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IT: From CYA to ASAN

TonyScott-cropBy Tony Scott, CIO, VMware

Almost every CIO I speak with talks about the increasing pace of business change and the need for IT to either help drive the change, or, at a minimum, be a key ingredient of the desired business model. As IT leaders, we feel the pressure to change rapidly, to be flexible and nimble, and to proactively meet the needs of the entire organization. With new technology and the new focus on IT as a critical business partner, we can do all of that – as long as we change the way we operate.

In the not too distant past (and for some it is still the reality today), IT organizations would over-provision hardware, memory, storage, software, and network bandwidth in anticipation of growth and to provide cushion in the event of unplanned peaks – the classic “CYA” approach. Even with the best planning and capacity management, the inevitable scenario often takes place where business demands result in a change in course or a need for significantly more (or less) compute and infrastructure resources than was anticipated. Inevitably, this kicks off the “Out of cycle IT fire drill” (OOCITFD) that results in IT requesting additional funding, hurried procurement and approval processes, and finally, the install, set-up, and configuration of the required extra capacity. Worse, the entire process of executing on an OOCITFD project can take months to complete. Let’s just call this “Slow IT.”

Today, we have the opportunity to escape that old paradigm. The age of the cloud allows us to provision at a reasonable level, then burst, expand, or flex when necessary. We’ve gone from a “Slow IT,” hard-to-change environment, to a fluid, flexible way of doing business to ensure our businesses can innovate, compete, and thrive. Instead of CYA, we can complete projects as soon as needed (ASAN).

It shouldn’t surprise you that the ongoing flexibility, efficiency, and speed that many of you (our customers) receive from using VMware technology and services has revolutionized how we do IT inside the company as well. Our internal “dogfooding” efforts have led us to many transformation “moments” as well as longer transformation “journeys” as we capitalize on the exciting developments that our R&D teams bring to us. Right now, these are:

  • Our software-defined data center architecture that delivers the right applications, at the right price, flexibly, safely, securely and enabling our customers to satisfy their business compliance requirements.
  • VMware vCloud Air hybrid cloud service runs the services in the right place – wherever you choose.
  • Our portfolio of mobile management and desktop solutions, including AirWatch that enables users to consume the services and data they need – any time, any place, on any device – safely, securely and with compliance.

When I think back to why I came to VMware a year ago, the number one reason was because VMware is strongly positioned to drive innovation and transformation across our industry. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be.

– Tony

5 thoughts on “IT: From CYA to ASAN

  1. Sam Holcman


    Like the ASAN phrase! It is the true “agile” approach an enterprise needs!


    Sam Holcman

  2. Sam Holcman

    “I would like to add that VMware is a key component to the movement we are seeing as enterprises require more agility. We just do not believe that “handcrafting” small programs faster and faster is the answer. Enterprises are moving through the three “classic” phases of maturity. The first is “make to order” – everything custom and begun from scratch. The second is “provide from stock” (COTS – commercial off the shelf packages – speed to delivery but limited flexibility), to the now required “Assemble to Order” – which is the true flexible/agile enterprise architected environment enabled by ASAN (thank you Tony!) hardware!!” Just think of a salad bar – from a limited number of ingredients, the incredible number of end products – salads you can assemble! With an As Soon As Necessary Hardware/Software backbone – we are there!


  3. allan trambouze

    we have now an industrialized IT, and i m really confident about future vmware solutions to bring IT a step further

  4. Ricardo Sueiras

    I would also like to add to this discussion, that business also desire to avoid CVL (Cloud Vendor Lock-In) whilst looking to obtain the benefits of ASAN. This is where I see the recent (VMWorld 2014) announcements of direct support of both OpenStack and Docker being an important step which I will hope VMware will continue to further expand and support.

  5. Reginald Johnson

    New to the VMware CIO Exchange. Reviewing this blog has provided great insight into the upcoming developments that I believe will completely change the way our team does business. With software-defined data center architecture, VMware vCloud Air hybrid cloud service, and mobile management and desktop solutions via AirWatch, I am sure that all of the verticals we serve will see an immediate ROI on these offerings from VMware. I am looking forward to improving our customers bottom line with these tools and services.


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