Matt Liebowitz – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Tue, 07 Aug 2018 19:04:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Multicloud is the New Reality https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/multi-cloud-is-the-new-reality/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/multi-cloud-is-the-new-reality/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:55:21 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34994 In my many years in the IT industry I’ve seen many new industry buzzwords come out and then immediately become adopted by everyone. Words like virtualization and cloud were used by everyone and vendors would rush to say their products were “cloud ready” or “optimized for cloud” to capture that excitement. Suddenly everyone’s virtualized environment […]

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In my many years in the IT industry I’ve seen many new industry buzzwords come out and then immediately become adopted by everyone. Words like virtualization and cloud were used by everyone and vendors would rush to say their products were “cloud ready” or “optimized for cloud” to capture that excitement. Suddenly everyone’s virtualized environment became a cloud even if they were called a virtual infrastructure just the week prior. We’re seeing more of that today with new buzzwords like blockchain, IoT, and others. In my world the new hotness is “multicloud.”

It’s true – hybrid cloud has become old and busted and the new hotness is multicloud (well done, if you got my 90s movie reference). In many cases folks conflate the terms hybrid cloud and multicloud, thinking they actually mean the same thing. The truth is that both hybrid cloud and multicloud are separate terms and both are equally important to an organization’s IT strategy.

Multicloud may be a new buzzword but where there’s smoke there’s fire. In the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report, they found that 81% of organizations have a multicloud strategy. That shows organizations are taking multicloud seriously and seeing that adopting a cloud strategy that looks holistically across clouds is the future. Perhaps more importantly, the report found that organizations are already using five clouds today.

If an organization uses 5 clouds, does that mean they’ve adopted a multicloud strategy? Is it as simple as using multiple clouds for your infrastructure and applications?

As with most things in IT, and in life, it isn’t quite that simple. If you simply use multiple clouds for different purposes without tying them together then you’ve likely just created new silos that increase management costs and introduce risk.

In order to properly tie multiple clouds together you need to consider a few elements.

  • Embrace a cloud-first operating model
  • Control your destiny
  • Adopt an actionable strategy

When organizations embrace a cloud-first operating model, they can move more quickly to implement new ideas, lower overall complexity and risk, and create systems that are transparent and efficient. The people and process portion of multicloud is absolutely critical to success as you solve this with technology alone. Having an operating model that allows for DevOps, cost visibility of workloads, and uses a service management framework is absolutely necessary to success in multicloud.

Next, organizations need to control their own destiny in choosing the cloud infrastructure that supports their goals and business objectives. The cloud infrastructure organization’s choice needs to be able to be deployed quickly, be integrated across compute/storage/networking, and should support cloud access. The right cloud infrastructure can be used to create single interfaces that allow managing and provisioning of resources in a hybrid cloud model (see – hybrid cloud isn’t so old and busted after all).  Tools can be used to centralize cloud access, perform cost analysis, and simplify cloud consumption.

Finally, organizations need to adopt an actionable strategy that is aligned to their desired business outcomes. This strategy needs to consider:

  • The infrastructure that will be used to support their cloud initiatives
  • The applications that will either be moved to the new cloud platforms or ultimately retired or refactored into cloud-native applications
  • The operating model, tightly integrated with the business, brings this all together

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Delivering Modern Applications with Azure Stack https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/delivering-modern-applications-with-azure-stack/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/delivering-modern-applications-with-azure-stack/#respond Sun, 25 Mar 2018 16:21:18 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34571 Accelerate Your Digital Transformation with Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack Many vendors in the cloud world are trying to approach the challenge of providing an easy way to deploy applications on-premises in a private cloud as well as off-premises into a public cloud. Microsoft’s approach is to provide a common interface, development framework, […]

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Accelerate Your Digital Transformation with Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack

Many vendors in the cloud world are trying to approach the challenge of providing an easy way to deploy applications on-premises in a private cloud as well as off-premises into a public cloud. Microsoft’s approach is to provide a common interface, development framework, and automation engine to deploy applications either in the public cloud with Azure or in the private, on-premises cloud with their Azure Stack solution. The industry response, unsurprisingly, has been largely positive.

Being able to develop an application once and deploy it anywhere without needing to modify or re-work it is a key value proposition of Azure Stack. This capability makes Azure Stack popular not only for customers who already are heavy consumers of Azure public but also service providers who are looking to offer Azure services to their customers.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack solution enables customers to run Azure Stack software on Dell EMC hardware

Azure Stack can provide an ‘easy button’ for those that already use Microsoft Azure and the many cloud services that it provides. Organizations don’t need to train their developers on new tools or IT administrators/operators on a new system they have to manage and maintain. Azure Stack provides agility to organizations that are looking to deploy new applications quickly and consistently across their organization and to their customers.

Here at Dell EMC, we offer our Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack solution to enable our customers to run the powerful Azure Stack software on proven Dell EMC hardware. Our solution also goes beyond simply providing a hardware platform on which to run the Azure Stack software. We enable our customers to provide a complete cloud solution to their customers or end users.

