Tag Archives: IaaS

Organization Transformation for Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Enrico MontarioloBy Enrico Montariolo

Network Function VirtualizationThe evolution of technology can have significant influence on the future success, or failure, of companies that operate within an industry. Traditional communications service providers face this challenge today. The technologies driving this transformation are Cloud, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). Communications service providers (CSPs) look at the NFV model and see new ways to accelerate innovation, create competitive advantages, reduce cost and drive new business models.

Successful transformation requires that CSPs also evolve their operating model: evolving related roles, organizational structure, skill sets, processes and culture to reflect the reorientation of the company. We strongly believe that the “As-a-Service” cloud-based operating model is the right operating model to achieve the full benefits of agility, operational efficiency, faster time-to-market and cost reduction, as successfully demonstrated by early adopters like Google, Facebook and Amazon. These early movers are at a tremendous advantage. CSPs may be at risk if they don’t aggressively embrace As-a-Service capabilities.

Read this white paper for a thorough examination of the impact Network Function Virtualization will have on organizational structure and guidance on operating model transformation to NFV Infrastructure as-a-Service.

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Enrico Montariolo is an Operations Architect with the VMware Global Professional Services and is based in Milan, Italy.

Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Cloud Services

By Alberto Martinez

Alberto Martinez-cropA couple of years ago when I was working in Australia, one of my customers was starting to deliver cloud services to its external customers—mainly infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It was not a very mature market at that time though they knew what they had to do to promote those services: enable a marketing capability with a strong customer focus. As the IT organization was evolving its cloud service offering from a technology point of view, that marketing function was driving the change and ensuring customers recognized the value of their cloud.

One key takeaway from the recent Computerworld Forecast Study 2015 is that companies like yours are now investing (or are planning to invest) large portions of their IT budgets to enable a cloud service offering. In my previous blog entry, I briefly mentioned the key steps to define a process for marketing your cloud services within your organization in order to maximize ROI.

cover top tipsNow let´s take those steps to the next level of detail by considering the lessons learned and the critical success factors from those early adopters of cloud. Take a look at this brief: Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Cloud Services. I think you’ll find some very useful tips for building a marketing capability for your cloud service offering.

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

5 Steps to Shape Your IT Organization for the Software-Defined Data Center

by Tim Jones

TimJones-cropOne aspect of the software-defined data center (SDDC) that is not solved through software and automation is how to support what is being built. The abstraction of the data center into software managed by policy, integrated through automation, and delivered as a service directly to customers requires a realignment of the existing support structure.

The traditional IT organizational model does not support bundling compute, network, storage, and security into easily consumable packages. Each of these components is owned by a separate team with its own charter and with management chains that don’t merge until they reach the CTO. The storage team is required to support the storage needs of the virtualized environment as well as physical servers, the backup storage, and replication of data between sites. The network team has core, distribution, top of rack, and edge switches to support in addition to any routers or firewalls. And someone has to support the storage network whether it is IP, InfiniBand, or Fibre Channel. None of these teams has only the software-defined data center to support. The next logical question asked is: What does an organization look like that can support SDDC?

While there is no simple answer that allows you to fill a specific set of roles with staff possessing skill sets from a checklist, there are many organizational models that can be modified to support your SDDC. In order to modify an organizational model or to build your own model to meet your IT organization’s requirements, certain questions need to be answered. The answers to the following five steps will help shape your new organization model:

