Tag-Team of Workshops Provides Proven Path of Data Center Transformation, Assess Maturity On Where to Begin
Tag-Team of Workshops Provides Proven Path of Data CenterTransformation, Assess Maturity On Where to BeginTranscript of a sponsored podcast discussion on two HP workshops that help businessesdetermine needs and roadmap for improving data center operation.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:HP.Dana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and youre listening to BrieﬁngsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on some fast-moving trends by addressing the need for data center transformation (DCT). Well also identify some proven ways that explore how to do DCT effectively. The pace of change, degrees of complexity, and explosion around the uses of new devices and increased data sources are placing new requirements and new strain on older data centers. Research shows that a majority of enterprisesare either planning for or are in the midst of data center improvements and expansions.Deciding how to best improve your data center however is not an easy equation. Those buildingnew data centers need to contend with architectural shifts to cloud and hybrid infrastructuremodels, as well as the need to cut total cost and reduce energy consumption for the long-term.An added requirement for new data centers is to satisfy the needs of both short-and long-termgoals, by effectively jibing the need for agility now with facility decisions that may well impactthe company for 20 years or more.We are going to examine two ongoing HP workshops as a means for better understanding DCTand for accurately assessing a company’s maturity in order to know how to begin a DCT journeyand where it should end up.Were here with rather three HP experts on the Data Center Transformation Experience Workshopand the Converged Infrastructure Maturity Model Workshop. Please join me now in welcomingHelen Tang, Solutions Lead for Data Center Transformation and Converged InfrastructureSolution for HP Enterprise Business. Welcome, Helen.Helen Tang: Thanks, Dana.Gardner: Were also here with Mark Edelmann, Senior Program Manager at HP’s EnterpriseStorage, Servers, and Network Business Unit. Welcome, Mark.Mark Edelmann: Thank you, Dana. Good to be here.
Gardner: And also Mark Grindle, Business Consultant for Data Center Infrastructure Servicesand Technology Services in HP Enterprise Business. Welcome, Mark.Mark Grindle: Hi, Dana. Thanks a lot.Gardner: Helen, as I mentioned, this is a very difﬁcult situation for organizations. Lots ofconﬂicting data is coming in, and many changes, many different trends are impacting this. Whydon’t we try to set the stage a little bit for why DCT is so important, but also why its no easytask.Exciting timesTang: Absolutely, Dana. As you said, there are a lot of difﬁculties for technology, but also if you look at the big picture, we live in extremely exciting times. We have rapidly changing and evolving business models, new technology advances like cloud, and a rapidly changing workforce. What the world is demanding is essentially instant gratiﬁcation. You can call it sort of an instant-on world, a world where everything is mobile, everybody is connected, interactive, and things just move very immediately and ﬂuid. All your customers and constituents want their need satisﬁed today, in an instant, asopposed to days or weeks. So, it takes a special kind of enterprise to do just that and compete inthis world.You need to be able to serve all of these customers, employees, partners, and citizens --0 if youhappen to be a government organization -- with whatever they want or need instantly, any point,any time, through any channel. This is what HP is calling the Instant-On Enterprise, and we thinkits the new imperative.Gardner: When you say instant-on, it means that companies have to respond to their customersat almost lightning speed, but we are talking about infrastructures that can take years to build out.How do you jibe the two, the need to be instant in terms of how you respond, but recognizingthat this is a very difﬁcult, complex, and timely process?Tang: Therein lies the challenge. Your organization is demanding evermore from IT -- moreinnovation, faster time to market, more services -- but at the same time, youre being constrainedby older architectures, inﬂexible siloed infrastructure that you may have inherited over the years.How do you deliver this new level of agility and be able to meet those needs?You have to take a transformational approach and look at things like converged infrastructure asa foundation for moving your current data center to a future state that’s able to support all of thisgrowth, with virtualized resource pools, integrated automated processes across the data center,with an energy-efﬁcient future-proofed physical data center design, that’s able to ﬂex and meetthese needs.
