by: Rich Bourdeau, VP Product Management & Marketing, DynamicOps
Is IT ready for automated service?
Over 10 years ago, back in my EMC days, an attendee at a Customer Council told me that we needed to make management much simpler. The number of things that he was managing was growing, technologies were becoming more complex, and his administrators had to know about more technologies. There was no way for his staff to specialize and become an expert in any specific area. He wanted more automation. He wanted the process to be simple so that his clients, system administrators, and DBAs could self-manage. But what he was saying was heresy to his peers. They chided him – Why would you want to do that? It will be anarchy; you will lose control! Looking back I see this guy for what he really was – a visionary.
The world has changed
In all aspects of our lives, we increasingly interact with automated systems that provide instant access to services that once required manual processing and hours or days to complete. For example, banking and travel were specialized services in which we relied upon other individuals to grant us access and control. Today, we book flights, hotel and rental cars online without ever talking to an agent or even handling a ticket. Banking pushed our control even further. ATMS and online banking give us instant access to our assets enabling us to make real-time decisions.
Today, IT is far more willing to provide automated self-service of IT resources than they were just 2-3 years ago. Large service providers like Amazon with it Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) infrastructure service have demonstrated the cost-effectiveness and the near instant access of their on-demand IT services. IT consumers are demanding quicker access to desktops, servers and applications. If they don’t get them fast enough from their IT department, they have shown in the past that they will use alternative options. This is where IT really loses control.
Is Automated Self-Service ready for IT?
In order to improve the IT service delivery experience, IT is embracing automated self-service. According to Gartner, IDC and others, the growth in private cloud management software will outpace the growth in core virtualization software over the next 5 years. In order to meet this expected demand, there are probably over 50 vendors that profess to have automated self-service management of virtual or cloud computing. These include offerings from the leading virtualization vendors (VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Red Hat and others), the Big 4 Management vendors (BMC, CA, HP, and IBM) and emerging vendors like DynamicOps.
Automated Cloud Management software accelerate service delivery times while at the same time reducing both operational cost and optimizing capital investment through more effective use of a shared physical infrastructure. This is an attractive proposition for any enterprise. However, without efficient and effective management tools, companies may not be able to achieve the savings they originally envisioned.
Since being spun out of Credit Suisse in 2008, DynamicOps spent the last three years helping enterprise companies deploy on-demand IT services or private clouds. Over the coming weeks I will share some of our operational expertise and real-world deployment experience. By presenting the some of the challenges you will likely face and discussing the product capabilities you should look for, I will help you accelerate the time to value of your private cloud deployment.
So stay tuned. Your cloud will never be the same!
by: Rich Bourdeau, VP Product Management & Marketing, DynamicOps
Virtual desktops may never generate the level of cost savings that fueled initial virtual server deployments, but are they really 11% more costly than traditional desktops as the Microsoft commissioned analysis (VDI TCO Analysis for Office Worker Environments) suggest?
First let me say that the methodology used as well as the depth and breadth of the analysis is truly impressive. While I agree with some of the conclusions, there does appear to be a few flaws in assumptions used as well as a few observations that I would like to add.
Increased Software Costs
The paper suggests that while VDI reduces hardware costs by 32% it increases software costs by 64%, cancelling any savings. The research did point out that the software costs did vary widely based on the components used and the level of discounting that the customer received from their software vendor. The flaw in my opinion was using an average configuration at MSRP pricing probably skews the analysis to higher software costs. Any company that has enough users to consider deploying VDI, probably does not pay MSRP for their software. Also the software stacks used to deploy virtual desktops vary wildly. Like any IT implementation the cost used to deliver the service will vary significantly.
Automation Key to Deploying at Scale
This year DynamicOps worked with a number of companies struggling to deploy virtual desktops at scale. Production pilots that averaged in the hundreds of machines stalled when these companies tried to scale to multiple thousands and tens of thousands of machines. Manual processes that worked in the pilot phase could not hold up to the weight of large scale production deployments leading to expanding backlogs and increasing service level response times to days and weeks.
The companies that we worked with all said that automation of desktop service delivery process helped reduce their operational costs (many by up to 80%). Automation also improved their service delivery times from days and weeks down to hours and minutes allowing them to significantly reduce their backlog and accelerate their stalled desktop deployments.
Virtual Desktops – more than cost savings
TCO analysis in general is highly subjective and can easily be biased to prove whatever conclusion the author wants to prove. By slightly adjusting the software costs down, or factoring in improved operational efficiency, I’m sure that I could make this TCO analysis go from VDI costing slightly more than a traditional desktop to VDI costing less.
As VDI technologies mature, cost will be driven down further. Most virtual desktop deployments are driven by a number of factors including cost savings, deployment flexibility, agility, and security. From our vantage point cost is no longer an inhibitor for companies looking to realize the other benefits of desktop virtualization. As with any technology change, the first implementations require a new learning curve. If these implementations are close to cost neutral, the later implementations and expansions, particularly as they take advantage of economies of scale and management automation will experience even greater savings over time. Let DynamicOps show you how we have helped large enterprise companies deploy tens of thousands of production virtual desktops.
Here it is – the DynamicOps corporate blog! We are very excited to launch this blog in conjunction with our new website. Take a look at http://www.dynamicops.com. And yes, this is the obligatory first post that welcomes you to our world and encourages you to join the community as we dive in and out of the clouds. (editor note: we will limit the cloud analogies and cheeky puns but I have to let my marketing manager get it out of her system).
The goal of this blog is to share our insight in the industry and the field of private & public clouds – our war stories, our learning and our observations. There will be a good dose of VDI talk, a healthy amount of tech chat and hints, a smattering of commentary, best practices and guidance, and just a sprinkling of life observations. Thank you for joining us and be sure to come back often, spread the word to friends and colleagues and even provide your own commentary to keep the conversation kicking.
Founder & CTO