To do this, we:

  • Deliver a hardware platform that is fully tested and integrated with the Azure Stack software to provide a fully functional, supported, and trusted cloud platform.
  • Integrate our own industry leading solutions for things like data protection and security directly into the solution to provide additional functionality to meet our customer’s business objectives.
  • Provide our experienced Consulting team who can customize the solution for our customers.

Dell EMC and Microsoft are holding a series of events to help our customers better understand the capabilities of Azure Stack and start thinking about how they may adopt it in their own environments. These events will cover an overview of the solution, potential use cases for the Azure Stack platform, and then a live demo of the Azure Stack solution. Our Consulting team (myself included) will be at these events talking about how we can help customers deploy their modern applications on a fully automated and integrated Azure Stack cloud.

I truly hope you can make it out to one of these upcoming events to see the power of Azure Stack and what it can bring to your organization.


Your Exclusive In-Person Invitation to Learn More about Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure in a City Near You

Extend your investment in Azure to deliver consistent end-user experiences wherever the data and applications reside. Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack allows you to experience true application and workload portability — on both the public Azure cloud and within the data center.

Join solutions experts and technology leaders from Microsoft and Dell EMC to learn how, with a fully-integrated Azure Stack platform, you can:

  • Improve delivery time for new applications and services with a turnkey infrastructure platform.
  • Become an IT-as a-service broker, elevating IT importance to the business.
  • Meet the demands of regulatory compliance and customer data privacy.

You will also participate in an Azure Stack demonstration and an interactive discussion about use cases. We look forward to meeting with you!

Click the links below to register now!

Thursday, April 5th (Santa Clara, CA)

Tuesday, April 24th (Denver, CO)

Click here for the Solution Overview of Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack.

 

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Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way! https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/virtualize-active-directory-right-way/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/virtualize-active-directory-right-way/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:35:07 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=32134 Virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers, and business critical applications in general, is near and dear to my heart.  I firmly believe that there are almost no applications left that can’t be virtualized, and this session gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and help others become successful. Business critical applications have become, for […]

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Virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers, and business critical applications in general, is near and dear to my heart.  I firmly believe that there are almost no applications left that can’t be virtualized, and this session gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and help others become successful. Business critical applications have become, for the most part, the last applications and servers that are still physical for many organizations. Getting as to close to 100% virtualization as possible is an important goal to strive for.

Why is that important? Another firmly held belief of mine is that virtualization is truly the on-ramp to the cloud. By virtualizing even your organization’s most important workloads, you take one step closer to a future state where you can start taking advantage of cloud computing in your organization.

Of course, simply having a virtual infrastructure doesn’t mean you have a cloud. Having a true hybrid cloud involves additional components to facilitate automation, orchestration and to provide users with that service catalog where they can consume IT resources on a self-service basis. Virtualizing your organization’s servers makes it easier to start layering in those cloud components, and once in place you’ll want even your business critical servers virtualized, so you can start taking advantage of what a true hybrid cloud has to offer.

It’s that time again – the annual VMworld conferences.  This is my 13th VMworld!

Twitter Image - VMworld Realize ThemeThis year I’m presenting a session called, “Virtualizing Active Directory: The Right Way!” on Tuesday, Aug 29, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  It was a top 10 session last year, so if you’re at the conference, come by early to get a good seat.  Bring your copy of Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere or VMware vSphere: Performance and I’ll be happy to sign it.  Let me (@mattliebowitz) know what you think of the session, the book or the conference.
If you’re walking down the halls at VMworld and happen to see someone who looks like former VMware CEO Paul Maritz, stop him and say hi.  It’s probably me!

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Does Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Fulfill the Promise of “True” Hybrid Cloud? https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/enterprise-hybrid-cloud-fulfill-the-promise-of-true-hybrid-cloud/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/enterprise-hybrid-cloud-fulfill-the-promise-of-true-hybrid-cloud/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:00:27 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28886 Late last year I read a great article from Wikibon called “True” Private Cloud will begin shipping to the market in 2016. I really liked how their definition of private cloud matched up with the capabilities and structure of our own Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. As I sit here on this long flight from New Jersey […]

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Late last year I read a great article from Wikibon called “True” Private Cloud will begin shipping to the market in 2016. I really liked how their definition of private cloud matched up with the capabilities and structure of our own Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. As I sit here on this long flight from New Jersey to Las Vegas for VMworld 2016, I decided to revisit that article and see how well it’s stood up in 2016 and if our Enterprise Hybrid Cloud really meets their definition of True Private Cloud. And, more importantly, talk about why it’s important to have hybrid as part of your cloud strategy.

Comparing True Private Cloud to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud

To start off, let’s look at how Wikibon defines True Private Cloud and how it compares to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

Converged infrastructure

“Built with a foundation of converged (or hyperconverged) infrastructure, that can be highly automated and managed as logical pools of compute, network and storage resources.”

