application to additional risk.  Requisite protections must remain in place.

4.       Make sure my information is available following infrastructure changes.

  • In addition to continuing to protect the information following an infrastructure change, the security policy must also permit authorized access to the application immediately after a server or datacenter change.  As the infrastructure components can change dynamically, security appliances should be intelligent enough to align to the new structure dynamically as well.  Balancing availability and security in the face of changing infrastructure is a challenge, but necessary in the modern business environment.

5.       Don’t tell me that the safety of the business data depends on your employees.

  • You know the certain type of employee – he likes to purchase his consumer electronics in the mall, he is occasionally forgetful as he passes through airport security, and he’s clicked on a few links in unsolicited email messages.  However, this employee generates a great deal of revenue for my business – I need he/she to continue to focus on growing my business and serving my clients.  You need to make sure that your data protection standards cannot be thwarted by their actions – or by the actions of an employee whose motivation may be less honorable.

6.       When a breach does occur, provide me with the forensic data I need to fully assess the problem.

  • Securely Hardened Information Transgression happens – that is to say that breaches happen, no matter how many preventative measures are put in place.  When it does, the viability of my business depends on being able to immediately assess the nature of the breach, identify the causes, and initiate steps to remediate the damage.  A complete audit trail of all actions must be maintained along with the ability to deliver verified reports for management, clients, and law enforcement.

7.       Make it simple for my employees to be productive wherever they work.

  • My business operates in a global 24×7 environment  – I want to leverage the best talent and most productive work effort whenever and wherever it occurs.  Security policies should enable employees to access my corporate data assets from a range of location and devices.  Unless a negotiated security policy prohibits access to data outside an accredited facility, construct tools that permit authenticated access from a diverse range of locations and devices.

8.       If leveraging cloud infrastructure is going to open up new business opportunities and help my bottom line, then I am going to leverage it.

  • Regardless of whether your title is an information security officer or security engineer, if you work for me, your job is to grow my business.  I depend on my security experts to chart a safe course, but our destination is fixed.  If security restrictions are too cumbersome, motivated and well-meaning employees will find a way to circumvent them.  Listen to what my developers, DBAs, and systems engineers are requesting and find a way to accommodate them.  Decisions regarding my company’s data assets are business decisions – those decisions must be made with regard to my company’s mission, reputation, and bottom line.

If you are a managing a business, then you can appreciate the challenge of keeping your data secure while at the same time leveraging that data to drive your business.   Your data has to be protected – that requirement never changed.  The challenge is in protecting your data in today’s environment.  At VMware, we understand that challenge – and that it’s not about trading accessibility for security.  It’s about improving both security and accessibility in ways never before possible.  VMware’s Accelerate Advisory Services can help clarify the business opportunities associated with a virtualized data center environment, and we can work with your security teams to extend their ability to protect your data.  Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

As for help with boys dating your daughter, like all parents, you’re going to have to work that out on your own…

Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers?  Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”

 

 

Infrastructure Independence – The Power of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC)

AUTHOR: W. Eric Ledyard

Modern CIOs are looking to transform the way they provide IT services to their companies. The expectation is to provide elastic services to the business without sacrificing security and reliability; all while maximizing the use of internal assets and leveraging external providers as it makes sense to do so. At the same time, company executives are starting to compare their IT department’s services to those that are available from cloud providers and are questioning why their internal systems are not providing similar types of services.

The complication that CIOs face is that they have legacy systems that do not provide the elasticity and scalability required to compete with services providers in the industry. Trying to adopt cloud policies and procedures alone is not enough because ultimately CIOs will find themselves hitting limitations of the physical infrastructure’s inability to keep up with the demands that are placed on them. Physical infrastructure is extremely limited in agility because of the efforts required to make any changes to the environment. Traditionally, CIOs would attempt to improve these areas utilizing virtualization at the compute layer of the architecture. However, even in a highly-virtualized compute environment, the ability to ensure configuration and security management while trying to scale and maximize agility becomes a daunting task and exposes the CIO to undue risk.

