This week is CiscoLive 2013 in Orlando, the annual opportunity to hear Cisco’s vision and see what they announce in terms of new products and services. It’s also an excellent opportunity to interact with Cisco partners and customers.
This past week, Cisco and Virtustream explored this on the “Bringing the Cloud down to Earth“ webinar. We’ll be discussing this in much more detail throughout the week in Orlando.
Virtustream will be showcased in the Intel booth, highlighting our Secure Hybrid Cloud solutions. Stop by, we’ll be providing live demos of our xStream Cloud Management Platform, as well as our unique integration with Cisco and Intel TXT technology. Virtustream is the only Cloud Provider to enable this level of security and compliance, which is particularly critical when migrating business-critical applications to the cloud. Continue reading →
This past week, at the Structure 2013 conference, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel with Ben Kepes (@benkepes) and Rodney Rogers (@rjrogers87) entitled “Mission Possible: Moving Business-Critical Apps to the Cloud”. The focus of the discussion was real-life examples of Enterprise companies that had migrated their mission-critical applications (eg. ERP, CRM, HCM, SQL Databases, Unified Communications) to public clouds.
One of the topics that we covered, based on a question from the audience, was about the bifurcation of existing applications and new applications, specifically in migration scenarios. The question was “Will this lead to faster adoption of ‘DevOps’?”
While I’m a believer that DevOps and have discussed it quite a few times on the podcast (here, here, here, here), I thought it was important to highlight that there is a non-technical element that is critical to the success of migrating business-critical applications. DevOps is a fundamental operational requirement for anyone building modern, scale-out web applications, but those applications are typically very different than existing (legacy) applications. And in most cases, those existing applications make up 80%+ of the IT portfolio in terms of resource usage and on-going costs.
Just as DevOps is ultimately about providing greater transparency between Developers and Operations, I believe that application migration is ultimately about something I call “BizOps“. Far too often, Cloud Providers talk about the simplicity of migrating applications to their Cloud, focusing primarily on the transition of a VM from on-premise to off-premise. But where problems arise is when that off-premise cloud is fundamentally a black-box to the business (or existing IT staff). Unless a business is migrating to a SaaS application or completely outsourcing the business-critical application, it can’t be overstated how important it is to maintain a level of transparency between the Cloud Provider, the Business and IT. This is “BizOps”.
When most people think of SAP, then tend to think of large, complex application landscapes that run the back-office operations of some of the largest and most well-known companies in the world. For many years, these systems consumed huge amounts of physical resources within a company’s data centers, as well as 1000s of hours of systems integration and consulting services.
For quite a while, people assumed that SAP could only run properly within a customer’s data center, on purpose built environments. They also assumed that the applications could not be virtualized to enable greater levels of efficiency because it must introduce undue latency and performance penalties.
And then Virtustream came along and disproved both of those myths. Not just once, but almost 100 times for production landscape customers. At this year’s VMware Partner Exchange, 4 of the 5 customer examples highlighted SAP landscapes running virtualized were on Virtustream xStream IaaS Cloud.
People asked how Virtustream delivered SAP landscapes to the cloud. So we spent some time providing a high-level overview of our patented uVM technology, as well as the innovative use of our Cloud Advisory Services to profile the workloads prior to onboarding to ensure application-level SLAs.
But we live in a “what have you done for me lately?” world, so what’s next in Virtustream’s journey to help customers move more of their production SAP workloads into an Enterprise Class Cloud?
Glad you asked…
Last week SAP announced the HANA Enterprise Cloud. And standing right beside them, with the world’s first production instance of SAP Suite on HANA was Virtustream, with our valued customer Florida Crystals/Domino Sugar. Together we’ve set the new standard for running a real-time business, in the cloud. We’re incredibly proud that SAP would trust Virtustream to partner with them to drive this next evolution in IT.
And this is just the beginning. Once you’ve proven to customers that you can do this, in production (not just smaller dev/test environments), it begins to open up tremendous opportunities not only for SAP customers, but also ISVs that are looking to harness the power of SAP HANA and the breadth of business impact these systems can have on Enterprise business. It’s critical to remember, HANA is not just for SAP Suite, it can also be used for new, real-time applications. Bringing together the core of the business (SAP Suite) with the power of real-time (Suite + HANA; New Apps + HANA) unlocks incredible business potential.
