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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Happy Cyber Security Awareness Month: Getting Free-Thinkers To Pay Attention

By Doug Graham – Senior Director, Global Security Office – EMC IT

If you’re like me, you think about cyber security all day, every day. You may even dream about it. It’s why I’m an IT security professional (and probably not the most interesting guy you’ll ever meet).

But since most people have other things on their minds most of the time, it takes a special effort to get them to focus on the importance of IT security. That’s where National Cyber Security Awareness Month—which occurs every October—comes in.

While setting aside a month to promote cyber security may not seem like the most hard-hitting tool to tighten security for your organization, it actually is a great opportunity to do just that. That’s because more than ever cyber security is all about peoples’ behavior and raising awareness is one of the best ways to have an impact on that.

What we have come to realize in IT security is that policy, compliance and governance alone won’t achieve cyber security for your organization unless people take those policies and rules and use them to make the right security decisions. The reality is that whether it’s people in their homes or in the workplace, we depend on individual behaviors to safeguard IT security—or anything else for that matter. If you don’t lock your door, people can walk straight into your house. If you leave your car unlocked, there’s a greater chance it —or something in it— will get stolen.

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infinIT: EMC’s Gateway To IT as a Service

Throughout this blog, you have read many use cases of how EMC IT puts IT as a Service into action. Yet, among the many services and products EMC IT offers to its customers, perhaps there is no better representation of our commitment to ITaaS than infinIT (pronounced: in-fin-i-tee) — our internal portal that allows EMC IT’s employee customers to browse and purchase the tools they need to work faster, smarter and with greater agility.

Like the stores you shop online, infinIT enables EMC IT’s customers to order packaged IT products and services with transparent prices and services levels when they need them. Yet, infinIT does much more. The portal includes knowledge-based articles, FAQs and user instructions that provide self-help guidance to customers, allowing customers to be proactive in their support needs. The result has been greater accountability and faster response times in provisioning, and more importantly a smoother, more enjoyable customer experience with IT.

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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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The Big Data Wilderness: Finding Your Way Starts With Asking The Right Questions

By KK Krishnakumar, Vice President and Chief IT Architect

When it comes to defining how to use Big Data analytics for your business, consider these words of wisdom from baseball great Yogi Berra—“If you don’t know where you’re going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

Knowing where you want to go in analyzing the vast amounts of data you now have available is one of the most important aspects of leveraging that data to gain value for your organization. In other words, if you don’t at least directionally define the question or the business problem you are trying to solve before you begin your data query process, you are unlikely to get the accurate and valuable answers you need.  Without proper planning, you can just spin your wheels forever analytics-wise.

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ITaaS And Financial Transparency: Refining The Cost Model Takes Time

By Paulo Prazeres — Senior Director of IT Finance

Forging an effective financial transparency model for an IT-as-a-Service operation is an ongoing process, extending months and even years after sending out those initial chargeback invoices to IT users sharing the cost and the control of the services they consume.

At EMC IT, we have been steadily refining the process since creating cost transparency around our IT services as part of launching an ITaaS model in late 2011. And as the summer of 2013 wears on, we are already in the thick of analyzing and honing projections to make improvements for 2014.

Summer vacation season notwithstanding, cost transparency takes persistence and time, especially when we are adding new IT offerings to users. That means we are dealing with new services in our catalog, and making sure we are costing and pricing them correctly depending upon what future demand looks like.

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The EMC Durham Data Center Migration: Lessons in Solidifying Configuration Management First

By Stephen Doherty — Principal IT Project Manager

This is the third part in a series on EMC’s new Durham Cloud Data Center by Stephen. Click here to read part two.

Many organizations these days are facing the substantial task of migrating their traditional data centers to new, cloud-enabled data environments to improve efficiency and provide for growing space needs.

As you strategize to migrate your data center into the cloud, you should be ready to spend as much as 80 percent of your effort sorting out interdependencies between all your applications, databases and servers, which have probably become more and more entangled over time. (Read EMC Durham Cloud Data Center: Migration Planning and Program Management.)

As EMC IT learned in our recent migration of six petabytes of data and hundreds of mission critical applications to our new cloud data center, there is something you should do before you even begin the discovery process—invest in a streamlined configuration management system.

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How EMC IT Does Storage

By Chuck Hollis — VP, Global Chief Technology Officer

You might be used to getting storage advice from a storage vendor, but the better source might be to speak to someone in their IT group.

Such is the case with EMC IT – a great team I’ve written about consistently over many years.