To build a highly-scalable IT service organization without first implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) solution implies that CIOs will be constrained at the physical layers of networking, storage, and security as well as management tools and processes. While the compute side of the architecture is able to rapidly grow and scale, the storage, networking, and security services that need to support that environment will not be able to keep up in their traditional physical implementations. I am not going to go into deep detail about everything that encompasses a SDDC infrastructure, others at VMware have already done that (learn more). What I wanted to provide was the business value that a SDDC brings to CIOs, and, give them true independence to build whatever services they need to support the business.

Walking back through the history of virtualization and abstraction, a pattern emerges—and at each intersection,  the benefits that each transition provided the IT industry are apparent. First, physical resources were virtualized inside a system to the OS, allowing better utilization of the assets within the systems. Next, the OS was virtualized into a virtual machine and ran multiple virtual machines on a single physical host. This enabled higher density and the ability to rapidly deploy new VMs as needed, thus lowering CapEx and OpEx costs. The next transition was to create virtual apps, which was a collection of virtual machines that were required to host a single application instance. This puts each application and all of the VMs associated with that application into a single container, with the ability to capture and provision an entire application environment rapidly and ensure configuration consistency. This also introduced portability into applications by abstracting the entire application environment into a single container that could be “picked up” and transported to another virtual infrastructure.

The next evolution in infrastructure architecture is to define an entire virtual datacenter in software. This is the core of the SDDC message: To create a single container that captures the entire infrastructure environment into a software-defined object that removes dependency on any single physical infrastructure piece beneath it. This allows for seamless portability of the entire group of datacenter services from one physical infrastructure to another. While the end-state vision of this evolution is to be able to move entire datacenter services from one location to another or burst those services seamlessly to third-party vendors, the simplest implementation of this concept could be used to increase agility and flexibility of the internal physical environment. Stated simply, the agility and flexibility to freely make changes to physical infrastructure without affecting the definition of the datacenter services themselves. The graphic below depicts the major shifts in infrastructure “containerization” I’m describing:

The Evolution of Containers

As you can see in the image above, the industry has evolved from abstracting the physical components of a single host to wrapping a container around all the VMs in an environment that comprises a given application environment to defining an entire datacenter entity in software. What started as simply leveraging the capacity of existing servers moved into providing fully functional business solutions, now poised to encompass all aspects of the datacenter.

The call to action for CIOs today is to start looking at your environment and exploring the implications of implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter architecture into datacenter services you implement going forward. VMware has the ability to help you assess your environment and create an actionable plan for transforming your existing infrastructure. And, you can expect to reap the following key benefits for your IT organization:

  • Free your environment from physical bonds in the areas of networking, storage, and security
  • Exploit captured system assets within your environment to reduce costs (such as server-based flash, local disks)
  • Increase agility and time to market for provisioning IT services while maintaining security and availability
  • Leverage external providers to provide IT services by making your datacenter services portable and burstable, leveraging third-party provider infrastructure rather than having to build internally.

As the technology enablers become reality, the modern CIO has the ability to abstract entire datacenter services into software-defined containers, freeing them from the bonds of physical infrastructure limitations to create an environment that is agile, scalable, elastic, and efficient.

Accelerate can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers?  Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”

Is Security Your Roadblock to Agility?

AUTHOR: Craig Stanley

Most IT organizations would agree that cloud computing as a concept and as an enterprise game changer, is a great idea.  There’s almost no opposition to virtualizing test and development environments, since the applications are usually non-mission critical.  But to create a true cloud environment, you need to virtualize all that can be effectively virtualized including the mission critical — tier 1 applications.

However, moving virtualization into the production environment increases the complexities of maintaining security, compliance, and enhancing risk mitigation.  With higher risk comes the need to fully understand and address cloud functionality issues that extend beyond simple virtualization.

Here are some of the challenges:

  • How do you manage a more complex cloud security structure built on a virtualized server platform?
  • How do you monitor and control change while relaxing  your security policies without sacrificing compliance and introducing unacceptable risk into the environment?
  • How can you create a more agile enterprise when governance, risk and compliance constraints are holding you back?

