Performance Tools from HP Help IT Services Provider Savvis Scale to Meet Customer Needs
Performance Tools from HP Help IT Services Provider SavvisScale to Meet Customer NeedsTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from HP Discover 2012 on how an IT-as-a-serviceprovider has met the challenge of delivering better experiences for users.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: HPDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Performance podcast series. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your co-host and moderator for this ongoing discussing of IT innovation and how its making an impact on people’s life. Once again, were focusing on how IT leaders are improving performance of their services to deliver better experiences and payoffs for businesses and end users alike. This time, we’re coming to you directly from the HP Discover2012 Conference in Las Vegas. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]We’re here the week of June 4 to explore some award-winning case studies from leading enterprises. We’ll see how a series of innovative solutions and an IT transformation approach -- to better support business goals and performance -- is beneﬁting these companies, their internal users, and their global customers. Our next innovation case study interview highlights how cloud infrastructure and hosted IT services provider Savvis has been able to automate out complexity and add deep efﬁciency to its operations. Using a range of performance, operations orchestration and Business Service Automation (BSA)solutions from HP, Savvis has improved its incident resolution and sped the delivery of newcloud services to its enterprise clients.To learn more about how they did it, were joined by Art Sanderson, Senior Manager EnterpriseManagement Tools at Savvis. Welcome, Art.Art Sanderson: Hi, Dana. Thank you.Gardner: Tell me ﬁrst a little bit about Savvis. What kind of organization is is, what you’redoing, what is your main service drivers in the marketplace?Sanderson: Savvis is recognized as a global IT leader in providing IT as a service (ITaaS) tomany of today’s most recognizable enterprise customers around the world. We offer cloudservices and hosting infrastructure services to those customers.
Gardner: What are some of the challenges youve faced in terms of managing the scale, buildingout the business, adapting to some of these new requirements for infrastructure as a service(IaaS)?Sanderson: Being an IT department of IT departments, or a dynamic service provider, has a lotof unique challenges that you don’t face in every IT shop that you run into. In fact, we havethousands of customers that we have to support with their own IT departments. So our solutionshave to be able to scale beyond what you would ﬁnd in a typical IT organization.Gardner: And I should think that efﬁciency is super-important. Its all margin to you, when youcan save and do things efﬁciently?Better SLAsSanderson: Absolutely. There are just the efﬁciencies alone for operational cost, as well as thevalue that we provide to our customers, being able to provide better service-level agreements(SLAs), so their businesses are up and running and available to them to service their owncustomers.Gardner: So, in effect, you have to be better at IT than your customers, or they wouldn’t beinterested in using you.Sanderson: Absolutely. There are deﬁnitely some economies of scale there.Gardner: So tell me a bit about what youve done in terms of management and allowing forbetter automation, orchestration, and then, how those beneﬁts get passed on.Sanderson: Sure. Weve adopted the HP BSA set of tools as our automation platform and we’ve used that in a number of different ways and areas within Savvis. Its been quite a journey. We’ve been using the tools for approximately three to four years now within Savvis. We started out with some of our operational uses, and theyve matured to the point now where a lot of our automation-type monitorings are solved by automations rather than by our operational staff. There is deﬁnitely labor saving there, as well as time savings in mean time to resolution values that we’re adding to our customers. Thats just one of the beneﬁts that we’re seeing from the automation tools, not to mention the fact thatwe build a lot of our own key product offerings for the marketplace that we service, using theBSA offerings on the back end as well.Gardner: Whats an example of some of those services that youve built out?Sanderson: Our premier services are our Symphony cloud offerings, our Symphony VPDC,Symphony Open and Dedicated cloud, as well as Symphony Database. All, in some form or
fashion in various degrees, use the BSA tools on the back end to do their own offerings, and theirown automations that we offer our customers.Gardner: How do you measure performance beneﬁts? You had a couple of numbers there aboutefﬁciency, but is there a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) or some benchmarks? How doyou decide that you’re doing it well enough?Sanderson: From an operational perspective, we do monitor the number of automations that werun that we can capture from the operational side of the house. For example, on a typical day werun anywhere from 10,000-20,000 types of automations through our systems, and that wouldactually add value back to the business from a labor-savings perspective.In just this ﬁrst quarter of 2012 alone, we recognized somewhere in the neighborhood of$250,000 in labor savings just from the automations from an operational perspective. Again, itshard to quantify the value of adding to the business side, because those are solutions that we’reoffering to the market space that are generating new value back to the organization as a whole.Gardner: So its important not only to reduce your cost, improve your productivity but you haveto create new revenue as well. So, its sort of a multiple trick here. You’re cutting cost and you’realso creating new products and services.Tell me a bit about the process behind that? How are the people adapting to some of thesesystems? How do you manage the people and process side of this in order to get thoseinnovations out?Mature processSanderson: From the people and process side, we didn’t start out necessarily doing it the rightway from the operations side of the house. But we have matured the process to where were nowdelivering solutions in a much more rapid fashion. The business is driving the priorities from anoperational perspective as far as what we’re spending our time on.Then, we can typically turn around automations in a very short time. In some cases, we’ve builtframeworks using these tools where we can turn around an automation that used to take two tothree weeks. Now, it can take less than an hour to turn around that same automation.So we’ve gotten really smart at what we’re doing with the tools, not just building something netnew every time, but also making the tools more reusable themselves.From the value to the organization, we’ve also had many groups within the product engineeringside of the house take on and learn tools like HP Operations Orchestration (HPOO) and HPService Activator (HPSA), and leverage their own domain knowledge as network engineers orstorage engineers to build net new solutions that we then turn around and offer to our customers.
