Tag Archives: sddc

The Critical Element of Service Delivery in the Cloud Era: Join our Webcast 11/14

As more companies aim to build the software-defined datacenter (SDDC), the importance of service definition continues to grow. Running a successful SDDC strategy means understanding service offerings, for sure. But it’s also about standardizing those offerings to achieve agility and efficiency. So where do you start? How do you know what services your company can best provide?

Join Product Manager Jason Holmberg and Business Solutions Architect Rohan Kalra on Thursday, November 14th  at 10am PT for their BrightTalk webcast: The Critical Element of Service Delivery in the Cloud Era. The webcast will take you through the four fundamental Service Catalog building blocks:

  • Automation
  • Governance & Policies
  • Provisioning and orchestration
  • Lifecycle management

Both Jason and Rohan have years of experience building and implementing service catalogs. In addition to defining these building blocks, Jason and Rohan will dive into the requirements for each component, making it easier for you to implement a service catalog and making sure that you’re delivering the best services to your users through your catalog. Don’t miss this webcast to learn how service definition will be the key to your SDDC.

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

Task Automation vs. Process Automation: Join Us For #CloudOpsChat 11/13!

Here at VMware, we’re always talking about automation: Venkat Gopalikrishan detailed his success after automating the provisioning of business-critical application stacks, and Paul Chapman introduced VMware’s IT transformation story by highlighting the importance of automation and change management.

We saw some fantastic insight on automation from many of you during our last #CloudOpsChat and wanted continue the conversation. For this month’s #CloudOpsChat, we’re specifically focusing on next steps in automation by asking the following questions: What has your company successfully automated? Do you focus on task automation, process automation, or both?

Join us on Wednesday, November 13th at 11am PT to discuss task vs. process automation with your CloudOps peers. Hosting the chat is CloudOps expert Rich Pleasants, Business Solutions Architect and Operations Lead for Accelerate Advisory Services at VMware.

During the chat, we’ll discuss:

  • What business tasks or processes has your company successfully automated?
  • When discussing automation, how do you determine whether you should automate a task vs. a process?
  • Do you have people in your company whose primary role is automation?
  • What technique do you use primarily for automation? Policy, orchestration or scripting?
  • How does the blueprint concept impact your automation workflow (scripting, orchestration)?

Here’s how to participate in #CloudOpsChat:

  • Follow the #CloudOpsChat hashtag (via Twubs.com, Tchat.io, TweetDeck, or another Twitter client) and watch the real-time stream.
  • On Wednesday, November 13th at 11am PST, @VMwareCloudOps will pose a few questions using the #CloudOpsChat hashtag to get the conversation rolling.
  • Tag your tweets with the #CloudOpsChat hashtag. @reply other participants and react to their questions, comments, thoughts via #CloudOpsChat. Engage with each other!
  • #CloudOpsChat should last about an hour.

In the meantime, RSVP to the event and feel free to tweet at us at @VMwareCloudOps with any questions you may have! For even more on automation, check out Rich Pleasants’ latest blog post for VMware Accelerate where he discusses “Intelligent Automation.”

We look forward to seeing you in the stream!

Implementing a Cloud Infrastructure Is About Changing Mindsets: Three Ways Cloud Operations Can Help

By: Pierre Moncassin

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the first in a series of cloud operations customer roundtables in Frankfurt, Germany. The workshop was expertly run by my colleague Kevin Lees, principal consultant at VMware and author of “Organizing for the Cloud” as well as numerous VMware CloudOps blog posts.

Customer participation in the round table exceeded our expectations – and was highly revealing. It quickly became obvious that process and organization challenges ranked at the top of everyone’s priorities. They needed no convincing that a successful cloud deployment needs operations transformation in addition to leading-edge tools.

Even so, I was amazed how rapidly the conversation turned from technical strategy to organizational culture and, most importantly, changing mindsets.

I remember one customer team in particular outlining for us the challenge they face in operating their globally-distributed virtual infrastructure. They were acutely aware of the need to transform mindsets to truly leverage their VMware technology – and of how difficult that was proving to be.

For them, changing mindsets meant looking beyond traditional models, such as the monolithic CMDB (an idea deeply entrenched in physical IT). It also meant handling the cultural differences that come with teams based in multiple locations around the world: and, more than ever, the need to align teams with different functional objectives to common goals and gain commitments across boundaries.

