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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Increasing the Adoption of vRealize Operations Across Your IT Organization

Alberto Martinez-cropBy Alberto Martinez

As I visit customers, I have heard similar feedback about vRealize Operations (vROPs): “It’s a great product but we are not getting the best out of it.” The unfortunate reality is that they are probably right! There is often a large gap between the wide range of possibilities and functionalities that vROPs can offer to the SDDC/Cloud environment and the real way in which it´s being consumed. This could be preventing your IT organization from getting the best from the product and impacting your investment.  For many companies that investment is not insignificant, as it includes licensing, professional and educational services, and dedicated resources to manage it.

The challenges are often related to more than just technology and require looking at the operational aspects of the solution such as your specific operating model / environment, how your IT organization is structured or what IT processes you have defined and are running.

Our proposed approach to maximize the vROps usage within your environment

A consistent methodology is crucial if you want to maximize your investments in vROPs, and this will include the identification of improvement areas (formulated into a set of actionable recommendations) and the subsequent implementation of them into your IT organization:

vRealize Operations

  1. Understand your specific environment through a set of discovery workshops with the key stakeholders focused on your IT strategy & organization, your existing roles & responsibilities and your defined processes related to performance and capacity.
  2. Produce an assessment report with the key findings & early state recommendations.
  3. Consolidate & transform the assessment report content into a comprehensive set of proposed recommendations and roadmap.
    • Present assessment findings & roadmap to the executive team as a sponsorship checkpoint. This will reinforce commitment and will identify key initiatives.
  4. Implementation of the agreed recommendations across your IT organization.
    • Measure and validate the success of the implemented recommendations focusing on the utilization of vROps and the stakeholder´s feedback!

Based on our experience delivering this methodology across many customers, we have been able to identify some key common considerations that will drive the success of this initiative:

  • Every customer environment is specific: We see different levels of maturity across processes, political issues across the teams, change readiness of the IT organization, teams in siloes with collaboration issues, etc. That´s why the initial phases of the approach are critical for the success: the better we understand you, the better we will articulate the improvement recommendations and engage with the required impacted people!
  • Sponsorship is crucial to promote the benefits and break the resistance to change across the IT organization. Motivate your IT organization using a top-down approach. Effective communication is the key to success.
  • Stakeholder identification and involvement during the early stages of the assessment is key to ensure involvement and commitment and capture their unique viewpoint. Miss a key stakeholder and you will miss a key input!
  • Leverage existing initiatives that are in place or planned to start in the organization that can have an impact on vROps (e.g. application monitoring, log management, cloud transformation). This will facilitate expanding the adoption of vROps by integrating smoothly into your ecosystem.

What typical areas do we focus on when identifying recommendations for our customers?

After reading about the methodology and key considerations some of you might be thinking that this is nothing really new.  You may wonder what concrete examples of operational recommendations we can offer to enhance the adoption of vROps.

It is important that you first understand the methodology and how we normally get to those recommendations. It is a journey in which we discover information about our customers while at the same time educating and inspiring them to do things differently. If we present the recommendations directly missing this critical inspirational element, it is less likely that the transformation will be absorbed, and more likely that the implementation will fail.

Having reviewed the methodology and the key considerations, a high-level example of operational areas that we normally focus on may include:

  • Expanding the information in vRealize Operations across other teams in the IT organization (e.g. Level 1 Operators, Level 2 Admins, Business teams, DevOps groups).
  • Defining workflows in VMware Orchestrator that automate the execution of repetitive tasks and / or the resolution of detected events in vRealize Operations.
  • Expanding vRealize Operations across your existing monitoring architecture.
  • Standardizing the reactive capacity process to support incoming project demand requests (e.g. capacity policy, capacity & scalability plan, What-If scenarios).
  • Defining a business right sizing capability to drive the proactive capacity management including resource reclamation (undersized VMs), VM recertification (idle or powered off VMs) and hot spot identification (oversized VMs).
  • Defining a governance model to support the IT Infrastructure Capacity and foster the collaboration across systems, storage and networks teams.
  • Identifying any specific recommendations across the SDDC/Cloud environment (e.g. upgrade paths, backup & recovery strategy, training needs).
  • Identifying other future initiatives that could be critical to the success of your SDDC/Cloud strategy (e.g. cost models and IT business management strategy, disaster recovery strategies).

