Case Study: Cosmetic Giant Revlon Harnesses the Power of the Cloud to Produce Impressive Savings and Cost Avoidance Through Simplicity of Execution
Case Study: Cosmetic Giant Revlon Harnesses the Power ofthe Cloud to Produce Impressive Savings and Cost AvoidanceThrough Simplicity of ExecutionTranscript of a podcast discussion from the VMworld 2011 Conference on how Revlon hasleveraged the cloud to obtain $70 million in savings and cost avoidance in only two years.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: VMwareDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast series coming to you from the VMworld 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. Were here in the week of August 29 to explore the latest in cloud computing and virtualization infrastructure developments. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I’ll be your host throughout this series of VMware-sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect discussions.Today’s consensus is no longer around an "if" for cloud computing, but the "when" and whattypes of cloud models are best suited for any particular company. The present challenge then isabout the proper transitions to leveraging cloud for improved IT and for far better businessresults. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]Here at VMworld, as part of the main keynote address, one company and its design andimplementation of a private cloud rose above the rest. Revlon and its CIO were in the spotlightfor such impressive returns on their cloud. In just two years, Revlon has beneﬁted by nearly $70million from savings due to cost avoidance and reductions.Here to tell us about how such savings emerged and to describe one of the most efﬁciententerprise private cloud implementations in the world is David Giambruno, Senior Vice Presidentand CIO at Revlon. Welcome, David.David Giambruno: Hello. How are you today?Gardner: Im great. We’ve heard so much about your private cloud, and I was really impressed,but something that jumped out of me is that you seem to have jumped into this all-in, rather thanpiecemeal. Is there a reason for doing private cloud completely, rather than piecemeal? What’sthe beneﬁt for doing it that way?Giambruno: I reference us to Southwest Airlines. What I mean by that is their whole businessmodels were around one plane, one plane to service, and getting very good at that.
From a technology standpoint, we look at ourselves as doing oneness. We pick one way and we get very good at. We own that technology, so we can command it. It’s really about the density of our skill sets and our capability around that order to execute for the business. When you look at that, it drives a degree of simplicity of execution, because at the end of the day, what were really focused on is delivering IT capability back to the business faster, cheaper, better. That’s essentially what our cloud was planned to do and has delivered.Gardner: And this is no small undertaking. Its over 530 applications, 15,000 automated movesa month. Give us a sense of what you’ve done with this singular approach to full competency atthis particular data center and your approach to private cloud?Giambruno: It’s not a data center. It’s the globe. That’s important for everyone to understand.Revlon’s cloud covers all of Revlon’s presences globally. It’s not just a single data center. Wehave a core data center and then we have little data centers around the world that everythingreplicates between and things move between.Entire ecosystemWe’ve built this entire ecosystem to deliver our applications. We started this about ﬁve years ago with this whole idea of oneness. We re-ITed the planet. We have one DNS and DHCP structure. We have one global directory. We have one SAN globally. We have one desktop image. We have one server image. That simplicity allowed us to use the cloud as a competitive advantage.Weve saved or avoided $70 million in last two years. If you go by a simple timeline, the ﬁrst 18months was laying that oneness foundation. We did that in 18 months. The second 18 monthswas the virtualization of the servers, the network, and the storage systems globally.At the end of the 18 months, we were done. That was the ﬁrst three years. We’ve been runningthis way for the last two years. Were not in the "I think" mode. Were looking now at how wecontinually extend the capability of our cloud.Gardner: Our listeners might be familiar with Revlon, your brand, but tell us more about thescope of your operations and the extent to which IT is supporting your business.Giambruno: Revlon is a global cosmetics, hair color, beauty tools, fragrance, skincare, anti-perspirant/deodorants, and beauty care company. The vision of Revlon is to deliver glamor,excitement, and innovation through high-quality products at affordable prices.We are arguably one of the strongest consumer franchises in the world. Our brand is incrediblypowerful. Weve got ofﬁces around the world. Our global headquarters are in New York. Our
ﬂagship manufacturing facility is in Oxford, North Carolina, and our consumers are womenaround the world. Our products are sold in more than 100 countries.So we are big, as far as our reach and our capability. Essentially, our cloud delivers roughly 95percent of all Revlon IT services around the world. Weve got a couple of systems that aren’t inthere yet. They will be shortly, but for all intents and purposes, we operate everything off of ourcloud.Gardner: Let’s go back to how you got to this point and how youre able to enjoy suchsigniﬁcant savings. You have a comprehensive virtualized approach of servers, network,applications, and services. Why is that important?Giambruno: Again, it’s that density of skill sets. Through this whole implementation, we onlyused about 10 percent professional services. We didn’t spend any additional money, other thanour normal capital refresh. The thing that we did was change the way were spending our money.We took that leap to do things differently, because at the end of the day -- I always say this just tokeep my and my team’s frame of reference -- we make cosmetics and personal care products. Wehave lots of brands, but it’s the idea of simplicity.Faster, better, cheaperWere not a revenue-generating piece of Revlon. How we can add value back to the business isby doing things faster, better, cheaper? If were not spending that money, were avoidingspending money, or giving money back, that means it can go into new product development. Itcan go into R&D. It can go into marketing. All activities focused on driving proﬁtable growth.Getting technology to facilitate the business and do things faster and more effectively is reallyimportant. To me, it’s the most material thing we’ve done - if you look at your projects. We’veincreased the number of projects we complete every year by 300 percent. When you talk aboutthe business alignment, getting what they want done faster, cheaper, better, to me, that’s it.Gardner: And youre talking about spanning the cycle from full development to implementation.What’s the role that the cloud has played in terms of increasing the ease in which you move fromdevelopment to operations?Giambruno: Ive got a couple of buckets. We have reliability. Currently, our cloud has beenoperating at north of six nines uptime, which has allowed me to take resources out of operations,put them into projects and working with the business.That’s resulted in speed. If you want a server, if there is a demand for new application or testingsomething, our cycle time for getting a server up is anywhere from 15-20 minutes and there isn’tthe associated cost. For us, a server is just a ﬁle. If you want one, great, here you go.