But wait, there’s more…
Big Data has the tech world a buzz these days. But Big Data has one challenging quality – it’s BIG (and difficult to move). Being able to bring together multiple data sources, potentially from partners or supply-chain companies along with 3rd-party sources, within a localized Cloud environment, and you have more than just a Cloud. You have a real-time marketplace. Just as web properties want to share information to drive new ad opportunities (eg. Yahoo + Tumblr), businesses want to leverage knowledge from cross-platform data sources to drive new business. And SAP is at the core of so many interconnected businesses. Data attracts Data (a form of “Data Gravity“), and business opportunity is surfacing in real-time from these new data interactions.
The opportunity for SAP customers to transform their business with HANA is unprecedented. And being able to do this in the cloud, with a trusted, experienced partner like Virtustream make the opportunity this much closer to reality. Virtustream’s Enterprise Class Cloud is leading the industry in this transformation.
Is your business ready to run better?
Is your SAP environment ready to deliver results in real-time?
This is a guest post by Virtustream partner Pavan Vyas, Product Marketing Manager at Asigra Inc. Vyas is the primary owner of go to market deliverables and strategies for the entire product line of Asigra Cloud Backup Solutions. His responsiblities include working with various internal and external stakeholders to conduct market research, evaluate market trends, and evaluate customer requirements.
Sweeping changes are taking place in enterprise IT environments. The era of desktop computing and that of centralized computing are merging; data formats such as audio and video, long considered primary data formats of the consumer space are becoming valuable enterprise assets; collaboration, sharing, and social media are now part of the enterprise; and standardized desktops are giving way to heterogeneous bring your own device environments. Large amounts of data are being created in short periods of time. Businesses and consumers create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day! All this data needs to be stored, managed, and analyzed. This new world of IT is demanding flexibility and responsiveness from IT departments like never before.
Even as strong democratic forces within have been pushing the enterprise towards giving more control to end users, regulatory agencies, recognizing the strategic value and the power of data, are imposing stronger requirements related to data security, availability, and privacy. This world of conflicting forces demands agility and flexibility, trust and availability – in other words, this is a world that demands the use of the secure cloud.
BYOD Goes Mainstream
Nowhere else do we see this being truer than in the world of data protection. The deluge of data and the proliferation of devices have created new challenges for organizations. As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have gone mainstream, with between 65% to 74% of organizations already allowing some form of BYOD, more and more enterprise data is now residing on employee owned devices and in mobile devices which leave enterprise boundaries ever so often. The need to protect the data from all of these various devices and needing to keep all of it in the organization’s centralized backup repository is a challenge that enterprises have to find their way around quickly. With new devices, data streams, and formats becoming commonplace in today’s big data world, enterprise IT departments have to ensure that these large amounts of data are backed up within existing backup windows. In fact, in a number of organizations, the concept of a backup window itself is being challenged as organizations are now global and have systems that are being accessed by customers round the clock.
In order to meet the need to scale rapidly, organizations are turning to the cloud backup and recovery platforms which can run in cloud infrastructures across the various deployment models – public, private, and hybrid. Using cloud backup and recovery platforms which deduplicate and compress the data at source ensuring that only changed blocks of the data are sent to the backup repository after being encrypted at source, enterprises are now able to not just backup their large data sets but achieve them within backup windows without compromising network or system performance. Using an agentless backup and recovery platform also helps cloud providers further ensure the security of their customers’ and their own IT infrastructures. This is helping cloud service providers ensure compliance to regulatory requirements for their end customers.
Instant Recovery Capabilities
Cloud backup platforms today are bringing together multiple approaches for data protection into a comprehensive singular platform – snapshot based data protection, image based backup and recovery, as well as traditional file based methods to backup. All of these approaches are provided as options in these platforms enabling Infrastructure as a Service and cloud service providers to provide their customers with cost-effective solutions that best meet their customer’s unique situational needs. This is helping service providers provide unthinkable service levels to their customers. Instant recovery capabilities are increasingly becoming available for customers. With these capabilities extended to them by their cloud service providers, enterprise IT staff are now a lot more confident about being able to support the changing needs of today’s enterprise IT departments. And with the cost benefits, reduced downtimes, and the ability to respond proactively and quickly to end user requirements, enterprise IT is on cloud nine!
