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Monthly Archives: October 2015

VMworld Barcelona: Streamlining Data Center Operations (Real World Experiences)

With Colin Fernandes, Cloud Management Solution Evangelist

ae_avatarBy Adam Eckerle

TAM Day was full of great sessions and I was able to attend the second Business Track session presented by Colin Fernandes, Cloud Management Solution Evangelist on Monday afternoon. Colin’s session, “Streamlining Data Center Operations – Real World Experiences,” gave TAM Day attendees an overview of the business challenges for IT operations and showed how several customers overcame those challenges with the VMware family of products.

I really enjoyed the way Colin engaged with the audience straight away by walking amongst us instead of sticking to the stage. His thoughts were insightful and his use of real customer use cases did a wonderful job illustrating the messages he set out to deliver. The session was business-focused but Colin was able to weave in some technical bits that I believe catered to some of the architects in the room. But, more to the point, we not only heard Colin speak of today’s operational challenges, but also why those challenges exist in the first place.

Colin sprinkled in some great terms such as “Digital Darwinism” and “Technical Debt” that he used to describe some of his four key points:

  • Digital transformation
  • Operational challenges
  • Here & now – customer use cases
  • Roadmap

With each point came more context of the challenges our customers face along with the value of our solutions in real world settings. Colin spoke about Cost and Agility where he made a great point that Cost is much more complex than just the price tag. And in an unexpected turn, we were even discussing Big Data and how the amount of data that exists is overwhelming – yet our understanding of data can cause false assumptions and conclusions which can negatively impact our customers and their businesses.

The customer use cases and stories were definitely the highlight of the session for me, and I think most of our TAM customers would agree! The customers varied in size and stature from a medium-sized Hospital to a large Global Enterprise. While the challenges of these disparate customers had quite a few common threads, the ways in which each of them attacked and ultimately overcame them were quite different. We heard how Log Insight and vRealize Operations really worked to enable correlation and context for the enormous amount of data being collected from our customers’ infrastructures. This, in turn, enabled infrastructure decisions to be made quicker and with less risk while leading to more efficient operations.

Colin was also able to succinctly provide guidance on when it makes sense to go all-in with orchestration using tools such as vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Automation – which I feel was spot on.

After reflecting on the session and my notes, one of the big takeaways from Colin is that there are many common infrastructure challenges, and just having the monitoring data alone doesn’t enable our customers to properly act on that data. Customers need context, or said in another way, they need intelligence to go along with that data. And finally, the parameters of our customers’ businesses – such as size, industry, and priorities – will dictate how to best act on that intelligence. This was definitely a great session and Colin did an amazing job keeping the audience engaged and making the session extremely informative.


 

Adam is currently a TAM for VMware who works with a small number of large Enterprise & Government customers as a consultant within the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO). Adam provides technical guidance and advocacy to his customers and provides customers access to exclusive content, access to road maps & product managers, as well as being the single point of contact for everything VMware-related. He currently holds VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DTD, EMCISA, and several Cisco Data Center Specialist certifications. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

VMworld Barcelona Session TAM1657 – What’s Next for vRealize Automation

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By Adam Eckerle

This morning we were able to announce vRealize Automation 7.0 during the opening keynote of VMworld Europe. It is an exciting release and is packed full of new features. TAM customers received an exclusive deep dive into this new release from Naomi Sullivan, Group Product Line Manager, and Becky Smith, Senior Product Line Manager.

You can find more information about these new features and functionality on the official vRealize Automation blog. The highlights include:

  • Simplified configuration process
  • Unified service blueprint and design canvas
  • NSX integration
  • Blueprints as code
  • Improved extensibility

Becky and Naomi started out the session by taking customers through the upgrade paths while being open and transparent about when to upgrade vs. re-deploy and migrate. There were quite a few questions from customers regarding the upgrade process which led to a fruitful discussion for both attendees and the VMware product team. Becky and Naomi also showed a demo of the simplified deployment which really shows how quickly customers can deploy vRealize Automation (vRA). It really is simple!

We also saw demonstrations of the new unified blueprint canvas and deployed a multi-tier app complete with NSX micro-segmentation to show off the new capabilities. Next we took a look at the new VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) integration and customers really responded well to the capabilities shown. Becky and Naomi polled the audience several times to get a feel for how customers were deploying our products and many of the attendees indicated that they had both vRA and NSX in production which led to really great questions from the customers.

The session wrapped up by spending some time discussing and demonstrating what is possible with the improved extensibility features. If it wasn’t already clear by now, it absolutely showed the focus of improving usability in this 7.0 release. The customers shared some really great use cases after the demonstrations.

This was a really great session which was completely full with about a dozen more standing in the back. As is typically with TAM Customer Central breakout sessions, it was more of a discussion with customers and PMs than it was a presentation. The excitement around vRealize Automation was very clear and customers can’t wait to start planning their upgrades!


