SAP HANA and EMC Technology: Architecting for the Future

Debajit2By Debajit Banerjee — Technical Architect SAP, SAP HANA, Big Data Solutions, EMC IT

A few months ago, EMC IT successfully migrated its mission-critical, SAP Business Warehouse (BW) from an Oracle database to SAP HANA, an in-memory, relational database management system that offers several benefits over our existing system.

Not only is SAP HANA providing us with speed and efficiency needed to meet today’s growing demand for real-time business analytics, it is also allowing us to showcase how several EMC technologies can be leveraged in combination with HANA to create a contemporary IT architecture.

EMC implemented an SAP-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in 2012, to replace its decades-old, Oracle-based ERP system. However, since SAP HANA was still very new and developing at that time, we waited more than a year to migrate our Business Warehouse database from Oracle to a now-evolved SAP HANA-based system. In the meantime, our data volume grew and our business reporting process to analyze and report on key data was slow and not so efficient.

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An IT Epiphany: Getting Back to Basics and Defining Our “Wins”

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

Sometimes simple steps can lead to substantial insights in the midst of transition. One such instance proved extremely valuable in our Redefine IT effort.

In my previous Redefine IT blog, I described the structure of our IT transformation program, the workstreams we used to reshape our organization, and our pursuit of a more inclusive process for driving change.  In this installment, I want to share an elegantly simple exercise that ended up bringing new focus to our IT Strategy.

As our transition to IT-as-a-Service was taking shape, we decided to actually spell out our IT Strategy and how it connects with what matters most to EMC. We have always had an implied IT Strategy that was tightly aligned to EMC’s corporate strategy; however, we had never written it down, and consequently there was varied understanding of it across our IT organization and across the company.  Continue reading

A Glimpse Behind the Cloud: Tour the EMC Durham Data Center

By Dave Scheffler — EMC Director of Data Center Services

Today, everyone is talking about IT in the cloud, but there still has to be a physical infrastructure on the back end on which to run the cloud. Welcome to EMC’s Durham Data Center.

Our 20,000-square foot, state-of-the-art facility illustrates the most efficient way to implement the hardware your organization needs to run the cloud. It features one of the largest Vblock environments in existence. Its leading-edge green features demonstrate the savings that can be gained with a creative approach to environmental technology. And finally, our Data Center serves to showcase the full array of EMC’s products and solutions in the real world as we “drink our own champagne” in virtualizing, automating, and backing up some 12 petabytes of data.

Our virtual tour of the Durham Data Center gives you a high level understanding of how our data center works and a glimpse of EMC Cloud computing using Vblock architecture. It features purpose-built Vblocks which run our SAP-based, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and Exchange environment, as well as 100 percent tapeless backup environments built on our Data Domain and Avamar technologies. With tens of thousands of VMs in our data center, our sales staff can tap in to Durham to demonstrate products and services in a real-life lab setting.

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Data Quality Management: An ITaaS Game Changer

NeilBy Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, EMC IT Business Management

Becoming financially transparent and allowing IT customers to see and control what they invest in IT services is a critical part of transforming your IT operation into an IT-as-a-Service model. But those financial details are only as good as the data they are drawn from.  Data Quality Management is foundational to building an ITaaS model, as well as to maintaining credible financial transparency as your IT operation evolves and matures.

EMC IT began focusing on Data Quality Management back in 2011, when we pursued financial transparency as part of our ITaaS transformation. The goal was to transition our IT operation from a traditional centralized, cost-center based IT budget— where users had little or no information on the cost and value of what they consumed—to a financially transparent one providing increased detail on users’ IT spend.

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Convincing the Business to Embrace the Cloud: A New IT Mindset is Key

1c0038eBy Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

When it comes to transforming your traditional IT operation, convincing business users to embrace your new cloud architecture can be an uphill battle.

As I noted in my last blog, EMC IT initially provided infrastructure to our business users free of charge and stepped up our guaranteed service levels to convince them to adopt our new infrastructure. Virtualization and multi-tenancy were creating tremendous cost and efficiency benefits.