  1. Define what your new IT organization will offer.
    Although this sounds elementary, it is necessary to understand what is planned on being offered in order to know what is necessary to provide support. Will infrastructure as a service (IaaS) be the only offering or will database as a service (DBaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) also be offered? Does support stop at the infrastructure layer, or will operating system, platform, or database support be required? Who will the customer work with to utilize the services or to request and design additional services?
  2. Identify the existing organizational model.
    A thorough understanding of the existing support structure will help identify what support customers will expect based on their current experience and any challenges associated with the model. Are there silos within that negatively impact customers?  What skills currently exist in the organization?  Identifying the existing organization and defining what will be offered by the new organization will help to identify what gaps exist.
  3. Leverage what is already working.
    If there are components of the existing organization that can either be replicated or consumed by the new organization, take advantage of the option. For example, if there is already a functioning group that works with the customers and supports the operating system, then evaluate how to best incorporate them into the new organization. Or if certain support is outsourced, then incorporate that into the new organizational model.
  4. Evaluate beyond the technical.
    The inclusion of service architects, process designers, business analysts, and project managers can be critical to the success of your new organization. These resources could be consumed from existing internal groups such as a central PMO. But overlooking the non-technical organizational requirements can inhibit the ability of the IT organization to deliver on its service roadmap.
  5. Create a new IT organization.
    Don’t accept the status quo with your current organization. If the storage, compute, and virtualization teams all report through separate management chains in the current organization, the new organization should leverage a single management chain for all three teams. Removing silos within the IT organization fosters a collaborative spirit that results in better support and better service offerings for customers.

Although there is no one size fits all organizational model for the software-defined data center, understanding where your IT organization is currently and where it is headed will enable you to create an organizational model capable of supporting the service roadmap.

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Tim Jones is business transformation architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California.

Configuration Management in the Cloud

by Kai Holthaus

kai_holthaus-crop“The Cloud” is one of the biggest paradigm shifts in the IT world. Instead of provisioning physical hardware in a physical data center and then managing applications running on the physical hardware, virtualization has allowed IT organizations to decouple logical infrastructure from physical infrastructure, and thereby deliver new-found flexibility to provide and manage value-add services.

Additionally, IT organizations can now provision the cloud infrastructure itself, along with the infrastructure they are already running themselves. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) are now available to supplement or even replace traditional IT offerings. One common use case is to monitor the performance of a web server.

Once the performance reaches a certain limit, a new service is automatically provisioned in the cloud. The cloud-based server is used as long as performance demands require it, and once demand drops below a certain threshold, the additional cloud-based server is decommissioned. All of this can happen in a matter of minutes and can be fully automated.

Different cloud-based offerings need to be managed differently, in terms of configuration management, to ensure that the needs of the customer can be met.

Configuration Management Principles
According to ITIL, the purpose of the service asset and configuration management process is to ensure that the assets required to deliver services are properly controlled, and that accurate and reliable information about those assets is available when and where it is needed. This information includes details of how the assets have been configured and the relationships between assets.

The objectives of configuration management are to:

  • Ensure that assets under the control of the IT organization are identified, controlled and properly cared for throughout their lifecycle
  • Identify, control, record, report, audit, and verify services and other configuration items (CIs), including versions, baselines, constituent components, their attributes and relationships
  • Account for, manage and protect the integrity of CIs through the service lifecycle by working with change management to ensure that only authorized components are used and only authorized changes are made
  • Ensure the integrity of CIs and configurations required to control the services by establishing and maintaining an accurate and complete configuration management system (CMS)
  • Maintain accurate configuration information on the historical, planned and current state of services and other CIs
  • Support efficient and effective service management processes by providing accurate configuration information to enable people to make decisions at the right time – for example, to authorize changes and releases, or to resolve incidents and problems

In summary, configuration management supports the management of services by providing information about how the services are being delivered. This information is crucial to the other service management processes, especially such processes as change management, incident management, or problem management. It is also crucial to ensure meeting all agreed-to service levels.

Configuration Management and the Cloud
Let’s take a look at three common cloud-based offerings and the configuration management aspects to keep in mind.

20140421 SACM in the Cloud

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) — IaaS is a service that offers computing resources, such as virtual machines, virtual networks, or virtual storage as a service to customers. The consumer of IaaS services usually has control over the configuration aspects of the resource, such as which operating system to run on a virtual machine, or how to utilize the storage resource.

This means that the resources provisioned in an IaaS model would be CIs that should be managed in the traditional way, as if they were physical CIs. IaaS offers customers a lot of control over the configuration of these resources.

Platform as a service (PaaS) — PaaS is a service that offers a computing platform to its customers. A computing platform could include an operating system, programming language, execution environment, database, and web server, so that developers have a ready-made platform for their development tasks that can quickly be deployed in various environments.  The management of the components of the PaaS is left to the service provider, who will need to meet service level agreements (SLA).