That eliminates a lot of the business analyst type of work and things like that that would typicallygo into the normal systems development lifecycle (SDLC)-type process that you would see.We’re able to cut the time to market for the offerings that we’re producing for our customers.Gardner: And of course, that has a direct bearing on how you can compete in the marketplace, avery dynamic and fast moving marketplace?Sanderson: Yes, absolutely. It does make us much more agile and responsive to the needs of ourcustomers and the industry.Gardner: Lets go back to the scale of what you’re doing here just for our audience’s beneﬁt.How large is Savvis? How many physical and virtual servers do you have? Are there any wownumbers you can provide for us about the extent and the size of your operations?Sanderson: Today, we have about 25,000 servers under management, spread across 50 datacenters worldwide, and just to give you an idea, we have approximately 9,000-10,000automations on a typical day running through HPOO.As far as the scale and break down of the servers, two-thirds of our servers today are virtualized,and either through the cloud or actual traditional orders that customers are placing. So, we’reseeing a lot of growth in the virtual machines (VMs) and the cloud space. This is where thingsare going for our organization as well as the industry.Gardner: Thats really impressive. I understand youve got a self-service portal and youve beentalking about things called self-healing. Maybe you could explain why its important to have self-service, but then also explain how behind-the-scenes you have self-healing?Self healingSanderson: Our self-healing infrastructure is what I was referring to earlier, where we’veactually matured our process and recognized the reusability of using a meta-model to drive ourHPOO ﬂows that we’re writing. Weve taken those patterns that we’ve identiﬁed and have beenable to build a meta-model that we now have built a user interface in front of.Thats what I was referring to earlier when I said that if somebody wants a new request, they cango in and request that from us, and then we can, within a matter of minutes, produce the datathrough the user interface and publish a new ﬂow, without ever having to write new operationsorchestrations ﬂows.Gardner: Tell me a little bit about what your future plans are? Do you have an upgrade path?You’re here at Discover learning about new products and services. Do you have any idea of whatsome of the next steps will be for continuing on this march to improve both innovation andproductivity?
Sanderson: Obviously, the reason we come to these conferences, is to learn about where HP isgoing, so we can make sure that were in alignment, both from our business needs, as well aswhere the products are going that we use to drive our own solution.Its critical that were able to maintain an upgrade path and were able to support our business.Weve already started to plan, based on what we see coming down the path from HPs futureinfrastructure and even dedicated infrastructure as our business continues to grow. For example,for the Symphony products that we were referring to earlier, we have to break off more-and-morededicated infrastructure to the scale and capacity that they’re growing.We would have never have anticipated, when we started a few years ago, that a customer wouldhave come to us to say that we want to order 400 VMs or we want to order 1,000 VMs, butcustomers are coming us today doing that. Thats the kind of scale that we’re seeing, even just ayear into the offerings that we’re providing to the marketplace.Gardner: So clearly, theres an opportunity for you to be able to dig in and provide that scalewhen its called for, and I guess thats almost a deﬁnition of cloud is having that elasticity anddynamic agility.Sanderson: Absolutely. Thats spot on.Gardner: Very good. We’ve been talking with Savvis, a cloud services provider, and I want tothank our guest. We were talking with Art Sanderson. He is a Senior Manager of EnterpriseManagement Tools at Savvis. Thank you very much.Sanderson: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And I also want to thank our audience for joining this special HP DiscoverPerformance podcast coming from the HP Discover 2012 Conference in Las Vegas.Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series ofHP sponsored discussions. Thanks again for listening and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: HPTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast from HP Discover 2012 on how an IT-as-a-serviceprovider has met the challenge of delivering better experiences for users. Copyright InterarborSolutions, LLC, 2005-2012. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Investing Well in IT With Emphasis on KPIs Separates Business Leaders from Business Laggards, Survey Results Show • Expert Chat with HP on How Better Understanding Security Makes it an Enabler, Rather than Inhibitor, of Cloud Adoption
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