 

Adam is currently a TAM for VMware who works with a small number of large Enterprise & Government customers as a consultant within the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO). Adam provides technical guidance and advocacy to his customers and provides customers access to exclusive content, access to road maps & product managers, as well as being the single point of contact for everything VMware-related. He currently holds VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DTD, EMCISA, and several Cisco Data Center Specialist certifications. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

VMworld Barcelona: TAM Day Welcome and Executive Keynote

Craig StanleyBy Craig Stanley

The 10th annual EMEA TAM Day kicked off to a large and engaged audience of over 400 TAM customers. Toby Luscher, TAM Practice Manager, got the day started with an interesting analogy about how Generation Z views technology differently from the older generations. He commented on how the younger generations have an expectation, not of technology, but of apps. He gave an example of how his daughter changed banks three times – not because of service issues or incentives, as would have previous generations, but rather because of the bank’s apps. The world is increasingly moving toward a commoditized environment where true innovation is rooted in the customer or user experience.

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Joe Baguley, Vice President & CTO EMEA, then took the stage with a topic called “A Cloud For All Seasons.” His presentation highlighted the current IT challenges of bridging between our rigid infrastructure and a more dynamic, digital one. He reiterated the increasing reality of “app-consumerism” and described the obstacles that hinder IT from being application-agile. Every IT project follows a cycle of implementing an application, collecting data from it, analyzing it, then evolving into the next generation of the application. He stated this cycle typically takes about 18 months – far too slow for app-hungry consumers. Where technology innovation of the 1970’s through the 2000’s was focused on building better infrastructure, today’s leading innovators focus on building better and faster processes.

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The message for today’s IT leaders is to figure out how to move through the application development cycle faster and getting infrastructure out of the way. VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center leadership provides the foundation for any application to be delivered on any server, on any storage and on any network, thus helping IT respond to customer application demand.

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Evolve Your Cloud With IT Business Management

Sajai Krishnan, VP, Product Marketing, presented an overview of IT Business Management (ITBM) highlighting the solutions of vRealize Business to a group of about 100 TAM customers. Sajai described the problems facing many IT organization in having the right information at the right time to be able to make the most effective decisions in IT business management.

He identified three common problems ITBM helps with:

  1. Decisions are made by “gut feel” – Without internal information systems and data, infrastructure and architecture decisions are made without any metrics or data.
  2. Problems with cost allocation models – Cost-only allocation methods create conflict since all systems consume varying levels of resources. By forcing lower-cost applications to subsidize more expensive environments, opportunities are created for disgruntled LOBs to seek a more equitable solution outside IT.
  3. Difficulty in explaining IT costs – Without metrics and data, the cost to support an application cannot be made transparent or clear enough to communicate the value being delivered.

Sajai illustrated how the ITBM processes can help customers who may be at a:

  1. Crawl stage – Just getting started with costs and metrics around vSphere
  2. Walk stage – Implementing cloud business management around hybrid clouds
  3. Run stage – Implementing IT Business Management, providing full financial management for the entire IT services stack (one cloud, any app, anywhere)

Private Cloud Costing is the ITBM solution that helps the customer at the “walk stage” by automating vSphere costs and utilization. The Cloud Business Management solution targets the “walk stage” by giving customers the ability to compare and contrast the operational costs of servers and application groups across private and common public cloud providers. It provides the customer with a dashboard illustrating where the greatest cost efficiencies may be located. Lastly, Enterprise IT Business Management closes the loop on the “run stage” by supporting data integration with corporate information systems (HR, payroll, GL, etc.) to better illustrate the value IT brings to the entire business.

The session closed with a couple of questions regarding scale, such as the ability to handle as many as 20 vCenters. Sajai commented that ITBM solutions could fully scale to larger environments such as these.

Empower the Mobile Ecosystem Through Strategy and Secure Enterprise Integration

This session was presented by Dor Zakai, EMEA Sales Engineering Manager to an audience of 60. The main focus of the session was around Air Watch, and this solution enhanced the mobility demands of customers, while maintaining the prime directives of IT are around security, management and enablement. Dor noted that the current mobile environment is complex and becoming more complex rapidly. To make matters worse, oftentimes multiple mobile initiatives are going on at the same time, many of which may not be heading toward the same outcomes.

Dor illustrated the new integration developments in iOS, Windows 10 and Android that allow Air Watch to effectively enable user device sourcing while maintaining security, control and governance. Some of the key services Air Watch delivers are:

  1. Mobile Device Management – The ability to support multiple devices, OS’s, etc.
  2. Mobile Applications Management – Providing one catalog for corporate apps and providing adaptive access with SSO (Single Sign On)
  3. Mobile Content Management – Provides enterprise-grade security, forces content expiration and controls downloads, sharing, etc.
  4. Mobile Email Management – Provides email integration with most existing mail systems or via an Air Watch inbox
  5. Mobile Browsing Management – Provides a secure browsing environment with or without VPN
  6. Unified Laptop Management – Air Watch handles more than just mobile devices

In closing, Dor explained how Air Watch can empower IT to respond to and deliver information ubiquity without sacrificing a secure environment, control over data leaving the firewall, and enabling users to be more productive.


 

Craig is on the Global Technology & Professional Services team and supports TAM service development. Craig developed the Customer Maturity Assessment, the NSX Readiness Assessment and several other methodologies used by TAMs. Craig has over 30 years of experience in IT, covering Development, Systems Support, Data Center Management, Strategic IT Planning, and Benchmarking. Prior to VMware, Craig was a Research Director and VP with Gartner, Inc. Craig managed and led the evolution of the server models and architected the storage management TCO and ROI models. Craig also authored several research notes on TCO, ROI and Best Practices. Craig holds a bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of South Alabama and an MBA in Management from The Citadel in Charleston, SC.