With PaaS, configuration management could be performed on the individual components of the platform, such as the virtual machine, the operating system, and the database, for instance. The configuration management could also be performed at the service level, meaning that there would only be one service-type CI for the platform to be entered into and managed in a CMS.

Software as a service (SaaS) — SaaS provides entire application environments, such as HR or procurement applications, as a service. The service provider must meet SLAs, so that customers of the service will be able to use the software when and where they choose. Such service levels can include all aspects of utility and warranty, as well as incident resolution, problem resolution, or promised delivery time frames for specific service requests, such as a new login for the application. With SaaS, there should only be a service-type CI in the CMS to be managed.

In summary, the need for good configuration management practices does not end when services (or parts of services) are moved to the cloud. It is still the service provider’s responsibility to ensure that services are being delivered as agreed to with the customers. Different cloud-based services, such as IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, will require different levels of configuration management.

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Kai Holthaus is a transformation consultant with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California . Follow @VMwareCloudOps on Twitter for future updates, and join the conversation by using the #CloudOps and #SDDC hashtags

Automated Development and Test in Private Cloud: Join VMUG CloudOps SIG Webinar 7/25

Are you an IT practitioner considering private cloud?

Hear from VMware IT leadership about what they learned using VMware products to build a private cloud on SDDC architecture. They will discuss how they transformed people, process, organization, structure, governance and financial model to make VMware’s private cloud IaaS successful. This Thursday, join Venkat Gopalakrishnan, Director of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) and IT Transformation Initiatives, and Kurt Milne, Director of the VMware CloudOps Program for an exclusive webinar.

The webinar will cover:

  • SDLC lifecycle – supporting dev/test for 600 developers.
  • Using vCloud suite to automate end-to-end dev/test instance provisioning for complex application stacks.
  • Moving 4000 non-production dev/test VMs from traditional virtual to private cloud.
  • Improving agility and service quality, while also saving $6M in annual infrastructure and operating costs.

BONUS: This is a sneak peek of OPT5194 – VMware Private Cloud – Operations Transformation – one of the biggest sessions at VMworld 2013.

Register for this VMUG CloudOps SIG webinar today to see how you can take the private cloud from operational to transformational and learn how the private cloud can fit into your work environment. For a head start, take a look at our recent post, “Automated Deployment and Testing Big ‘Hairball’ Application Stacks” to hear more about the deployment from Venkat, one of the webinar’s speakers.

We will be also be live tweeting during the event via @VMwareCloudOps for anyone who is unable to attend the webcast. Feel free to join the conversation using the #CloudOps and #SDDC hashtags.

VMware #CloudOps Friday Reading Topic – Workload Migration

What existing enterprise applications should be moved to the public cloud?

Your enterprise cloud strategy should be based on a clear understanding of what is realistic. Verify your assumptions about what can be and what shouldn’t be moved into a public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud environment as you build a business case and a plan.

 Q: Which Apps Should I Move to the Cloud? A: Wrong Question (James Staten, Forrester)
Asking “which apps to move to the cloud” shows we still have much to learn about public cloud environments.

Which Apps to Move to the Cloud? (Ben Kepes, Diversity Limited)
Think in terms of “peeling of an onion” and “baby steps.”

Checklist: Is my app ready for the cloud? (Marco Meinardi, Joyent)
Three point checklist.  Number 1, is the application written for the cloud?

How To Pick a Project for Your First Public Cloud Migration (David Linthicum, Blue Mountain Labs)
Start with low visibility, low risk, low complexity.

With all the hype about the cloud, the dirty little secret is that most enterprise applications won’t be forklifted into a public cloud environment.

From an IT operations perspective – that means as your company pursues a cloud strategy, or increases the use of automation and standardization to gain agility, you will still need to manage a mix of physical, virtual and cloud environments. You’ll support a broad mix of existing enterprise applications and new killer apps designed for the cloud. And regardless of where the workload physically lives, you will be responsible for making sure it all works and works together.

It is an exciting time to be an IT Ops professional. Use of technology grows unabated. Complexity seems to grow without limits. That sounds like job security to me.

Follow us on Twitter at @VMwareCloudOps for future updates, and join the conversation using the #CloudOps and #SDDC hashtags.