Sometimes it is important to step back from the day-to-day activities, analyze your current environment (including both the good practices and the areas of development), and then think about different ways to bring value to your existing solutions. And this is exactly why VMware offers our Ops Transformation Performance & Capacity Management services – to help our customers to maximize their vRealize Operations investments by driving them towards different ways of doing things…because if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same results!

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Alberto Martinez is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation EMEA practice and is based in Spain.

Build Your Operations Transformation Agenda for VMworld Barcelona 2015

dc2105-150x150By: Andy Troup

For those of you fortunate enough to attend VMworld Barcelona from October 12 to October 15, here is the Operations Transformation breakout session agenda, to help you plan your schedule.

As a reminder, the track is focused on helping you understand how the VMware Software-Defined Data Center is redefining IT infrastructure, and how it enables IT organizations to combine technology and a new way of operating to become more service-oriented and focused on business value. This track offers unique opportunities to learn the latest best practices and key considerations from experienced VMware experts and practitioners transforming their IT infrastructures and operational processes.

In Barcelona, the Operations Transformation track is offering 3 different types of sessions. There are 7 breakout sessions and one Group Discussion session all of which last for an hour. In addition, and new for this year, there are also 2 Quick Talk sessions which last for 30 minutes and are available on Monday October 12.

Operations Transformation

VMworld 2015

VMworld 2015

The track as a whole is all about how to transform the way that you operate so that you can really start to get the benefits of your technology investment and become a service provider to your customers. There are a number of sessions that cover how transformation is achieved. This includes a session covering VMware’s own transformation and our “OneCloud” implementation. Some of VMware’s transformation specialists who have helped many customers undertake a transformation will also be providing you with details of best practices and pitfalls to watch out for. Check out the following sessions:

  • OPT4682-QT – A Roadmap for Transformation – Planning Your Future State and Ensuring Governance
  • OPT5361 – Best Practice Approaches to Transformation with the Software-Defined Data Center
  • OPT5814-QT – AGILE for Infrastructure: Utilizing Agile Methods to Drive Iterative Infrastructure Development and IT Service Delivery
  • OPT5972 – 80,000 VM’s and Growing! VMware’s Internal Cloud Journey Told by the People on the Frontline

vRealize Suite

The vRealize suite of products features in the OPT track this year, covering vRealize Automation, vRealize Buisness, vRealize Operations and vRealize CodeStream and how they have been instrumental in enabling operational transformation. How vRealize Business can be used to help you become service focused and really manage IT as a business will be covered as well as how to build effective cost models.

Other sessions will show how the implementation of vRealize Operations has enabled customers to undertake their transformation and manage the services that they are offering. How close integration between vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation has meant a clearer understanding of the service provision process and the operational benefits will be covered in another session.

Check out the following sessions:

  • OPT4680 – Advanced  Automated  Approvals Use Case—Using vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation to Seize Back the Approval Charter
  • OPT4992 – VMware vRealize Code Stream:  Is DevOps about Tools or Transformation?
  • OPT5029 – How to Use Service Definitions in VMware vRealize Business to Build Highly Effective, Service-Based Cost Models
  • OPT5075 – 6 Steps to Establish Your IT Business Management Office (ITBMO) with VMware vRealize Business

NSX

NSX is become front of mind for many people, and there is realization that this technology product is having a big impact on the way that IT groups operate. The OPT track is offering a session that will provide real world experiences of how this takes shape.

  • OPT4953 – Operationalizing VMware NSX:  Practical Strategies and Lessons from Real-World Implementations

SDDC

The impact that the implementation of the Software Defined Datacenter has on organizational structure is a common discussion point, and this year the OPT track offers a group discussion with leading organizational change specialists who have a vast amount of experience with many customers.

  • OPT4743-GD – Organizational Change Group Discussion

Use the Schedule Builder tool at vmworld.com to locate these sessions and schedule into your VMworld agenda. Hope to see you there.

 


Andy Troup is a Cloud Operations Architect with over 25 years of IT experience. He specializes in Cloud Operations and Technology Consulting Service Development. Andy is also a vCAP DCA and VCP. Andy possesses a proven background in design, deployment and management of enterprise IT projects. Previously, Andy co-delivered the world’s first and subsequent vCloud Operational Assessments (Colt Telecomm & Norwegian Government Agency) to enable the early adoption of VMware’s vCloud implementation.

