Converged Infrastructure and the Evolving Data Center

first_imgA question I’m often asked by IT Leaders appears to be less of a technology question and more of an operational one; “how will the deployment of VblockTM Systems in my data center affect my IT staff?” I’d suggest they’re both dependent upon the other; the right technology leads to a smoother operational transition.Before looking at the technology I think it’s important to take a look back at where we’ve come from as historically as we’ve been making changes to keep up with the fast pace of the IT industry for years.Sixteen years ago I was a UNIX Engineer working with DEC Alpha systems and direct attached storage (still my favorite and most missed flavor of UNIX!); we had rack upon rack of storage dedicated to a single system running a large database. That’s the way we did it until somebody talked to us about shared storage. Of course there were objections from the application owners; how can you guarantee performance? How can you guarantee security and availability? But shared storage was here to stay and to say it’s prevalent within the data center today would be an understatement.About ten years ago we went through a similar transition with the advent of server virtualization. In the early days there was no vMotion and VM resources were limited; server virtualization was the exception rather than the rule. But as the technology matured we saw server consolidation becoming more of a reality. Once again we were asked; “how will you secure and guarantee the performance of my applications?” We could of course, the industry adjusted and today server virtualization is the rule with customers in all markets pushing for higher and higher consolidation ratios.So why, you may well ask, am I rambling on nostalgically about the various technologies witnessed during my time in IT? Simple, my career followed a very similar path. A career that began with UNIX progressed to storage, followed by server virtualization and then converged infrastructure. Had I insisted on remaining a UNIX engineer working with direct attached storage my career options today would probably be limited.We’re seeing something very similar today. The market has shifted and I’d argue converged infrastructure is here to stay; it’s the natural transition within the data center. With this transition skill sets are once again going to have to change or people will find their options becoming limited. Like the technology they’re going to have to adjust; it’s a natural transition for them too.So nothing new – it’s a pattern we’ve seen happen time and time again and will continue to see throughout our careers. With the change, however, comes good news – now instead of asking; “how will the Vblock deployment affect my IT Staff” the IT Director can ask “how can we best refocus our time to meet the business needs of the company?”  Far too many in the data center must do more with fewer resources; they have accelerated timelines in which to deploy for a new project or initiative and don’t have the right skill sets in house. Vblock Systems allow them to take a look at their staff, analyze where there maybe shortfalls and reallocate them. It allows them to focus on their critical business applications rather than the underlying infrastructure that supports them.It’s always good to hear this confirmed when speaking with our customers who’ve deployed Vblock in their data centers; with more resources dedicated to their critical business applications innovation has increased.  As a result they’ve become more competitive and are in many cases a step ahead of the competition.I mentioned earlier that the right technology leads to a smoother operational transition. Let’s take that a little further.In today’s data centers companies have personnel with strong skill sets around compute, storage and networking as individual components. What they don’t necessarily have is the ability to pull those components together rapidly, per best practice, for optimal application performance and availability. Vblock of course provides this value from a physical perspective; when integrated with the proper management strategy it performs it from both a physical and a logical one.It sounds easy doesn’t it? Of course it’s not; if it’s not done right you’ll have staff who aren’t trained in the new solution, don’t have access or can’t manage the environment through the tools they do know, and unplanned downtime will be the result.With that in mind, it’s the approach rather than the specific tool that becomes important. The ability to transition to a new operational model as the skill sets of your IT staff evolve too. The ability to use existing tool sets and transition to the new within your data center as requirements dictate rather than allowing the solution to force your hand. Now of course if you want to “flip the switch” it can be done, but if your concern is in how you integrate new technology within your data center, Vblock can accommodate that approach too.There’s a lot more to be said about our approach but for the sake of brevity I’ll leave it there; suffice it to say more will follow in future posts and through VCE announcements. For now I’d like to say thanks for your time, thanks for reading, and please come back and visit this site again soon.last_img read more