It’s an interesting perspective on several levels.  EMC is a well-regarded $20B+ global enterprise in a highly competitive industry.

EMC IT also has direct and somewhat privileged access to the engineers who build the stuff, although they still have to pay for their toys just like everyone else.

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EMC Durham Data Center: The First 90 Days Mad Dash Teamwork Brings Success

By Stephen Doherty, Principal IT Project Manager

This is the second installment of a blog series about the EMC Durham Data Center. Click here to read part one.

In my first blog in this data center blog series, I talked about the challenges of architecting this cloud-optimized, 100 percent virtualized, scalable and sustainable data center. In this second blog, I would like to share some insights from the first 90 days of the project.

EMC IT set an aggressive two-year target to migrate and transform our data center into a private cloud. Every day was critical. To preserve as much schedule as possible for migrating applications, we allotted 90 days from when the facility was completed to stand up our infrastructure at our the Cloud Data Center in Durham, NC. We needed to install the network, storage, compute and backup to eventually host more than 350 applications, 2,000 servers and six petabytes of storage. In the old dedicated physical IT world this would have been impossible.  In the cloud? We were about to find out.

It was a tall order, but by standardizing on the Vblock architecture and virtualizing applications our dedicated team of engineers and technicians were able to complete the initial Cloud Data Center build on schedule.

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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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Everybody Into The Pool: A More Agile Model For Labor Allocation

By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Business Management

**This is the second part of a three-part series about labor sourcing in the ITaaS business model**

As IT operations evolve to become more agile, less siloed and increasingly standardized, it makes sense that the way we source skilled labor to deliver services to IT users in our business units should make a similar transition.

To that end, our Solution Delivery Services (SDS) in EMC’s IT organization has been moving to a new, consumption-based global operating model for some time. This transformation started with building out Technical Competency Centers (TCC) in which we aggregated, or “pooled,” similarly skilled EMC technical professionals.

Rather than the suboptimal approach of having individual professionals assigned to a single business unit, we set up groups of similarly skilled individuals who can be utilized in any project by any business unit as they are needed. The benefits of this competency center model are significant.

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Gateway To The Promised Land Of ITaaS

By Monisha Shekhar — Director of IT Strategic Programs

If your IT organization, like so many today, is in the midst of making the transition from a traditional IT operation to an IT as a Service model, you are likely wrestling with a fundamental question: when is the best time to actually launch your self-service IT Portal?

As the director of EMC’s ongoing IT as a Service program, which launched its first ever self-service IT portal six months ago, I am here to tell you, the sooner the better.

Don’t get me wrong though. It is definitely not an easy endeavor. It will require trying out processes and designs and making adjustment as you go. But the reality is that if you are waiting for the perfect moment to launch your IT portal, it will never arrive.

You need to get that real-time feedback from users; that real-life, trial-and-error process to determine how to make this on-demand, consumer grade shopping approach to IT services work as it should. That dialogue can’t truly begin until users are actually engaged in consuming the services you are offering them.

We spent many long, laborious months prior to our launch, creating our ITaaS model, defining services, marshalling resources, lining up technology and creating financial transparency around our IT operations to allow us to determine service costs.

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CIO Oasis at EMC World 2013

By Vic Bhagat, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information OfficerVic

While Las Vegas is known for its bright lights, vibrant atmosphere and clattering casinosounds, I was most enamored and impressed with the energy and enthusiasm at my very first EMC World conference.

I spent my first 120 days with the company drinking from the proverbial fire hose – getting to know the company’s employees, business units and products and services.  However, I was equally inspired by the unvarnished conversations I had with the more than 70 CIOs attending EMC’s CIO Summit at EMC World. 

As a former EMC outsider and host of the Summit, I understand and empathize with the challenges and opportunities facing CIOs today.  After all, I have walked a mile (or two) in their shoes as a CIO over the last 20 years.  Sure, there was excitement around the latest product news during the conference, but a lot of our conversations revolved around how we, as CIOs, should approach the 3rd platform, defined by IDC as the next-generation compute platform comprised of mobile, cloud, big data and social media.

Want to read more? Visit the EMC Executive Reflections Blog for the full post

Running IT Like a Business: ITSM is a Challenging but Worthwhile Journey

For those of us in corporate IT, if we want to achieve our ITaaS aspirations, we need to become more professional in how we deliver services. In the past, we’ve had the luxury of being able to impose services on our captive clients and with little competitive imperative for us to “be the best we could be.” We delivered client experiences that would have resulted in market share loss had we been a commercial service provider.

