Tag Archives: SDDC

Exclusive Report: CIOs on Innovation and the Software Defined Enterprise

By Laurent Finck, VMware Advisory Services Lead, South EMEA

Laurent FinckAs the software defined enterprise becomes an inevitability, rather than a possibility, how can CIOs move their departments from the Industrial Age of IT to the Digital Age of IT?

Report

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In preparation for the upcoming VMware EMEA CIO Summit in October 2014, we spoke to eight CIOs about their top priorities in managing the changing expectations for their role in light of business digitalization. Business digitalization is both an opportunity and a risk for companies – successful digitalization could increase revenue, while failed digitalization could mean a loss of momentum and market share. As a result, CEOs are turning their attention toward IT departments, and the work of the CIO.

Given this increased level of exposure, we asked these CIOs for their perspectives on the highest priority changes that need to occur within IT departments to keep up with the delivery and operational changes required to support business digitalization. They offered their insights on the importance of data management, refreshing IT governance, and adjusting their strategy to pivot toward service brokerage.

The future of IT requires more agility, scalability and service quality. To meet these demands, the CIOs delved into how the software defined enterprise frees up internal resources that once supported infrastructure to refocus on cloud, application and enterprise architecture. Shifts in culture and operations will be required to stay aligned with the needs of the business and the priorities of other departments that will require a high level of responsiveness and flexibility.

Download the full report for more CIO insights into the changing state of IT and the challenges and opportunities ahead.


Laurent Finck leads the VMware Advisory Services team in Southern Europe, a team of strategy consultants who help CIOs and IT organizations understand how VMware solutions can help them better serve their business needs. Prior to VMware, Laurent has been an IT strategy consultant at Accenture and Gartner, where he focused on IT organizations and IT transformation efforts, and then leveraged this experience to design and deploy go-to-market strategies for large IT vendors, on an international basis.

Navigating Your Approach to an SDDC

By Enrico Boverino

In my last post, I introduced a banking scenario where my customer was focusing far too much on running at status quo and not enough on evolving the business – and by extension, IT — for continued success. Read on for two software-defined data center (SDDC) approaches that will help the CIO and IT set sail toward supporting innovation and meeting business goals.    

Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” This quote doesn’t just apply to sailors. It extends to IT organizations and data center strategies as well and underscores just how important it is to set the destination, navigate there, adapt to changing conditions, mitigate risks, and continuously measure improvements to recalculate the ideal route.

Let the software-defined data center (SDDC) be your favorable wind.

 

A typical software-defined data center (SDDC) architecture

A typical software-defined data center (SDDC) architecture

When identifying which SDDC approach should fill your sails, different priorities require setting appropriate strategic approaches to meet the objectives. I usually facilitate the conversation with questions like:

  • Is your priority as IT to RUN the bank and above all cut costs?
  • Is there a strong demand for innovation that can no longer be ignored?
  • Do you require a sign of discontinuity to accelerate collaboration of people and consolidation initiatives?
  • Is agility, now enabled also by new technologies and cloud services, your main priority to support the bank direction?

Two approaches commonly identified by the outcomes of these questions are:

1. SDDC New Platform (Greenfield)

Create a brand new SDDC platform for new and existing services, built on x86 infrastructure. This means implementing a converged virtualized architecture, which includes compute, network, and storage, and automated through predefined policies, operated proactively with analytics to meet SLAs and managed with granular cost allocation by usage to support budget and investment processes.

Applications can be decoupled from the underlying infrastDownload white paper for more information on optimizing the IT operations organization for cloudructure and deployed with greater flexibility by using hybrid cloud resources.

This approach also requires the definition and adoption of new processes that go beyond established best practices, which may not be sufficient to operate a completely new environment. Therefore, an optimized organization[1] will be shaped with fewer dedicated silos and more service-oriented tenants that can support business demands at new speeds and generate differentiation in the services delivered. Implementing cloud infrastructure operations centers of excellence and cloud tenant operations is both a transformative and disruptive process. However, there are a few key factors that can help a company achieve a successful outcome and avoid pitfalls. (Download white paper for more information on optimizing the IT operations organization for cloud.)

