IT departments need to balance the requirement of getting a solution into production fast with the risk of making sure that everything works. Server virtualization helped with this challenge by allowing companies to spin up a virtual machine fast where applications and real company data can be tested. For large environments and critical applications, the time to design, build, test and verify a configuration can be a long and expensive process with lots of troubleshooting and adjusting of settings. The VCE Coalition has simplified this effort by having done the architectural work of Vblock configurations and by having a streamlined Proof of Concept (PoC) process that speeds up the time to get production environments online and reduces the peril of the unknown.
Testing Your Data on a Vblock
When determining if a specific environment will work on a specific infrastructure, there are varying levels of documentation and support that vendors provide. The first step is a support statement – everything from a marketing glossy such as what operating systems can run on a server, to a detailed interoperability support matrix listing all of the dot revisions and dependencies how components of a solution fit together. Even with the most thorough of specifications, there are so many variables in the IT world that customers or companies deploying a solution will have custom work to go from this documentation to a real world environment. More prescriptive documentation, such as IBM Redbooks or EMC Proven Solutions, provides guidance to building an environment for specific applications. Traditionally, even for an environment that is using server virtualization, when it is put into a production environment will require tuning, optimization, and hopefully not too much reconfiguration or changes to the infrastructure to fully deliver what is required. The VCE Coalition offers a streamlined Proof of Concept (PoC) capability free of charge where a customer’s actual data can be tested on a configuration that matches what they will deploy. PoCs are not new, but recreating what a customer environment (even from a single supplier) was complicated by all of the complexity from heterogeneous legacy environments. The proper Vblock configuration can be designed, with standard Cisco servers and networking, EMC storage and VMware software, and real customer data used and tested in approximately 1-2 months. This is much more valuable than a demo and is faster and easier for a customer or integrator than doing an on-site test.
For more on the PoC capability and Vblock solution, watch Michelle Kerby, Director of Offer Marketing with the VCE Coalition, from Oracle Open World – see the video below:
According to VCE staff, there is currently PoC capabilities in East Coast and West Coast facilities and will be expanding worldwide. The PoC capability will be especially important for solutions such as VDI or SAP (see video of Levi Strauss CIO Tom Peck discussing SAP on Vblock) where there can be risk of a failed project if the actual environment is not fully understood.
CIOs should look to leverage the transformative capability of virtualization and converged infrastructure to speed deployments and reduce operational costs for deployment.