It’s a Hybrid World


By Stacy Hayes, VP Strategic Alliances & Channels, Virtustream

Cloud adoption at the enterprise level continues to increase as core functionality continues to improve.  Paramount on the list of “must haves” is the ability to seamlessly, easily and securely move application and data base workloads from one platform to another.  Additionally, customers are keen to avoid vendor lock-in, so true ability to move workloads between both public and private clouds, with no strings attached, is a must.  Workloads must also be dependably secured, with the same network and application controls in place both at rest and in flight.  Enterprise cloud consumers are still a long way from realizing this utopia but thanks to advances like Cisco’s new InterCloud, they’re a lot closer today.

Virtustream has long been a believer in hybrid – our software supports private cloud, public cloud and hybrid connection between the two.  Cisco InterCloud is the beginning of simplifying the interconnection between enterprise private sites and public clouds, enabling secure network connections and selection of public cloud connections. We view this capability as a critical component to enabling enterprise adoption of the cloud and feel that the maturity of the concept will continue to expand further in next few years.  Virtustream xStream enhances hybrid connections further by adding high levels of security, compliance and performance SLAs for production and mission critical apps.  We also work closely with Cisco and our software enhances both Vblock and FlexPod-based data centers with enterprise class private and public clouds.  We see a future of interconnected clouds linking business verticals like healthcare, manufacturing, education together with both private and public clouds.

From the Cisco partner perspective, this is a great example of the value of the Cisco relationship and the alignment they have with their service provider community.  It begins by listening to the customer through the ears of their partners.  By actively engaging their partner ecosystem, Cisco ensures, in real time, that their innovations meet the needs of their target audience throughout the product lifecycle.  As a launch participant, we have the ability to influence and shape the offering prior, during and after launch.

When it comes time to go to market Cisco really shines.  They have some of the best organized and well thought out partner programs in the business.  Service providers depend on the Cisco brand and reach to connect to the market.  In order to make that connection, Cisco created the Cloud and Managed Service Provider (CMSP) program to ensure successful end-to-end interaction from the service provider, through the Cisco field sales force and ultimately to the customer.  The cornerstone of the program is a third party, on-site audit of the service offering.  In order to become “Cisco-Powered” the provider must pass this rigorous inspection.  Cisco is not just looking to verify that their parts and pieces make up the service.  Adhering to ITIL standards, they ask for an evaluation of end- to- end solution delivery. Data centers, service desks, policies and procedures—everything is inspected in a process that takes two full days.  It’s not for the faint of heart but when it’s over, the level of assurance that both the customer and the Cisco sales force have in the service is priceless.

This is consistent with Cisco’s overall interaction with their partner community.  Unlike the other popular compute and networking vendors, Cisco’s approach to solution delivery is 100% partner-centric. Service provider offerings augment instead of compete with Cisco’s solution approach.  Because there are many partners, customers have a choice and vendor lock-in is avoided.  The competitive forces of the service provider market ensure that the highest levels of quality and ingenuity are delivered to the customer.  The ideas are fresh and customer driven, guiding not only service provider offerings but technological innovation like Cisco InterCloud.    We’re pleased to be part of the Cisco ecosystem and excited about collaborating with them in expanding the use of cloud into the enterprise market.



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The Cloud Market will Go Forth and Multiply, Though Not at the Expense of Quality


By Simon Aspinall, Chief Vertical Markets, Strategy, Marketing, Virtustream

2014 will see the cloud market step out of adolescence and become enterprise ready. As enterprise organisations realise the significant impact that embracing the cloud can bring in terms of productivity and agility, the market will grow. However, at the same time there will be greater differentiation within the cloud industry as businesses become more savvy around what they want from the cloud.

1. Heightened security and compliance requirements will lead to national clouds.

In the wake of this year’s revelations of the unprecedented level of NSA surveillance, the cloud marketplace will be largely focused on security and compliance. Encryption will become an ever more important attribute for cloud offerings to possess while businesses will be increasingly concerned with advanced security features such as malware/virus prevention, BIOS and hypervisor authentication.