Gardner: Of course, one of the larger trends too is that technology is just more important tomore companies in more ways. This is not something you do to support your employees. It reallyis core to most companies in how they actually conduct business and is probably one of the chiefdeterminants of their success.So doing DCT is really part and parcel with how well you actually run your business -- or am Ioverstating it?Tang: That’s absolutely true. We talked earlier about how being an Instant-On Enterprise is animperative. Why do we call it that? Well, because these vast changes are coming, and you don’thave a choice.If you look at, just a few examples of some of these changes in the world of IT, number one isdevices. I think you mentioned this earlier. There’s an explosion of devices being used:smartphones, laptops, touchpads, PDAs. According to the Gartner Group, by 2014, that’s lessthan three years, 90 percent of organizations will need to support their corporate applications onpersonal devices. Is IT ready for that? Not by a long shot today.Architecture shiftsAnother trend that we see is some of these architecture shifts. Cloud obviously is very hot today, but two or three years ago a lot of CIOs pooh-poohed the idea and said, "Oh, that’s not real. That’s just hype." Well, the trend is really upon us. Another Gartner stat: in the next four years, 43 percent of CIOs will have the majority of their IT infrastructure and organizations and apps running in the cloud or in some sort of software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology. Most organizations aren’t equipped to deal with that.Last but not least, look at your workforce. In less than 10 years about half of the workforcewill be millennials, which is deﬁned as people born between the year of 1981 and 2000 -- theﬁrst generation to come of age in the new millennium. This is a Forrester statistic.This younger generation grew up with the Internet. They work and communicate very differentlyfrom the workforce of today and they will be a main constituency for IT in less than 10 years.That’s going to force all of us to adjust to different types of support expectations, different userexperiences, and governance.Gardner: So, as we recognize that the workloads, the requirements placed on IT are shifting, thedata center needs to respond to that as well. I guess it’s important to know where you are, howwell you have done in adjusting to what you have been serving up in the last several years inorder to know what you need to do in order to be able to provide for these new requirements thatwe are describing.
Let’s start talking about one of these ﬁrst workshops. It’s about the Maturity Model, a betterunderstanding of where you are. I guess there is an order to these workshops. This one seems tobe in the right order. You have to know where you are before you can decide where to go.So let’s move to Mark Edelmann. Tell me a little bit about the Converged Infrastructure MaturityModel and why it’s important, as I said, to know where you are before you start charting thecourse in any detail to the future.Edelmann: Before we dive into the maturity model though, I recently bumped into a deﬁnition on Wikipedia about maturity and I thought it might be useful to consider your IT environment as you listen to this deﬁnition that I picked up. "Maturity is a psychological term used to indicate how a person responds to the circumstances or environment in an appropriate and adaptive manner. The response is generally learned rather than instinctive and is not determined by one’s age. Maturity also encompasses being aware of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act appropriately according to the situation."Now, that probably sounds a little bit like what you might want your infrastructure to behave likeand to actually achieve a level of maturity, and that’s exactly what the Maturity Model Workshopis all about.Overall assessmentThe Maturity Model consists of an overall assessment, and it’s a very objective assessment. It’sbased on roughly 60 questions that we go through to speciﬁcally address the various dimensions,or as we call them domains, of the maturity of an IT infrastructure.We apply these questions in a consultative, interactive way with our customers, because some ofthe discussions can get very, very detailed. Asking these questions of many of our customers thathave participated in these workshops has been a new experience. Were going to ask ourcustomers things that they probably never thought about before or have only thought of in a verybrief sort of a way, but it’s important to get to the bottom of some of these issues.As a result of examining the infrastructure’s maturity along these lines, were able to establish abaseline of the maturity of the infrastructure today. And, in the course of interviewing anddiscussing this with our customers, we also identify where they would like to be in terms of theirmaturity in the future. From that, we can put together a plan of how to get from here to there.Gardner: When you say a workshop, are these set up so that people physically go there and youhave them in different places, or is there a virtual version where people can participate regardlessof where they are? How does that work?
