Go big or go home!

Go Big or Go Home, seems trite, but it is applicable to IT transformation.  Companies that are successfully adopting cloud technologies are taking a transformation approach, not a technical project approach.  The larger the scale of the program the more traction they are getting across the enterprise, business and IT.  For too long virtualization has been conflated with consolidation and that’s been one of the sticking points when it comes to trying to get the business and application owners to buy in to change. Continue reading Go big or go home!

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Cloud Heresy

I’m about to commit a bit of cloud heresy as a technology guy writing about cloud and claiming that it’s really not all about hypervisors, automation and orchestration. Sure, you need a measure of these components in order to be able to deliver on the cloud vision and model efficiently, but does that really solve the problems that are driving the consumers of IT to try and skirt enterprise IT and give their dollars to the public cloud? I think the number of services being consumed that are called cloud but really aren’t and the amount of cloud washing going on in the marketplace clue us in on the fact that it’s not the technology per se that is driving the consumption of cloud. The key thing I am hearing from my customers, and more importantly their customers, is that what is driving people to consume these services, some of which are actually inferior from a service management stand point to what is already offered internally, is the ease of consumption. Consumers are voting with their dollars for quick provisioning, knowing what they’ll pay and the levers that effect that cost, and transparency around what they are getting and using. Continue reading Cloud Heresy

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Join Us!

I’ve mentioned in the past just how much I enjoy working at EMC and since posting that I’ve been privileged to be able to continue hiring outstanding consultants and architects for EMC Consulting.  In addition to the satisfaction of having happy customers, being able to continue to grow the ranks of our talented organization is a real point of pride.  The Cloud and Virtual Data Center practice within EMC Consulting is currently hiring in North America and we are looking for flexible, creative subject matter experts who can help our customers achieve their aspirations while growing their careers within EMC.  I truly believe that EMC Consulting is the place for you if you are looking to help large companies plan and implement their next iteration of IT.  Please check out the positions listed below, or feel free to drop me a line at edward dot newman at emc dot com.

Southeast:
•    Sr. Practice Consultant – 61302   (4 open positions)
•    Practice Team Lead – 61306   (1 open position)
•    Practice Manager – 61301   (1 open position)
West:
•    Sr. Practice Consultant – 61314  (1 open position)
•    Practice Manager – 61315  (1 open position)
Central:
•    Practice Team Lead – 61316  (1 open position)
Northeast:
•    Sr. Practice Consultant – 60655 (3 open positions)
•    Practice Manager – 50999  (1 open position)

Applying to a position with EMC:
1.    Click on the following link – http://www.emc.com/about/jobs/index.htm
2.    Click on the “Apply Now”
3.    Enter the five digit req. number into “Requisition ID “ box
4.    Hit Search
5.    Check of the box and submit to position
6.    Candidates will need to register if they are not already in the system

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Trusted Cloud

More and more I’m hearing that it is no longer a matter of ‘if’ clients will use cloud computing in some way but a matter of ‘how’ and ‘when’.  Security is often listed as the number one concern regarding cloud adoption in surveys of EMC and VMware customers, and an informal poll at VMWorld reflected that as well.  Why the need for a Trusted Cloud?  Well by now people have figured out the benefits of cloud computing outside just the evangelist ranks and are looking to use it within their enterprises, authorized or not.  The “consumers” within the enterprise really want the provisioning, management and reporting promised by the cloud and they are willing to go around IT to get it in some instances.  So if “consumers” are already using cloud, and more and more of them want to be, we need to figure out a way to inject security and compliance into those services.  VMware’s been doing their part with the launch of the vShield security portfolio last week, but that is only part of the equation.  So what is the Trusted Cloud?  It’s a cloud that assures that the right people have access to the right services, applications and information via a secured infrastructure.

I’ll be hosting an EMC Live! webcast tomorrow on the topic and some best practices for beginning the implementation of the Trusted Cloud.  You’ve got to start with an analysis and rationalization of your application portfolio in order to understand how and where trust needs to be incorporated in your transformed environment.  The rationalized application portfolio feeds into your service portfolio analysis:  what are the appropriate application or service architectural models for your environment?  This is the basis for your cloud strategy and cloud sourcing model:  what are the services that I need to provide my customers and where can they be sourced from?  From here you define your services, policies and controls via ITIL or whatever framework you prefer, document them in your Service Catalog, and then publish them via a Service Portal.  The goal is to provide an end-to-end unified look and feel across the different delivery models with the trust attributes integrated into the environment.

