How to Add to Your IT Environment without Adding Costs

Part 2 of our 2-part series on Driving Efficiency through Infrastructure Optimization. Read Part 1 “Where to Find Cost Savings in Your Cloud or Data Center Environment

In the response to the current global crisis, short-term cost reductions have been prioritized by many  organizations looking to keep their businesses viable during the economic downturn.  Quite often they are looking to drive greater efficiency in their IT environments.

However, as organizations move from efficiency into recovery and beyond, the need to add new applications and workloads won’t disappear. It’s important for organizations to consider ways to optimize infrastructure to add new workloads while incurring minimal or no additional costs.

Why is this so important?  In the data center, 67% of organizations over-invest in data center storage while 33% have run out of capacity or experienced high utilization that impacted up-time (Source: Futurum Research). In the cloud, 60% of organizations have overspent their planned budgets at some point (Source: Rightscale).

Organizations that sustain efficiencies found in the short term will equip themselves to compete and thrive in recovery and beyond. This is where looking into the data center to find excess capacity and resources, tiering storage appropriately and choosing cloud over new servers all come into play.

Here are the steps you can take to optimize your infrastructure to add new workloads cost effectively by optimizing the on-premise data center and moving the right workloads into the cloud.

Optimizing Your On-Premise Data Center

As application workloads change, the optimal infrastructure setup to support them changes, too. When the time comes to add new applications to the IT environment, adding new hardware or spinning up new workloads in the cloud without a plan in place often results in unnecessary waste.

Instead, look for opportunities to optimize existing data center infrastructure to support new workloads without additional costs.

The following actions will help you understand your applications and ensure you have each running on the ideal compute and storage resources:

  • Take a comprehensive inventory: Use data collection tools to gather a holistic view of your existing on-premise environment, including devices and workloads. Capturing and analyzing current usage and performance data will uncover opportunities for greater efficiency. In turn, this data can inform your decisions about where to make changes based on accurate estimates of cost and business impact.
  • Consolidate the data center: Now is the time to assess the business value of owning multiple data center sites and whether there is an opportunity to consolidate these. Shutting down unnecessary sites and leveraging lower-cost cloud backup and disaster recovery could provide considerable infrastructure efficiency benefits.
  • Defer data center refresh costs: If you have hardware devices that have or are about to reach end-of-support (EOS) or end-of-life (EOL) and migrating to the cloud isn’t an option, a refresh may be unavoidable. Fortunately, many hardware providers have deferred some or all upfront costs until 2021 to help organizations through cash flow issues. It may also be worth considering other alternatives to an upfront capital expenditure, such as leasing or pay-per-usage options.

Migrating the Right Workloads to the Cloud

For many organizations, COVID-19 has put plans to migrate applications and workloads to the cloud on fast-forward. This has the potential to increase agility and cost efficiency by reducing technical debt and physical footprint associated with the traditional data center.

In fact, the Flexera State of the Cloud Report 2020 finds that more than half surveyed have seen increased cloud usage due to reliance on cloud-based applications since stay-at-home orders came into effect worldwide (Source: Flexera).

Reduced IT operations personnel, difficulties in accessing data center facilities and delays in hardware supply chains have all contributed to this shift.

Nonetheless, not every application or workload makes sense in the cloud. Furthermore, challenges in understanding application dependencies, assessing the feasibility of migration and predicting the costs to run a given workload on-premise versus in the cloud all get in the way.

The following steps will help you identify the best candidate workloads for cloud migration:

  • Assess suitability and identify migration risks: Analyze application, data and dependencies to determine the most suitable workloads for cloud migration and address potential performance and downtime risks.
  • Conduct total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) analysis: Equipped with insights into applications, you’ll be able to define the infrastructure requirements to run applications in the cloud at optimal performance and cost.
  • Compare the cost-benefit of running each workload in the cloud vs. on-premise: The next step is to estimate the cost and business impact of running a given workload on-prem or in the cloud.
  • Plan and migrate: From here, you can determine the appropriate migration strategy to move workloads into the cloud with minimal risk. With complete and accurate documentation, you can establish the best migration sequence and apply dependency controls to avoid downtime.

Taking steps to optimize infrastructure and minimize the cost of adding new application workloads to your environment is a big milestone on the road to recovery.

We offer the following solutions to assist organizations like yours to move ahead with infrastructure optimization in the data center and migrate the right workloads to the cloud.

  • Workload Assessment: Evaluate the technical feasibility and cost of migrating and running application workloads in the public cloud based on usage, performance and technical characteristics of existing workloads to identify application dependencies, total cost of ownership and cost management considerations.
  • Public Cloud Accelerator: Leverage an operating expense (OPEX) model to meet new workload needs by reducing the risk of deploying workloads to the cloud and mitigating cost overruns based on proven experience earned through hundreds of cloud engagements.

Our team of licensing and technology vendor experts are ready to help you find efficiencies wherever you are in your journey from response to recovery.

Looking for further insights to help  drive efficiency and optimize the infrastructure in your IT environment? 

Watch our webinar, “Cloud Cost Optimization: How to Avoid Overspend and Control Costs,” on-demand or connect with an expert.

Why We’re Excited for VMworld 2019

VMWorld 2019

VMworld is the marquee VMware event of the year.

The conference showcases the technology and solutions providers that are transforming the IT landscape. From mobility and the cloud to networking and security – VMworld offers a glimpse of what’s happening in IT now – and what’s coming next.

The annual US conference kicks off in San Francisco on August 25 and Softchoice has a team of VMware experts attending. We asked a few of them to share what’s got them most excited about this year’s event.