 

Adopt Before You Adapt Your IT Processes

worthingtonp-cropBy John Worthington

Many people familiar with ITSM have heard the expression ‘adopt & adapt’ as a good practice, but it’s worth noting the order in which these words are placed. You must adopt before you can adapt. This leads to the question, when has a process been ‘adopted’?

Incomplete Process [i]

If a process doesn’t have a purpose, or if the process purpose is not understood by the organization, it is hard to consider it implemented. If a process is performed so inconsistently or irregularly over time or in different business units, that it does not systematically achieve its purpose, it has not been adopted.

At this level, more efforts are needed to adopt the process. This may require transitional change efforts that may include strategy, structures, and/or systems.

Performed Process

If the process achieves its purpose it’s normally considered ‘adopted’, even if the relative maturity is low. The organization understands the purpose of the process and there is evidence that the outcomes of the process are achieved, such as the production of a document, change of state or meeting a goal.

Reviewing the base practices associated with the process can help determine whether all the desired outcomes of the process are achieved, even if some specific outputs (i.e., work products) are not in evidence.

At this level of maturity, the process can be adapted and improved. This requires developmental change efforts; project plans that should communicate the changes and provide knowledge transfer to key stakeholders.

Why is this important?

When we are adapting multiple processes as part of an ITaaS or SDDC transformation, even a single incomplete process can significantly increase the scope of the effort. You cannot adapt what has not been adopted!

ITaaS Transformation and Established Processes

Incident Management is typically a process that has been adopted. For example, all these objectives[ii] may be met:

  • Process AdoptionEnsure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt response, analysis, documentation, ongoing management and reporting of incidents
  • Increase visibility and communication of incidents to business and IT support staff
  • Enhance business perception of IT through use of a professional approach in quickly resolving and communicating incidents when they occur
  • Align incident management activities and priorities with those of the business
  • Maintain user satisfaction with the quality of IT services

Even if the process documentation is not elaborate the process may be achieving its purpose and providing its expected outcomes. It’s not uncommon for organizations to have this process formally described, have trained practitioners, be well supported by tools and standardized across the organization. These would characterize this as Level 3 (Established) maturity.

In this case, vRealize Operations can integrate easily with the process (i.e., by automatically creating Incident records in the tool) as appropriate.

ITaaS Transformation and Incomplete Processes

In an ITaaS transformation, capacity management can be an example of an incomplete process. For example, the following objectives[iii] of capacity management may be difficult to achieve:

  • Produce and maintain an appropriate and up-to-date capacity plan, which reflects the current and future needs of the business
  • Ensure that service performance achievements meet all of their agreed targets by managing the performance and capacity of both services and resources
  • Assist with the diagnosis and resolution of performance and capacity related incidents and problems

If IT services are not well defined, if the problem management process is not established, or if the capacity management process is not well supported (by people and technology) then it is common that it would not meet Level 1 (Performed) requirements.

The use of vRealize Operations can address the technology process support requirements, but you will still need to define services to manage service performance and you will still need to establish problem management as a process in order to assist with capacity related problems. You may also need to establish roles associated with capacity and performance management that are not currently well defined in the organization.

[Note: it is not required that an ITIL-based process be in existence, but the process will still need to be considered performed (adopted) in order to adapt.]

Adopt or Adapt is not a matter of choice

You do not choose developmental, transitional or transformational change; you discover what change is required based on organizational demands[iv]. This is why assessment and discovery activities are so important. These activities make sure your implementation plans have the inputs needed to ensure a complete plan, and the appropriate developmental, transitional and/or transformational strategies.

In the examples provided, we can easily adapt the existing incident management process to ITaaS. However, there may be more work needed to establish capacity management and related processes. The level of effort needed to achieve this can vary significantly based on organizational requirements, objectives and your starting point.

Understanding this is key to establishing a transformation path that minimizes effort and maximizes the value out of the people, processes and technology — in other words, developing ITaaS organizational capabilities.

[i] Process Assessment and ISO/IEC 15504, Van Loon
[ii] ITIL© Incident Management
[iii] ITIL© Capacity Management
[iv] Beyond Change Management: How to Achieve Breakthrough Results Through Conscious Change Leadership, by Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson

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John Worthington is a VMware transformation consultant and is based in New Jersey. Follow @jMarcusWorthy and@VMwareCloudOps on Twitter.