How far is your data protection department in its cloud journey?
As our company continues to mature, so does our web site. Today we are proud to announce that we’ve launched the third generation of the Virtustream.com web site. The new site represents a significant advancement in our online presence including a modern lightweight look and feel. We’ve put a lot of work into this website, and we’re excited to share it with you.
The site was built in partnership with Metrik, a multidisciplinary design studio based in the Potrero Hill district of San Francisco. Metrik specializes in Graphic and Information Design. The design firm’s motto is “effective design that goes beyond the ordinary.” Something we believe they have achieved with great effect with the new site.
A lot of effort has gone into this iteration of the web site including an improved “adaptive” HTML5 design built in the open source Drupal CMS. Whether viewing on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop, the site automatically adjusts for you. Just try resizing your browser window; you’ll be amazed, we promise.
We’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to help us launch the new site. And, although we’ve spent quite a bit of time testing it, we ask that you to send us any errors if, by chance, you happen to run across any.
At VMware Partner Exchange 2013, Sean Jennings (SVP Solutions Architecture, @vcdx17), presented several sessions focused on how to successfully enable companies to drive greater efficiency our of their business-critical enterprise workloads. He also talked about how Virtustream customers had migrated some of their most complex environments to our Enterprise Class Cloud environment.
One of the interesting aspects of these presentations were the customer success stories. Of the five that were presented at the conference, four of them were Virtustream customers. 80%, not too bad!!
This past week, there was a very good article in Forbes talking about the changing viewpoints of CIOs towards Cloud Computing services. At the core of the article was a shift in how CIOs are building trust with Cloud Providers through experience in not only securing their applications, but by emphasizes a deep knowledge of the application lifecycle needed for business-critical applications.
For Virtustream, we’ve been at the forefront of this shift to more trusted Enterprise Class Cloud Computing. Being able to bring “enterprise workloads” to the Cloud, delivered in either a Virtual Private Cloud or Hybrid Cloud environment is what’s driving our customers to take the next steps in evolving IT to improve their business.
Looking through the article, I thought it would be useful to highlight how Virtustream helps our customers with this transition and how we’re unique in our approach to Cloud Computing transformation. Continue reading →
At least 30-50% of the apps on your smartphone are enhancing the UI experience by using Big Data – Social Media, Entertainment, Shopping, Fitness, Maps, Search.
Big Data has gone mainstream, and not just tech mainstream. Your CEO and VP of Sales are demanding better, faster information to help them meet customer demands and business forecasts. Your CFO is looking for new ways to cut costs out of the Supply Chain and the VP of HR is looking for innovative ways to balance employee health and insurance premiums.
They’ve all heard that Big Data is going to give them better answers. And they are looking at you, CIO and CMO, to give them the answers they need. Now!
Here’s the challenge. Big Data requires a few critical elements that may be beyond your reach. Or least they were until recently.
Big Data infrastructure is built differently than your existing IT environment. It has much different traffic patterns (more “east-west” than “north-south”). It expects the proximity of data/storage and processing to be much closer. Do you want another silo?
Big Data applications are different than your existing BI/DW environment. They leverage technologies like NoSQL, Hadoop, Column-oriented Databases, DRUID and many other new ways to ingest, sort, classify and process data.
Building Big Data applications requires a new breed of application developer and analyst. They are called “Data Scientists” and unfortunately they are challenging to find in today’s job market.
Beyond all that “new stuff”, you may also want to find ways to modernize or leverage existing investments you have in BI such as SAP. It would be good to find someone with deep SAP in the Cloud experience to help with those migrations or transitions.
So now you have two problems. You need better answers now, and building those capabilities could take months (or years), not to mention the budget cycles to pull the projects together. And then there are the skill set issues. What to do?
These types of challenges are exactly why Virtustream announced our on-demand Big Data Cloud solutions last week. Simply put, Virtustream brings together our expertise in running on-demand, Enterprise Class Cloud services with our Big Data partners to enable companies to get the infrastructure, applications and data-science expertise on-demand. Since Big Data touches one of your company’s most valuable assets, your information, Virtustream augments this service with unmatched levels of security, transparency and compliance, so you can trust that your business will make better decisions and be safe in the cloud.