Here’s what they had to say…

Scott Mathewson, Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Practice Lead

There are a lot of exciting announcements coming from VMware this year.

I’m especially curious to see what’s new and upcoming as it relates to VMware’s SDN strategy and roadmaps, especially NSX.  Being able to automate network provisioning and have network and security settings wrapped around applications provides efficient, error-free provisioning with “set-once” security policies. This means that IT can reduce the time and effort needed to provision new workloads or move applications to the cloud.

New versions of VMware NSX will also allow for greater flexibility in software-defined network (SDN) configuration for high availability and backup across multiple clouds. NSX services, firewalls, routers and load balancers will now be consumable in the cloud as a service. The on-prem and cloud versions of NSX come together and provide the ultimate options for a customer when it comes to networking and security. Businesses can now choose the networking and security services that are critical to the business – whether they are in the cloud or on-prem.

Meanwhile, VMware Cloud on AWS is growing. New features like Elastic Block Storage (EBS) integrated into VSAN and Relational Database Support (RDS) native to the virtual machine enable much greater application flexibility.  Customers can now truly take advantage of software services to modernize business applications. They can also reduce costs and increase performance and agility for business applications. VMC on AWS has a robust global scale. And it’s the only solution that allows companies to get the cloud within hours instead of months and years by having the ability to immediately drag and drop applications with VMware from on-prem to the cloud.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about announcements relating to VMware on Azure and Google cloud. I see this development making VMware the provider of choice for many organizations looking for a fast, secure solution for moving applications to the cloud. VMware and the CloudHealth platform will also play an important role in managing applications in the cloud.

John Long, VMware Technical Architect

At this year’s conference, I’m excited for content and sessions that dive deeper into two emerging products: VMware VeloCloud and VMware CloudHealth, (whose acquisition was announced at VMworld last year).

VeloCloud is an SD-WAN solution that can be deployed in minutes from remote sites. It’s has taken the market by storm. It’s arguably the most strategic purchase VMware has made since it acquired Nicira (now called NSX) in 2012.

VeloCloud is changing the way we think about internet connectivity and the way customers are bridging between data center to co-location, data center to the cloud, and cloud-to-cloud. NSX provides the ability to stretch Layer 2 networks over Layer 3. From there, VeloCloud comes in to ensure connectivity through multiple connections that upgrade ordinary broadband connections into enterprise SD-WAN.

It also assures optimal application performance – a growing requirement for VoIP, video and other bandwidth-intensive applications. One of the most compelling reasons we are excited about VeloCloud is how the quality of service (QoS) is provided through public and private cloud-based management as a service. Branch deployment is also virtually automated.

But the VeloCloud SD-WAN “secret sauce” is Dynamic Multipath Optimization. This provides continuous path monitoring along with automated bandwidth discovery. In turn, this enables application-aware dynamic per-packet steering as well as on-demand remediation with QoS.

It’s certainly feature-rich as it exists today (with SD-WAN artificial intelligence and machine learning). But we’re excited to see how this offering will evolve in the coming months and year.

At the same time, CloudHealth is fast becoming one of the most trusted multicloud management platforms. Some organizations are transitioning to hybrid cloud strategies. But many are moving to multi-cloud. With so many clouds to manage, there is a need for a solution to wrangle all of them before a storm happens.

CloudHealth provides customers with cloud visibility, cost management, security and governance. By providing visibility into usage, performance and the way each workload consumes resources, CloudHealth can support decision-making on workload placement. This, in turn, helps to save management resources and enable organizations to make decisions faster. This visibility extends into container orchestrators, such as Kubernetes, Mesos or Amazon ECS and EKS and helps to maximize utilization of container platforms.

CloudHealth also allows enforcement of security policies to minimize risk along with governance to maintain control over cloud environments through policies and workflows.

Organizations building their multicloud strategy should consider the value CloudHealth could play. So should those who are already on this journey,

Learn more about hybrid vs. multicloud and get help with your strategy.

 

Jacy Townsend, Sr. VMware Technical Architect

I’m very excited for VMworld this year! No doubt there’ll be several new product and feature announcements.

In anticipation of this year’s conference, I spent some time going through the catalog of sessions. There is a lot of content and themes that piqued my interest. What I’m most excited about this year is seeing the direction VMware is headed when it comes to supporting the industry shift toward containerization of workloads.  I’m most looking forward to “Architecting VMware PKS on HCI Powered by vSAN”.

For those who don’t know, VMware PKS is also known as “Pivotal Container Service.” It’s an enterprise Kubernetes platform that simplifies container orchestration on any infrastructure. On the other hand, vSAN is the policy-based storage piece of VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure solution. I’m very curious to see how these play off of one another.

See You in San Francisco!

VMworld is full of exciting sessions, labs, keynotes and exhibits all focused on technology that will take IT to the next level. The Softchoice team is excited to see you there! Learn more about VMworld.

Attending VMworld US and want to connect? Reach out at vmware@softchoice.com

 

The Sneaky Costs of End Of Life Cycle Servers

 

Three years ago, a friend of mine got caught up in the homeownership dream. He spent 18 months saving the least amount he needed to buy a condo. While he was successful in purchasing his first property, he soon discovered the “cons” of being a homeowner.

The condo came with many flaws that he wasn’t financially ready to take on. After 8 months of appliance fixes and breakdowns, and a condo fee increase, he had to sell his place. I wouldn’t say this was a failed attempt at owning a property. Rather, it’s a lesson: Sometimes you shouldn’t rush things. [Read more…]