Recommended steps for a Greenfield strategy:

  • Address business urgency with pre-integrated frameworks and simplified business models.
  • Introduce innovative technologies that mitigate the risks of pioneering new delivery models.
  • Manage changes that the new platform creates on existing processes and organization.
  • Establish cloud centers of excellence and tenant operations for convergence.
  • Partner with the lines of business (LOB) in co-funding initiatives as driven by business demand.

2. SDDC Build and Replace (Brownfield)

Define a multi-phased approach based on SDDC use cases and management planes (infrastructure, operations, automation, and financials) to develop an actionable roadmap. Within this option, you respect relevant current investments and leverage existing skills to clear current bottlenecks while introducing new SDDC structural elements and functions.

Operations processes will be updated gradually in relation to the SDDC structural elements introduced, which will also deliver efficiencies and quick wins to support the long-term roadmap and goals. Once these are in place, you will continuously improve to reach the complete SDDC model as well as the modernization of all management planes.

Recommended steps for a Brownfield strategy:

  • Address platforms and data complexity with a multi-phased value approach via SDDC use cases and management planes.
  • Build on top of current systems, mitigating the risks of data migration and decommissioning.
  • Establish cloud centers of excellence and tenant operations for convergence (as with Greenfield).
  • Gain LoB commitment by sharing transformation plan to pursue swap of current modules.

After clarifying both SDDC models, I work collaboratively with my customers to start to design an actionable roadmap and business justification to pursue one of the two options (or both at the same time). With a plan in place, this actionable roadmap can help you reach your desired destination and achieve results for both IT and the business.

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Enrico Boverino is a senior business solution strategist for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services based in Italy. You can follow him on Twitter @eboverino


[1] VMware white paper: “Organizing for the Cloud.” Kevin Lees, Principal Architect, August 2012.

Is the SDDC a Reality Today?

With all the talk about the software-defined data center (SDDC) being the future of IT, it’s no surprise that organizations are eager to know more about what it looks like today. In this recent video, Accelerate chief technologist Eric Ledyard explains the key business values for SDDC—agility, efficiency, and choice—and speaks to specific, real-world applications for the infrastructure of the future.

Eric Ledyard is chief technologist for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services. Follow him on Twitter @ericledyard

IT Is the New Black

Leading enterprises are tapping into IT to drive innovation, bring them closer to customers, and distance themselves from the competition. Michael Hubbard, VP Enterprise Services, VMware North America, recently shared his insight on IT’s reinvention as a business innovator with CIOs and senior executives at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando.

How can IT gain greater relevance, shift long-standing economic models, and focus on the investments and organizational changes that drive greater strategic impact and business results? Watch this video of his session to learn more—and you can also download Michael’s presentation here.

Connect with Michael Hubbard on LinkedIn.

Join this Live Hangout to Get a Glimpse of the Future of IT

( Access replay here )

Join VMware for a live Google Hangout on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. PST to talk about the future of IT with futurologist Paul Saffo, Mark Burgess of CFEngine, eWeek‘s Chris Priemesberger, VCDX Michael Webster, and VMware’s VP, Global Infrastructure & Cloud Operations, Paul Chapman. Details on how to participate available here.

 

An SDDC Helps IT and Marketing Meet in the Middle

AUTHOR: Enrico Boverino

Companies need to deploy a modern workplace and innovative infrastructure in order to digitize business processes, and that often calls for organizational and financial shifts in both the IT and marketing departments. Can a software-defined data center (SDDC)—which at first glance may appear to be purely a technology strategy—help CIOs and CMOs work together to deliver competitive business innovation while reducing budgets? I believe so.

A standard definition of digital services is difficult to nail down, but I found this one helpful: A digital service is one that has been entirely automated and which is controlled by the customer of the service. This describes a wide swath of new applications, personalized services, social interaction, and data analysis that might also include digital marketing initiatives. In this context, CIOs are now expected to show the business results of technology investments, and CMOs are also increasingly open to spending budgets outside traditional marketing in order to reach new users.

