Discover Case Study: T-Mobile Completes Impressive Data Center Transformation Using ALM Tools from HP


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Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how communications company T-Mobile improved application quality, while setting up two data centers.

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Discover Case Study: T-Mobile Completes Impressive Data Center Transformation Using ALM Tools from HP

  1. 1. Discover Case Study: T-Mobile Completes Impressive DataCenter Transformation Using ALM Tools from HPTranscript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how communications company T-Mobile improvedapplication quality, while setting up two data centers.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Sponsor:HPDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. Were here on the Discover show floor this week, the week of June 6, to explore some major enterprise IT solution trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and Ill be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]Our user case study today focuses on an award-wining migration and transformation and, Iguess, a data center grand supreme transition for T-Mobile. I was really impressed with the scopeand size and the amount of time -- in terms of being short -- for you to do this.Were here with two folks who are going to tell us more about what T-Mobile has done to set uptwo data centers, and how in the process, have improved their application quality and theprocesses behind their application lifecycle management (ALM). So, join me in welcomingMichael Cooper. He is the Senior Director of Enterprise IT Quality Assurance at T-Mobile.Welcome, Michael.Michael Cooper: Thank you.Gardner: Were also here with Kirthy Chennaian. He is the Director Enterprise IT QualityManagement at T-Mobile. Welcome.Kirthy Chennaian: Thank you. Its a pleasure.Gardner: People don’t just do these sorts of massive hundred-plus million dollar activitiesbecause its nice to have. This must have been something that was really essential for you.Cooper: Absolutely. There are some definite business drivers behind setting up a world-class,green data center and then a disaster-recovery data center. Just for a little bit of a clarification.The award that we won is primarily focused on the testing effort and the quality assurance (QA)effort that went into that.
  2. 2. Gardner: Kirthy, tell me why you decided to undertake both an application transformation aswell as a data center transformation almost simultaneously?Chennaian: Given the scope and complexity of the initiative ensuring system availability wasprimarily the major driver behind this. QA plays a significant role in ensuring that both datacenters were migrated simultaneously, that the applications were available in real-time, and thatfrom a quality assurance and testing standpoint we had to meet timeframes and timelines.Gardner: Lets get a sense of the scope. First and foremost, Michael, tell me about T-Mobile andits stature nowadays.Significant companyCooper: T-Mobile is a national provider of voice, data, and messaging services. Right now, were the fourth largest carrier in the US and have about 33 million customers and $21 billion in revenue, actually a little bit more than that. So, its a significant company. Were a company that’s really focused on our customers, and weve gone through an IT modernization. The data center efforts were a big part of that IT modernization, in addition to modernizing our application platform. Gardner: Lets also talk about the scope of your movement to a new data center, and then we can get into the application transformation parts of that.In a nutshell, what did we do here? It sounds like weve set up two modern data centers and thenmigrated your apps and data from an older one into those.Chennaian: Two world-class data centers, as Michael had pointed out. One in Wenatchee,Washington and the other one is Tempe, Arizona. The primary data center is the one inWenatchee, and the failover disaster-recovery data center is in Tempe, Arizona.Cooper: What we were doing was migrating more than 175 Tier 1 applications and Tier 0, andsome Tier 2 as well. It was a significant effort requiring quite a bit of planning, and the HP toolshad a big part in that, especially in the QA realm.Gardner: Now, were these customer-facing apps, internal apps, logistics? Are we talking aboutretail? Give me a sense of the scope here on the breadth and depth of your apps?Chennaian: Significant. Were talking critical applications that are customer-facing. Weretalking enterprise applications that span across the entire organization. And, were also talkingabout applications that support these critical front-end applications. So, as Michael pointed out,175 applications needed to be migrated across both of the data centers.