Defining a “Well-Run Hybrid Cloud”

first_imgIf each of these attributes is indeed in place does that make a private cloud “well-run?”Not necessarily.A private cloud is only well-run if the end users believe it to be so! These end users happen to rely on a different set of metrics – cost, ease, time, and agility. They view NIST’s five cloud characteristics as table stakes.Therefore the first step in creating a well-run hybrid cloud is to create a well-run private cloud by bringing together IT’s metrics with those of the end user:Once this happens, the end user begins to prefer the selection of private cloud IT resources in many cases. If this occurs, your private cloud has reached “well-run” status.It is then (and only then) that IT can take the next step: becoming a broker for external services. Once again, the end user has a set of expectations that must be met in order to achieve the label of “well-run.”Clear advertisement of services (internal or external)Clear pricingPublished service levelsSelf-provisionedAutomated deployment of the servicesThe first and last bullets in the list above represent two key litmus tests for earning the label of a “well-run hybrid cloud”.  A hybrid cloud is well-run if advertising its services don’t cause the end user to ask whether the services are provided privately or publicly. The end user feels no need to shop for public services that have better metrics.And finally, the automated deployment of services, often called right-sourcing, seamlessly issues the application internally or externally to give the end user the most benefit across the metrics established above.For EMC World attendees, I recommend attending Build-A-Hybrid-Cloud LIVE (Booth #850) to see live demonstrations and gain a more thorough understanding of how a well-run hybrid cloud can be built in practice. Let’s try and build a sensible definition of the phrase “well-run hybrid cloud.”Many IT departments would argue that they have created a “well-run internal cloud.” This means, for example, that they can place a checkmark next to five common cloud characteristics (as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST):On demand self-serviceBroad network accessResource poolingRapid elasticityMeasured servicelast_img read more

Our Recipe For Success: Do More With Less!

first_imgThe digital era is upon us. IT leaders are confronted by soaring expectations for digital transformations. The ability to innovate faster through agile, flexible resources and satisfy business demands is expected. Simultaneously, IT must maintain a reliable environment to keep core business processes rolling smoothly. Although microservices and DevOps are hot topics today, traditional IT applications and systems of record are equally as important to maintain.How can companies transform IT to provide the speed and flexibility necessary for rapid development while keeping costs and risks low? Staff must optimize existing infrastructure and processes to reduce costs and accelerate IT service delivery without sacrificing reliability. IT transformations aren’t executed overnight. Like learning how to ride a bike, you start with training wheels and as you become more experienced keeping your balance becomes subconscious allowing you to focus on more advanced actions. IT leaders must design a plan to optimize traditional, plan-driven functions. Predictable, well understood processes should be automated to ensure consistencies so time, dollars and staff can be reallocated into next-generation operations. Time consuming, error-prone, manual tasks will be eliminated, ultimately speeding time to market and driving down costs by leveraging automation and application blueprints that have been proven to work and can be life cycled without constant human touch.Now what about the aspect of exploration? Along with the rewards reaped from rapid innovation and iterative, outcome-focused developments come uncertainties and risks. Cloud-native application development is uncharted territory for most Enterprises and thus many IT organizations shy away from investing aggressively in new trends. To gain experience in the cloud-native realm, you start small and rapidly scale as demand for new applications grows and a solidified strategy evolves.Like learning to ride a bike, start with some guidance and eventually you can take off the training wheels and pedal fast. EMC and Pivotal are prepared to help you gain momentum with your DevOps strategy. Organizations that are just beginning to experiment with cloud native applications now have a quick, low risk way to get started.The struggle to pertain to two competing pressures is not a simple battle. Designing, integrating and testing a platform has taken some companies years and millions of dollars. Studies have proven investing in a fully engineered platform could have you running 92% faster and saving up to 67%.Today, we’re announcing the latest releases of our hybrid cloud platforms:EMC engineers have completed the necessary engineering work to instill users with the confidence that the solution will run reliably with one contact support. The frequent advancements extend IT’s ability to update legacy application infrastructure to meet the demands of the digital world.Our hybrid clouds platforms help to close the gap between developers’ goals and IT operations by providing control, reporting and chargeback features that are needed to create an efficient strategy. Adjustments can be made in just minutes breaking down the IT infrastructure silos that now exist enabling IT to rapidly adapt to changing business needs.So, if you’re ready to start your transformation, we’re ready to ensure a smooth ride.Learn more about Enterprise Hybrid Cloud: https://www.emc.com/en-us/solutions/cloud/enterprise-hybrid-cloud.htmLearn more about Native Hybrid Cloud: https://www.emc.com/en-us/solutions/cloud/native-hybrid-last_img read more