Building the Trusted Cloud

If you’re interested in learning more please join me on September 9th at 11:00am EST for the EMC Live! webcast:

The GRC-Enabled Cloud

As cloud computing becomes more pervasive, one of the most important business questions concerns governance, risk, and compliance (GRC).

How can you achieve business agility and lower costs, while still ensuring that security and compliance issues are resolved?

Attend this webcast and you will:

Understand how to incorporate GRC considerations into the IT services provided by private cloud

Learn best practices from recent private cloud customer deployments by EMC Consulting

See how you can take advantage of private cloud initiatives to meet future requirements for GRC

Find out how defining IT services can help you incorporate public cloud capabilities into your private cloud without compromising security and compliance

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What a View!

It’s been a great VMWorld so far, and today’s announcements only add to all the buzz amongst the attendees.  I’ve always seen VDI and application virtualization as a way to extend the security, compliance, and availability of the data center out to the end users and VMware’s announcement of VMware View 4.5 with enhancements to security, “check in/check out” and an improved user experience helps further that vision.  Security and compliance has long been a key driver for the adoption of virtualized desktops and VMware delivers with the ability to combine RSA enVision, SecurID and DLP with guidance from an updated RSA SecurBook into your desktop solution.  I think that a ubiquitous and consistent end user experience is vital to the realization of Private Clouds regardless of whether the user is  on campus or not.  It’s not just about a product of course, although EMC and VMware together provide a very robust stack to build upon, you’ve got to approach your virtual desktop infrastructure as a transformation of the desktop, taking the design of the desktop, the virtual infrastructure acting as the delivery mechanism, deployment and migrations, application virtualization, security and systems management all into consideration for your solution.

Desktops have been a growing nightmare for IT organizations, so many different hardware profiles, OS builds, application portfolios, user communities, deployment methods, sprawl, process confusion and dubious security, not to mention spotty backup and recovery capability.  Security has long focused on the end-points as a way to control risk, I’m willing to bet we’ve got more laptops and desktops than we do routers.  And we hire very smart people and give them tools that may or may not meet their needs, a recipe for disaster really.  Desktop and application virtualization affords us the opportunity to do a global reset on a lot of that, pulling back data, applications, and profiles to the virtualized data center or Private Cloud giving your users a secure and compliant set of tools to do their work.  You’ve got to provide an environment that’s not only trusted, but also predictable, IT needs to understand the performance, scalability and interoperability of their virtual environment and application portfolio.

Layer into all of this the fact that many organizations are looking to move to Windows 7 and want that process to be easier than Vista and XP iterations were.  A holistic approach to desktop virtualization can leverage VMware View 4.5 to provide an easier upgrade path for the OS and the opportunity to do security right, building it in from the design of the solution rather than as a bolt-on after deployment.  The number of remote and mobile users is growing every year: security, compliance, systems management and performance concerns are growing along with them.  VMware View 4.5 and the tight integration with RSA’s security products running on top of EMC Proven Solutions for intelligent information infrastructure goes a long way in providing the foundation for an engaging, secure, and compliant end user experience, one of the key promises of cloud computing.

Taking a targeted approach for the implementation of a virtual desktop infrastructure to the most sensitive or highest change environments, like app/dev, is a good way to make use of the enhanced capabilities of VMware View 4.5 and the integration with RSA.  Providing access to a dev/test environment via VDI is a great way to amp up security and compliance if you’ve got a lot of development initiatives always underway or you’re working with offshore resources.  You can extend the security and compliance of a cloud service by making it accessible only via a VDI client, all data now lives in the cloud, secure and available.  Developers, or consultants, working on multiple projects?  Multiple VDI sessions rather than multiple laptops or desktops.  Gain successes and efficiencies and continue to expand the deployment of your VDI solution on their strength and ever important word of mouth.  At EMC we’ve talked about the concept of Information Lifecycle Management for a long time: get the right information, to the right people, at the right time, with an optimized cost structure.  Well RSA takes that concept and extends it with their integration with VMware View 4.5: allow the right people access to the appropriate data via a trusted infrastructure.

