Tim Stephan here, Sr. Director of Product Marketing for vSphere.
I was just reading, Journey to the Cloud via Virtualization – How Virtualization Helps Companies Transform their Approach to IT, an excellent article on Forbes.com by VMware VP of Desktop Products, Vittorio Viarengo. The article reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a VMware customer – a division of a major manufacturer based in the Midwestern United States – that was going through its own, unique, virtualization-driven IT transformation. I might file this instance under the “don’t try this at home” category, but it does serve as a great example of how once a customer realizes the value of VMware virtualization, it can spread very quickly throughout an organization – so Hold On!
The Journey Begins With Server Consolidation…
To give you some background, this customer had more than 50 virtualized servers running vSphere 4.0, primarily for the purpose of saving money through server consolidation, but, as the customer was telling me, word of these great savings started spreading through the business and had reached upper management. And of course when that happens, meetings and conference calls get scheduled, and task forces and tiger teams are created, to figure out how the rest of the business can benefit – and so that each business manager can figure out how he or she can claim that bringing in VMware was their idea 🙂
So what happened over the course of these meetings was that the business got to see for themselves not only the great benefits of server consolidation, but that because of other application and infrastructure services provided by vSphere, such as vMotion, DRS, Distributed Power Management, High Availability, Disaster Recovery, Data Recovery, Storage vMotion etc., management saw that applications were actually performing better on vSphere, with much higher levels of uptime, than they ever did in a physical environment.
…The IT Guy Becomes a Hero
Now as my new buddy told it, he suddenly became in high demand. And I think he rather enjoyed his new found celebrity – I mean how often does the IT guy get to be the hero? (Actually VMware virtualization is making the “IT guy as hero scenario” a much more common occurrence!) In his own words: “Now I had every business unit coming to me asking if they could further cut not only capital costs, but also operational costs, by virtualizing their enterprise applications. They were looking to virtualize SAP or SQL Server or Exchange or Siebel environments, and they wanted to know if virtualization would help them be more efficient and reduce downtime – of course, without impacting application performance. I told them, ‘Yes’. And, of course, their next question was always ‘How soon?’”
I’ve Already Virtualized You
See, here’s where the story gets interesting, because our friend the IT hero had already virtualized the majority of those applications months prior– without telling anyone. “I knew they’d never notice. If anything they’d just wonder why their apps were running so smoothly, and it made my job easier, so I figured, why not?” So, the business units were already realizing the benefits of cost savings, increased agility, and improved application uptime – they were already virtual and had no idea, because the transition was seamless. How did our IT hero break this news to the business units? “I told them it might take a few months to virtualize 🙂 – and they were thrilled that it could be done so quickly!”
Off to the Cloud b/w vSphere Can Take Us There
Of course now, a year later, the business units are all talking “cloud” and are calling meetings and creating tiger teams and our IT guy is again in high demand. “No, I haven’t already moved everyone to the cloud without them knowing” our friend said laughing, “But IT and business are now working together to determine where Cloud Computing makes sense. With vSphere as our IT infrastructure, I think we’re in a good position, whether we choose to further create a private cloud in our own datacenter, or to leverage cloud services from an external service provider – or both. Either way I am looking forward to continuing our journey – this is exciting stuff!”
So this customer’s journey hasn’t happened exactly according to Vittorio’s framework, but it did follow the same steps. The customer first virtualized what it owned and realized the cost savings of server consolidation – the “IT Production” phase. They then made virtualization a company-wide strategy and virtualized their business-critical applications — the “Business Production” phase. And now, they’re on their way to IT as a Service – whether their IT department has told them or not!
You can reach me on twitter @VMwarevSphere. I look forward to hearing about your journeys through VMware virtualization.