One Way Dell is Helping to Save the Monarchs

first_imgIt’s a lazy September afternoon in Central Texas and I’m working from my deck (thank you for the flexibility, Dell!) as I see a giant yellow swallowtail flutter by. They are one of my favorites, but the time is quickly approaching for the arrival of the true kings and queens: the Monarchs.Photo by Sean Stratton on UnsplashThe Monarch butterfly and its multigenerational migration is truly a wonder of nature. Already, those butterflies born up in Canada and the northern U.S. are making their way down to central Mexico, where they will arrive in November. Their flightpath gets funneled through Central Texas. No single butterfly makes the whole round trip – the Monarchs I will soon see are at least four generations removed from those who started their journey in their pine-oak winter home in the highlands on the border between Michoacan and the State of Mexico. This home is a World Heritage Site and was only rediscovered by scientists in 1975.Monarchs are not the only insects to migrate, but they are the only ones who migrate to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away. They make this journey because they cannot survive freezing weather up north, but milkweed doesn’t grow in their overwintering sites in Mexico. While the Monarchs can get nectar for energy from a variety of flowers, they will only lay eggs on milkweed, and their caterpillars will only eat milkweed leaves.Those caterpillars are voracious eaters, consuming an entire milkweed leaf in less than five minutes. That might not sound like much, but in their 9- to 14-day caterpillar stage, they will gain an incredible 2,700 times their original weight.Wait, so what does all this have to do with Dell?Both our headquarters in Central Texas and our campus in Oklahoma City have created way stations for the Monarchs. Think of a way station as a drive-thru for butterflies. With a variety of native wildflowers, the planted areas provide a buffet for hungry fliers both foreign and domestic.National Geographic offers a great video about how to create your own monarch butterfly way station here.Antelope milkweed, native to Central Texas, has been added in abundance to the Central Texas Monarch Way StationEstablishing these way stations is more important than ever. About 20 years ago, there were approximately one billion Monarchs migrating south from the Eastern U.S. But those numbers have been decimated, and now the population is closer to 100 million. Loss of habitat due to development, expansion of agriculture, and climate change are just a few of the reasons for this decline.Way stations create islands of opportunity for the butterflies during their migration.Heroes of the PlanetYou might wonder how Dell got into protecting butterflies and the answer begins with the great Planet employee resource group. Employee resource groups (ERG) are voluntary, employee-led organizations that share common interests, backgrounds or other factors. Planet focuses on sustainability and the environment. There are more than 10,000 members across 62 chapters in the company.One of the great things about Planet ERG is that it gives you an opportunity to act on your passions. When members brought up the idea that we use open land on the Central Texas headquarters to help the Monarchs, the team rallied. In January of 2016, Dell became a Texan by Nature – Monarch Wrangler partner, working with Texas Parks and Wildlife, Keep Austin Beautiful and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. In addition to establishing the Monarch meadows, the Planet team works with facilities to remove invasive species and to educate other team members about what they can do to help the Monarchs recover.As part of that, Planet gave out hundreds of native milkweed seed packets for Central Texas employees to plant in their yards. They’ve also had Texan by Nature speak to the Planet group and during Earth Day celebrations.Global vision, local actionThe success of the Monarch initiative in Central Texas then inspired other Dell Planet teams as well.In Oklahoma City, the Planet chapter set up their own workplace garden and butterfly way station this past summer which has already seen many visitors.Dell’s Oklahoma City office plots out their workplace garden, including multiple wildflower sections that feature native milkweeds.In addition to benefiting the Monarchs, the milkweed and other wildflowers help attract other pollinators to keep their vegetable garden going. Our Silicon Valley campus, too, is looking into how it can support a way station (there’s a separate migrating Monarch population in California).It goes beyond Monarchs, of course. At our manufacturing facility in Lodz, Poland, the Planet team has created flower meadow with an educational board and also does tree planting in a nearby forest, where they have added more than 2,000 trees. In Nashville, they recently did a cleanup of the garden at the Poverty and Arts Building that Dell volunteers helped build. We’ve had tree planting activities in Romania and Morocco, and this past Earth Day the Utah chapter cleared out invasive plants along the banks of the Jordan River. Our Bratislava site added bird and bat houses.In the spirit of our Legacy of Good commitment, each of the employee resource groups at Dell has a strong volunteerism component that helps them connect to their local communities. Planet is no exception. In Veracruz this month, dozens participated in an annual beach clean-up. In April, we had nearly 60 clean-up events with team members volunteering more than 7,000 hours of their time. Recycling drives, working with animal rescue groups, adopting parks – these are just some of the ways our Planet chapters have been helping their local communities to grow and thrive.The Planet teams are also very active on the Dell campuses and with their fellow employees. Beekeeping and composting classes, electric car demonstrations, recycling drives, car pool and alternative commute programs, and even a “Meatless Mondays” program in Montpellier, France all help Dell reduce its environmental footprint while helping our team members reduce theirs.Building a Legacy of GoodOne of the things I really love about working at Dell is our commitment to put our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. The employee resource groups are an important part of this effort and I’m proud of all the great things our Planet teams do.The swallowtail has since left my backyard, but I know he’ll be back. I’ve built my own little way station back here and I love the constant stream of winged visitors. I’m excited, too, to welcome the Monarchs thanks to the milkweed that I planted a year ago, thanks to the support from the Dell Planet ERG.If you’re interested in learning what you can do to help the Monarchs or other insects, please visit Texan by Nature’s Monarch Wrangler Program, Butterfly Conservation Europe, or the Xerces Society.This article shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.Explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at legacyodgood.dell.com.last_img read more