To state the obvious, changing organizational mindsets is a vast topic, and many books have written about it (with many more to come, no doubt). But here I want to explore one specific question: How can cloud operations help IT leaders, like our customer above, in their journeys to mindset change?

For them, I see three main areas where cloud operations can bring quick wins:

1) Create Opportunities to Think Beyond ‘Classic’ IT Service Management

Part of the journey to cloud operations is to look beyond traditional frames of reference. For some of our customer teams, the CMDB remains an all-powerful idea because it is so entrenched in the traditional ITSM world. In the world of cloud infrastructure, the link between configuration items and physical locations becomes far less rigid.

It is more important to create a frame of reference around the service definition and everything needed to deliver the service. But adopting a service view does require change, and that’s not something that we always embrace.

So how do you encourage teams to “cross the chasm?” One simple step would be to encourage individuals to get progressively more familiar with VMware’s Cloud Operations framework (by reading ‘Organizing for the Cloud,’ for example).

After that, they could take on a concrete example via a walk-through of some key tools. For example, a VMware vCenter Operations Manager demo can illustrate how a cloud infrastructure can be managed in a dynamic way. It would show how dashboards automatically aggregate multiple alerts and status updates. Team members would see how built-in analytics can automatically identify abnormal patterns (signaling possible faults) in virtual components wherever they are physically located. A demo of vCloud Automation Center’s use of blueprints to automate provisioning of full application stacks would show how new tools that leverage abstraction can help break through process-bound procedures that were developed for more physical environments.

All of this would build familiarity with, and likely excitement at, the possibilities inherent in cloud-based systems.

2) Break Down Silos with the Organizational Model

A key principle of VMware’s cloud operations approach is to break down silos by setting up a Center of Excellence dedicated to managing cloud operations. You can read more about how to do that in this post by Kevin Lees.

The main point, though, is that instead of breaking processes up by technology domain (e.g. windows/unix etc.) or by geography, Cloud Operations emphasizes a consistency of purpose and focus on the service delivered that is almost impossible to achieve in a siloed organizational structure.

Simply by creating a Cloud Infrastructure Operation Center of Excellence, you are creating a tool with which you can build the unity that you need.

3) Boost Team Motivation

Lastly, although a well-run cloud infrastructure should in itself add considerable value to any set of corporate results, don’t forget the influence held by individual team members facing a change in their work practice.

In particular, consider their likely answer to the question “What’s in it for me?”

Factors that might positively motivate team members include:

  • Acquiring new skills in leading-edge technologies and practices (including VMware certifications, potentially)
  • Contributing to a transformation of the IT industry
  • Being part of a well-defined, well-respected team e.g. a Center of Excellence.

So, remember to make that case where you can.

Here, then, are three key ways in which you can leverage cloud operations to help change mindsets:

  1. Understand that moving to cloud is a journey. Every person has their own pace. Build gradual familiarity both with new tools and concepts. Check out more of our CloudOps blog posts and resources!
  2. Build a bridge across cultural differences with the Center of Excellence model recommended by VMware CloudOps.
  3. Explain the benefits to the individual of making the jump to cloud e.g. being part of a new team, gaining new skills – and a chance to make history!

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

VMworld Recap: Hear From the CloudOps Experts, Part 2

As we discussed in Part 1 of our VMworld 2013 recap, cloud technology is empowering organizations to re-think IT – an opportunity underlined in our September #CloudOpsChat, which explored how automation lets IT operations service clients efficiently while focusing on meeting business objectives.

In the second and concluding post in this series, we further explore those possibilities – Hear from CloudOps experts Ed Newman, Kevin Lees with Khalid Hakim, Valentin Hamburger with Bjoern Brundert, Jeff Ton, and Paul Chapman as they discuss their VMworld operations transformation sessions and share their thoughts on the future of CloudOps:

Ed Newman:

Kevin Lees and Khalid Hakim:

Valentin Hamburger and Bjoern Brundert:

Jeff Ton:

Paul Chapman:

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

To Automate or Not to Automate? – Highlights from #CloudOpsChat

Last week, we held another successful #CloudOpsChat, this time asking: “To Automate or Not to Automate?” Thank you to everyone who participated in the lively conversation, and especially to our two co-hosts, Cloud Operations Architects Andy Troup (@HarrowAndy) and David Crane (@DaveJCrane)!

To start things off, we asked, “How do you define automation?”