  3. 3. For example, moving, which is a customer-facing critical application, ensuringthat it was transitioned seamlessly and was available to the customer in real-time was probablyone of the key examples of the criticality behind ensuring QA for this effort.Gardner: IT is critical for almost all companies nowadays, but I cant imagine a company wheretechnology is more essential and critical than T-Mobile as a data and services carrier.Whats the case with the customer response? Do you have any business metrics, now that you’vegone through this, that demonstrate not just that youre able to get better efficiency and youremployees are getting better response times from their apps and data, but is there like a tangiblebusiness benefit, Michael?Near-perfect availabilityCooper: I cant give you the exact specifics, because of corporate communication and legal groups, but weve had significant increases in our system uptime and almost near- perfect availability in most areas. That’s been the biggest thing. Kirthy mentioned That’s an example where, instead of the primary and the backup, we actually have an active-active situation in the data center. So, if one goes down the other one is there, and this is significant. A significant part of the way that we used HP tools in this process was not only the functional testing with Quick Test Professional and Quality Center, but we alsodid the performance testing with Performance Center and found some very significant issues thatwould have gone to production.This is a unique situation, because we actually got to do the performance testing live in theperformance environments. We got to scale up to real performance type of loads and found somereal good issues that instead of the customers facing them, they didn’t have to face them.The other thing that we did that was unique was high-availability testing. We tested each serverto make sure that if one went down, the other ones were stable and could support our customers.Gardner: Now, this was a case where not only were you migrating apps, but you were able to goin and make sure that they were going to perform well within this in new environment. As youpointed out, Michael, you were able to find some issues in those apps in the transition, and at thesame time simultaneously you upgraded to the more recent refreshes of the HP products to dothat.So, this was literally changing the wings on the airplane when it was still flying. Tell me whydoing it all at once was a good thing.
  4. 4. Chennaian: It was the fact that we were able to leverage the additional functionality that the HP suite of products provide. We were able to deliver application availability, ensure a timeframe for the migration and leverage the ability to use automation tools that HP provides. With Quick Test Professional for example, we migrated from 9.5 to 10.0, and we were able to leverage the functionality with business process testing from a Quality Center standpoint. As a whole, from an application lifecycle management and from an enterprise-wide QA and testing standpoint, it allowed us to ensure system availability and QA on a timely basis. So, it made sense to upgrade as we were undergoing this transformation.Cooper: Good point, Kirthy. In addition to upgrading our tools and so forth, we also upgradedmany of the servers to some of the latest Itanium technology. We also implemented a lot of thestate-of-the-art virtualization services offered by HP, and some of the other partners as well.Streamlined processUsing HP tools, we were able to create a regression test set for each of our Tier 1 applications ina standard way and a performance test for each one of the applications. So, we were able tostreamline our whole QA process as a side-benefit of the data migration, building out these state-of-the-art data centers, and IT modernization.Gardner: So, this really affected operations. You changed some platforms, you adopted thehigher levels of virtualization, youre injecting quality into your apps, and youre moving theminto an entirely new facility. Thats very impressive, but its not just me being impressed. Youvewon a Peoples Choice Award, voted by peers of the HP software community and their CustomerAdvisory Board. That must have felt pretty good.Cooper: It feels excellent. In 2009, we won the IT Transformation Award. So, this isnt our firsttime to the party. That was for a different project. I think that in the community people knowwho we are and what were capable of. Its really an honor that the people who are our peers, whoread over the different submissions, decided that we were the ones that were at the top.Gardner: And I hear that youve won some other awards as well.Cooper: Weve won lots of awards, but thats not what we do it for. The reason why we do theawards is for the team. Its a big morale builder for the team. Everybody is working hard. Someof these project people work night and day to get them done, and the proof of the pudding is therecognition by the industry.Honestly, we also couldnt do without great executive support. Our CIO has a high belief inquality and really supports us in doing this. Its nice that weve got the industry recognition aswell.