With the cloud, everything has changed. Public cloud services are competing for our clients’ business and, in some cases, winning by providing better value than our clients perceive we’re capable of delivering. We now clearly understand that we must transform ourselves to operate more like a business and offer levels of quality, cost and service that differentiate our offerings from alternatives our business clients might have.  A core component of running our IT operation more like a business and becoming a more professional service provider is adopting a set of processes and enabling technologies supporting IT Service Management (ITSM).

ITSM is an industry standard term (much like ERP [Enterprise Resource Management] and CRM [Customer Relationship Management]) that defines a process framework describing an effective and efficient way of conducting IT’s business. Technologies that enable effective IT Service Management are referred to as ITSM Systems. As is the case with ERP and CRM systems, effective ITSM implementations rely on process and behavior change. The technology alone will do very little.

And herein is the challenge. Delivering ITaaS, or running IT more like a business requires making substantial changes to IT processes and our culture and behaviors. As someone who is sponsoring our ITaaS transformation and the implementation of a new ITSM at EMC, I can tell you that it’s not at all easy.

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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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Liberate Your Big Data And Close The Loop To Leverage Its True Value

By KK Krishnakumar, Vice President and Chief IT Architect

For your IT operation to make the most of your organization’s ever-expanding Big Data in today’s information-driven universe, you need to set it free.

I don’t mean free in the sense of relinquishing control of your data and letting it go where it may, but in the sense of opening it up for collaboration with the business in pursuing meaningful analytics and then adding value from the results back into the data.

In fact, data liberation is central to a three-phase Big Data vision and strategy EMC is using to make the most of what our data is telling us.


The first phase is data consolidation—getting your data into a centralized repository with appropriate provisions for a federated model. For this, your data must be logically centralized but not necessarily physically centralized. This should be applied to both structured and unstructured data and accommodate both real-time and batch updates.


But data consolidation alone won’t let you get the most out of what it can tell you. For this, you need to liberate your Big Data by allowing the business to start using it as much as possible. In the past, IT organizations were accused of holding the data hostage. And we did in the sense that we, as custodians (but not necessarily owners) of the enterprise data, tended to keep business groups from working with the data directly for fear they would adversely impact its integrity and security.

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Architecting the Cloud with Vblock: New Data Center Shows Value

By Stephen Doherty, Principal IT Project Manager

There are big IT projects at every company and in everyone’s career.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of the largest IT infrastructure project in EMC’s history.  Simple, open a datacenter, migrate all of the applications, close a data center.

One of our Massachusetts data centers had served EMC and Data General well for decades.  However, we were constrained by power, cooling and space.  It was also far too close to our other data center to protect EMC from a regional disaster like Hurricane Sandy.  EMC selected Durham, North Carolina to build out a new 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art data center.

First mover advantage

We’ve written a lot about our Durham Cloud Data Center in the past. We purchased the Durham site in October 2009 and planned to close the near-capacity Massachusetts data center by December 31, 2012.  If the migration took longer, we estimated that it would cost EMC millions of dollars in 2013 to extend the lease and staff, power, cool and insure the facility.  Three years, no problem—except the Durham facility was a warehouse, not a data center.  The facility remodel wouldn’t be ready until October 2010, giving us eight quarters to migrate more than 2,500 servers and 500 applications and a ninth quarter to decommission the Westborough facility.

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The EMC IT Transformation: Five Years In The Making

By Jon Peirce – Senior Vice President, EMC IT

The transformation of IT organizations from a traditional service model to an IT as a Service (ITaaS) provider is a multi-faceted, comprehensive endeavor requiring a universal commitment from the enterprise, and tests the persistence and patience of all of us leading the charge.

In the case of EMC IT’s transformation, it is a story that began nearly five years ago, when we recognized that we would not optimize the beautiful infrastructure we built if we continued to operate with the same antiquated processes and governance we had used in the past. When looking at ourselves objectively, we had to admit that the truth hurt.

• We never had enough capacity to meet requests, and were constantly in the position of having to “manage demand down” to meet the available supply.
• Disconnects between the funding made available for IT services and the consumption of IT services was creating unproductive friction between IT and our clients.
• Increasingly, Business Groups looked to the public cloud because it’s faster and they could avoid the IT bureaucracy, even if it came at an increased cost.
• The increasing speed of EMC’s business was putting huge pressure on us to become faster and more adaptive.
• We found ourselves “sweeping up the mess” too often.

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