Our co-hosts jumped in first, with @HarrowAndy stating, “automation = stop doing repeatable tasks,” and @DaveJCrane remarking on how he asked the same question during a group discussion at VMworld and received 50 different answers from 50 different people in the room! In addition, the notion that automation implies the removal of manual work was a prominent theme, with @Seemaj, @AngeloLuciani, @tcrawford and @KongYang agreeing that automation means less, or no, human intervention (see Pierre Moncassin’s take on that here).

Next, the conversation moved on to the importance of defining automation within the context of your business.

@DaveJCrane began by adding a layer to the definition, suggesting that it is “important to consider the definition of automation in context of the business environment, not just process focus.” @tcrawford agreed with David, specifying a difference between the what/why of automation, as well as the how/when. @HarrowAndy built upon @tcrawford’s response, adding that there must always be a benefit to what you’re automating, and that there is “no point automating something you only do infrequently.”

@Seemaj then brought up the cost of automation, agreeing with @tcrawford that: “There is a cost to automation, and the business drives those decisions.”

@AngeloLuciani stated that “automation drives business value,” and @tcrawford stirred the pot, replying “sometimes it can, not always.” @HarrowAndy then brought up the importance of weighing automation’s benefits with its costs, with @KongYang, @AngeloLuciani and @Seemaj adding that two of the biggest benefits to automation are limiting human mistakes and delivering services faster. @Gnowell1 emphasized automation’s goal of promoting reliable service delivery, saying “time consuming, complex tasks should also be considered for automation.”

After that, @KalraRohan asked, “What’s driving everyone to move towards automation?”

@VmwDavidH immediately offered VMware’s use case for automation: “For us, we have cut our dev environment provisioning time down from weeks to hours.” @Seemaj noted business agility as her main reason, with @AngeloLuciani saying that automation is a “building block” towards the software-defined datacenter (SDDC). @DaveJCrane agreed, adding that “[automation] is always good to implement as part of a larger ops transformation.”

@KalraRohan then asked, “What are the operational impacts of automation? What are best practices?”

@HarrowAndy, @VmwDavidH and @AngeloLuciani all agreed that a set of orchestration tools was essential in driving the success of automation. @GNowell1 suggested a key benefit that automation provides to a business: “SDDC automation promotes Ops standards. Administrators spend more time on higher level responsibilities.” And @DaveJCrane elaborated further on automation’s ability to shift ops’ focus: “Automating allows you to put more emphasis on the workflow/approval process.”

To close out this #CloudOpsChat, @HarrowAndy asked: “So what have you all automated? Is it just provisioning activities, or are there other things?”

@AngeloLuciani and @Gnowell1 had both started with provisioning and said they were looking for the next step in automation. @CloudOpsVoice stated that provisioning was a great start and great use-case for the ‘run’ side of automation, with @tcrawford adding “iterative automation is all about value.” He continued by saying that knowing what to automate next comes with “experience, and asking questions.” @Seemaj agreed, and emphasized that automation touches all aspects of a company: “Automation is not just about provisioning/tools/scripts…and it does not always have measurable outcomes. Sometimes benefits are soft benefits, e.g. improved user experience.”

Our #CloudOpsChat wrapped up with a positive outlook on the future of automation, with @AngeloLuciani tweeting “automation will be a major skill for next gen IT staff.” As automation progresses, companies will experience “less firefighting in operations and more time spent on working with the business,” suggested co-host @HarrowAndy.

Thanks again to everybody who participated in this latest #CloudOpsChat, and stay tuned for details of our next #CloudOpsChat!

In the meantime, feel free to tweet us at @VMwareCloudOps with questions or feedback, and join the conversation by using the #CloudOps and #SDDC hashtags.

VMworld Recap: Hear From the CloudOps Experts, Part 1

As cloud technology advances, IT organizations are working hard to keep up: We covered the changing role of the IT Admin during our May #CloudOpsChat, and Kevin Lees previously discussed the culture shift required for IT Transformation.

At VMworld, the Operations Transformation track offered some great opportunities to hear more about how IT can successfully make the change – transitioning from practices rooted in the client-server era, to those optimized for virtualized resource pools, more automation, and new application architectures common in the cloud era.

We caught up with many of our CloudOps experts on-site at VMworld to ask them about their sessions and what they think the future holds for IT operations in the cloud era.