Nonetheless, we faced an interesting phenomenon—even though our infrastructure was free, some business units were still opting to work around us and spend real money on services.  It really caused us to pause, and ask, “Why is this happening?” Continue reading

Leaving Las Vegas: Thoughts from EMC World 2014

VicBy Vic Bhagat — EMC Chief Information Officer
@VicBhagat

With wheels up and the neon lights of Las Vegas behind me, I reflected on two days spent with nearly 80 global CIOs at EMC’s fourth annual CIO Summit.  Whether in our panel discussions, collaborative breakout sessions, or during the networking breaks, we tackled a variety of timely topics for CIOs.

Of course, it would be overly ambitious to say we collectively solved all that ails CIOs because we have just scratched the surface.  However, faced with pressure to provide our businesses and users with agile, elastic and contemporary IT services, we only saw an opportunity to unlock more value.  Here are some takeaways from the Summit conversation:

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The EMC IT Transformation Journey: CIO Squeeze Play Shows Changing IT World

By Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT

The reality is if your IT organization is working to transform into an IT-as-a-Service model to meet changing user demands, you didn’t just wander onto that path. Transformation is typically not something you do when everything is good… it’s a response to disruptive influences that make the status quo increasingly untenable.

To understand what’s driving today’s IT transformation groundswell, you need only look at the escalating pressures facing the CIO in a traditional IT operation. On one side, you have external IT service providers, promoting standardized offerings with friction-free consumption experiences and pay-by-the-drink pricing selling directly to the lines of business in competition with corporate IT.  On the other side, many CIOs contend with Corporate Finance models that want to treat corporate IT like a regulated monopoly–rationing the supply of IT in order to keep total IT costs in check.

While corporate IT may have once been somewhat of a monopoly within an enterprise, those days are long gone.  Increasingly tech savvy business users, empowered by consumerization trends and an explosion in IT services offered from the public cloud, are finding alternatives to corporate IT.  They perceive IT as too slow, too expensive, too restrictive and too rooted in traditional thinking.

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Best Practices for Virtualizing Your Oracle Database – Datastores

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.

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Enterprise Platform as a Service Explained: Our Experts Take a Deeper Dive

EMC IT’s new Enterprise-Platform-as-a-Service offering brings automation, agility and efficiency by providing users with an on-demand IT landscape on which to develop their applications. For a closer look at this holistic approach, check out the following videos by members of the IT Platform Strategy and Engineering team

Bill Reid — Senior Director, IT Platform Strategy and Engineering — gives an overview of ePaaS, including why EMC IT developed it and what it will mean for the business.

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Automated Storage: The Final Piece of IT Optimization

By Srinivasa Maguluri — Consultant Architect, Cloud Platforms, EMC IT

While today’s business organizations have gained tremendous IT agility and efficiency with technology that automates the management of their computer and network resources, handling growing data storage demands across multiple environments has remained a time-consuming challenge—until now.  Software defined storage opens the door for enterprises to achieve automated and on-demand management of their data storage resources to provide the final piece of IT optimization in the cloud.

I am part of a team at EMC IT that is currently incorporating a groundbreaking software defined storage platform into our IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model.

Amid the ongoing explosion of data creation and the demand to access and analyze such information quickly, enterprises have been struggling to manage their multi-vendor storage environments. Software defined storage turns physical storage arrays into pools of virtual shared storage resources so that users don’t have to care which platform their data is on. After all, business organizations are interested in data modeling and getting the data storage services they need, and not whether that information is in box A, box B or box C.

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The EMC Durham Data Cloud Center Migration: Planning Migration, Discovery and Move Events

Fourth in a series on EMC’s new Durham Cloud Data Center. Click here to read part three.

By Stephen Doherty, Consultant IT Project Manager

If you are struggling to sort out decades of intertwined databases and mission critical applications to move them to a brand new data center, take heart, you’re not alone.  In this blog I’ll discuss our struggles to come up with a migration plan.

As soon as EMC’s Durham Data Center Migration Program to move six petabytes of data and hundreds of applications to our new cloud data center was underway, we initiated the discovery and planning efforts.  These work streams ran in parallel to our Architecture Design (Part 1) and our First 90 Days (Part 2) work streams.

I had never migrated a data center before and I had no idea how complex the effort would be.  Discovery?  Why would we need to do that?  We know what’s running where….right?