Edelmann: Weve found it’s much more valuable to sit down face to face with the customer andgo through this, and it actually requires an investment of time. There’s a lot of backgroundinformation that has to be gathered and so forth, and it seems best if were face to face as we gothrough this and have the discussion that’s necessary to really tease out all the details.Gardner: Id like to understand a little bit more, Mark, why you break out maturity versusinstalled base. Help me understand what it takes in order to succeed and what you typically ﬁndwith these companies? Do they ﬁnd that they are further ahead than they thought or furtherbehind when we look at this through that distinct lens of maturity?Edelmann: Most of our customers ﬁnd out that they are a lot further behind than they thoughtthey were. Its not necessarily due to any fault on their part, but possibly a result of aginginfrastructure, because of the economic situation we have been in, disparate siloed infrastructureas a result of building out application focused stacks, which was kind of the way we approachedIT historically.Also, the impact of mergers and acquisitions has kind of forced some customers to put togetherdifferent technologies, different platforms, using different vendors and so forth. Rationalizing allthat can leave them in kind of a disparate sort of a state. So, they usually ﬁnd that they are a lotfurther behind than they thought.Gardner: And, because youve been doing this for quite some time and youve been doing itaround the world, you have a pretty good set of data. You have some good historical trend linesto examine, so you have certain domains and certain stages of maturity that you have been ableto identify.Maybe you could help us understand what those are and then relate how folks can then placethemselves on those lines, not only to know where they are, but have a sense of how far it is theyneed to go to get to that higher level of maturity theyre seeking.Edelmann: Sure. We can talk through that level of detail and you can familiarize yourself, atleast verbally, with how this model is set up and so forth.4x5 matrixPicture, if you will, a 4x5 matrix. We examine the customer’s infrastructure in four, what wecall, domains. These domains consist of technology and architecture, management tools andprocesses, the culture and IT staff, and the demand, supply, and IT governance aspects of theinfrastructure and the data center operations. Those are the four domains in which we ask thesequestions and make our assessment.From that, as we go through this, through some very detailed analysis that we have done over theyears, were able to position the customer’s infrastructure in one of ﬁve stages.
The ﬁrst stage, which is where most people start, is in Stage 1; we call that Compartmentalizedand Legacy, which is rather essentially the least mature stage. From there we move to Stage 2,which we call Standardized. Stage 3 then is Optimized. Stage 4 gets us into Automated and aService-Oriented Architecture (SOA). And, Stage 5 is more or less IT utopia necessary tobecome the Instant-On Enterprise that Helen just talked about. We called that AdaptivelySourced Infrastructure.We evaluate each domain under several conditions against those ﬁve stages and we essentiallywind up with a baseline of where the customer stands.Weve been doing this for a while and weve done a lot of examinations across the world andacross various industries. We have a database of roughly 1,400 customers that we then comparethe customer’s maturity to. So, the customer can determine where they stand with regards to theoverall norms of IT infrastructures.We can also illustrate to the customer what the best-in-class behavior is, because right now, therearen’t a whole lot of infrastructures that are up at Stage 5. Its a difﬁcult and a long journey to getto that level, but there are ways to get there, and that’s what were here for.Gardner: I want to make sure Ive got this straight in terms of the order of these workshops andwhy how they play off of one another. Maybe, Helen, you could come back in and helpunderstand which one you see people doing ﬁrst and which one you think is the one that makesthe more sense?Tang: Both workshops are great. Its not really an either/or. I would start with the Data CenterTransformation Experience Workshop, because that sets the scene in the background of how Istart to approach this problem. What do I think about? What are the key areas of consideration?And, it maps out a strategy on a grander scale.The CI Maturity Model Assessment speciﬁcally gets into when you think about implementation.Lets dive in and really drill deep into your current state versus future state when it comes tothese ﬁve domains that Mark just described.Gardner: Lets go now to the Data Center Transformation Experience Workshop with MarkGrindle. First, do you share Helen’s perspective on the order, and what would people gain byentering into the Data Center Transformation Experience Workshop ﬁrst? Then, you can then ﬁllus in a little bit on what its about?Interesting workshopGrindle: Thanks, Dana. I agree with what Helen said. It really is more structured if you do theData Center Transformation Experience Workshop ﬁrst and then follow that up with the MaturityModel. Its very interesting workshop, because its very different from any other workshop, atleast that I have ever participated in. Its not theoretical and its also extremely interactive.