Dell EMC CloudIQ: Enabling Faster Time to Insight

first_img1 Based on an April 2020 Principled Technologies Report commissioned by Dell EMC, “Dell EMC CloudIQ streamlined the user experience in five cloud-based storage preventive management tasks”, compared to HPE InfoSight with an HPE Primera array vs. CloudIQ with a Dell EMC Unity array. Actual results may vary. Full report: http://facts.pt/m8a5u3v2 Based on a Dell internal survey of Trusted Advisors (Dell Technologies account team and Partners) conducted March 2020, comparing issue resolution with and without CloudIQ. Actual results may vary. Customers love Dell EMC CloudIQ because it delivers actionable insights by combining machine learning and human intelligence to deliver real-time performance and capacity analysis plus historical tracking all in a single-pane glass view.Data grows exponentially each year, with budgets and staffing not growing at the same rate the need for tools that can continue the transition to more autonomous infrastructure is becoming increasingly essential. Making the pivot from to a proactive management is taking that next step towards the autonomous data center. It’s only natural that CloudIQ would evolve to not only provide broader support, but also streamlining management of your data center. CloudIQ supports all major Dell EMC storage platforms, Connectrix switches, and VxBlock converged infrastructure, and we are excited to share that it will continue to expand across the Dell Technologies infrastructure portfolio for even broader data center insights. As we bring CloudIQ across the portfolio, you’ll also see Dell Technologies introduce new features and functionality that are designed to ease management and drive more automation in the data era.In the past year, the CloudIQ team has been hard at work with our product teams to enhance features and add new functionality to help users streamline administrative tasks and to simplify infrastructure management. Leveraging machine learning, CloudIQ helps anticipate customers’ problems turning predictive analytics into actionable insights, enabling algorithms to be continuously updated leveraging Dell EMC product and subject matter expertise. Data is collected on an on-going basis, combined with industry best practices to address the most potentially impactful issues. This provides IT administrators with intel they need to take quick action and more efficiently manage their data center environment.FASTER TIME TO INSIGHT WITH CLOUDIQCloudIQ provides streamlined functionality such as performance and capacity anomaly detection, performance impact analysis, and workload contention identification. With a simple and easy interface, detecting and troubleshooting issues is even easier with CloudIQ.Faster Time to Insight1With over 30,000 arrays CloudIQ connected, processing 30 billion data points per day and adoption growing at a rate of over 2,000 systems each month, CloudIQ is continuously getting smarter to better inform users by arming them with actionable insights.Reduce RiskCloudIQ makes daily storage administration tasks easier by helping you identify potential issues before they impact your environment. CloudIQ proactive health scores give you an at-a-glance view of issues across your environment, prioritizing them so for users surfacing the most imminent risk so quick appropriate action can be taken. Performance anomaly detection and impact analysis use machine learning to zero in on incidents that had an impact