Ready to get started on the path to delivering better answers for your business? Want to do it in a way that doesn’t get delayed by long budget cycles? Need an environment that’s as (or more) secure and compliant as your own data centers, but typically 20-30% faster and more cost efficient? If so, we’re just a click away to beginning those discussions.
Having the proper Big Data strategy in place will be the right answer for how the CIO and CMO are going to help improve the business in 2013. It’s time to get rid of those Big Data headaches.
1. We accomplish what is Difficult – As Gartner pointed out in their IaaS Magic Quadrant, Virtustream is not just another Cloud Computing company focused on commodity services. We’re focused on helping customers operate their business applications in a way that is more secure, more cost-effective, and with better performance.
For too long, industry pundits have said that existing applications can’t be run in a cloud, let alone in a scalable, secure manner. We’re disproving that belief, and extending the ability to consume cloud services to new Cloud Service Providers and Private Cloud environments.
2. We virtualize and improve Mission-Critical Applications - If all it took to virtualize mission-critical application was to place it in a virtual machine, the Fortune 1000 would have done it years ago. But that’s not the case today. In order for them to address the next 50-60% of their IT landscape, what we’ve been calling “IT 3.0“, it will require better levels of efficiency, better levels of performance, integrated security and integrated GRC (governance, risk and compliance) visibility.
Virtustream xStream delivers those improvements for the most challenging application environments – complex multi-tiered business applications. Our unique µVM (micro VM) cloud architecture enables us to improve performance by 30-50% and improve resource efficiency by 20-30% beyond existing virtualization environments.
Almost every aspect of both our personal and professional lives have evolved to the point where a variety of choice is the expected norm. We buy things how we want; we work where it makes the most sense; we personalize how we appear and communicate; and we’re partnering with a greater number of organizations than every before. Just look at how many apps are on your smartphone or open tabs on your browser, and it doesn’t take long to realize that we have internalized how to find the right fit for each challenge.
When it comes to IT organizations, we haven’t been nearly as flexible. While SaaS adoption has grown for many non-differentiated services, the adoption of Cloud Computing is often considered the 3rd-option after internal data-center resources or outsourcing contracts. But this way of thinking is beginning to change. We’re starting to see large organizations become frustrated with their outsourcing contracts (here, here). We’re quickly seeing a significant change in the companies identified as leaders and visionaries (2010, 2011, 2012) in the cloud service provider market, especially towards those that offer differentiated services. Throw in the emergence of several viable PaaS platforms (Heroku, CloudFoundry, Apprenda, etc.) and we’re on the cusp of the 3rd option, variations of Hybrid Cloud, becoming more and more mainstream for IT organizations.
So when is the right time to consider either migrating existing applications, or beginning a journey with new application models? Here are some triggers to consider:
The end of existing outsourcing contracts that haven’t kept up with technology trends, especially those longer than 3yrs.
For the past 3-4 years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the level of virtualization that has been adopted within Enterprise and Mid-Market data centers. Statistics show that we reached the tipping point for Virtual Machines vs. Physical Machines in 2009, with that lead expected to grow to nearly 2x by end of this year.
And as VMware CEO told us during his VMworld 2012 keynote, virtualized workloads now account for 60% all workloads in the data center.
So we have lots and lots of VMs being created, but yet we seem to be somewhat stuck in terms of which applications are getting virtualized. And in case it’s not clear which applications make up the “other 40%”, it’s those business-critical ones. ERP, CRM, HCM, Exchange, and a bunch of other nasty applications that cost a lot of money to operate and which don’t immediately save money when they get consolidated.
VMware has been going after this market for the last couple years, by adding advancements to their ESX hypervisor to handle larger VMs (more RAM, more vCPUs, new clustering and HA mechanisms) and more granular I/O capabilities (Storage I/O Control, Network I/O Control, QoS). It would appear, on the surface, that the pieces should be in place to virtualize those next 40% of applications. So what’s holding this back from gaining mainstream adoption?
Bolting on security to an existing architecture (Cloud or Non-Cloud) leads to problems down the road.
As I began to spend more time with the Virtustream development and operations teams, it became very apparent that security was deeply engrained in their DNA. The first thing that struck me was that I’ve never attended a software design or cloud deployment meeting where there wasn’t an identified “security person” in the room. In my past experiences, the various elements of security (authentication, isolation, auditing, encryption, etc.) were typically only considered at the end; “bolted on…”. Continue reading →