It was originally designed and set up based on HP IT’s internal transformation. So, its based on exactly what we went through to accomplish all the great things that we did, and weve continued to reﬁne and improve it based on our customer experiences too. So, its a great representation of our internal experiences as well as what customers and other businesses and other industries are going through. During the process, we walk the customer through everything that weve learned, a lot of best practices, a lot of our experiences, and its extremely interactive.Then, as we go through each one of our dimensions, or each one of the panels, we probe with thecustomer to discuss what resonates well with them, where they think they are in certain areas,and its a very interactive dialog of what weve learned and know and what theyve learned andknow and what they want to achieve.The outcome is typically a very robust document and conversation around how the customershould proceed with their own transformation, how they should sequence it, what their prioritiesare, and true deliverables -- here are the tasks you need to take on and accomplish -- either withour help or on their own.It’s a great way of developing a roadmap, a strategy, and an initial plan on how to go forwardwith their own transformational efforts.Gardner: And the same question to you, Mark Grindle, about location. Is this something youprefer to do face to face as Mark Edelmann mentioned, or is this something that people cangather virtually or through road shows? How does it actually come to the market?Grindle: It absolutely has to be face-to-face. We use a very large conference room and we set upthese panels around the room. Each one of these panels is ﬂoor to ceiling and height. There areabout 4 feet by 5, or 5.5 feet high, and we walk through a series of 10 panels that approacheseach of the dimensions of transformation, as we look at it.So having all the people in the room and being able to be interactive face to face, as well asreference panels that you might have gone through or that you are about to go through asdifferent points in the conversation come up, is critical to having a successful workshop.Designed around strategyIts deﬁnitely designed around strategy. Most people, when they look at transformation, thinkabout their data centers, their servers, and somewhat their storage, but really the goal of ourworkshop is to help them understand, in a much more holistic view, that its not just about thattypical infrastructure. It has to do with program management, governance, the dramaticorganizational change that goes on if you go through transformation.
Applications, the data, the business outcomes, all of this has to be tied in to to ensure that, at endof the day, youve implemented a very cost-effective solution that meets the needs of thebusinesses. That really is a game-changing type of move by your organization.Gardner: And, as part of some of the trends we mentioned, building these for the long-termmeans that youre building for operational efﬁciency. The total cost, of course, over time is goingto be that ongoing operational penalty or, if you do it right, perhaps payback. How do you helppeople appreciate the economics of the data center, and how important is that to people in theseworkshops?Grindle: The ﬁnancials are absolutely critical. There are very few businesses today that aren’textremely focused on their bottom line and how they can reduce the operational cost.Certainly, from the HP IT experience, we can show, although its not a trivial investment to makethis all happen, the returns are not only normally a lot larger than your investment, but they areyear-over-year savings. That’s money that typically can be redeployed to areas that really impactthe business, whether its through manufacturing, marketing, or sales. This is money that can bereinvested in the business, and allowed to help grow the areas that really will have future impacton the growth of the business, while reducing the cost of your data centers and your operation.Interestingly enough, what we ﬁnd is that, even though youre driving down the cost of your ITorganization, youre not giving up quality and you are not giving up technology. You actuallyhave to implement new technologies and robust technologies