  5. 5. Gardner: Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Youve got some metrics here.They were pretty impressive in turns of availability, cost savings, reduction in execution time,performance and stability improvements, and higher systems availability. Give me a sense, froman IT perspective, if you were to go to some other organization, not in the carrier business, ofcourse, and tell them what this really did for you, performance and in the metrics that count to IT,what would you tell them?Cooper: The metrics I can speak to are from the QA perspective. We were able to do the testingand we never missed one of the testing deadlines. We cut our testing time using HP tools byabout 50 percent through automation and we can pretty accurately measure that. We probablyhave about 30 percent savings in the testing, but the best part of it is the availability. But, becauseof the sensitive nature and competitive marketplace, were not going to talk exactly about whatour availability is.Gardner: And how about your particular point of pride on this one, Kirthy?Chennaian: For one, being able to get recognized is an acknowledgement of all the work youdo, and for your organization as a whole. Mike rightly pointed out that it boosts the morale of theorganization. It also enables you to perform at a higher level. So, its definitely a significantacknowledgment, and Im very excited that we actually won the Peoples Choice Award.Gardner: A number of other organizations and other series of industries are going to be facingthe same kind of a situation, where its not just going to be a slow, iterative improvementprocess,. Theyre going to have to go catalytic and make wholesale changes in the data center,looking for that efficiency benefit.Youve done that. Youve improved on your QA and applications lifecycle benefits at the sametime. With that 20-20 hindsight, what would you have done differently, or at least what could youadvise people who are going to face a similar large, complex, and multifaceted undertaking?Planning and strategyChennaian: If I were to do this again, I think there is definitely a significant opportunity withrespect to planning and investing in the overall strategy of QA and testing for such a significanttransformation. There has to be a standard methodology. You have to have the right toolsets inplace. You have to plan for the entire transformation as a whole. Those are significant elements insuccessful transformation.Gardner: Monday morning quarterback for you, Michael?Cooper: We did a lot of things right. One of the things that we did right was to augment ourteam. We didn’t try to do the ongoing work with the exact same team. We brought in some extra
  6. 6. specialists to work with us or to back-fill in some places. Other groups didn’t and paid the price,but that part worked out for us.Also, it helped to have a seat at the table and say, "Its great to do a technology upgrade, butunless we really have the customer point of view and focus on the quality, youre not going tohave success."We were lucky enough to have that executive support and the seat at the table, to really have thego/no-go decisions. I dont think we really missed one in terms of ones that we said, "Weshouldnt do it this time. Lets do it next time." Or, ones where we said, "Lets go." I cantremember even one application we had to roll back. Overall, it was very good. The other thing is,work with the right tools and the right partners.Gardner: With data center transformation, after all, its all about the apps. You were able tomaintain that focus. You didn’t lose focus of the apps?Cooper: Definitely.The applications do a couple of things. One, the ones that support thecustomers directly. Those have to have really high availability, and were able to speed them upquite a bit with the newest and the latest hardware.The other part are the apps that people dont think about that much, which are the ones thatsupport the front lines, the ones that support retail and customer care and so forth. I would saythat our business customers or internal customers have also really benefited from this project.Gardner: Well great. Weve been talking about a massive undertaking with data centertransformation and application QA and lifecycle improvements and the result was a PeoplesChoice Award won here at the Discover Show in Las Vegas. Its T-Mobile. Theyre the winner.Weve been talking with their representatives here. Michael Cooper, the Senior Director ofEnterprise IT Quality Assurance. Thanks again, Michael.Cooper: Thank you, and were very proud of the team.Gardner: We are also here with Kirthy Chennaian, the Director of Enterprise IT QualityManagement at T-Mobile. Thanks.Chennaian: Thank you. Very excited to be here.Gardner: And thanks to our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect podcast coming toyou from the HP Discover 2011 Conference. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at InterarborSolutions, your host for this series of User Experience Discussions. Thanks again for listening,and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Sponsor:HP
  7. 7. Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how communications company T-Mobile improvedapplication quality, while setting up two data centers. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC,2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • HP delivers applications appliance solutions that leverage converged infrastructure for virtualization, data management • HP takes plunge on dual cloud bursting: public and-or private apps support comes of age • HP rolls out EcoPOD modular data center, provides high-density converged infrastructure with extreme energy efficiency • HP at Discover releases converged infrastructure products and services aimed at helping IT migrate rapidly to the future • HPs IT Performance Suite empowers IT leaders with unified view into total operations, costs • HP Delivers NMC 9.1 as New Demands on Network Management Require Secure, Integrated, and Automated Response