Heightened security concerns will also dictate the types of clouds that we will see being deployed in 2014. Organisations will increasingly look to deploy techniques such as geo-tagging and geo-fencing to track the location and movement of their data. This desire to know the exact whereabouts of data will see more organisations looking to move to nationally built clouds that operate under local laws, rather than large, multi-national clouds. This does not mean however that there will be a decline in multinational clouds as there is still a huge untapped market that will be moving to the cloud in 2014.

2. Cloud market will double and divide.

The cloud market is set to double in 2014, with an ever-increasing share of enterprise IT moving to the cloud within the next five years. Hand-in-hand with this growth will come the sub-division of the cloud market. As enterprise organisations become increasingly aware of the cloud deployments that will be most beneficial for their business, we will see greater differentiation in the marketplace. Rather than the single cloud market that we have grown accustomed to hearing about, 2014 will see it divided into specialities. In particular, large public clouds are proving very popular for the development of new applications and SaaS, while we will also see the rise of specialised clouds that will support certain verticals, such as migrating traditional enterprise applications.

3. Majority of databases and ERPs will move to the cloud.

Over the next two years, the majority of databases and ERPs will move to a cloud (private/public or hybrid). We will see significant improvements in cloud performance in 2014, in large part due to improvements in cloud management platforms, and the use of flash memory and flash storage, with read/write-times becoming increasingly quicker allowing businesses to access large data sets more efficiently. Over two thirds of enterprise organisations are looking to move business-critical applications such as ERP to the cloud by the end of 2014, demonstrating an evolution of thinking about enterprise applications in the cloud. Large UK businesses in particular are accepting that moving these core applications to the cloud will bring great improvements to their organisation in terms of productivity, agility and competitiveness.

4. Hold your horses on cloud brokerage.

This growing commitment to the cloud will mean that the large majority of enterprise organisations will be using multiple clouds (private/public and hybrid) next year. With the desire for cloud on such a large scale, businesses will want integrated cloud management capabilities or multi-cloud federation. Seventy-five per cent of cloud implementations in 2014 are set to be hybrid, as businesses look to find a mix of solutions that best fit their needs. However, the enterprise is not yet ready to deal with multiple suppliers. Increasingly, functionalities such as compute, storage and network will be provided by a single interface as efforts are made to adapt to the needs of enterprise through the integration of infrastructure, but the diverse nature of clouds and underlying technologies make seamless integration difficult. This means that, while cloud brokerage will come into play at a later stage, 2014 will not be its breakthrough year.

5. OpenStack not ready to be welcomed in by the enterprise.

There will also be no major breakthrough for OpenStack in the enterprise family. While it is a great alternative for the SaaS and developer market, it is still at least two years away from having the key features to be trusted as an enterprise-ready platform (performance SLAs, security, compliance, hybrid for example). OpenStack’s current offering is very basic (mainly provisioning) but this is not to say that it will not feature in the enterprise in near future. In addition there are currently many competing flavours of OpenStack from multiple vendors(14+). This should not come as a surprise, after all, if we look at how long Linux took to mature and take hold we can appreciate that this is a natural opensource process that OpenStack is going through. Its time may well come but the rigorous demands of the enterprise dictate that 2014 will not be its year.

6. M&A on the radar.

Traditional hardware vendors (compute/memory/network/storage) operating in siloes will come under increasing pressure in 2014. Those focusing purely on compute or storage for example will struggle to make headway as it becomes clear that to make the cloud work for you, a software-based approach is needed which combines all four elements. We’ve begun to see this consolidation as Cisco, IBm, HP and others launches integrated hardware solutions. As these traditional vendors look to play catch up, we will see a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.

Similarly there are number of companies providing key functions in cloud management that will continue to ally and combine in 2014. We saw early pioneers like Savvis and Terremark acquired by telcos. In 2013 we saw the acquisition of businesses like Softlayer (by IBM), Tier3 (by Centurylink), Cloupia (by Cisco), Nicira/Dynamic Ops (by vmware) and a number of smaller businesses being acquired as major vendors assemble cloud stacks and key functions. With the majority of enterprise IT spending moving to the cloud this market will continue to grow and remain very dynamic.

