Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Apache, Security

Cloud Expo: Article

VCE Accelerates Private Cloud Deployments from Months to Weeks

Archie Hendryx discusses how VCE's Vblock rapidly accelerates the Journey to the Private Cloud

Today we will be talking about VCE's cloud infrastructure product, the Vblock. Gartner's recent study that through next year 60% of enterprises will embrace some form of cloud adoption, has enlightened the competitive cloud vendor market. But at the same time, does the cloud industry need to be driven by vendor competition or vendor collaboration? Archie Hendryx of VCE Technology Solutions discusses this very matter.

EM360°: Could you tell us about VCE and why cloud has played a big part in your company's solutions?

Archie: VCE is a unique start up company formed via joint investments from EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel that has been operating for just over three years. Its focus is solely on building the world's most advanced converged infrastructure, the Vblock. The Vblock is a pretested, prevalidated and preconfigured and more importantly pre-integrated infrastructure solution of storage, compute, networking and hypervisor; so in other words it ships out as a single SKU and product to the customer.

Personally I like to equate VCE as a revolutionary that has changed the way we view infrastructure as it's manufacturing and selling infrastructure as a product much in the way like you buy a car such as an Audi. When you buy an Audi you may have different components from different vendors that make up that car but what the end user is purchasing is a single product. Similarly with the Vblock while we may use different components from our investors Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel the end user is acquiring a product. Because it's a standardized product, the Vblock models are exactly the same regardless of geographical location, which completely radicalizes and simplifies the customer experience of infrastructure and consequently mitigates the typical risk associated with it.

As for how the cloud has played a big part in VCE's success, one of the major criticisms of private clouds is that the end user still has to build, manage and maintain the infrastructure to the extent that they are continuing the ‘keeping the lights on' approach of IT. Ultimately this lacks the economic benefit that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept. Hence what we and our customers quickly realized is that a private cloud's success ultimately depends on the stability, reliability, scalability and performance of its infrastructure. By going the Vblock route our customers immediately attain that stability, reliability, scalability and performance and consequently accelerate their private cloud initiatives. For example with support issues, VCE alone are the owner of the ticket because the Vblock is their product. Once the Vblock has been shipped out problems that might potentially be faced by a customer in Glasgow can easily be tested on a like-for-like standard Vblock in our labs. This rapidly resolves performance issues or trouble tickets.

The other distinctive feature of the Vblock is its accelerated deployment. We ship to the customer a ready assembled logically configured product and solution in only 30-45 working days, from procurement to production. This has an immediate effect in terms of the reduction in cost of ownership, especially when the businesses demand that instant platform for their new projects.

EM360°: Your latest cloud infrastructure solution sees your components from the Vblock, integrating with VMware's new cloud solutions system. Can you tell me why industry collaboration is seen to be prominent in today's market?

Archie: What I think has driven this is a change in mindset of customers which has been initiated by the concept of cloud computing. Customers are reassessing the way they procure IT and they want a simplified and accelerated experience that doesn't require having to go to multiple vendors and solutions. I think vendors that are still only focused on storage or servers and have not looked at expanding their offerings via alliances or acquisitions are either going to fold or be swallowed up by the big fishes as they look to add to their portfolios. This is one of the reasons why the latest announcement from VMware and their vCloud suite is so exciting and of course VCE's support and integration for it.

If VCE and the Vblock are responsible for accelerating your journey to the private cloud you could say that adding this vCloud suite would pretty much give it a major turbo boost.

EM360°: Are copyright factors, or other vendors sussing out each other's strengths and weaknesses, a problem when you encounter a project like this?

Archie: That's a really interesting question and certainly I have experienced that in previous roles, especially when I was with initiatives such as Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) when they had SMI-S compliancy. We were always promised that SMI-S compliancy would allow us to have the utopia of a single pane of glass for heterogeneous storage arrays, regardless of whether the storage array was from HDS, HP or EMC. Sadly this was never the case. As none of the vendors opened up fully and you only ended up with around 60% functionality, which ultimately meant that you went back to the native tools and multiple management panes of glass that you had anyway. You could not really blame the vendors as it would be naive to think that one vendor would allow its competitor to dissect their micro-code. This mindset is not going to change. So that is why you will see vendors deciding to procure their own server companies or storage vendors to provide this end-to-end stack.

At VCE we are in a very unique position where our investors are not competing with each other, and for us they are ultimately the component providers to our product. We don't necessarily support or include all of our investors' products or portfolios as components, only those we feel really best integrate with our single end user product. Once we have our specific components defined from our investors based on our standards we then pre-integrate and manufacture our product as a comprehensive solution. While our competitors and even our investors have such a large portfolio of products and offerings, VCE only do Vblocks and hence only focus on improving and optimizing Vblocks, enabling us to do things which others in the industry have only dreamed of, and this will be announced very soon.

