Do any of you remember when self-service was reserved for all-you-can-eat buffets? Some of you aren’t old enough to remember when there was no such thing as a self-service gas station. Every gas station used to be entirely full-service, which meant a nice person would come to your car and ask you which grade of gas you wanted and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. While the pump was going, they would clean your windows and you drove away with a full tank and truly perfect windows.
In the 1980s, self-service really took hold when people started paying for everything under the sun with credit cards and when credit card processing got so good that you could build it right into the pump it became the norm. Since then, self-service seems to be everywhere and rightly so because it allows buyers to make quick decisions at point-of-sale, and reduces time spent on menial tasks freeing up resources for more strategic efforts.
These great self-service characteristics can even be applied by IT organizations today. For example, Dell IT is now leveraging a newly-launched capability called Shared Connected Configuration to bring the efficiency of self-service to enterprise PC deployments. This new service allows Dell PC customers to connect directly to Dell factories to manage their own custom Windows image—including applications and configuration—and ultimately have their PCs shipped to end users ready for first time login.
In today’s fast-moving, software-driven technology world, even die hard techies don’t find it compelling to build their own computer systems out of their favorite components like they did a decade ago. Today, it makes more sense to buy a laptop or desktop ready-made to run the latest software without customization. The same can be said for companies pursuing the modern data center.
That’s why Dell Technologies is taking a buy-not-build approach to transitioning our data centers to the cloud as legacy Dell and EMC converge in a single modern data center effort.
Historically, both Dell and EMC have been working to virtualize and optimize their data centers, with a current combined virtualization level of about 77 percent. We are continuing those efforts with a plan of reaching 100 percent virtualization near-term. But our overall goal is to transition beyond virtualization to the cloud, where we can leverage the agility, elasticity, resiliency and dynamic characteristics of a truly modern, software-defined data center.
If you are heading into the office today, chances are you won’t stay tethered to your desk for long—if at all. Workplace settings have become more flexible and creative in today’s world, with seamless Wi-Fi access, modern meeting rooms and digital conferencing. Personal devices are pervasive. Our workplaces extend far beyond the office setting, with mobile technology letting us do our jobs on the train, at the coffee shop and from our homes.
Organizations that want to keep pace with a flexible work world and attract and keep talented employees need to create a digital workplace where team members can work seamlessly anytime, from anywhere.
We at Dell IT are kicking off a multi-year effort to do just that—to create a digital experience centered on an agile, highly mobile work culture that gives our team members the freedom to get more done from anywhere. (more…)
Creating a single data lake to serve a newly merged Dell Inc. and EMC Corp. is a bit like harnessing the tectonic shifts in the Earth’s crust that form the more traditional lakes some of us would rather be fishing on.
Both companies—united last fall as Dell Technologies, the world’s largest privately held technology company—have relied on somewhat different technologies to perform critical Big Data analytics that are key to their success. Critical data for each company was housed in multiple legacy systems and platforms. The challenge was how to bring everything together in a central repository—i.e. a data lake.
As soon as the groundbreaking merger took place last fall, a newly merged Big Data team, for which I serve as lead architect, began working to develop a world-class data ecosystem that would provide the right data, in right place, in the right format and at the right time to solve for current challenges and position the company for digital transformation.
IT Proven allows you to leverage Dell IT’s first-hand knowledge and best practices to accelerate your own IT transformation journeys, transforming operations and delivering IT as a Service through the power of cloud computing. IT Proven highlights how Dell IT transformed into an agile, innovative, and competitive service provider.
Today, Bask Iyer, Dell and VMware’s CIO, was named a 2017 inductee into the CIO Hall of Fame from IDG’s CIO. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon a select group of outstanding IT executives and visionaries who have had a significant impact on the IT profession. He will officially accept his award at the CIO Hall of Fame awards ceremony in August; but I thought today’s announcement of it would be a good reason to catch up with Iyer to discuss what this means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.
Some in IT might wince when I say this, having a modern IT network isn’t about the new and the shiny. It’s about the foundational.
Before an IT organization can pursue Software Defined Networking, Converged Infrastructure (CI), Digital Transformation, Platform as a Service (PaaS), or any other emerging technology, it needs a network in which its people, technology and processes support the foundational elements of its existing technology and services.
Three and a half years ago, my Global Networking Services team at Dell took on the challenge of modernizing and transforming Dell’s networking infrastructure to improve reliability, simplify, lower costs which set the stage to adopt new IT innovations. While it was an effort that had been attempted many times before, we succeeded in delivering a more stable and flexible network that is now poised to support Digital Transformation as the company integrates Dell’s and EMC’s networks.
Some of the factors that helped us get there may surprise you.
Bringing Dell and EMC together for one of the biggest IT mergers in history means extensive integration efforts that will span many months. But the key challenge our team faced even before the merger was complete, was one of the critical business process integrations leading to the launch of Dell Technologies in the marketplace.
We were charged with integrating EMC and Dell’s dual Saleforce.com systems to provide thousands of sales professionals seamless access to data and opportunities across both companies on Day One of our groundbreaking merger. We wanted our sales teams from each company to be able to sell products from both as we officially launched Dell Technologies.
What’s more, bridging the gap between the disparate Salesforce systems was needed to avoid the error-prone inefficiencies of sales reps, account managers, and finance professionals manually reconciling and reporting on data from disconnected systems.
Setting a course for integrating IT operations to bring together Dell and EMC in the largest merger in high-tech history is a bit like climbing a mountain. You need to decide where to start and map out the path you will take to get to the top.
Defining Dell IT’s (the name of the new combined organization) journey for integration was the first step as we began the process of molding both companies’ IT resources into one IT organization to serve what was becoming a 140,000-person global company. And while we still have a ways to go in our integration effort, here are some of the methods we used and lessons we learned so far that might make your IT integration journey a little less daunting.
It’s the holiday season and that time of year where we get together with friends, family and loved ones. Big gatherings are common which are fun for some, stressful for others. My family has grown beyond the dining room in my Mom’s house, so we now find ourselves having the big family holiday dinner quite literally in the play room above her garage. Yes, we carry all of the holiday dinner out of the kitchen, up the stairs, through a hallway, and into this room, because it’s the one big room in the house where we can all comfortably sit and eat. So Mom gets a little stressed, but luckily she has a nice, empathetic family. Inefficiency be damned, we optimize for the moment.
IT executives face a similar dilemma in managing day-to-day data center operations, but their customers and user base are a touch less empathetic. Fortunately, we now have the ability to expand off-premises, so we don’t have to buy that big expensive house anymore and can pay for capacity on demand. But we still struggle with how to optimize those expansion capabilities and manage our TCO of our enterprise IT infrastructure assets. (more…)
How do you cool today’s modern data centers, running increasingly high density and high performance equipment built to manage exploding amounts of enterprise data? This presents a substantial cooling challenge for data center managers. Fortunately, we at Dell IT have found a way to take the heat off of such cooling demands.
After many months of careful experimentation, we recently determined that using a cold aisle containment approach in our Durham, N.C, data center, we can safely maintain our equipment at 78 degrees F. This is six degrees warmer than the original design threshold of 72 degrees F. The increase means we can now leverage free-air cooling—air circulated from outside rather than mechanically cooled air—in our data center 80 percent of the time instead of 60 percent. (Think of it as opening a window in your house rather than running the air conditioner.) This will cut our cooling costs by 25 percent.
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