Since the release of Enterprise Hybrid Cloud in 2014, our company has supported converged solutions like Vblock and VxBlock as the platform of choice. We’ve also supported a “bring your own” model where a customer can choose their own hardware and, provided it meets the requirements, our services team helps the customer convert it to Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

Despite that, the vast majority of our customers have gone down the route of converged infrastructure. Why? Customers get it. They know that converged infrastructure is the fastest path to success, simplifying the architecture while providing a powerful and supported combination of industry leading technologies.

Self-service

“Enables end users (developers, line-of-business, etc.) to have self-service access to resource pools and have visibility to internal costs or IT chargeback pricing.”

It’s true: you can provide powerful hardware to run your cloud. But the truth is, if IT consumers can’t easily get access to your cloud solution, they’re going to find love in the arms of another cloud. A true private/hybrid cloud needs to provide that same self-service provisioning and cost visibility that public clouds provide.

The Enterprise Hybrid Cloud leverages the power of VMware’s vRealize Suite to provide powerful self-service capabilities and cost visibility back to the business.  That suite of software gives them a powerful self-service catalog and orchestration engine, a tool to monitor performance in the environment, and cost visibility for the resources consumed.  Combined with the extensive engineering that went into creating Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and it provides customers with a very functional cloud solution.

One-stop shopping for support

“A single point of purchase, support, maintenance, and upgrade for a pre-tested and fully maintained complete solution (a single throat to choke).”

As a technologist it’s often easy to get caught up in the “speeds and feeds” of a cloud solution. While that may be technically interesting, the thing that CIOs care about is driving business value from IT. Creating a cloud from scratch is a daunting task for customers and the fact that Enterprise Hybrid Cloud has been created with thousands of hours of engineering effort makes it a very compelling solution. Customers know when they unwrap their Enterprise Hybrid Cloud it’s not an “assembly required” platform. They know it’ll be delivered quickly and be ready to go “out of the box,” quickly driving business value right away instead of months in the future.  Again, customers get it.

There are other pieces of Wikibon’s definition of True Private Cloud that I encourage you to read, but you might be wondering why I’m talking about Enterprise Hybrid Cloud in the context of private cloud. Maybe I’m hopeful next year Wikibon will change their definition to True Hybrid Cloud?

The key to a successful hybrid cloud implementation

The fact is customers need to adopt a solution that has both private cloud capabilities and public cloud capabilities. The key to making the hybrid model successful is to use a platform that provides hybrid functionality along with private. If IT tells its developers to go to one tool for on-premises and another tool for off-premises it’s likely to end badly.

Most developers or end users don’t care where their workload is provisioned. They care about things like performance characteristics, capabilities, and cost (to name a few). Making all of this visible for both public and private clouds all from the same interface allows the consumer of cloud resources to make the decision based on the needs of the business and not the limitations of the technology. We know customers want this, and we listen to our customers.

Enterprise Hybrid Cloud supports “out of the box” integration with public cloud provides like VMware vCloud Air and Amazon Web Services. In the future we’ll see even more public clouds supported, providing customers with the choices they need to enable them to make the decisions that are right for their business.

In closing, I think the Wikibon article does a great job of defining not only private cloud but also hybrid cloud. And I’m also happy to see that Enterprise Hybrid Cloud “checks the boxes” of private cloud while also providing hybrid capabilities that our customers are asking for.

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Tips for Unlocking Business Value with Cloud https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/tips-unlocking-business-value-cloud/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/tips-unlocking-business-value-cloud/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 11:00:43 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28889 As I’ve talked about both with customers and in previous blog posts, cloud needs to drive business value. CIOs are not interested in deploying cloud because they read a blog post about it or because Gartner says they should. Ultimately they understand that the world of technology is changing and people are increasingly expecting a […]

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As I’ve talked about both with customers and in previous blog posts, cloud needs to drive business value. CIOs are not interested in deploying cloud because they read a blog post about it or because Gartner says they should.

Ultimately they understand that the world of technology is changing and people are increasingly expecting a self-service model in everything they do. This is true whether they’re downloading an application on their smartphone, calling for a car, or provisioning IT resources. CIOs need to adopt this model (IT as a Service) to help bring value to the business and drive the necessary outcomes of the business.

What does it actually mean to drive business value? It sounds really good to say it and people think you’re smart, but obviously there’s more to it than that. Let’s look at some examples of how cloud drives business value for customers.

It’s all about the applications

For those of us in technology we sometimes spend a little too much time thinking about the hardware in our solutions. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it, too. When a new smartphone is being released I’m always interested in how much RAM it has and how many CPU cores it has—as if I’m going to run virtual machines on it (I totally would, if I could, but that’s beside the point). When you think about it, what good is the extra RAM or CPU power in a smartphone (or cloud) if it doesn’t run the software you need. It all comes down to the applications.

