By KK Krishnakumar— Vice President and Chief IT Architect
When it comes to running your IT operation like a business to deliver IT as a Service (ITaaS) and competing with outside providers, Service Portfolio Management (SPM) is where the rubber meets the road.
SPM is the process by which your IT organization makes sure your service catalog is providing the right mix of services that will meet customers’ needs and deliver business value while at the same time enabling you to be a financially viable service provider. Or, put in plain business terms, SPM is how you make sure you are selling the right product mix to meet your customers’ demands (and needs) at the right price to keep you in business–to keep IT relevant. It is basic supply and demand.
That said, achieving SPM as you transform your traditional IT operation to ITaaS has its challenges. EMC IT has been in the process of transforming to an ITaaS model for several years now. And just as our transformation journey has been a learning process, so has our journey to effective SPM.
By Darryl Smith — Chief Database Architect, EMC IT
First off, my apologies for delaying the last part of this four part blog for so long. I have been building a fully automated application platform as a service product for EMC IT to allow us to deploy entire infrastructure stacks in minutes – all fully wired, protected and monitored, but that topic is for another blog.
In my last post,Best Practices For Virtualizing Your Oracle Database With VMware, the best practices were all about the virtual machine itself. This post will focus on VMware’s virtual storage layer, called a datastore. A datastore is storage mapped to the physical ESX servers that a VM’s luns, or disks, are provisioned onto. This is a critical component of any virtual database deployment as it is where the database files reside. It is also a silent killer of performance because there are no metrics that will tell you that you have a problem, just unexplained high IO latencies.
There are two trains of thought when you talk to people about virtualization. From the infrastructure point of view, it is all about getting more efficiency out of the physical infrastructure layer. On one hand you can try to go extreme with this approach, but it will come at the expense of incurring higher administrative costs required to constantly troubleshoot performance and functionality issues. The other point of view is mainly about reserving all of the resources of the underlying servers, just in case the application needs it. Fortunately, with VMware vSphere you can have both, by using a more balanced approach.
I promised, in my earlier posts, that I would publish the secret sauce to achieving both great performance and high efficiency when virtualizing Oracle databases – so here it is. I have broken it up into four categories: memory, networking, CPU and storage (vSphere datastores). I will actually save the datastore best practices for the next and last post in this series, due to their complexity.
Let us jump in feet first into ‘database as a service’. So what do we mean by this ? We have three database platforms that we can provide ‘slices’ of to our business users. Oracle and SQL Server have been the traditional platforms we have built upon and Greenplum is something we have adopted quickly and which lends itself to ‘database as a service’ very well.
How have we done this ? Tier, Consolidate, Virtualize
Of course, this has been a journey on its own merit. We started off by looking at the database tiering models required based on business criticality, required availability and I/O profiles. At EMC, we separate the mission criticalapplications and databases (as in revenue impacting and/or customer facing, typically with stringent RTO/RPO and data loss constraints) from the business critical applications and databases (impacting subprocesses vs enterprise processes).
To gain efficiencies of scale, we decided to consolidate mission-critical Oracle and business critical into 3 and 8 node Oracle grid architecture (and along the way reduced the number of Oracle versions from 9 down to 1). We also consolidated and virtualized a number of production and non-production databases for the business critical side. This consolidation and virtualization exercise resulted in the reduction of databases and database servers from 50+ to single digits. This has provided the basic technology foundation for implementing database as a service on the Oracle platform. The current environment provides us a mechanism by which a large environment can be sliced to service different needs at different points of time, with standardized and published service levels and predictable scalability and performance.