Different goals, complementary skills
In general, CMOs know about product placement, go to market, and new customer demands; they also have to protect the business from surprises like new competitors and disruptive business models. Increasingly, time is a precious commodity, as emphasis shifts to short product lifecycles to test new markets and services.

CIOs typically have a great understanding of corporate business processes, information security, and available resources. They are skilled at scouting new technology and solutions with a focus on expenditures and new areas of savings. It seems obvious that enabling greater coordination between these two worlds will lead to a more competitive, robust, and agile organization. But how?

It’s interesting to see how both goals and approaches of the two departments diverge in my engagements with customers— it tends to look like this:

Despite the best intentions to collaborate for mutual advantage and company-wide success, challenges quickly surface when we lay out each department’s specific objectives in an organizational matrix, especially when it comes to personal MBOs.

How can a software-defined data center help?

Having the ability to exploit a unified data center platform that provides new standards for automation, flexibility, and efficiency can bridge the different perspectives. In an SDDC, the compute, storage, networking, security, and availability services are pooled, aggregated, and delivered as intelligent, policy-driven software. Other key components include self-service, financial visibility, and policy-based provisioning for infrastructure and application. This provides business users with faster deployment and more reliable access to differentiating technology tools.

When CIO and CMO strategies are joined, it’s important to highlight the impacts an SDDC will have on efficiency (cost control), agility (revenue contribution), and reliability (quality of service and risk mitigation). The impacts of an SDDC adoption,  together the priorities associated with the opportunities CMOs and CIOs are striving to take advantage of, will help to define and exploit personalized roadmaps.

When we consider impacts on agility, an SDDC implementation has three capabilities that can facilitate conversation between the CMO and CIO:

  1. Abstraction of applications from the underlying infrastructure enables true self- and automated provisioning of services, overcoming manual steps and the wait time that exists when multiple siloed IT groups need to communicate.
  2. The policy-based automation of pre-configured applications can simplify the processes related to the rework, which are often required to change configurations, or distribution of systems geographically.
  3. Governance and brokerage of public cloud services from IaaS to SaaS, which can also provide agility-related benefits such as lower costs and time to market, but must be evaluated and in many cases integrated within existing processes.

Over the past two years, I have helped many customers gain visibility and insights into their current level of maturity using a software-defined reference framework. Capturing meaningful KPIs helps to build an executable roadmap that aligns with user demand and provides the ability to measure improvement over time.

For example, the impact on agility described earlier can be measured through metrics that include:

  • Revenue generated by new services
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Percent of workload offloaded to hybrid clouds
  • Percent of requests fulfilled via self-service and standard catalog
  • Time to provision additional capacity

Using their results to determine action plans needed to improve these metrics, CMOs and CIOs can decide which capability to address first and which marketing/IT joint investments will lead to the most beneficial business outcomes within the shortest amount of time.

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Enrico Boverino is senior business solution strategist for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services based in Italy. You can follow him on Twitter at @eboverino.

Cloud, End-User Strategies Guard Against Data Breaches

Author: Alex Salicrup

The Fifth Estate hits theaters October 18, and with it a reminder of the corporate and government secrets exposed when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange obtained breached classified data and released it to the world.

Assange and WikiLeaks, as we know, gained access to classified documents through US Army Private Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst who was recently sentenced for espionage. In addition to this breach, there was Edward Snowden, the contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who outed the organization’s telecommunications monitoring programs.  — See related by Richard Rees on the VMware Consulting blog: The Snowden Leak: A Windfall for Hybrid Cloud?

In the 80s and 90s the spy scandals centered on individuals passing secrets to enemies of the state, like Aldrich Ames and Richard Hanssen, government employees who sold sensitive information to Russia for big bucks.

These days data breaches are more likely to be driven by a cause than cash. Widely described as hacktivism, breaches and malware attacks are made against corporations—not just governments—often by organizations that see themselves as the arbiters of online justice (like Anonymous). Two-thirds of all data breaches last year were made by installing malware on corporate systems. Almost all breaches were made from external sources.

Since its breach, the NSA, which already had plans to build a private cloud, has accelerated its implementation, largely because it sees automation as a key to eliminating the need for contractors like Snowden. In my experience, this is a good start, but only when it is followed by security policies focused on data classification rather than per application or system.