We will also see plenty of innovation and investment over 2014 in the field of SaaS. A large number of early stage businesses are looking to displace traditional software vendors with new SaaS Offerings. The level of competition and pace will continue to rise in 2014

7. On the horizon.

There are new functions that are still yet to be delivered in the cloud. Improvements will be made in the fields of security, compliance, performance assurance, application monitoring and federation but all are in the early stages of development and will not be completed in 2014.

2014 will see great leaps taken forward as the enterprise ramps up its adoption of the cloud. However this is still a burgeoning industry and things will not happen overnight. Elements such as cloud brokerage and opensource may well have a part to play in the future, but 2014 will not be their year. We must remember that the cloud market is like any other and, while progress may be rapid, the maturity in an industry will take time.



Posted in Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cloud Environments, Cloud O/S, Enterprise Workload, Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Security | Leave a comment

We Love the Boom


Author: Rodney Rogers (Chairman/CEO, Virtustream;@rjrogers87)

Kick

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”
~ John Wooden

Much has been made about overcoming and learning from adversity when starting-up and building companies. When you are building something significant, it’s generally a process of applying a mind-crushing amount of work to inventing, establishing, failing, recovering, adapting, constructing a beach-head on a precious success, and then doing it all over again.

Virtustream is my third lap around the entrepreneurial track (Adjoined and Kanbay, NASDQ: KBAY). While these prior ventures were ultimately very successful due to the extraordinary efforts of many, at some point during the course of each of them, I was relatively convinced we’d fail. Spectacularly. It’s nice now to be able to talk about those experiences given the certainty of their outcomes, but going through the low-points were gut-wrenchingly miserable. In our first three years at Adjoined, we had to build a brand new technology company through the 2000 tech market crash, the tragic events of September 11th 2001, and the subsequent 2002 recession. We conceived and founded Virtustream in the midst of the 2008-2009 Credit Crisis. As an entrepreneur/CEO, one of my favorite adversity-related blog posts is The Struggle by Ben Horowitz. I can tell you from first-hand experience that Ben’s post is so incredibly accurate. There is no relief when you are going through The Struggle. None.

This blog post is not about The Struggle, per se. It’s about Virtustream’s relationship with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a sport that is primarily a combination of wrestling, boxing and jujitsu. It is a sport that, in my opinion, epitomizes The Struggle for the fighters in its own unique way. The need to overcome adversity in this sport is present in virtually every aspect of it.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” ~ Mike Tyson

A very long time ago, I played football and wrestled. I truly loved everything about the game of football: the physical and competitive intensity, the locker room camaraderie, the crowd, even the smell of the grass on game day. I loved it. All of it.

Wrestling was different. While I enjoyed wrestling, I respected the sport more than I loved it. It’s a physically grueling sport. It’s an individual sport and there is nowhere to hide when you make a mistake. There are no other players to lean on when you alone are getting your ass kicked out there on the matt. When you are cutting weight, you alone are the one sucking on ice cubes after a 3-hour workout in a plastic suit. Mistakes are punitive and they are all on you. When things go badly, it is adversity in its purest form.

In my experience, many of the strongest start-from-scratch entrepreneurs and business leaders I meet come from some sort of meaningful team and/or individual sport background. While I have no statistical correlations to offer, I do believe it gives one a certain advantageous context for dealing with the inevitable adversity one must face when building and/or running a business. It takes courage to deal with adversity, and, for most of us, it takes some time to be able to embrace the combined emotions of fear and doubt so as to channel them effectively into productive solutions, and ultimately positive outcomes.

“I was a baseball fan myself, I wanted to play baseball.” ~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Yes, I’m a big MMA fan. This is the kind of stuff I’ll find posted on our intranet from time-to-time, courtesy of my awesome Virtustream peeps:

Boom-Poster

So it’s probably not a huge surprise that we sponsor MMA fighters from time to time, mostly in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events. We are a young venture-backed technology firm and spend a very modest amount of money on marketing each year (~2% of revenue), so we are careful where we place our precious dollars and utilize avenues like social media and various forms of on-line interaction extensively. I think we do pretty well in terms of return on investment in this regard. Sponsoring an MMA fighter on prime time PPV or national TV (FOX) is not as expensive as you may think, if you follow the right process and know the right people. The primary reason we do this is to reach the 18 – 34 age demographic (loyal UFC viewers) for brand awareness, as this is the group our software engineers primarily come from. It has indeed helped us in a highly competitive market.