One way to extract business value out of cloud is a simple “lift and shift” of your application workloads into the cloud. The inherent capabilities of a cloud like Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, including self-service management, cost visibility, and backup as a service brings capabilities that were likely not there previously. That does bring some value, but dropping an application into a cloud doesn’t typically provide enhanced automation and orchestration at the application level. Making the application owners more nimble and providing capabilities beyond what were available prior to moving applications to the cloud is when you really start driving value.

Enterprise application blueprints drive value

EMC has invested thousands of hours of engineering the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud platform, creating integration with Dell EMC products and providing lots of great functionality. One area where significant engineering effort was spent was in creating a set of application blueprints for common enterprise applications. These include Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, and the Oracle database platform just to name a few.

We hear from customers all the time that their teams want database as a service (DBaaS), allowing developers to more quickly provision and manage databases for the applications they’re writing. The Engineered Blueprints for Microsoft SQL Server opens the door to DBaaS by allowing our Dell EMC Services team to drop in a set of fully engineered blueprints for SQL Server that provides DBaaS capabilities. For example, these blueprints allow provisioning and de-provisioning of individual databases, database instances, or even entire database servers. End users scan also backup and restore databases on demand, freeing them to work more quickly and not have to wait for IT or DBAs to perform many of these functions for them.

It doesn’t just stop at SQL Server. These Engineered Blueprints can provide functionality for Exchange Server, like email as a service, automated provisioning of highly available email infrastructures, and backup/recovery on demand. Similar functionality is available for SharePoint Server, Oracle, and SAP applications, too.

By giving application users and developers access to capabilities they didn’t have before, they become more agile and efficient. When businesses can create the applications or enterprise systems they need to compete and to provide products and services to their customers, that’s when real value is unlocked.

Give the people what they want

The right tool for the job is important—whether you’re building a house, repairing a car, or working with an organization’s application portfolio. Most organizations today have a mix of “off-the-shelf” applications, “home-grown” applications, and more modern applications built in cloud-native frameworks. One tool or technology is not necessarily right for all of those workloads as their needs and requirements are different. We believe in providing choice to our customers, and that’s no different here.

Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is a fantastic platform for the off-the-shelf enterprise applications from vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, and others. It’s built from the ground up for this class of application. As I described it above, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud has the capabilities to provide real business value. Dell EMC also has another cloud solution called Native Hybrid Cloud for those customers that are writing the next generation of cloud-native applications. Native Hybrid Cloud provides a turnkey cloud platform leveraging a scale-out architecture and platform integration with Pivotal Cloud Foundry to give developers a platform that accelerates their creation of the next generation of applications.

If customers try to cram a square peg into a round hole and use the wrong platform for the job, it becomes much more difficult to unlock the value that the business needs. Both Native Hybrid Cloud and Enterprise Hybrid Cloud are designed to be delivered quickly from our Dell EMC Services team in order to enable our customers to quickly see the value of their investments.

Listen and learn

One of the most important part of any of our cloud projects is talking to our customers to understand their goals, business objectives, and outcomes they’re trying to achieve. It sounds obvious but it’s true – our goal is not to simply drop off a cloud solution in a “one size fits all” manner. We sit down with our customers to understand where they’re going, and then, using our cloud solutions as a foundation, work together to craft an architecture that meets their goals. It’s very consultative and is outcome-focused.

We want to help our customers achieve their goals and build a lasting relationship. We wouldn’t be successful if we approached cloud as a single solution for everyone, as not all organizations measure the business value derived from their IT investments in the same way. We listen, learn and adapt based on the requirements of all of our customers.

We’re in this together with our customers in marching towards a “cloudy” future. Our goal is to provide solutions that help our customers solve their business problems. It’s an exciting time to be part of our Dell EMC Services team!

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From Factory Automation to Cloud Automation https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/from-factory-automation-to-cloud-automation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/from-factory-automation-to-cloud-automation/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:47:16 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28636 My six-year-old son loves the show How It’s Made on the Science Channel. There are usually many episodes back-to-back on Sunday mornings, and he’ll be up at 7 a.m. or earlier ready to watch. I’ll usually sit down and watch the episodes with him and am fascinated by the automation that goes into creating some […]

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My six-year-old son loves the show How It’s Made on the Science Channel. There are usually many episodes back-to-back on Sunday mornings, and he’ll be up at 7 a.m. or earlier ready to watch. I’ll usually sit down and watch the episodes with him and am fascinated by the automation that goes into creating some of the things we use in our everyday lives.

As I thought more about it, I thought about how it’s not that different from when we work with our customers to adopt cloud computing. These customers need to look at their operational procedures, processes, and how they run their business and begin to identify areas where automation can bring about real savings. After all, cloud is not very useful unless you can automate your IT processes and then offer it out as a service to users and customers. Let’s take a look at some of the lessons we can learn from these big factories that automate their assembly lines to create the products we use.

How did they figure that out?

One thing that I always end up saying to myself while watching the show is something along the lines of, “How did they figure out all of these complex procedures?” In other words, how do they know that the metal they’re working with needs to go into an oven that cooks at a specific temperature for a set period of time in order to harden it properly? How do they know exactly how much ice cream to portion out for each ice cream sandwich?