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EMC World 2010

The first two days of EMC World 2010 have been that familiar and welcome mix of hectic and inspiring. This is my fourth EMC World and I continue to get to increase my level of participation year after year. I started with on presentation, then a presentation and a BoF session, then added participation in the analysts section and the inaugural blogger’s lounge and this year all of that plus the media session and the executive track. I am continually amazed by the level of participation of our executives, customers and partners. This year I’m lucky enough to share in the experience of having the area I spend the most amount of my time and energy on, the Private Cloud, be the organizing theme for the entire conference. Talk about feeling front and center. I’ve heard from analysts, the press present, customers and our partners that our messaging this year has incredible cohesiveness and vision. I certainly can’t take credit for that but am happy to hear that it is enabling those attending to get even more out of the event. The continued integration of our social media efforts into the conference as a whole is really paying off from what I can tell, an incredible number of hits to the micro sites, tons of Twitter traction, live blogging and even Joe taking part in a video blog from the Cube! Very cool stuff.

It would seem that having the conference in Boston has really amped up the media and analyst coverage, which I think is great. I had so many good, thoughtful conversations with the media this afternoon and am grateful for all the time they dedicated to my little corner of EMC. We really had some top notch reporters and thought leaders engaged with us from the press, I’m looking forward to seeing the output from the sessions this afternoon.

I’ll be dedicating a future post to some of the key announcements soon, I’m really excited about the possibilities they open up for cloud enablement and how our portfolio continues to grow. All in all I think this has been the best EMC World yet and I hope to get to run into you at the remaining sessions or to get your feedback via the comments or Twitter.

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Cloud Differentiators

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with my clients and partners lately about what makes a Private Cloud a cloud. There are many schools of thought on this, no end to the opinions really, but I think it comes down to a few differentiators between “just” virtualized infrastructure and a cloud. For me those differentiators are less about technology and more about how you manage and provision things. A virtual infrastructure is still managed and provisioned on a resource or asset basis, where a cloud is managed and provisioned as a service or by policy. A service being some aggregation of resources to deliver something meaningful to your customer. An integrated approach to Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) is required to accomplish management as a service or by policy. It’s not enough to have a Dashboard that shows you the status of your environment, you need a console that reports and allows you to interact.

The virtual infrastructure is a key enabler of the cloud, but it’s not the cloud. At EMC we’ve developed a product and services portfolio that enables the Private Cloud vision of any device, anywhere accessing your information and your applications regardless of the infrastructure it happens to live on. Our Virtual Computing Environment coalition extends that enablement by including the components of unified internetworking and compute with the cloud operating system. Private Cloud is more expansive than VCE and the first technology solution offered by it in the form of the VBlock. The real differentiator between the virtual infrastructure and the Private Cloud is any device, anywhere is able to access your applications and information with your governance controlling it regardless of the underlying infrastructure, be it internal assets or those provided through the public clouds.

It’s the integration of GRC into the environment that delivers on the Private Cloud promise of all the agility, flexibility, scalability, multi-tenancy and automation associated with cloud computing tempered with the security, availability, resiliency, and control of the data center. This means that getting to a Private Cloud has to be about a lot more than deploying new technologies, it’s a wholesale transformation of IT and a new way of interfacing with the Business and your customers. A lot of what has been promised and demanded by frameworks like ITIL, SOA, MOF, COBIT, etc. is now able to be delivered through the infrastructure and toolsets supporting it. It’s possible to implement the Service Catalog and things like automatically approved changes into the resource management infrastructure to begin to provide real self service of IT where appropriate. The appeal of many existing public cloud solutions are the ease with which users can consume them: a credit card; a few clicks; and bam you have storage, or a server, or a CRM system. An integrated approach for GRC can provide this same user experience, plus the enterprise necessities like Service Levels, Business Continuity, Data Protection and the like for enterprise IT. This is the stuff that gets traction with the people I talk with about cloud and to me is the real promise of Private Cloud, a promise that is actually deliverable today.

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