ShirtAs importantly, we do it because we think it reflects the personality of our young firm and because of the great respect we have for athletes in the sport. I have gotten to know a number of the fighters we have sponsored. To a man (and woman), these people work incredibly hard in their pursuit of greatness. They experience The Struggle. All have faced adversity in their fights and, win or lose, have come out on the other side better at their profession.

I have also found many of the athletes in this sport to be uncommonly good people. They conduct themselves with honor and generally all give back to their community. They are pretty amazing people, really. These characteristics are the ones that we hope to embody as a firm.

UFC Fight For the Troops

dog-tagsThis Tuesday November 6th, Virtustream and KOreps have teamed up for a special promotion surrounding a UFC ‘Fight For The Troops’ event at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. We have put together a limited edition shirt for the event, and UFC fighters George Roop and Jim Miller will be on site at Fort Campbell to hand out these shirts free to military personnel while supplies last.  In addition, Virtustream will donate $1 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for every Facebook ‘like’ or Twitter ‘re-tweet’ of a photo that features a military member with this shirt.

As we like to say at Virtustream, Boom!



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The Math


Author: Rodney Rogers (Chairman/CEO, Virtustream; @rjrogers87)

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.  Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.” ~Bertrand Russell

math2It has been proven that markets, over time, will revert to the mean. It has also been proven that marketing, over time, will revert to the math. I love the math.

This Cloud technology market of ours is an extraordinary one. It’s disruption defined, creating an explosive market that will relentlessly expand. As cloud software and service providers, we are all furiously working to “get ours”. We are all craning our necks and straining to get our message heard above the fray. We all have to market. But if your software is really good, you have the math. Nothing, over time, beats the math.

This week, Cloud Spectator released the results of an independent performance analysis they did on the top 14 cloud service providers worldwide as defined by the 2013 Gartner IaaS Cloud Magic Quadrant (MQ). The only missing data point is CSC, who chose not to grant access to Cloud Spectator for this performance test. [NOTE: VMware’s vCHS and Google GCE were still in beta at the time of study.] Continue reading



Posted in Application Tiering, Business-Critical Applications, Cloud Computing, Cloud Spectator, Enterprise Workload, Hybrid Cloud, Mission-Critical Applications, On-Demand, Performance, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, SLA, Software, uVM | Leave a comment

Understanding Virtustream uVM – Enabling Cloud Value


Authors: Kevin Reid (CEO/CTO), Matt Theurer (SVP/Co-Founder, VCDX#17) and Sean Jennings (SVP/Co-Founder, VCDX#16)

With the recent release of the Cloud Spectator “IaaS Performance and Value Analysis” report, several people have asked for more detail about how Virtustream uVM technology, which is part of Virtustream xStream Cloud Management software.

uVMThere is a significant point to be made about the benefit of the uVM which is only implied in the report.  The report highlights that some Cloud providers had variations of the resources based on their instance sizes.  That emphasizes two important points.

Continue reading



Posted in Business-Critical Applications, Cloud Computing, Cloud Spectator, Enterprise Workload, Hybrid Cloud, Mission-Critical Applications, On-Demand, Performance, Public Cloud, SAP, SLA, Software, uVM, Value, Virtualization | Leave a comment

Virtustream Delivers the Highest IaaS Value (Price/Performance) in the Industry


Authors: Kevin Reid (CEO/CTO), Matt Theurer (SVP/Co-Founder, VCDX#17) and Sean Jennings (SVP/Co-Founder, VCDX#16)

This has the potential to be a long post. Apologies in advance. We wanted to make sure we provided enough detail. Summary: Virtustream IaaS Cloud delivers 10% greater Price/Performance than the Top 14 IaaS Cloud Providers and 30-50% greater value than the field.