The answer, in all cases, is that the company who designed the product fully understands what is involved in the process of creating the product. It sounds pretty simple and obvious, but unfortunately many IT departments don’t follow this same logic when they approach automation. IT departments understand they need to automate the process, but in their rush to do so they don’t fully understand all of the implications.

A relatively basic example of this would be the deployment of application workloads. Before cloud and automation, the requestor would typically request the server from IT. Now that most workloads are virtualized, it’s relatively easy for IT to create a new virtual machine. And they can often complete this in a matter of hours or days. In some case they’ll log the entry into a CMDB or update a ticket in an ITSM system and then hand the server off to the requestor.

In that scenario, IT may not have any sense of what happens after the server is deployed. Does the software being installed have any special licensing considerations? What is the expected lifecycle of the server? Does it need to integrate into any other systems? Simply put, if they don’t have the answers to these (and likely other) questions, how can IT be expected to properly automate the deployment of that application? IT needs to work with application owners, developers, and other stakeholders, in order to fully understand what is required before trying to automate the application workloads. By working together with the people who will be using the application they can properly automate it and bring real value to the business.

They use the right tool for the job

In the factory some of the tools used to create products are custom-made, and others can be repurposed. The same factory that makes packaged turkey can likely also create other packaged foods due to the similarities in requirements for automating those processes. Likewise, in the world of cloud, there are many different tools available to automate functions and choosing the right one is crucial to making the most of your investment.

When we work with customers deploying Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, we spend a lot of time up-front understanding the customer’s current state. What tools do they have in place? What skills does the customer’s IT team have, and what technologies can they support? Gathering this information helps us recommend the best solution for each customer. After all, why write a script for something when an existing tool might already be available?

Our customers are often already using tools like Puppet or Chef that can provide key functionality for cloud automation and orchestration. For integrating with third-party systems, there may be existing plug-ins for tools like vRealize Orchestrator that provide this functionality. And, of course, there are other systems that require custom-written scripts to properly automate functions.

When picking the right tool for the job, organizations need to consider many factors. We help them figure that out up-front so they can see real, tangible benefits and savings with Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

Automate everything?

Occasionally How It’s Made will show certain items being created by hand. In many cases this is due to the precision required for what they’re making. There may be another important reason that the show leaves out: scale.

Just because something can be automated doesn’t necessarily mean it can scale. And, more importantly, just because something can be automated doesn’t mean that it should be automated. It may cost more money, time, and effort to create the automation than the benefit customers and end users will realize. The big factories know and understand this, and IT needs to as well. Fully understanding everything that goes into automating your processes, or making ice cream sandwiches, will allow organizations to get the most benefit.

Enterprise Hybrid Cloud brings real value to customers by helping them package up and deliver IT as a service, and automation is a key element of that. By fully understanding what needs to be done to properly automate something—knowing what tools you have available at your disposal and making decisions around the value of automating processes—organizations can derive real value from their cloud investments.

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How TiVo Taught My Wife About Hybrid Cloud https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/how-tivo-taught-my-wife-about-hybrid-cloud/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/how-tivo-taught-my-wife-about-hybrid-cloud/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:45:12 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=23037 There’s a famous quote that says, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” That statement is true. But I’m sure many of us have examples of where we’re challenged to explain something we know very well in a simple manner. Take the example of working in technology and explaining what […]

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There’s a famous quote that says, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” That statement is true. But I’m sure many of us have examples of where we’re challenged to explain something we know very well in a simple manner.

Take the example of working in technology and explaining what you do to family or friends who are in completely different fields. Can you easily explain virtualization, for example, to your car mechanic? What about explaining the concepts of hybrid cloud to an airline pilot (who has an altogether different view of clouds)?

Usually, the easiest way to explain a complex subject to someone who has never been exposed to it is to put it into terms of examples that they already understand. And so it was that I found myself talking with my wife about the benefits of hybrid cloud in terms of our TiVo DVR.

For years we’ve used TiVo to record shows for ourselves and our kids. TiVo has had a feature called Season Pass that automatically records all episodes of a TV show when they air on a particular channel. Recently, TiVo upgraded the Season Pass into a new feature called OnePass that brings together content on your TiVo with content available via streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

We were recently at a party where someone recommended we watch a show we had never heard of. When we got home we decided to record it, and we got to see how the OnePass feature worked with this new show. The feature would allow us to record all new episodes of the show directly on our TiVo while also allowing us to use streaming services to catch up on the previous season that we haven’t seen. It does this all from the same familiar interface, grouping the newly recorded episodes and those episodes available from streaming services together into the same view.

2015-03-25 09 55 37You can see an example of what this looks like using my son’s favorite show Chuggington. From the same view, I can choose to stream episodes from multiple sources (in this case Amazon and Netflix, as shown in the lower right) indicated by the three little blue lines next to the name of the show. Or I can watch episodes I already recorded on my TiVo as indicated by the green dot next to each episode. It works great—I get all of the content that I want in one interface that I’m already familiar with.