EM360°: Today's enterprise market is obviously rather confused and what some other analysts are also thinking.  I don't think some companies know what they want for their departments, whether to embrace public, open, private or a bit of both - hybrid functions. A lot of vendors are doing their own spin on cloud, particularly the niche players. Is the industry doing enough to simplify the product offering?

Archie: In a nutshell no. There is still a lot of confusion out there and smoke screen marketing from various vendors and this hasn't helped the end user decide or make the distinction between the various offerings and what is best for them. What we have found most recently with a lot of our enterprise clients is that they initially look at us as part of a storage server or datacenter refresh.  While they may have some cloud initiatives, they really have little or no idea on how to achieve them, certainly in terms of the traditional model of IT procurement and deployment.

Once they understand the concept of the Vblock and how VCE can provide them a productized, risk free infrastructure we immediately see them come to the realisation of how this could be aligned to a Private Cloud model that in turn could develop to a Hybrid cloud. Once the customer realizes how agile and quick the deployment of their infrastructure could be with a Vblock , we nearly always find them talking and feeling freer to think higher up the stack with strategic discussions and plans on how they can deploy a management and orchestration solution and service portal. Ultimately if you want people to really understand the Cloud and what's best for them you've got to show them how you take away the risk from their traditional IT and infrastructure challenges.

EM360°: Have we seen innovation thrive in the cloud infrastructure management market, and what kinds of developments and developments have really caught your eye today?

Archie: There are a lot great products and suites out there. Every day we are seeing improvements in the look and the feel of such products as they come closer to providing that public cloud experience to the private cloud. I think the challenge of all of these solutions up to now is that they have to be integrating with all of the components of the infrastructure as separate entities, especially when it comes to designing and deploying orchestration. Without trying to reveal too much what VCE will be bringing out, I can certainly say that it will completely revolutionize and simplify this, where the product will now be managed, monitored and orchestrated as exactly that, a single Vblock product. When this development comes it will really excite many and completely transform the private cloud infrastructure model going forward.

EM360°: Are there any final thoughts you would like to leave our readers with as to how the cloud infrastructure market will play out in the future, what kind of systems we could be using and how enterprises should look to plan ahead?

Archie: The industry is at an inflection point. The approach to IT is changing and is affecting the way customers and vendors approach and procure infrastructure, specifically with regards to the mission critical applications that they ultimately depend on. This is going to lead to more converged infrastructure offerings that are eventually going to pretty much get to the point where VCE are, which is a standardized product offering, or as we like to call it an x86 mainframe. One CTO of a customer recently  said to me that if I do not look at purchasing the components of the power and cooling of my datacenter, why should I do that with my infrastructure? That kind of summed it up for me because there is going to come a time when people will look back at the way open systems IT was purchased and deployed as ludicrous as someone today buying all of the components of a laptop, putting it all together, somehow expecting it to work perfectly and then be supported seamlessly by all of the vendors of the components.

To take that laptop analogy further what we will eventually see with infrastructure viewed and built as a product, is a new way to manage, monitor and update it as a product. For example when you update your laptop you are automatically notified of the patches and it's a single click of the button for the single product. You don't receive an update for your keyboard, followed by an update for your screen only for a week later to be sent another update for your CD-ROM. Concurrently when it comes to support you don't log a call with the manufacturer of the CD-ROM component of your laptop you go directly to the manufacturer of the product. Imagine that same experience with your Cloud infrastructure where it alerts you of a single seamless update for the whole product? Where it has a true single management pane and presents itself to the end user as a single entity? Imagine how that would simplify the configuration, orchestration and management of the Private Cloud. That's where the future lies and to be honest it might not be that far away.

Excerpt taken from interview with Enterprise Management 360 Magazine

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Are you interested in accelerating innovation, simplifying deployments, reducing complexity, and lowering development costs? The cloud is changing the face of application development and deployment, with enterprise-grade infrastructure and platform services making it possible for you to build and rapidly scale enterprise applications. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Gene Eun, Sr. Director, Oracle Cloud at Oracle, will discuss the latest solutions and strategies for application developers and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build and deploy modern business applications in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud refers to the federation of a public and private cloud environment for the purpose of extending the elastic and flexibility of compute, storage and network capabilities, in an on-demand, pay-as-you go basis. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. Hybrid cloud environments involve complex management challenges. First, organizations struggle to maintain control over the resources that lie outside of their managed IT scope. They also need greater infrastructure visibility to help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that their company data and resources are properly handled and secured.