And we manage capacity on the top line. So we essentially move that infrastructure barrier andcost. We’ve disconnected it. One of the greatest things that we monitor is our ratio of physical tological servers. When we started this, when we ﬁrst went live three-and-a-half or four years ago,our server ratio was 1:7. We are now 1:34. That’s essentially a 500 percent increase in capacitywithout the cost.That makes a material difference in the business not having to pay for things. The speed at whichwe can nail up applications and the accuracy at which we can do it has made a materialdifference in our ability to deliver projects to the business.Gardner: In addition to improving this cycle for development ﬂexibility and resources, youvealso devoted signiﬁcant improvements to disaster recovery (DR). Tell me a little bit about whythe private cloud has helped you in DR.Giambruno: One of the things that we’ve learned very quickly was rate of change. When youreon a cloud, every time someone hits a keystroke on a keyboard, that’s a change in your cloud.Our rate of change is anywhere between 20-30 terabytes a week.We made a conscious decision as we don’t tier anything in DR; we literally copy everything.There are two pieces of things. Im most impressed with what my team has done.Cheaper storageOne is if you take that rate of change and attach it to storage growth, youre roughly at $27million a year. Through a series of technologies that we employ, we turn that $27 million into$400,000 of storage that we actually have to pay for. So, our shareholders get that beneﬁt,because I don’t think anybody else’s shareholders would have that interest in place.The second thing is that it does allow us to copy everything. Roughly a month ago, we lost ourfactory in Venezuela to a ﬁre. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but from the time someone made aphone call, two hours and 40 minutes later -- and roughly two hours of the time of ﬁndingpeople, because it was a Sunday afternoon -- we moved the country of Venezuela up into our DRside, had everything running, and were giving the users virtual desktops so they could keepworking. That’s the power.Gardner: Peace of mind and trust.Giambruno: And it’s not fake. We’ve done it. Globally, we are minus-15 minutes replication intheir stuff. That’s a little longer or little shorter depending where it is and time of the day, but itgoes back to the simplicity. We just copy everything so we don’t have to worry about it.Gardner: Without going too far down in the weeds, WAN acceleration devices have helped youin a large extent with that in terms of managing that amount and the speed.
Giambruno: Exactly. I don’t think you could run an internal cloud, or much less an externalcloud, with the rate of change without those. Im a huge fan of that.Gardner: All right. Let’s see metrics wise what this gets for you in data reduction. What sort ofvolumes have you been able to improve?Giambruno: We’ve run about 96 percent data reduction for everything from compression andde-duplication. As we’ve gone through this, weve also learned that with different storageprotocols, block versus CIFS, you get better compression. Running at NFS you pick up 15percent utilization over block.Everybody has different business cases for why they need either, but we keep ﬁnding ways tosqueak more out, because, again, the less money we can use, the better for the business. Themore efﬁcient and effective we are, the better for the business, and the less they have to spend onthis.Conversely, we keep leveraging those capabilities in extending our cloud. So we can sling aWindows 7 desktop to an iPad, or were enabling our cloud so people can use resources whereverthey are, regardless of the device. That just makes their lives easier and their ability to dobusiness better, so we can support people growing the company.Gardner: It’s really impressive to me, David that the more value that you derive from youarchitecture and approach, the more it contributes to other things. For example, what you’vedescribed is great for DR, but you’re also reducing your racks, restructuring your serverlicensing, and also getting to improve asset utilization. So it’s sort of a snowball, but in a virtuousway.The asset is never coldGiambruno: It’s interesting because in our DR site we run our test and dev. So the asset isnever cold. Were actually using the virtual servers while they are not being used for DR to runall our tests and dev. It just contributes to the uptime. The data is already there. We reuse assetsall the time, and as we go forward, we have plans to go active-active. So now end-of-life serversthat are coming out for maintenance, we just throw them in DR, because they can just stay thereforever. It doesn’t matter to us if one dies a year. So what? It’s really that ability to keep usingthose assets to extend capabilities.Gardner: How about the stack? Can you describe some of your products and what they’ve donefor you? Are you venturing to some new areas around either management or governance to try tocontinue to tweak this to get more bang for the buck?Giambruno: The bang for the buck for us is that were working really hard on essentiallycreating an internal marketplace, like the Apple marketplace or the Android marketplace.