Lest you think this is just a blog post advertising TiVo, let me bring it back to hybrid cloud. Those of you already familiar with the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud probably already see the connection here. What TiVo has done with the OnePass feature is provide choice, allowing us to record shows directly on our TiVo (on-premises infrastructure) while also letting us consume content from streaming services (off-premises cloud) all from the same interface. We could make the decision to use paid services like Netflix to catch up on old episodes, or simply record them directly on the TiVo (at no extra cost above our normal cable bill) when they air again.

The Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud provides that same type of functionality. You can choose to deploy workloads or services on-prem or use public clouds like vCloud Air all from the same interface. Consumers of cloud services usually don’t care where the workload runs, they just want the ability to consume it based on criteria like cost, data protection, recovery levels, or performance just to name a few. We talk a lot about how the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud provides choice, and this is an easy-to-understand example of how we provide that choice.

Of course, Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud doesn’t just stop at the creation of workloads. Cloud consumers can choose to back up or restore provisioned workloads on demand. They can also provision entire application stacks in a fraction of the time that it would have taken without a cloud infrastructure. And they can do this while having the visibility into the costs for all of the decisions that they make, helping them decide upon the most appropriate place for their workloads to run.

And so I bring it back to where I started. Hybrid cloud can be a complex topic. But I was able to explain it to my wife in terms she is familiar with, and she instantly understood the benefits. On that night everybody won—I got to explain the benefits of hybrid cloud in a new way that gave me the idea for this blog post, and we ended up with a new show to watch. Now if she’d ever give me the remote control, I might actually be able to watch it.

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EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Helps You Replatform https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/emc-enterprise-hybrid-cloud-helps-replatform/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/emc-enterprise-hybrid-cloud-helps-replatform/#respond Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:00:36 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=22059 When you think of the hybrid cloud computing and how you might envision using it in your organization, you might first conjure thoughts of the next generation of applications. Or maybe you want to provide your developers with easy access to provision new servers or applications on the fly without needing to wait for IT. The […]

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When you think of the hybrid cloud computing and how you might envision using it in your organization, you might first conjure thoughts of the next generation of applications. Or maybe you want to provide your developers with easy access to provision new servers or applications on the fly without needing to wait for IT. The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is built from the ground up to provide this kind of functionality (and more), but there are a lot of other potential use cases (some of which I discussed in an earlier blog).

In fact, when I think about the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, it makes me want to party like it’s 2003.

End of Support for Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 will reach what Microsoft refers to as End of Support on July 14, 2015. After that date, customers will need to pay for a custom support agreement from Microsoft in order to continue to receive any support on that version of Windows. You might be sitting there thinking, “Who cares? How many servers running Windows Server 2003 could still be out there?” The answer: a lot.

In fact, we’ve spoken with customers that still have thousands of servers running Windows Server 2003. It’s a major effort to migrate from Windows Server 2003 to a more modern version like Windows Server 2012, bringing customers dangerously close to the End of Support date for Windows Server 2003.

Let’s talk about how the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud can help.

To The Cloud!

Imagine you’re that organization that still has thousands of servers running Windows Server 2003. This isn’t a case of needing to migrate off the underlying hardware, so you can’t simply convert these servers to virtual machines and call it a day. To solve this problem, you actually need to deploy new servers running a modern version of Windows and replatform your applications. Without a modern cloud infrastructure like the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, that likely means a lot of manual provisioning of new virtual machines using lots of spreadsheets. IT becomes the bottleneck in terms of provisioning the servers and making sure the individual requirements of each server are met.

With the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, IT can allow application owners to provision their own servers at their own pace all through a service catalog. Instead of managing spreadsheets that are prone to human error, you can let the folks who know the systems better do the actual provisioning of servers. IT is no longer the bottleneck. Multiple application owners can provision servers to their specific requirements on their own which can significantly increase the speed of server deployment.

Measure and Monitor

Provisioning new servers is just one step in the process. You’ll also want to be able to monitor these servers better than you could before. Part of the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution is VMware’s vCenter Operations (now referred to as vRealize Operations), which provides enhanced visibility into the performance characteristics of your servers. All workloads provisioned onto the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud are automatically monitored by vCOPs, providing realtime visibility into their performance characteristics. It also provides another valuable piece of data: capacity planning. vCOPs can look at the workloads that have been provisioned and make a determination as to whether or not they are oversized. This opens up the opportunity to right-size servers that the application owner may have oversized.

Another area where the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud helps is with providing the true cost of deploying and maintaining these servers. With the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, you can assign costs to each component in a server and provide the true cost of deployment and maintenance. By providing the cost of each server, application owners can easily compare the cost of that server running on the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud with the cost of running the same server on a public cloud like vCloud Air—allowing them to make intelligent decisions about where their workload should run. You could then use the cost models to charge the business units for the servers they provision.