One of the advantages I see to software-defined networking is that it allows better visibility into where data, platforms, and infrastructure reside as part of the larger virtual infrastructure. The closer to a software-defined data center a corporation gets, the more control and visibility it has over its data security.

I was recently part of a deployment where the client designed innovative ways to classify and secure data, making it harder to breach, easier to monitor, and mostly automated. That’s a scalable solution that delivers enhanced security of precious data.

End-user computing (EUC) is another area where the right strategy needs to safeguard data accessible from devices that can potentially be accessed by someone besides the intended user. In my experience, if a company does not employ a comprehensive EUC solution, staff members will eventually bypass data security policies in order to have access data on their mobile devices.

Organizations will do well to start an internal assessment of how well-positioned they are to manage their data securely in the age of hactivism. Are there opportunities to enhance data security using virtual infrastructure and software-defined networking? Which is more cost effective and efficient? How much would a breach potentially cost? Is your organization capable of managing the infrastructure needed to support virtualization and EUC initiatives?

Let’s face it: No one expects to have their data breached. And yet, the majority of US corporations are victims to it every year. Why risk being one of them?

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Alex Salicrup is a business solutions architect for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.

 

IT as a Service: Virtualization Is Only Part of the Puzzle

During VMworld last month, VMware released insights from its 2013 Journey to IT as a Service Survey, based on feedback from more than 1,000 CIOs and other IT decision makers.

The findings illuminate a growing revolution in how IT organizations are managed and perceived. As outlined in the study, IT organizations are progressing through three stages of transformation:

  1. IT Productivity: Capital expenditure savings through consolidation
  2. Business Productivity: Operating expenditure savings through automated management
  3. IT as a Service (ITaaS): Agile, strategic IT organization providing innovative, business-focused service delivery

As Gene Likins, director of Accelerate Americas, points out in this video, expanded, sophisticated virtualization provides big business benefits, but it’s not the whole story. Successful ITaaS organizations also transform their processes and organizational structures to support IT’s new role as a service provider and innovation center.

Full Steam Ahead to IT as a Service – Are You on Board?

A recent VMware customer survey found that 74 percent of companies have surpassed the first stage of the three-stage journey to IT as a service. Those that have reached the final stage enjoy increased funding for innovation. This infographic reveals other key findings from the study.

IT, It’s Time to Change Your Relationship with Change

Author: Reid Engstrom

Many IT organizations are reluctant to drive virtualization to high levels in their compute environment, while casting a speculative eye toward the software-defined data center (SDDC), which expands virtualization to include networking, storage, and management platforms. This reticence is hardly surprising since these advances require changing the data center environment, and change has always introduced the possibility of a technical fault widespread enough to affect business operations.

Though IT continues to build stronger change management systems and to test environments to mitigate risk, the IT organization in general is still reluctant to consider major or rapid change.

That may have to change as cloud providers put increasing pressure on IT organizations. Whereas IT formerly had a monopoly on services for lines of business, they now have to compete with public cloud services, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), that include fast provisioning, known costs, and a higher level of end-user control.  Plus, these services are not controlled or limited by restrictive IT processes.

This competitive landscape is forcing IT to rethink its resistance to change. There is a growing sense of urgency for the IT organization to become more agile, more transparent on service costs, and more collaborative with business stakeholders.

The software-defined data center extends the virtualization concepts you know—abstraction, pooling, and automation—to all data center resources and services. In conjunction with a sophisticated virtualized and automated environment, the SDDC also provides usage cost transparency that will keep your IT organization well ahead of the third-party service providers nipping at its heels.

Watch this short video to learn more about the results that Columbia Sportswear IT has achieved with a VMware software-defined data center.

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Reid Engstrom is a VMware Accelerate Advisory Services strategist emeritus.

VMware AccelerateTM Advisory Services can help you and your key stakeholders understand the IT-as-a-Service value proposition—our consultants quantify the potential benefits, develop architectural designs, recommend organizational and process changes, create a migration plan and advise during implementation. 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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