Travel Giant TUI Group Leverages Virtualization Tools to Get a Handle on Cutting Time to Troubleshooting IT Issues
Travel Giant TUI Group Leverages Virtualization Tools to Geta Handle on Cutting Time to Troubleshooting IT IssuesTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how to achieve better systems management in cloudand virtualized environments.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: VMwareDana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’relistening to BrieﬁngsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on how global travel and tourism giant TUI Group IT organization TUI InfoTec has come to grips with managing IT operations better, especially in mixed environments like hybrid clouds. The critical need to better identify performance issues and outages promptedTUI InfoTec to ﬁnd ways to cut time to troubleshooting. We’ll hear about their efforts and howthey’ve resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the time needed to identify the causes of suchproblems. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]Here to tell us about better systems management in heterogeneous cloud environments and invirtualized environments is Christian Rudolph, Infrastructure Architect at TUI InfoTec inHanover, Germany. Welcome to the show, Christian.Christian Rudolph: Hi, Dana. Thank you.Gardner: Tell me a little bit about TUI, and TUI InfoTec. I know you’re very big in Germany,but we have readers and listeners from around the world. Tell us a little bit about your travel andtourism company?Rudolph: TUI InfoTec is an external IT provider for the TUI AG Group. The TUI AG Group is aEuropean leading company in travel and tourism. Theyre very large in Germany, in the UK, and also in other European countries. They’re not presently doing a lot of business in the US. We started as an internal IT organization from TUI Germany, and moved in 2006 to an external service provider for the TUI AG and other companies. Were a joint venture company with Sonata Software Ltd., which holds about 50 percent of the company. Were responsible for all the business-critical IT for TUI AG group like the booking systems, the access planning system, and all the other systems related to the business of the TUI AG group.Gardner: So many mission-critical applications and systems involved here.
Rudolph: Yes, that’s correct. If it comes to an outage of the IT systems we lose a lot of money.So we have to take care that everything is working and running in the infrastructure.Gardner: To what degree are you into virtualization? Are you highly virtualized in many apps orin certain apps? How is your landscape for virtualization currently?Rudolph: We started with a small proof of concept in a Windows environment and were now upto having 60 percent of our infrastructures virtualized. With most of the important systems, likeour booking system. Nearly everything in this infrastructure is now virtualized.60 percent WindowsWe’re 60 percent in the Windows environment, and 20 percent in the UNIX environment,which is virtualized, and were currently planning to go further -- to 80 percent virtualization in the total landscape. Thats our current state, and we’ve driven more and more to a virtualized infrastructure for all the mission-critical systems. Gardner: Are you taking that next step to private cloud, having thatfuller beneﬁt of a fabric approach to infrastructure? Have you gone a signiﬁcant amount in thatdirection as well?Rudolph: We’re currently thinking about planning our private cloud for our development team.Were also starting to take a look at how, from a cost perspective, we can do the best for ourcustomers. Maybe we can include peak trading for some of the systems. We have a great openingfor producing catalogs for the customer, so that theyre able to connect our internal cloud over toexternal clouds and have the hybrid clouds then in place.Gardner: So an important aspect of being able to move in that direction is to have greatmanagement and insights. Tell us a little bit about how you approached this issue. What did youneed to accomplish in order to have a higher degree of success, when it comes to troubleshootingand remediation around IT issues?Rudolph: Were a very silo-based environment. So we have dedicated network storage and aserver team responsible for resolving issues in our infrastructure. What weve seen in the pastwere a lot of problems in getting the people together. Everybody had different management toolsfrom the different vendors and nobody had an over-all view about the infrastructure.This is where we evaluated vCenter Operations to get an over-all overview about ourinfrastructure and to get a deep dive into our infrastructure to take a look at how can we solveproblems faster and how this could help us in the normal process.Gardner: What did you do? What was your path to solving these issues?
