One Stack, Two Stack, Three Stack, Four: A CTO’s Evolution to the Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite
The recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, a great inspiration to many, motivated me to write this. What his simple television character inspired within me can be applied to the industry transformation we are living right now. As people know me, they might argue that I tend to live in a role on the edge of the Universe. Some of us may only venture safely into the daily routine of just doing what we have always done, knowing most of the answers, while never leaving the confines of Mother Earth. Others are on this journey; borrowing the famous Star Trek Opening, “exploring new worlds and boldly going where no one has gone before”. My day job consists of exploring these new worlds, but calculating when we are close to venturing into the neutral zone and risking the well-being of our customers.
This leads me to my new term: The Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite. What is this you ask? We have long talked about the Well-Run Hybrid Cloud with the combination of on-premise and off-premise cloud infrastructures. Coordinating them into a customer environment is what we specialize in because that is the definition of “Well-Run”. Simply put, using the best of both worlds to deliver the Universe computing environment.
Enter the new world and one could argue the relatively uncharted black hole of Open Stack. Of course many businesses (and large ones at that) run their IT on Open Stack from Operating Systems, to orchestration, to any number of capabilities. However, I would argue these are a smaller percentage of the space time continuum. The vast majority are still using platform two methodologies or a marketed software suite. If you think back, the demise of brick and mortar businesses were just a few light years away. This did not happen; we built the best of both worlds. Brick and mortar became more efficient, the rigid failed, and the nimble flourished. We have the same situation with Open Stack. It will never be the demise of the brick and mortar infrastructure and software suites. However, it will drive innovation in this space, and the rigid will not survive. Open Stack will also evolve. Enter my recommendation to what we are building at EMC, the Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite.
Take the Starship Enterprise, for example. Its ability to survive, fight the foes, and explore new worlds was its ability to work as a Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite of capabilities. It was communications, weapons, health, engineering, and Spock’s ability to gather and apply logic that continually saved the ship. Think of the Starship Enterprise as a Converged Infrastructure and the new Hyper Converged Infrastructures as the Shuttle Craft. All of their systems are the hardware and software working in unison as a complete solution, and the crew as the Services that apply their methodology and expertise to any situation that arises.
Let’s break this down. Within EMC Managed Services we break down our capabilities to a Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite into 8 ‘planets’ in what I call the ‘United Federation of Planets’. These comprise the following as depicted in this diagram:
Let’s take these one at a time.
- SLA’s. This can also be called “mutually agreed upon contractual flexibilities”. We do not follow traditional outsourcing contract methodology. The industry is evolving; our customers want a respectful relationship and one where a vendor does not ‘stand behind a contract’ but stands with them. We stand with our customers with what we build and how we maintain it for the ultimate expectations of our customers. We believe our partner approach is unique.
- Process. Process can also be called “predictable, measurable, and accountable”. Our processes are constantly evolving to take advantage of technical innovation as well as innovation in methods and thinking. Process integration is where our technicians become a part of our customer’s staff. We pride ourselves with this integration methodology as an extension to mutual benefits of our customers.
- Transition. As with any people, process and technology integration there must be a transition to the service. Our proprietary approach to understanding our customers’ requirements, creating the as-is and the to-be environments with mutual agreements allows the service to be seamless and not a traditional ‘cut over’ approach.
- Competency. Competency is our continuous evolution of services. This is the area where best practices are created and then modified into a consumable product to enhance traditional services or to enable new and creative ones.
- Consumption. This support area handles traditional capacity planning, demand management, and financial governance processes. However, a unique approach, and a paradigm shift to traditional up-sells of our competition, we actually work to be transparent in our customer’s consumption of resources. How to become more efficient with the consumption of people, technical assets and other resources is a charter of this team. We believe if we can make our customers more efficient, they will understand our partnership approach methodology.
- Operations. The heart of our operation is our people. Technology must be maintained and nurtured to be effective in our customer environments. I often taught that everyone is the same service provider when everything is running smoothly. You discover your true friends, partners, and cherished service providers when external events cause problematic situations. EMC has a long standing tradition to stand side-by-side with our customers for resolution of any problem. The expertise housed within this division is second to none. One item to note under the traditional operations moniker is the unique approach to automation and orchestration I am witnessing within our labs. Traditional automation of fault resolution and workload movement because of an equipment failure is the default standard. However, our teams are taking it to the next level and automating based on service level, workload importance, business requirements and meta data. I call the effort BAMI for ‘Business Automation w/Meaning and Impact’.
- Transformation. Technology changes, business requirements change, evolution and consumer requirements change. And if one thing is for certain, it’s that change happens. Whether it is converting to a converged infrastructure, re-platforming an application, or managing an entire data center refurbishment. This expertise is housed here.
- Vtiers. This is our proprietary methodology matching business requirements to technology capabilities in what we call a Vtier methodology. This is not simply a performance tiering, but a combination of business requirements, financial flexibility, and service level objectives married in unique ways to enable fluid and dynamic consumption of business requirements. It is delivered via our service methodologies and implemented via our technology.
As you can see, EMC Managed Services has become a Star Ship provider of capabilities, working as a trusted enabler of our customers on behalf of the entire Federation of companies and our partners. We have worked tirelessly to modularize our capabilities, provide innovation in each of the areas, and enable our customers to realize those benefits. Are we a technology? Not at all. We are a methodology of a Well-Run Modular Hybrid Suite of services and capabilities.
In the words of Leonard Nimoy, we wish all of our customers to “live long and prosper”!