For Part 1 of this blog series, we’ll hear from experts Venkat Gopalakrishnan, Kurt Milne, Ed Hoppitt with Phil Richards, David Crane, and Rich Bourdeau with Rich Pleasants:

Venkat Gopalakrishnan:

Kurt Milne:

Ed Hoppitt and Phil Richards:

David Crane:

Rich Bourdeau and Rich Pleasants:


Stay tuned for Part 2 and more insights on cloud operations from the CloudOps experts at VMworld.

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

To Automate, or Not to Automate? Join Us For #CloudOpsChat 9/18!

We talk about automation regularly here on the CloudOps blog – Kurt Milne looked into the economics of task and service automation, Andy Troup broke down the automation Scripting, Orchestration and Technology Love Triangle, and, more recently, Pierre Moncassin discussed how automation doesn’t always mean removing the human element from your workflows. Automation, of course,  also continues to be a hot topic for our customers.

For our next #CloudOpsChat on Wednesday, September 18th at 11am PST, we’d like to invite our CloudOps audience to keep the conversation going, discussing: “To Automate, or Not to Automate? – considerations and best practices for IT admins looking to take advantage of the benefits of automation in a smart but effective way.”

Co-hosting the chat will be our very own CloudOps bloggers Andy Troup and David Crane, both Cloud Operations Architects at VMware.

During the chat, we’ll discuss:

  • What approach have you taken to identify suitable processes to automate?
  • What process areas have you started automating?
  • What technique is primarily used for your automation? Policy, orchestration or scripting?
  • What makes a process a good candidate for automation?
  • What challenges has your organization faced when approaching automation?
  • What business processes have you successfully automated in your organization?

Here’s how to participate in #CloudOpsChat:

  • Follow the #CloudOpsChat hashtag (via Twubs.comTchat.io, TweetDeck, or another Twitter client) and watch the real-time stream.
  • On Wednesday, September 18th at 11am PST@VMwareCloudOps will pose a few questions using the #CloudOpsChat hashtag to get the conversation rolling.
  • Tag your tweets with the #CloudOpsChat hashtag. @reply other participants and react to their questions, comments, thoughts via #CloudOpsChat. Engage with each other!
  • #CloudOpsChat should last about an hour.

In the meantime, RSVP to our #CloudOpsChat and feel free to tweet at us at @VMwareCloudOps with any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you in the stream!

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.

Industry Veterans Share Key Lessons on Delivering IT as a Service

Ian Clayton, an ITSM industry veteran, and Paul Chapman, VMware’s Vice President of Global Infrastructure & Cloud Operations, know a lot about IT service delivery. Join Ian and Paul next Tuesday, July 23rd at 9am PT, as they share real lessons learned about delivering IT as a Service.

You will get more out of this brief webcast than most of the sessions presented at expensive conferences!

The webinar will cover:

  • VMware’s own IT service delivery transformation based on cloud
  • Business justification of an ITaaS delivery model
  • Key success factors for driving technology and operational transformation

Outside-in thinking is needed to give IT a winning strategy. But inside-out leadership is required to make the changes that enable a successful execution. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from IT experts as they share real advice in successfully delivering IT as a Service in the cloud era – register now!

We’ll also be live-tweeting during the event via @VMwareCloudOps – follow us for updates! Also join the conversation by using the #CloudOps and #SDDC hashtags.

CloudOps at VMworld – Operations Transformation Track

VMworld, taking place August 25th through August 29th in San Francisco, is the virtualization and cloud computing event of the year.

The Operations Transformation track offers 21 sessions designed to share real-world lessons learned about the changing IT Operations landscape in the Cloud era. Self-service provisioning, automation, tenant operations, hybrid cloud and SDDC architectures are all optimized when operations change.

You can find out how to get the most out of the latest VMware technology by attending sessions focused on these operations transformation topics. Some of the sessions include:

OPT5414 – Automating, Optimizing and Measuring Service Provisioning in a Hybrid Cloud

David Crane, Cloud Operations Consulting Architect, on service provisioning and how automated provisioning can help reduce costs, improve flexibility and agility, speed time to market and improve ROI of cloud deployments.

For more on this topic, check out our Friday Reading List on Orchestration and Automation.

OPT5705 – Balancing Agility with Service Standardization: Easy to Say But Hard To Do

A panel of seasoned IT experts, including VMware’s VP IT operations discuss what does and doesn’t work with service standardization, where services can be tailored to meet unique needs, best practices for driving a common service definition process across a set of constituents.