to help bring your cost down.Things like automations, operational efﬁciency, ITIL processes all help you drive the savingwhile you are allowed to upgrade your systems and your environments to current technologiesand new technologies.And, while were on the topic of cost savings, a lot of times when we are talking to customerabout transformation, its normally being driven by some critical IT imperative, like theyre out ofspace in their data center and theyre about to look at building out a new data center or perhaps aobtaining a collocation site. A lot of times we ﬁnd that we sit down and talk with them about howthey can modernize their application, tier their storage, go with higher density equipment,virtualize their servers, they actually can free up space and avoid that major investment of thenew data center.Gardner: That gets back to the deﬁnition of maturity, where it might not necessarily meanbringing in trucks and pouring cement. It could very well mean transforming in a way that ekesout more productivity from your existing facilities before you rush into something new. Is thattypically the case? How often does that really happen where you can wring out enough efﬁciencyto postpone the actual new facility?Grindle: It happens time and time again. I am working with a company right now that waslooking at going to eight data centers and by implementing a lot of these new technologies --higher virtualization rates, improvements to their applications, and better management of theirdata on their storage. Were trying to get them down into two data centers. So right there is a
substantial change. And, that’s just an example of things that I have seen time and time again, asweve done these workshops.A big part of this is working through what the customer really needs and what their businessdrivers really are. In some cases, were ﬁnding out that brick and mortar aren’t really the rightsolutions for their data centers. They should look at collocation or even at more creativesolutions like the HP Data Center POD, where you can stand up one of these containers ﬁlledwith high density, very modern equipment, and meet all their needs without doing anything toyour existing data center.Its all about walking through the problems and the issues that are at hand and ﬁguring out whatthe right answers are to meet their needs, while trying to control the expense.Whats next?Gardner: Okay, I am starting to get it now. I see why these two workshops play off of oneanother, because you are laying out all the things that have happened at HP, what to expect, andwhat some of the alternatives are. That way youve got in your mind a set of alternativedirections. Then, by doing the Maturity Model, you get a sense of where you are and where youcan go, and putting the two together can start you on that path.Let’s look at that future path a little bit. Folks have taken these workshops and gotten a bettersense of the holistic full total equation. What usually happens next? Whats the process fromresearch, understanding, and knowledge to actually starting to hammer out a deﬁnition of whatyou and your particular situation as an organization should do?Let me ﬁre that ﬁrst off at you, Helen.Tang: As often happens, it depends. It’s based on your organization’s business needs. Where areyou trying to go in the next year, two years, or ﬁve years? It’s also based on the level ofconstraint that you face right now in the data center.We see one of two paths. In the more transformational approach, whereby you have the highestlevel of buy-in, all the way up to the CIO and sometimes CFO and CEO, you lay out an actual12-18 month plan. HP can help with that, and you start executing towards that. You say, "Okay,what would be the ﬁrst step?" A lot of times, it makes sense to standardize, consolidate. Then,what is the next step? Sometimes that’s modernizing applications, and so on. That’s oneapproach we have seen.A lot of organizations don’t have the luxury of going top-down and doing the big bangtransformation. Then, we take a more project-based approach. It still helps them a lot goingthrough these two workshops. They get to see the big picture and all the things that are possible,but they start picking low-hanging fruit that would yield the highest ROI and solve their currentpain points.