CloudSpec-Value

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 8.14.32 AM

 

 

 

 

[If you’d like more details, continue reading…]

In 2011-2012, we had been in the business of delivering managed and hosted services to Fortune 2000 clients for a few years and had been transitioning many of our clients to cloud-based consumption models.  We felt confident that our technology and operations were at a level where we could compete against much larger cloud providers. The 2012 Gartner IaaS Cloud MQ was going to be a big test of whether or not our IaaS cloud services, xStream software and IaaS revenues would match our belief that we had progressed enough to be considered a significant cloud provider.

Inclusion in the 2012 Magic Quadrant established Virtustream as a cloud provider of record. It brought our name to the forefront of this emerging industry.

Inclusion in the 2013 Magic Quadrant meant that we could consistently deliver financial results and were evolving technically to align with the rapidly changing demands of cloud services.

The Gartner IaaS Cloud Magic Quadrant establishes a technical baseline of cloud computing features focused on service-enablement, as well as standard capabilities such as secure access, monitoring and system management. Clients definitely understand the significance of providers being on the Magic Quadrant, but as they get more sophisticated in their cloud strategies, they have begun to ask us much more complex questions about how they can better server their business needs.

Not all Clouds are created Equal

With that in mind, we wanted to go a couple steps further to focus on aspects that are critical to any Enterprise or Government IT organization that is considering running their production or mission-critical applications in the cloud. These are groups that are expected to deliver not only high-available applications to the business, but be able to stand behind them with measurable response times and SLAs.  These groups also have to be able to cost-justify expenditures, so any performance results needs to be considered against the cost to deliver those results. Fast is excellent, but not if it breaks the bank. Continue reading



Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Spectator, Enterprise Workload, Mission-Critical Applications, Performance, SAP, SAP HANA, Software, Trust, uVM, Value | Leave a comment

2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Tells It Like It Is: Cloud Drivers, Inhibitors and Opportunities



Contrib
Michael Skok Headshotuted Article By Michael Skok, General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners

At this year’s GigaOM Structure Conference in San Francisco last month, North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM Research, Virtustream and close to 60 additional collaborators unveiled the results of the 2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey.

This is the third consecutive year we’ve conducted this study into how the business and IT community views cloud computing – its drivers, inhibitors and opportunities. I’d like to extend my thanks to Virtustream and the other collaborators who helped make this our largest survey yet, with a sample of 855 respondents — over a third of whom were C-level executives.

This year’s findings point to a cloud market that continues to grow, with 75% of respondents reporting the use of some sort of cloud platform – up from 67% last year. It also exposed several shifts in why and how cloud computing is being used, as well as changes related to obstacles to adoption, where cloud decision-making resides within organizations today and how the vendor landscape is evolving.

Key takeaways include:

  • Business is driving cloud adoption in the Everything-as-a-Service era (EaaSe)
  • IT is investing heavily to catch up and support consumers graduating from Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC)
  • Opportunities exist for vendors to mitigate reliability, security and complexity challenges associated with increasingly hybrid cloud environments
  • Industry concerns around interoperability and vendor lock-in are provoking change in the form of more APIs and greater data portability

The Future of Cloud Computing graphicAmong the many survey results I find interesting is that business is driving cloud adoption – which is a direct reflection of their use of cloud services in a “boundary-less” way where they can seamlessly integrate them at home and work across all their devices. That boundary-less computing shift is indicative of an evolution from BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to what we’re calling BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud), which has all sorts of implications for companies in terms of accepting, adopting and updating usage policies.

Given who the drivers of cloud adoption are, the reasons shouldn’t surprise you. Agility (54.5%) and scalability (54.3%) were cited as the primary drivers for cloud adoption, followed by cost (48%), mobility (25%) and innovation (22%) to drive competitive advantage.

Another interesting development of note is that security is slowly but surely starting to lose its label as the primary inhibitor to cloud adoption. This year, 46% of respondents named security concerns as the #1 factor prohibiting further cloud adoption as compared to 55% of respondents in 2012. Meanwhile, 46% of respondents describe the management of IT as “more complex” with the growing use of cloud components, and vendor lock-in (35%), interoperability (27%) and cost (28%) continue to be cited as barriers to adoption. Reliability (22.3%) and complexity (21%) round out the list, reflecting real-world obstacles to an “always-on” services infrastructure.