For more on standardization, check out our Friday Reading List on Standardization in the Cloud Era.

OPT5051 – Key Lessons Learned from Deploying a Private Cloud Service Catalog

John Dixon of GreenPages Technology Solutions discusses lessons learned from a recent project deploying a private cloud service catalog for a financial services firm.

John Dixon was a co-host in our last #CloudOpsChat on Reaching Common Ground When Defining Services. Check out some of his insights in the recap blog.

OPT5569 – Leveraging Hybrid Cloud to Transform Enterprise IT from a Cost Center to a Revenue Driver

What if you could transform a “cost center” into a consultative center of customer innovation? Learn how you can leverage hybrid cloud to turn your “cost center” into a revenue driver with Jeffrey Ton, SVP Corporate Connectivity & CIO, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana and John Qualls, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Bluelock.

For more on this topic, read our webinar recap blog on 5 key steps to effective IT operations in a Hybrid world.

OPT4732 – Leveraging IT Financial Transparency to Drive Transformation

Achieving financial transparency is fundamental to IT transformation. This session shows you how to leverage IT financial transparency to drive the transformation your business needs.

Read Khalid Hakim’s recent blog on Calculating Your Cloud Service Costs for more on this subject.

OPT4689 – Operations Transformation – Expanding the Value of Cloud Computing

A forcing function for change, cloud computing helps IT organizations move away from focusing only on siloed technology challenges. Phil Richards and Ed Hoppitt explain how to expand the value of cloud computing.

Ed Hoppitt is also a writer for the VMware CloudOps blog. Check out his work here.

OPT5215 – Organizing for Cloud Operations – Challenges and Lessons Learned

Addressing the organizational changes that must take place for IT to successfully operate a cloud environment and  provide hybrid-cloud services, as well as lessons learned from customers who have experienced this change.

Want to learn more? Check out Kevin Lees’ 3-part series on this topic – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

OPT5489 – Pivot From Public Cloud to Private Cloud with vCloud and Puppet

Edward Newman and Mike Norris from EMC  explain how EMC has built a private cloud, pulled workloads back in from public cloud, and saved a bunch of money. Hard proof that private cloud is cheaper than public cloud.

OPT4963 – SDDC IT Operations Transformation: Multi-customer Lessons Learned

Technical account managers Valentin Hamburger and Bjoern Brundert of VMware share lessons learned from working with multiple customers, on how to overcome ancient, siloed IT processes and holistically enable your infrastructure to leverage an automated, policy-driven Datacenter.

OPT5697 – Symantec’s Real-World Experience with a VMware Software-Defined Data Center

Learn about the real-world experience of Symnatec’s IT organization who has deployed one of the world’s largest private clouds in a VMware-based Software-Defined Data Center.

OPT5474 – The Transformative Power and Business Case for Cloud Automation

Understand the terminology and the key success factors behind the concepts from two industry leading automation experts. Cut through the clutter and attend this session to learn from use cases that highlight the value of different types of automation, as well as proven approaches for building a business case for each.

Read this blog post by Kurt Milne for more information on task automation economics!

OPT5593 – Transforming IT to Community Cloud: A Canadian Federal Government Success Story

The story of Shared Services Canada, which scaled its private cloud to meet the needs of a community of 43 departments on a private vCloud deployment.

OPT5315 – Transform IT Into a Service Broker – Key Success Factors

The concept of an IT service broker is compelling. This session will explain key success factors in transforming IT into a service broker.

OPT5656 – VMware Customer Journey – Where are we with ITaaS and Ops Transformation in the Cloud Era

Kurt Milne Director of CloudOps at VMware, and Mike Hulme, Director of Enterprise Marketing at VMware, discuss where we are with ITaaS and Ops Transformation in the cloud era. Understand what your peers are doing that could benefit you, and learn what drives value across SMB, Commercial and Enterprise accounts on multiple continents.

Read more about how CloudOps represents a new way of managing IT in the Cloud Era.

OPT5194 – VMware Private Cloud – Operations Transformation

Venkat Gopalakrishnan, Director of IT at VMware offers operations transformation lessons learned from VMware’s own vCloud deployment. Ask the expert.  He has both VMware product and operations expertise.

We hope this guide will help you put together an unforgettable VMworld schedule!

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