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Labor Allocation For Production Support: A Ticket To Increased Efficiency

 By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Management

Third blog in a three-part series on labor sourcing

In my previous two blogs about labor allocation, I talked about how EMC IT’s move to an IT as a Service business model required us to redefine our sourcing strategy.  I described our transition to a variable consumption model, how we are gaining efficiencies from labor pooling and continuous improvement activities. In my final labor sourcing blog, I will explore how we applied this strategy to Production Support Services.

As noted in my second blog, using EMC IT’s new variable consumption-based labor model for Production Support Services (PS) is a bit trickier than for other types of service delivery in that it’s a non-discretionary spend and is usually a reaction to when something is broken. It does, however, still offer plenty of potential for increased efficiencies.

Production Support Services are measured by the number of “tickets” IT issues. Tickets are the means by which we track business unit requests to resolve issues with IT assets. Because they are logged with each problem that customers report and seek help on, tickets are completely variable. Since most tickets involve issues that need to be resolved in a specific amount of time (SLA), you could get into trouble in a pay-per-unit-of-work contract model. In other words, you will pay for all tickets generated for an application since it’s non-discretionary. Since the demand is not typically within the control of the customer, it puts a lot of pressure on IT to understand the drivers behind the ticket volumes.

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Accessing ePaaS With A Few Clicks: EMC Pioneers Automated Services

By Norm Simmonds – Consulting System Administrator, EMC IT and James Nuzzo – Senior IT Applications Development Manager

 
Allowing business users to create their own application landscapes with a few clicks of a button is no longer a futuristic vision. At EMC, we are developing 100 percent automated delivery of Enterprise Platform as a Service (ePaaS) using high-level cloud architecture and a self-service IT as a Service catalog.

This breakthrough in automated IT service delivery is part of EMC’s ongoing journey to the Cloud. Over the past several years, we have realized significant cost savings in transforming our IT operation into a fully automated service delivery organization.

ePaaS is the on-demand delivery of automated IT platform operations as a service, including compute, network, storage, data protection, monitoring, and application development. It allows development and IT administrators to create, modify or decommission application environments, as well as monitoring those applications via a single access point, much more rapidly than a traditional IT model.

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Building The IT Factory: IT as a Service Hinges On Process Automation

By Norm Simmonds – Consulting System Administrator, EMC IT

From determining business needs to defining and pricing a service portfolio to meet them, transitioning your organization’s IT operation to an IT as a Service (ITaaS) model is a complex and challenging process. A crucial aspect of that transformation that you may not immediately focus on is the need to automate the delivery of those services.

The fact is, ITaaS is an empty promise without process automation. It is the only way IT can meet users’ demands for consistent services in an agile, on-demand timeframe not typical of the traditional IT model of the past.

After establishing a service portfolio and launching our ITaaS catalog at EMC, we are in the process of developing an end-to-end global orchestration process to automate our service delivery. While we are still evolving our system, what follows are some of the insights we have gained over the past year.

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EMC Accelerates Business Operations With SAP

The virtualization of EMC’s global computing infrastructure has commanded long-term dedication to re-engineer the way we manage our internal systems and processes — our IT Transformation. As part of the journey, one of the most important system re-design has been our enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. A few years ago, our old ERP had reached critical mass. It was aged, far too customized and increasingly became a hurdle to EMC operating at a speed demanded within a global enterprise. Knowing something had to change, EMC entered into a partnership with SAP to revolutionize our ERP platform.

In the summer of 2012, that mission — code named PROPEL — came to fruition. Through unprecedented collaboration between EMC’s business units and IT, 500 employees, consultants, systems integrators and partners completed a remarkably quick 27-month implementation of the new ERP system. The new system provided EMC with the transformative platform required to meet our everyday business needs. When the project team rang the bell on PROPEL, it instantly incorporated more than 8,000 global users which fundamentally changed the way EMC operates, providing new methods of collaboration, faster financial reporter, application integration and more.

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EMC IT Takes a Holistic Approach to Optimizing Business Capabilities

By KK Krishnakumar, Vice President & Chief IT Architect

Planning our EMC IT strategy to meet the company’s future business capability requirements is a lot like planning for the future growth of a city.  For a city to thrive and prosper, leaders must holistically coordinate infrastructure projects and resources across municipal departments to meet the needs and demands of its residents within city policies–hopefully with the least amount of bureaucracy. Road improvements, for example, need to link to traffic and development patterns and not conflict with sewer or water line installation.