Going forward, more than three-quarters of respondents expected hybrid clouds to be at the core of their cloud strategies in the next five years, clearly showing that the market is ready for more solutions that combine the security, control, compliance and reliability benefits of a private cloud with the scalable, agile and cost-effective capabilities associated with public clouds. Of course, the key for IT will be to seamlessly aggregate internal and external cloud services to give business the speed and ease of use it needs.

What do you find most surprising when reviewing our 2013 results? I encourage you to take a look at the full report, and let me know your thoughts via Twitter @mjskok or on my site.



Posted in Business-Critical Applications, Cloud Computing, Cloud Environments, Cloud O/S, Enterprise Workload, Hybrid Cloud, Mission-Critical Applications, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Security, SLA | Leave a comment

Encryption and Key Vaulting Give Virtustream Customers Enterprise-class Cloud


To make xStream into a leading enterprise-class cloud orchestration system, Virtustream brought in SafeNet data protection solutions give enterprise customers security and control of their data. While Virtustream has been using SafeNet’s authentication solutions for almost two years, they’re increasing their cloud security offering to include SafeNet ProtectV and KeySecure for encryption of virtual images and key vaulting in the cloud.

“Security is part of our genome,” explained Gregsie Leighton, CISSP and Chief Security Architect at Virtustream. “We created an enterprise-class cloud solution, and a core component is enabling control and compliance. This means encryption for data at rest and in motion.”

And of course, whenever you implement encryption, it’s important to store those encryption keys in a secure key vault.

“ProtectV is able to protect the VM instance, and the encryption keys are stored securely with KeySecure,” said Chen Arbel, Director of Business Development at SafeNet. “SafeNet solutions protect data regardless of where it resides, affording separate security administration duties, enforcing granular controls, and establishing clear accountability with audit trails and compliance reporting. And xStream customers can easily scale the use of encryption in very large, dynamic cloud environments.”

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle was making sure that Virtustream’s customers not only have access to encryption, key vaulting and authentication, but are able to decide where to implement that security based on their own needs. Since different types of data are subject to different regulations and corporate policies, Virtustream wanted to make sure that each organization could easily add as little or as much security as needed to protect their data in the cloud.

“We automated processes within the xStream portal so that SafeNet’s security solutions are part of the ecosystem,” Gregsie said. “That automation cuts down on manual labor, reduces human error, and makes our customers lives easier.

“ProtectV, KeySecure and SafeNet Authentication Service give our customers more assurance into their data security throughout the data lifecycle – from creation through deletion.”

You can find out more about Virtustream’s xStream at http://www.virtustream.com/cloud_platform.

Learn about SafeNet’s portfolio of data protection solutions, including ProtectV and KeySecure, at http://www.safenet-inc.com/products/data-protection/.



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Enabling Secure, Mission Critical Applications at CiscoLive 2013


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.

Virtustream holds a unique partnership position with Cisco (certified Cloud Managed Service Provider (CMSP)), because of our ability to deliver Secure Cloud Services (Virtustream xStream) via the Enterprise Class Public Cloud, on-premise for Private Cloud, or by bringing them together in a Hybrid Cloud.

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



Posted in Business-Critical Applications, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Workload, Hybrid Cloud, Intel TXT, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, SAP, SAP HANA, Trusted Cloud, Webinar | Leave a comment

Migrating Apps to the Cloud Requires ‘BizOps’


Structure2013-VirtustreamThis 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 (herehereherehere), 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”. 

Continue reading



Posted in Business-Critical Applications, Cloud Computing, Compliance, Enterprise Workload, GRC, Public Cloud, SAP, Trusted Cloud | Leave a comment

Virtustream Leads SAP HANA to the Enterprise Cloud


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.

Virtustream – Moving Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud from Virtustream

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?

 



Posted in Cloud Computing, Data Gravity, GRC, Hybrid Cloud, SAP, SAP HANA, Security, SLA, uVM, Virtualization, VMware | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Data protection departments in enterprise IT are on cloud nine – here’s why


Pavan Vyas

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?

By Pavan Vyas, Product Marketing Manager, Asigra



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