Often, in these past few years, it has been virtualization. What is my current virtualization level?How do I take it up to maximum efﬁciency? And then, look to adjacent projects. So, the nextstep might be consolidation, or automation, and so on.Gardner: Mark Edelmann, same to you. Are there some typical scenarios that youve seen thatfolks when they have digested the implications from these workshops then have a vision or adirection, and what typically would that be?Edelmann: Helen did a great job of outlining it, because different customers start at differentplaces and they are headed for different places. Often, the journey is a little bit different from onecustomer to the other.The Maturity Model Workshop you might think of as being at a little lower level than the DataCenter Transformation Workshop. As a result of the Maturity Model Workshops, we produce areport for the customer to understand -- A is where Im at, and B is where Im headed. Those gapsthat are identiﬁed during the course of the assessment help lead a customer to project deﬁnitions.In some cases, there may be some obvious things that can be done in the short term and capturesome of that low-hanging fruit -- perhaps just implement a blade system or something like that --that will give them immediate results on the path to higher maturity in their transformationjourney.Multiple starting pointsThere are multiple starting points and consequently multiple exit points from the MaturityModel Workshop as well.Gardner: Mark Grindle, same kind of question. How do people take what theyve gathered hereto use it? Any stories or anecdotes about what you have seen people do with this that has helpedthem?Grindle: Mark and Helen were both right in their comments. The result of the workshop is reallya sequence series of events that the customer should follow up on next. Those can be veryspeciﬁc items, like gather your physical server inventories so that that can be analyzed, to otheritems such as run a Maturity Model Workshop, so that you can understand where you are in eachof the areas and what the gaps are, based on where you really want to be.It’s always interesting when we do these workshops, because we pull together a group of seniorexecutives covering all the domains that Ive talked about -- program management, governance --their infrastructure people, their technology people, their applications people, and theiroperational people, and it’s always funny, the different results we see.I had one customer that said to me that the deliverable we gave them out in the workshop wasalmost anti-climatic versus what they learned in the workshop. What they had learned during this
one was that many people had different views of where the organization was and where it wantedto go.Each was correct from their particular discipline, but from an overarching view of what are wetrying to do for the business, they weren’t all together on all of that. It’s funny how we see thoselights go on as people are talking and you get these interesting dialogs of people saying, "Well,this is how that is." And someone else going, "No, it’s not. It’s really like this."It’s amazing the collaboration that goes on just among the customer representatives above andbeyond the customer with HP. It’s a great learning collaborative event that brings together a lotof the thoughts on where they want to head. It ends up motivating people to start taking thosenext actions and ﬁguring out how they can move their data centers and their IT environment in amuch more logical, and in most cases, aggressive fashion than they were originally thinking.Gardner: It sounds like a very powerful exercise for a lot of different reasons. For those folksinterested, how could they learn more about these workshops? Are there some resources outthere whereby they go to ﬁnd them? Let me start with you, Helen.Tang: The place to go would be hp.com/go/dct.Gardner: That’s pretty straightforward. Any other thoughts Mark and Mark about where youcould go to pursue information if you were starting to get interested in these workshops?Edelmann: Well, it’s probably not a big surprise, but to learn more about the CI Maturity Model,you can go to hp.com/go/cimm.Gardner: And Mark Grindle?Grindle: I agree with both of those. Obviously your HP account rep can help you. We have anHP IT Forum coming up soon. For people who are attending, we do mini workshops during thisevent. We set up a day that individual customers can come in for an hour and we walk themthrough each one of the panels very quickly and give them a ﬂavor for what the full workshopwould look like. There are a lot of options here for people to get a better understanding of theworkshop and how it can help them.Gardner: So, you can get the appetizer before the entrée?Grindle: Absolutely.Gardner: Well, thank you. You have been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on theneed for DCT and some proven ways that explore how to do DCT effectively.I would like to thank our guests. We have been joined by Helen Tang, Solutions Lead for DataCenter Transformation and Converged Infrastructure Solutions for HP Enterprise Business.Thanks again, Helen,
Tang: Thanks, Dana. Always a pleasure.Gardner: And Mark Edelmann, Senior Program Manager, HP’s Enterprise Storage, Servers, andNetworking Business Unit. Thanks to you, Mark.Edelmann: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And lastly, Mark Grindle, Business Consultant, Data Center Infrastructure Services inthe Technology Services within HP Enterprise Business. Thanks to you.Grindle: Thank you, Dana. It was great being here.Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listeningand come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:HP.Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on two HP workshops that help businessesdetermine needs and roadmap for improving data center operation. Copyright InterarborSolutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • HPs Instant-On Enterprise Initiative Takes Aim at Shifting Needs of Business and Government • Hastening Trends Around Cloud, Mobile Push Application Transformation as Priority, says Research • Well-Planned Data Center Transformation Effort Delivers IT Efﬁciency Paybacks, Green IT Boost for Valero Energy • Data Center Transformation Includes More than New Systems; Theres Also Secure Data Removal, Recycling, Server Disposal