on the environment and need remediation. CloudIQ’s VMware integration enables end-to-end analysis of VM activity in the context of the storage systems they are managing, without having to access or view a separate portal.Plan AheadCloudIQ helps to stay ahead of business needs with capacity planning tools such as Capacity Full Prediction which allows you to plan for future budgetary needs. Capacity Anomaly Detection identifies a sudden surge of capacity utilization that could result in imminent Data Unavailability, helping to avoid 2am phone calls.Improve ProductivityCloudIQ helps you make the most of your resources, as both staff time and equipment can be optimized providing a single pane-of-glass view of your environment. You can enable CloudIQ across ALL major systems in the Dell EMC storage platforms, Connectrix switches, and VxBlock converged infrastructure. The breadth of support gives users broad oversight of data center health, with plans to extend support across all ISG portfolio products. The CloudIQ mobile app makes it even easier to check on your data center environment anywhere and anytime.For additional oversight you can grant your account team Trusted Advisor access to receive timely best practice recommendations and guidance to optimize your environment and prevent potential issues, often before you even know there is a problem. Trusted Advisors were asked to evaluate time to resolution for common scenarios with and without CloudIQ, and on average Trusted Advisors reported being able to resolve issues on average 3x faster using CloudIQ.2CloudIQ is available to customers with ProSupport credentials who are connected to our secure remote telemetry, at no additional cost.  To learn more about CloudIQ, please visit here.last_img read more

Cloris Leachman, Oscar-winning actor also known as TV’s Phyllis Lindstrom, dies at 94, publicist says

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — Cloris Leachman, Oscar-winning actor also known as TV’s Phyllis Lindstrom, dies at 94, publicist says.last_img

Tampa Bay makes best of Super Bowl week amid sour economy

first_imgTAMPA, Fla. (AP) — There have been four previous Super Bowls in Tampa, some amid war and economic distress. None have faced the challenge of a coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s Super Bowl in the Miami area generated an estimated $572 million in new spending in the three main South Florida counties. This year, the Tampa Bay region probably won’t see half that much money, according to Sean Snaith, who directs the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting. Still, officials say it’s hard to put a price tag on the publicity the Super Bowl will generate for the entire region.last_img

‘Malcolm & Marie’ director reveals origins of buzzy film

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — The global pandemic was not about to stop filmmaker Sam Levinson without a fight, literally. The creator of HBO’s “Euphoria” found his hit series shuttered so he pivoted to writing and directing “Malcolm & Marie,” a film about an epic lovers’ quarrel starring John David Washington and Zendaya. Set in a luxury California beach house, Washington’s Malcolm, an up-and-coming director, and Zendaya’s Marie, an out-of-work actress, have returned after a party where his film has premiered to rapturous applause. But he forgot to thank Marie and that leads to an outpouring of simmering grievances. “Malcolm & Marie” debuts on Netflix on Friday.last_img