We’ve got desktop virtualization, but we see huge value to the business in creating this internalmarketplace. We know a user. We know their devices. We know the applications theyresupposed to be using. Depending on the device that they connect, we can format the applicationthey are using and its view to that device to deliver them in context.To some degree, it’s like going from a LAN to a trusted WAN, where we know the device that’sregistered to you. We know you as a user so we can deliver very securely your information, andthat information never leaves my data center. So you are only ever viewing the information theyare working with.Gardner: If I heard you correctly, youre not only allowing the users to exploit more and betterdevices, perhaps more suited to what they do in terms of a work style or mobility, but youre alsonow creating an application marketplace. How does that beneﬁt from your cloud infrastructure?Giambruno: Our cloud can send them anything. The applications are already running on thecloud. Essentially, when that device comes out, our cloud will understand context. Well be ableto deliver that application in the context of the person. Youve got a highly secure environment.Were not moving data anywhere. We’ve got control of the device. We understand who theperson is, and so we can deliver in context what they are supposed to have access to, regardlessof where they are.If you have an iPad or anything like that, you have an icon on the front. You’ll have a Revlonmarketplace. You open that up, and there will be a list of applications that you have access to thatare already authorized for you to have access to, and we will start sending you those applications.Gardner: It sounds like a real boon to productivity.Giambruno: We have third-party manufacturers. We have third-party logistics. So were startingto have the ability to leverage our cloud to deliver applications and have our suppliers andpartners work with us much closely.Management dashboardThe third tangent is the management dashboard -- our ability to deliver information to ourmanagement teams so they can make good business decisions faster, because this is essentiallyall about speed. Its the speed of getting information to our management team so they can makethe decisions, understand what’s happening, and ask good questions of the organization in orderto make a really good decisions. Were a CPG company and it’s a very competitive environment.To me, our cloud is really about using technology as a competitive advantage.Gardner: Were about out of time. Any advice for folks listening to our podcast today who mightnot be fully into this full cloud press that you’ve been describing, but once you start realizing thatadvantage of a virtuous cycle adoption that gets more efﬁciency, that gets more improvement,and lower cost. So what’s your advice for folks getting started?
Giambruno: I tend to live by "isms" to make very clear pictures, because I had to move ownorganization through them. Two things: trust or verify, which maps into the second, which is justtry. They are very symbiotic.As you look at this, just try, and as you go through that, trust and verify that you’re delivering thecapabilities that the business needs and that you know they need. As you go along that path, youcan build trust and conﬁdence in yourself and your capabilities, your team can build trust andconﬁdence, and you can show that to your business units.Thats like that snowball that you get rolling. Once everybody realizes that it can be done, it’smore of a human experience thing than it is the technology. The technology works, and we’vebeen doing this for a couple of years. I couldn’t imagine operating any other way any longer untilthe next big geometry train comes, but that’s probably another 10 or 15 years.Gardner: Great. I really enjoyed your presentation up on the stage. We’ve been talking aboutsuccessful private cloud and virtualization adoption in a managed and secure way. Joining usright after his VMworld keynote address is David Giambruno, Senior Vice President and CIO atRevlon. Thanks so much, David.Giambruno: Thank you very much.Gardner: We’ve been joined here for a special podcast coming to you from the 2011 VMworldConference in Las Vegas. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your hostthroughout this series of podcast discussions. Thanks again for listening and come back nexttime.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: VMwareTranscript of a podcast discussion from the VMworld 2011 Conference on how Revlon hasleveraged the cloud to obtain $70 million in savings and cost avoidance in only two years.Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • VMware Launches a Developer Edition for Cloud Services • Fed Agencies Adopt VMware solution • PHP Lands on VMware Cloud Foundry • Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Cloud as Spurring Useful Transition Phase for Enterprise IT Architecture • HPs Kevin Bury on How Cloud and SaaS Will Help Pave the Way to Increased Efﬁciency in IT Budgets for 2011 and Beyond • Move to Cloud Increasingly Requires Adoption of Modern Middleware to Support PaaS and Dynamic Workloads