VMware believes the current key strategic objectives of IT are to become more efficient, agile and reliable.  Infrastructure virtualization yields significant benefits in efficiency and making IT more cost-effective, but there’s a lot more to creating a benefit-realized cloud than simply virtualizing servers.  While infrastructure virtualization is the first step of the journey, agility and reliability require automated management processes and the implementation of a development fabric to leverage smart apps and big data.  Furthermore, reliability and elasticity require additional layers of self-aware and self-healing functionality to address governance, risk and compliance in addition to the tradition measures of availability, uptime, and so forth.

To this end, VMware provides an integrated and robust set of solutions that enable IT to reduce infrastructure complexity through automation, create workload-based security profiles that move with the virtualized workload, and deliver cloud-era compliant architectures.  IT transformation is the direct result of increasing cloud maturity and competence.  And as IT transforms from reactive to proactive to innovative, the business is also transformed in ways that enable it to:

  • Grow while maintaining operational efficiency
  • Attract and retain customers
  • And reduce unit costs of technology based sales and services.

Accelerate Advisory Services help address the challenges of moving to the cloud by predicting and defining the many impacts to your organization,  as well as providing architectural knowledge and operational strategies.  We have worked with many customers to understand their business dynamics and craft pragmatic roadmaps and actionable steps to achieve a secure, manageable and compliant cloud environment.

Every enterprise is striving to become more agile, but agility requires IT leadership to let go of its traditional role as the controller of all things technical.  However, you are still expected to own the risk and compliance exposure.  Leveraging VMware’s deep understanding of virtual datacenters and cloud operations maturity will enable you to become a more informed and secure IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) provider .

Craig Stanley is the Benchmarking Practice Lead for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services. You can follow him on Twitter @benchmarkguru.

Accelerate can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers?  Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”

 

VMworld 2012 – It’s amazing!

AUTHOR: Eric Ledyard

Someday, I will reminisce about a few major mile markers I was a part of during my IT career. I remember VMware announcing its 4.0 products and releasing ground-breaking technologies like VMware Fault Tolerance—demonstrating concepts that were years ahead of anything anyone else was working on. As CTO for a VMware reseller, at the time I thought the innovation was incredible. Now, as a VMware employee attending VMworld 2012, I am absolutely blown away at what we’ve announced this year.

Yesterday, Pat Gelsinger and Steve Herrod presented so many incredible technologies we’re releasing – all of which I could completely geek out about. This morning, we continued to see more incredible innovation announcements for products that manage the diverse world of multi-device end user communities, which all companies are now challenged with. In this post, I want to capture my thoughts, from the VMware Accelerate perspective, on how VMware’s announcements made over the past two days will revolutionize the capabilities of modern CIOs, enabling them to truly evolve the way they operate IT going forward. Rather than go into deep technical detail, I’m capturing the business impact these product and services announcements will have on the industry in the next few years. If you are looking for detailed technical analysis, I urge you to check out many of the other blogs in the VMware community.

First, I would like to talk about announcements Pat and Steve discussed on day one. To summarize all the technologies down to the core of the message, the first announcement focused on an end-to-end suite of technologies that enable you to build a Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC). Steve captured his presentation in his blog. So, what does this mean to the CIO? It means a few things that I’ll try to capture here:

  • The last physical barriers in the datacenter are being torn down.
    • This allows CIOs to look at every application in their datacenter and analyze their IT supply chain to determine which services should be hosted internally and which are prime candidates for leveraging vendor services outside the datacenter. Accelerate Advisory Services Americas executive Michael Hubbard recently blogged about the changing role of the CIO, and yesterday’s VMworld session presentations filled in the gaps for explaining the technology enablers that will help free up the limitations that were previously limiting IT agility.
  • There is no reason not to virtualize tier 1 business critical applications.
    • At the heart of the platform, I believe the technology capabilities of the hypervisor have completely eliminated any and all discussions of not being able to run business critical applications in a virtualized world.
    • In fact, Steve announced that EPIC recently stated it will finally support its software running in a x86 environment, but only if it’s running on VMware’s hypervisor. This statement really reinforces the message that if you want to provide x86 environments with the levels of performance and reliability that previously only UNIX environments were known for, you must run these x86 workloads in a completely virtualized environment.
  • The future is a brokered multi-cloud environment.
    • Many of the announcements yesterday were focused on demonstrating what life looks like in a multi-cloud environment. These technology enablers are at the core of what allows modern CIOs to truly transform their IT services and bring vendor cloud partners into their IT supply chain seamlessly.
    • Steve’s keynote also featured a demonstration of an environment in which an entire virtual datacenter entity was deployed, applications were deployed in that environment, and the environment was managed from a single plane of glass. The environment then burst into an external cloud environment, and the software defined network “magically” expanded across both datacenters, allowing for seamless elasticity of the environment. Such capabilities will help the modern CIO answer the previous challenges of: “How would I possibly move workloads from my datacenter to another datacenter seamlessly? How do I ensure network security and services across both sites? How do I manage an environment that is not a single, internal entity in my own datacenter? How do I leverage a highly elastic infrastructure without having to build it myself?”
  • Platform is only valuable if you can abstract value out of it.
    • In the new architectural design, the single most important challenge is how to manage a heterogeneous cloud environment and get accurate consumption data on utilization. Steve’s most revealing comment yesterday was that managing a heterogeneous cloud environment becomes a big data problem. This is really a key shift in IT management. In the past, most of us were very caught up in traditional change management efforts. In a completely dynamic, elastic, multi-cloud environment, it would be impossible to try to implement any type of traditional change management-based suite to handle operations.
    • The future will be to abstract real-time value from your cloud operations systems on your multi-cloud environment and be able to make informed analytics-based decisions on your ever-changing environment. This allows you to fully realize your position as a broker of IT services and gives you the flexibility to fully leverage external cloud vendors in your IT supply chain.

Day two, the discussion shifted to how we are helping address how services are consumed by the end user community. More specifically, how do you transform your legacy desktop environment into end user services, and how do you do this while supporting the new multi-device end user profiles that you are challenged with today? In the last couple of years, technology enablers were still developed to address many of the technology challenges that existed, which ranged from performance capabilities, to deployment challenges, to access and security challenges, and finally to support any device anywhere.

Steve announced the first unified suite to address those challenges—a tremendous step forward for the industry. The key takeaways I found compelling were:

  • Transform, broker, and deliver
    • This is the path we have defined to transform legacy environments into services, broker access and control security, then deliver services to a multi-device user community.
  • Helping abstract the OS image from the service delivery.
    • VMware’s Wanova acquisition will help us assist companies with completing their Windows 7 migrations by providing in-place upgrades and migrations.
    • The Wanova software then abstracts OS images from devices and manage images at a much more granular level.
  • Data services will now be integrated into the service broker.
    • The announcement of Horizon Files will help the modern CIO capture the capabilities and functionality of services like Box.net and others while maintaining much higher levels of security and control over sensitive company data and IP.
  • The virtualized end user experience is now indistinguishable from the physical experience.
    • From a raw performance perspective, the end user suite has made tremendous breakthroughs in increasing the performance of the end user experience. One of the most amazing reflections of this is 3D gaming on a virtualized desktop—there are business applications, but nothing is as demanding as 3D gaming for testing a virtualized protocol. What does this mean to the modern CIO? It means that past arguments that you can’t provide an end user experience similar to what your users have had in the past are no longer valid.

Overall, this has been an incredible VMworld 2012 so far. My discussions with customers have been focused on how VMware’s announcements this week will really define the future of datacenters and the IT industry as a whole. Leaders who are genuinely excited to see the pieces of the multi-cloud and end user environments puzzles come together cohesively through a suite of products defined specifically to accelerate your IT transformation. Read more here VMworld 2012 Experience Now

Accelerate can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers?  Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”