Many organizations are not quite ready for a chargeback model but still want to be able to report on the costs. The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud can provide “showback” (or my favorite, “shameback”) costs to the application owners so they can see what this would cost in case your organization ever adopts a chargeback model.

Don’t Forget Backup

You’ve gone to the trouble of provisioning hundreds or even thousands of new servers to support your Windows Server 2003 replatforming effort. You’re monitoring these new servers better than you have before, and you can even calculate the cost of each. Clearly these workloads are important to you so you probably want to protect them, right? There’s an app for that!

In my last post I talked about what makes EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud different from other hybrid cloud solutions. One of those things is our custom workflows that integrate Avamar directly into the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud service catalog. Without the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, an administrator might need to add each provisioned server to a specific Active Directory group or Organizational Unit, or they might need to choose specific backup policies within Avamar for every server. That sounds awful.

The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud has the ability to let administrators and application owners choose their backup policy when they’re provisioning the workload, automating a series of manual tasks and saving a significant amount of time. Even better, it gives control over backup and restore to the owners of the servers. They can simply navigate to the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud service catalog and choose to run a backup or restore a previous backup rather than needing to involve IT and potentially having to wait.

Hopefully, this example has helped paint the picture of why I think the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud  can significantly aid in Windows Server 2003 replatforming. It can help speed up the deployment of new servers, provide better visibility into the performance and cost of these servers, and automate backup and recovery, too. The efficiencies gained can help customers move much more quickly to avoid the July 2015 End of Support deadline.

Of course, replatforming requires more than simply provisioning new servers with an updated operating system. You need to plan, migrate data and applications, test, and much more. EMC Global Services has a series of services that can assist you with your replatforming efforts all the way from planning and discovery to actual application and data migrations. Add the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud into that mix, and you have a powerful combination.

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What Makes EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Different? https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/what-makes-emc-hybrid-cloud-different/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/what-makes-emc-hybrid-cloud-different/#respond Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:15:36 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=21148 EMC announced a series of powerful hybrid cloud solutions and services this week built up on our previously discussed EMC Hybrid Cloud solution.  As a refresher, the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud will be available in three different editions: EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Federation SDDC Edition – a hybrid cloud solution based on our Federation partner […]

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EMC announced a series of powerful hybrid cloud solutions and services this week built up on our previously discussed EMC Hybrid Cloud solution.  As a refresher, the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud will be available in three different editions:

  • EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Federation SDDC Edition – a hybrid cloud solution based on our Federation partner VMware’s technologies
  • EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Microsoft Edition – a hybrid cloud solution that leverages the powerful stack of cloud automation tools from Microsoft.  Think EMC and Microsoft aren’t well acquainted?  We’ve won Microsoft Partner of the Year a total of 22 times.  We’ll go into that more in a future post.
  • EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, OpenStack Edition – a hybrid cloud solution that shows our commitment to OpenStack.

You’ve probably heard or seen a good deal  of this news already, so what am I going to add to the conversation?  I wanted to dig into  what makes EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud different.  Why didn’t we just call it Enterprise Hybrid Cloud?  What makes it “EMC” Enterprise Hybrid Cloud?  Read on.

Custom Integration with EMC Products

One of the things that makes EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (we’ll still use EHC for short) unique is integration with EMC technologies.  The EHC Federation SDDC Edition includes VMware’s powerful set of cloud automation and orchestration tools, including vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) and vCenter Orchestrator.  We’ve used these tools to create custom workflows that integrate our products directly into the hybrid cloud, providing powerful functionality that the VMware stack is not capable of out of the box.  That’s an example of the type of integration we’ve included in EHC.

We’ve created custom integration between vCAC and Avamar to provide powerful data protection capabilities built right into the cloud.  This integration allows for on-demand backup and recovery of cloud provisioned virtual machines, eliminating the need for end users or developers to rely on IT for these services.  When provisioning new virtual machines, users can also select their backup service tier and have their workload automatically protected.

EMC is uniquely positioned to offer this integration – these are our products, after all, and we have tight alignment between said product groups to support this.  When you consider the power of VMware’s technology automating EMC’s hardware and software stack, you can start to see why there has been tremendous interest in EHC.

EMC Support

It’s not surprising that organizations are hiring companies to help them adopt IT as a Service (ITaaS) and deploy their own private and hybrid clouds.  There are many different companies that offer this service today, but not many that offer what EMC offers: support.  EMC treats EHC similar to a product just like any of our other hardware or software products, and as such provides customer support.

If we’ve workecust serv repsd with a customer to deploy EHC and they have a problem, they can pick up the phone and call the same number they’d use today if they were having a problem with their VMAX array.

This level of support is another differentiating factor for EMC’s EHC offering.  We built it, we help customers deploy it, and then we stand behind it.