As EMC’s business has become more complex, EMC IT has been striving to work closely with business units in a similarly holistic approach to map out what capabilities they need and how IT can support them. We are in the process of forging such a strategic plan for the current year, based on an increasing level of collaboration with the business units we serve.

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You Can Take Financial Transparency Further: Getting the Business Perspective on IT Spending

Providing business users with financial transparency about your company’s IT services doesn’t just promote business unit (BU) participation in their own IT consumption choices; it can also be a great tool to make sure enterprise-wide IT initiatives are on track in meeting business and corporate objectives.

After launching financial transparency last year as part of our IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model, EMC IT invited business unit leaders to meet with IT executives to share details and opinions about our enterprise IT spending. They got to discuss their views with each other on a list of teed up enterprise IT initiatives— those projects that have cross-business benefits as opposed to serving a single business unit. In fact, we asked them to vote on the enterprise initiatives to help us rank their importance.

We used business leaders’ feedback to turn what was previously a less than precise approach to setting our enterprise IT spending priorities into a much more refined list of which initiatives we should spend money on and which should wait.  In addition, we’ve maintained the goal of continuing to shift our overall EMC IT budget to enterprise initiatives.

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Business Units Embrace Big Data Analytics: Sales & Marketing Use Case Showcases Value of Business-Analytics-as-a-Service (BAaaS)

Hindsight may be 20/20, but when it comes to Big Data Analytics, foresight is where the business gains really lie. Therefore,  a project by two key EMC business groups uses our newly established Business-Analytics-as-a-Service (BAaaS) offering to gain foresight into future sales and marketing opportunities. It isan exciting milestone on our journey into the world of truly advanced analytics.

The project is called MARS — a joint effort to use BAaaS to consolidate customer, sales and marketing data from multiple sources into a single data repository using the Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform. The initiative, which creates Master Analytical Records — or MARS — for each customer, will provide both Sales and Marketing with easily accessible and accurate data for advanced analysis and modeling that will guide future sales and marketing efforts.

Our BAaaS offering enables EMC’s business units to rent an “analytic workspace” with the analytics capabilities to conduct their own data analysis projects. The offering provides full access to EMC’s previously restricted corporate data assets. Users can also mine data from multiple sources beyond EMC’s traditional corporate data sources for their research. If this data proves to be valuable to the ongoing analysis, users can work with IT to get it added to the central “data hub.” This data hub is managed by IT, freeing the business from the responsibility of ensuring the data is loaded, reliable and secure.

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Window To Our Private Cloud: Automating Operations Management for Our Cloud Infrastructure

By Mike Leach - Management & Automation, IT Enterprise Management and Automation Services

Today’s dynamic cloud infrastructure requires a modern approach to IT operations management. Traditional tools and processes designed for static physical environments overwhelm you with monitoring data, alerts and open questions. They’re not designed for highly scalable, dynamic and virtualized infrastructure.

As a result, end users are often first to report performance problems, putting more pressure on IT because of a fundamental lack of visibility into the true health and efficiency of both infrastructure and applications running in today’s “cloud” datacenters.

And as these datacenters become more and more virtualized, traditional IT operations management and automation teams face new challenges in their efforts to effectively manage and protect IT infrastructure under their management and supervision.

EMC IT’s Enterprise Management and Automation Services (EMAS) team is implementing the latest EMC and VMware automation tools to not only meet the complex needs of today’s cloud environment but also support EMC IT’s shift to an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) delivery model.
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The Proof is in the Process: People, Process and Technology are Essential for Successful IT Operations.

The Proof is in the Process
People, Process, and Technology are essential for successful IT operations.

These days we are all talking about IT cloud enablement or IT-as-a-Service, and increasingly these conversations are now about optimizing IT processes to facilitate successful cloud deployment. Based on my own past experience as a technologist, I thought that the most important (and cool) thing to do in IT was deploy the latest and greatest technology. However, today, I am linking technology evolution to process integration because only by optimizing our IT processes will we enable cloud computing successfully. I recently read Peter Fingar’s book, Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform, and I’m sold on his notions of how the cloud can be applied to day-to-day business operations.

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