Rudolph: Normally when we have performance issues, our responsibilities are not very clear --this is a server problem, a network problem, an OS system problem, or this is only the end-userwho has a problem. He feels that the application isnt fast enough. In the past, we had a largeproblem getting information all together.Now we have vCenter Operations on a single pane of glass that can roll down to the storagenetwork and also the infrastructure CPU memory resources to have a clear overview of whatcould be the ﬁrst root cause of an issue or performance for the end user. Weve tried to ﬁgure outhow can we bring it better together, and for us vCenter Operations, it’s a single pane of glass.Gardner: Which version of vCenter Operations or what other VMware products have you beenusing in order to provide this singular but comprehensive view?Rudolph: We currently use the vCenter Operations 1.0 Standard version, but were in the betaprogram currently for 5.0. Its a new version, which comes out next year with vCenter Operations5.0. These version give us the ability to do capacity planning and also performance analysis inone view so that we can adapt the things we have discovered in normal business hours for thesystem and also to do capacity planning for the future.Gardner: Okay. How has that beta worked out? Are some of these features something that youthink will be of value to you?A good overviewRudolph: We have two or three good cases there. This has really helped us in the normalbusiness. Weve been running with the beta for two months and what weve detected is that wehave a good overview, because we have some multi-vCenter environments. We have, in total,three productive vCenters and we need to discover all of them. We had a problem, because wecant use Linked Mode for the vCenters. We had no central view for all the systems to get aperformance overview of the system.And there is a second step. We didnt have the capacity in the same view. So we werent able todo capacity planning, until we manually got all the information from the different vCenters tohave a consolidated planning view. For us, this is one of the most important things that we can dofor planning in one place for all our vCenters and also know how many capacity hours are leftfor new machines. So we increased our time to deliver a virtual machine (VM).Gardner: So having gained better insight and experimenting with even more and improvedfeatures and functions, perhaps you could share with us some of the pay-offs. What have yougained? What has this better IT visibility in operations and remediation brought to you intechnical and in business terms?
Rudolph: The process is very easy, because weve seen that we reduced the time until we candeliver our root cause for our known problem by nearly 50 percent. We reduced the time fordoing that, and this is also the best case for our customers -- that we can deliver faster solutionfor a system problem.The second thing weve seen is that we can see earlier information about how the system isfeeling? Through vCenter Operations and through the health status in the vC Ops we can seehow our end-users feel. We can detect some problems before they occur, and that’s the best usecase we can ever have.Gardner: I see, you mentioned support. Are your folks that are providing internal support inhelpdesk for various users throughout your large company beneﬁtting from this as well?Rudolph: Our end-users have also beneﬁted from the products, because when we detectproblems faster and can resolve them faster, they have also faster usage of the product. Becauseit can detect problems before they occur, it can be proactive for the end-user. And when the end-users don’t have any problems, its good for our helpdesk.Gardner: How about looking towards the future? We talked a little bit about your use ofimproved operations, but will this become important when you move to more cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and/or mobile types of activities. How important is this proactive ability inmanagement as you innovate?Rudolph: Its very important for us. We currently have the vCenter orchestration platformimplemented, and were starting to deliver to the end-user a service portal. Where they canrequest more-and-more VMs. When we didn’t have the products to monitor this system and wecome to great trouble. How can we else go further, maybe to a hybrid cloud environment, if wecan’t manage our private cloud like now with the vCenter Orchestrator and also with the vC Ops.Gardner: Taking a step back and reviewing how things have gone, do you have anyrecommendations or advice for other companies that might be pursuing higher levels ofvirtualization and perhaps looking for similar reduction in meantime to solution for problems?Two recommendationsRudolph: I see two recommendations. Not many people know how powerful vCenterOrchestration is. This is one powerful tool as an automatic way for deployment, for maintaining,and also to do some other basic tasks in your virtual infrastructure. This is one important step forus to go to a higher virtualization ratio, because it can be delivered faster to our end-users.The second thing is really to take a look at vCenter Operations and deﬁnitely to the new versionthat’s coming up. This really helps us to understand how my infrastructure is working. When Idon’t know that, I may have problem with one of my disks and I/O and this reﬂects back to oneVM especially. You have to know that, otherwise you don’t have recognition from the end-user
that virtualization is really working and that you can bring mission-critical systems to the virtualinfrastructure.Gardner: So the success using these tools can really lead to a much broader strategic success inthe overall adoption of IT.Rudolph: Yes, that’s correct.Gardner: We’ve been talking about how global travel and tourism giant TUI Group’s internalIT organization has come to grips with managing IT operations better especially as they approachnew environments like hybrid clouds.I’d like to thank our guest. We’ve been here with Christian Rudolph. He is an InfrastructureArchitect in the TUI InfoTec Group in Hanover, thank you sir.Rudolph: Thank you.Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks also to ouraudience for joining us, and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: VMwareTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how to achieve better systems management in cloudand virtualized environments. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rightsreserved.You may also be interested in: • SAP Runs VMware to Provision Private Clouds that Support Complex and Critical Training Applications • Case Study: How SEGA Europe Uses VMware to Standardize Cloud Environment for Globally Distributed Game Development • Germanys Largest Travel Agency Starts a Virtual Journey to Get Branch Ofﬁce IT Under Control • Virtualized Desktops Spur Use of Bring You Own Device in Schools, Allowing Always- On Access to Education Resources • From VMworld, Cosmetics Giant Revlon Harnesses the Power of Private Cloud to Produce Impressive Savings and Cost Avoidance • From VMworld, NYSE Euronext on Hybrid Cloud Vision and Strategy Behind the Capital Markets Community Platform Vertical Cloud