VMworld 2012 wrap-up: What’s on the Horizon

When I wrote this post, my plane was soaring 34,000 feet above the eastern edge of San Francisco, rocketing me away from VMware’s ninth-annual VMworld 2012. It really seemed the place — floating above the clouds, catching a glimpse of the sun hitting the horizon — to reflect on some of the new products revealed at this year’s worldwide users conference.

The cloud played a leading role this year (as you can expect with any big tech conference nowadays) as vendors demonstrated how small business could use the cloud to create, automate, and provision their own cost-effective private clouds.

But I think the announcement that got everyone the most excited (and let’s be honest, it would only ever get a cheer in a room full of nerds) was that VMware is stepping away from its vRAM licensing model. Rather than pricing based on the amount of memory provisioned inside the environment, it will be based on the number of CPUs on the physical machines used to run the virtual environment, regardless of the power of those CPUs.

But VMware had a lot more in store for us than just licensing news. Here’s a look at my top-three takeaways from VMworld 2012. (more…)

Metrics to measure the success of the cloud: A report from VMworld 2012

Although we were happy to see Michael Dell and Paul Maritz in attendance at VMworld 2012 (the latter receiving a “standing-O” after his Tuesday afternoon lunchtime address), we’ll leave the reporting on their activities to the bigger trade publications.

Instead, we’ll share some stats presented by VMware’s Sanjay Mirchandani and Craig Stanley during a standing-room-only breakout session titled, “Planning and Measuring the Impact of Cloud: IT Metrics that Matter.”

The goal of Sanjay and Craig’s session was to provide IT leaders with some baseline metrics for measuring the success of moving to the cloud, while also emphasizing the value that the IT organization added to the cloud transition.

Sanjay and Craig want IT leaders to be able to convince the end users in all business units that cloud initiatives should fall under the jurisdiction of IT. To help them do so, the pair established benchmark metrics in three categories — efficiency, agility, and reliability — that all IT departments should aim to achieve.

As your organization moves to the cloud, see if you can clear the bar set by Sanjay and Craig:

Efficiency

  • Total annual cost per end user: $1,800
  • Percentage of IT labor cost spent on application development: 18 percent

Agility

  • Average time required to provision new virtual machine (VM): 1 ½ days
  • Percentage of overall capacity procured on a variable basis (monthly or more frequently): 15 percent
  • Percentage of capacity provided to tenants on variable basis (monthly or more frequently): 60 percent
  • Average time to release a non-legacy application or functionality: 156 days

Availability

  • Percentage of time SLAs are met: 99.9 percent
  • Total planned annual downtime per application: 360 minutes
  • Total unplanned annual downtime per application: 60 minutes
  • Number of external failed audits: 0
  • Total external audits: 16

Craig augmented his 99.9 percent stat by stating that he preferred to know HOW OFTEN and under what circumstances data was unavailable. He said, “You can be down 10 minutes every week and still deliver a 99-percent availability rate. But if you’re an end user who needs the data right now, to you it’s ALWAYS down!”

How does your organization’s performance stack up against their numbers? If you’d like to talk about ways to improve your move to the cloud, check out the available Cloud Migration Workshops available from the consultants at SHI Labs.

SHI features Managed Private Cloud at VMworld

It’s that time of year again. VMworld 2012 kicked off today in San Francisco, and the SHI team is busy making last minute preparations to our booth and breakout sessions on Workspace-as-a-Service, Mission-Critical Applications in the Cloud, and the Expectation Gap.

It was just a year ago that we unveiled our high-performance, industrial-grade SHI Cloud, but our dedication to developing innovative cloud solutions didn’t end then.

This year at VMworld, we’ll be showcasing our unique and HP-certified Managed Private Cloud (MPC). Managed Private Cloud is an on-premise, appliance-based solution that keeps the cloud onsite, in YOUR data center, behind YOUR firewall. All the while, SHI’s cloud technicians remotely monitor and support it from the security of SHI’s cloud data center. Because your data never leaves your premises, MPC is a valuable solution for state, local, and federal government entities, as well as academic and financial institutions that are governed by strict security and privacy regulations.

Our Managed Private Cloud YouTube video embedded below gives a good overview of what the solution is and how it works.

Intrigued? Want to learn more? Swing by booth #923. We’d love the chance to show you what our cloud’s got.

VMware’s Tod Nielsen unveils a new era in IT

A few weeks ago, at our National Sales Conference in New Jersey, VMware Co-President Tod Nielsen delivered a keynote address to our employees. For those that have not yet had the chance to witness a presentation by Tod, he is a remarkable speaker and has tremendous insight on the past, present, and future of IT.

