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.
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.
Successful companies like Ford and Netflix have deployed more than just innovative consumer service models; they also use cutting-edge cloud native IT architecture to quickly adapt to changing market demands.
Cloud Native is an architectural principal that helps IT developers write applications in a way that that maximizes the use of cloud environments where tight coupling of applications to underlying infrastructure is eliminated. Combined with the right Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities, this approach reduces your organization’s time to market, increases responsiveness to customer feedback and cuts operating costs—all the things today’s innovative companies thrive on.
From using analytics to predict how our storage arrays will perform in the field, to engineering product configurations to best meet customers’ future needs, EMC is just beginning to tap into the gold mine of intelligence waiting to be extracted from our new data lake.
In fact, we are currently working on dozens of business use cases that are projected to drive millions in revenue opportunities. And we are just scratching the surface. There’s a lot more data available, more to be harvested, and more analytics to be built out as data scientists and business users hit their stride in exploring a new era of data-driven innovation at EMC.
As I noted in my earlier blog ( The Analytics Journey Leading to the Business Data Lake), EMC IT embarked on creating a data lake to transition from traditional business intelligence to advance analytics more than two years ago. A key focus of this effort was to address the fact that data scientists and business users seeking to leverage our growing amount of data were stifled by the need for such projects to go through IT, which was a costly and slow process that discouraged innovation.
We now have the foundation and tools in place to use data and analytics to create sustainable, long-term competitive differentiation. To get here, we worked closely with EMC affiliate Pivotal Software, Inc. to mature together and leverage the multi-tenancy capabilities of their Big Data Suite.
EMC IT is innovating and developing new IT solutions that not only meet our internal customers’ growing data and IT demands but also help us drive improved space utilization and energy efficiencies in our modern data centers.
For example, in our regional data center in Cork, Ireland we used “hot aisle containment” technology to decrease machine energy consumption by 24 percent. In our Hopkinton Data Center, we increased space efficiency and reduced power consumption to extend the facility’s life by five years. And leveraging IT’s own business analytics tools, we were able to apply predictive and deeper analytics into application and device power usage—to drive further efficiencies.
Read more about our Efficient Data Centers and how they further EMC’s commitment to sustainability in EMC’s 2015 Sustainability Report.
At EMC, as with many companies across the globe today, we are pursuing our path to digital transformation—enabled by our internal IT Transformation. For EMC IT, digital transformation points us towards a vision of personalized products and services, real-time information and analytics smartly helping ‘pilot’ the business, and contemporary customer experiences enabled on smart devices. In other words, we are transforming EMC into a software defined enterprise (SDE). The question is what does “software defined enterprise” (SDE) really mean for IT and how do we get there. By way of an answer, our Office of Architecture and Innovation team recently came up with a game plan—appropriately called EMC IT Architecture of the Future.
We have created a comprehensive blueprint detailing the foundational architecture principles which are critical to achieving our software defined enterprise goals. While the priorities highlighted in the plan are not new, this is the first time IT has brought them together in a single vision defining how each fits to deliver SDE. The intent is to help clearly communicate IT’s role in making the notion of SDE a reality.
Converged infrastructure (CI)—pre-engineered and deeply integrated blocks of compute, storage and network that deliver mission-critical performance offered as a turnkey solution—has been a game changer in helping IT keep pace with rapidly evolving business demands. And now a more agile technological cousin, called hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), offers similar plug-and-play efficiencies using building blocks in smaller, more flexible chunks.
So when should you use converged infrastructure and when is hyper-converged technology a better option? The answer depends on what IT workloads you are running, how much resiliency is required, and the need for guaranteed performance verses agility and scalability.
Last year, I predicted that digitization would be critical for introducing contemporary services that combat IT complexity, increase our efficiency and quickly meet shifting business priorities. At EMC, we have and will continue to make tremendous strides in this direction.
However, with flat budgets and resources in 2016, we must also get creative and innovate how we simplify, digitize and automate our processes to deliver value-driven services for the business. Perhaps it is all the Star Wars hoopla, but I’m predicting the rise of robotics in IT will help us advance our digitization initiatives in 2016.
Flash storage is getting decidedly more flashy these days. The once exclusive and expensive, high-performance storage technology is staking out an increasingly mainstream storage footprint across the current data environment.
Typically, flash has been the Formula 1 of storage technology, used to meet workloads requiring high-intensity IO with low-latency needs for applications like high-performance computing, database acceleration and data mining support. While it is still used to meet these demands, we find that due to both technology and business model changes, we are able to use flash in a variety of general purpose storage situations, and, in fact, that’s how we are putting it to use in EMC IT.
There are several factors that have made flash a more viable option for a wider array of storage needs:
IT Proven allows you to leverage EMC 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 EMC IT transformed into an agile, innovative, and competitive service provider.
The idea that Chief Information Officers and Chief Marketing Officers exist in different worlds, where one is a service provider and the other a service consumer, is outdated thinking. With demands growing on CIOs to drive value to the business, and CMOs operating more rapidly to customer demands, the need for harmony between the two has never been greater.
In response, the CIO/CMO relationship can be forged by mutual opportunity. As IT transforms to more contemporary operating models and services, Marketing can embrace agile technologies, such as analytics and data science, that unlock value and bring success to the CIO, the CMO and their respective organizations.
In the latest edition of Coffee in the Café with Vic Bhagat, EMC CIO Vic Bhagat and Jonathan Martin, CMO, EMC II, discuss the deepening relationship and how their respective organizations can advance together.
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