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Revisiting the First Step in IT Transformation - Virtualization

Posted by Michael Kestigian on Mar 15, 2016 11:43:44 AM

Every day seems to bring more and more tasks that need to get done right away.  Schedules are filling up faster than ever, meetings get double booked, and no one feels they can set aside time to keep up with the evolving IT industry, much less take on the challenge of learning something new.  While IT Transformation is not a new market trend, its effecg is now widely acknowledged and supported by significant industry analysts.

Certainly, nearly all the vendors in the IT Industry have created IT Transformation materials and whatever the outcome of a particular vendor’s strategic vision, the starting point for that strategy begins with that vendor’s portfolio.  The Avnet EMC Supplier Business Executive (SBE) team has developed a program for Partners to adopt that leads to the Digital Business.  The Digital Business is an organization with a vision for how information is going to change their markets, their operations, and how their employees work to enable a more efficient business that is increasingly dedicated to the customer experience.

I think we can all agree that becoming a Digital Business is what client organizations are striving for. But, where do you start? The Avnet EMC SBE team is tasked with realizing the current and future business goals of a wide variety of partners, not just ones who sell and service one part of the EMC portfolio.  As a team, they developed a unique proposition for the partner community.  Namely, that the starting point on this path, from where the partners and clients are now (on their way to the Digital Business,) is with virtualization.

Virtualization has enabled IT teams to “reduce server incidents by 27 percent, system downtime by 26 percent and app-to-market time by 22 percent”.1  The popularity of virtualization is so great that Gartner predicted in 2014 that by 2016 85% of all systems would be virtualized.1

We often think that virtualization is so prevalent that there cannot possibly be any challenges left.  The reality is that virtualization has been so popular, and has provided so much value to clients, that its success has led to unforeseen challenges.

These observations were made in 2014 and remain true today.  But, the pressures on IT organizations from 2014 are still with us, including not only budget restrictions, hiring limits, and education cuts, but the fact that IT is simultaneously managing more infrastructure, more information, and more business requirements than ever.

More infrastructure, more information, and more business requirements translate to having to do more with less, more and more often; to the point where the capabilities of virtualization solutions need to be expanded and extended to keep the friction of change from swamping IT’s capacity to respond.

Many questions must be considered. Which clients do we focus on?  Which elements of the virtualization stack do we develop to address that client base?  How do we keep as much of what we know that works, and change what we can to enable more clients to provide more business, operational, and technical solutions faster?  And, while doing that, how do we keep costs under control and not just build up another set of technology-centric silos?  The answers to these questions vary by vertical market, by client business strategy, and by the client’s perception of where its IT organization sits along the continuum from that of a cost center to that of a value center.

We know that clients want to move to a frictionless information infrastructure and we know they want to move there as fast as possible.  That is, clients want to become a Digital Business in as short a time as possible. To start off, and to insure the foundation of the SBE program is on the surest of footing, the SBE team conducted a Partner Survey on the current capabilities and investment plans our Partners have with their virtualization practices.

This survey gets us to an understanding of the capabilities and competencies of the overall Partner community, and what the particular virtualization skills of a specific partner are.  While virtualization has been widely adopted over many years, the challenges from 2014 (listed below) are not much changed1:

  • Physical resource constraints
  • Capacity management of networked assets
  • The sprawl of virtualized systems
  • Backing up a virtualized data center effectively
  • Expanding numbers of virtualized hosts creating security challenges
  • Backward compatibility of software and hardware components
  • Performance of the ‘virtualization stack’
  • Licensing and warranty costs

The pressures on IT organizations from 2014 are with us today, including not only budget restrictions, hiring limits, and education cuts, but the fact that IT is simultaneously managing more infrastructure, more information, and more business requirements now than ever.

Tags: EMC, Technologies, Virtualization