Tod’s key message from that day is one we should all be paying attention to: A new era in IT is emerging, and companies need to leverage a modern infrastructure framework to keep up. That modern infrastructure is the cloud. But the challenge is to figure out how to leverage it to provide maximum business value for customers.

Tod pointed out that each new era in IT is driven by disruptive technology and architectural shifts. In 2000, it was Y2K. After that, it was e-commerce. Now, virtualization and the proliferation of mobile devices are driving the disruption.

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Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Keeping it simple and paying attention to the details

In my last post, I talked about how networking from the bottom up helped us reach success when we built the SHI Cloud. In the second part of our “Lessons Learned” series, I want to stress the importance of simplicity and attention to detail.

Lesson #2: Keep it simple

Customers want the SHI Cloud to provide a secure networking model, world-class virtual infrastructure, and appropriate security controls, all backed by a well-designed operations team with a resilient data center of the highest quality. After that, they want us to get out of the way.

Unfortunately, not all cloud providers do this. Amazon, for instance, has developed their own constructs for cloud computing — their own naming conventions, models, and ways of creating configurations pre-packaged for customers. So application teams, development teams, QA teams, and other functional users of IT infrastructure would have to learn to do things differently if they went with the Amazon cloud.

Customers told us they wanted a cloud that fit with their current processes and operations. The SHI Cloud was built so that customers won’t have to change anything they’re already doing. They have virtual machines running applications or hosting development environments, and they do everything in very specific ways. They’ve invested a lot in their own design, and their own view of computing.

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Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Networking

It’s been just about a year since we rolled out the SHI Cloud, a milestone that has made us take a look back on the past year to see where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and what we see for the coming year.

Since the SHI Cloud debuted, we’ve learned what our customers need from the cloud, how they use the cloud, and most importantly, how we can improve their experience in the cloud. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the five main lessons we’ve learned in the past year, as well as my predictions for the future of the SHI Cloud. (more…)

New SHI Cloud Briefing Center makes cloud computing cool

Remember when the future was cool? Well, it is again.

Between 2011 and 2014, the worldwide cloud market is estimated to grow 126.5 percent. This growth will be driven, in part, by 122 percent growth in Infrastructure-as-a-Service. These predictions and, perhaps more compellingly, the recent rate of adoption of IaaS and other cloud solutions make it clear: The cloud IS the future for businesses and organizations of just about any size and industry. And SHI’s new NYC Cloud Briefing Center is making that future cool. (more…)

Putting a bow on Cloud Expo

We wrapped up our participation in the 10th International Cloud Expo in New York last week, and we’ve got a lot to share about it. First, we were featured in a story in SearchCloudProvider that discusses the emerging opportunity of big data cloud analytics in the midmarket.

Henry Fastert, our Chief Technologist, expressed his opinion to reporter Jessica Scarpati for her story, “Service providers anticipate SMB demand for big-data cloud analytics.” But Henry’s opinion isn’t the only one in the spotlight on SearchCloudProvider. He was in the company of other industry leaders, and Scarpati will be following the story up with a part two. Stay tuned. (more…)

SHI’s customers shape the product: The financial features of the SHI Cloud

In my last post, I shared how our customers are contributing to our improvements of the SHI Cloud. SHI has put a process in place that ensures that every single customer that comes into our cloud gets one-on-one attention with us regarding what they want to achieve, what the SHI Cloud can and cannot support, and gives us feedback on how to improve or extend our service.

The first feature on our tour: Giving customers visibility and control over their expenses in the SHI Cloud.

The most common worry we see from customers is the concern that the use of the cloud is “getting out of control.” They come to us with examples of how those within their own organizations (developers or application groups) go to Amazon or another retail cloud provider and spend too much company money on cloud resources. Once or twice might not be such a not a big deal. But all across the enterprise? Those little charges are starting to add up to a significant amount of money.

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SHI’s customers shape the product

I started writing this post with the idea to talk about the ways SHI provides our customers with industry-leading financial control over their spend in the SHI Cloud. It’s an extremely important issue for our customers, because the biggest problem many of them face with the cloud is a lack of visibility into how much their organization is spending on cloud services.

But then, I realized that there’s a bigger story here to tell. The reason SHI offers full financial control over the SHI Cloud is because our customers asked for it. Financial control is only one example of the many breakthroughs in our cloud that came to be because we listened to our customers.

So today, I thought I would outline how our customers are helping to shape our product. After that, we can begin to look at many of the features that have been added in direct response to customer feedback.

Listening to our customers, from start to finish

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