EMC Services

Of course, I saved the best for last – EMC’s services to help customers deploy EHC and adopt ITaaS.  Trust me when I say that although I’m part of the EMC  Global Services team and it’s hard to be impartial, what we have done for services around EHC is truly remarkable.

Customers tell us that they’ve overwhelmed with operational support of their infrastructures and often don’t have the time or resources to transform the way they want.  Even if they have the required resources, the technical know-how involved with hybrid cloud spans numerous technologies and processes, leading to long deployment times and higher risk.

EMC has developed services that can stand up EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud for our customers in as little as 28 days.  That’s right – we’re able to do in only 28 days what customers have told us would normally take them months to complete on their own.  Let’s face it, customers are being confronted  with shadow IT challenges and losing control of workloads to public cloud providers because their IT organization simply cannot offer  services to match what Amazon and others can provide.  The accelerated deployment benefit from EMC is designed specifically to address that gap – taking customers from nothing to a fully functional hybrid cloud that can provide true cloud services to their end-users within a very short period of time.

We’re in an exciting time in the IT industry as the cloud is rapidly transforming not only customers but also companies like EMC too.  EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is proof of that – we’ve created a solution that differentiates ourselves from others with our technologies, our support, and perhaps most importantly, our services to help customers achieve their goals.

Have a question about EHC?  Feel free to leave a comment in this blog or even find me on Twitter for a quick chat.

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The Future is Hybrid: VMworld 2014 https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/the-future-is-hybrid-vmworld-2014/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/matt-_liebowitz/the-future-is-hybrid-vmworld-2014/#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:10:07 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=19902 This time of year is always an exciting one for me.  No, it’s not that I love summer or can’t wait for the start of hockey season (ok maybe that last one is true).  For me, late August always means it’s time for one thing: VMworld. VMworld is VMware’s annual conference where they bring together […]

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This time of year is always an exciting one for me.  No, it’s not that I love summer or can’t wait for the start of hockey season (ok maybe that last one is true).  For me, late August always means it’s time for one thing: VMworld.

VMworld is VMware’s annual conference where they bring together the best and brightest in the virtualization industry to share knowledge, discuss new features, and introduce the world to new products or technologies.  The first VMworld I attended was back in 2005 where the attendance was only 3,000 people.  At VMworld 2014 they’re expecting over 20,000 people which is a testament to how much this industry has grown.  This year will be my 8th VMworld and I couldn’t be more excited!

vmw2014It’s exciting for me because this is the first year I’ll go from being an attendee soaking up information to being a presenter who gets to share.  I’m presenting a session called, “Virtualizing Active Directory: The Right Way!” that goes to my roots as someone who believes in virtualizing business critical applications.  I’m co-presenting this session with Deji Akomolafe from VMware, another seasoned expert in virtualizing business critical apps.  Our session was originally scheduled to just run once, on Thursday the 28th at 10:30am, but demand was so high they’ve added another spot for us on Monday the 25th at 1:00PM.  If you’re at the conference, feel free to come by the session or stop me in the halls and say hi!  Or bring your copy of Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere or VMware vSphere: Performance to my book signing in the VMworld bookstore on Tuesday the 26th at 12:00PM.

Virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers, and business critical applications in general, is near and dear to my heart.  I firmly believe that there are almost no applications left that can’t be virtualized, and this session gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and help others become successful.  Business critical applications have become, for the most part, the last applications and servers that are still physical for many organizations.  Getting as to close to 100% virtualization as possible is an important goal to strive for.

Why is that important?  Another firmly held belief of mine is that virtualization is truly the on-ramp to the cloud.  By virtualizing even your organization’s most important workloads, you take one step closer to a future state where you can start taking advantage of cloud computing in your organization.

Of course, simply having a virtual infrastructure doesn’t mean you have a cloud.  Having a true hybrid cloud involves additional components to facilitate automation, orchestration, and to provide users with that service catalog where they can consume IT resources on a self-service basis.  Virtualizing you organization’s servers makes it easier to start layering in those cloud components, and once in place you’ll want even your business critical servers virtualized so you can start taking advantage of what a true hybrid cloud has to offer.  A great use case for combining business critical applications with a hybrid cloud is Database as a Service (DBaaS), which I talk about in a previous blog post.

Speaking of hybrid cloud, EMC will be demonstrating the EMC Hybrid Cloud (EHC) solution this year in our booth.  If you’re just hearing about EHC, take a look back at my three part blog series on EHC (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) to get a primer for what’s in store for EMC at VMworld.  It’s a very exciting time to be at EMC as we focus heavily on EHC, enabling our customers to adopt a true IT as a Service model and change the way they run IT.

Even though this is my 8th time attending VMworld, I’ve never been more excited.

I can’t wait to present my session on virtualizing Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers and help organizations successful in their virtualization/cloud journeys.  And with the hybrid cloud being such a big focus, it’s really a fun time to be at EMC.

If you’re walking down the halls at VMworld and happen to see someone who looks like former VMware CEO Paul Maritz, stop him and say hi.  It’s probably me!

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