of the folks at Innovative Systems Design came out of AT & T.
David Nocera, Vice President of Innovative Systems Design
explains, “As Chief Architect for AT & T Long Distance, I had
an infrastructure of 475 Unix and NT servers, located across 35 call
centers and 2 data centers.”
He continues, “When you manage something that vast you have
to come up with procedures and methodologies for doing it in an
efficient way. Otherwise,
you have 10’s of people managing infrastructure and your
operational costs are driven even higher.”
Some of what Mr. Nocera and his associates have done at
Innovative Systems Design is to take their methodologies and turn
them into software.
Nocera continues, “There are many different questions at different
layers of the infrastructure. Regarding
the analogy of a city to infrastructure (see
Vol. IV-A), one infrastructure equivalent would be the
storage area networks. This
would be the SAN, NAS and your network appliance.
This is the storage layer or tier.
You also have server tiers, which could be Unix
infrastructure or NT. It
could be multi tiered which would have a presentation layer
happening at the web tier. You
could have applications and business logic at the application tier
and storage happening at the database tier of a server solution.”
you have the network and connectivity between the LAN and the WAN.
It’s a good analogy to use city utilities as a metaphor for
the utilities that are available in an infrastructure.”
to the professionals at Innovative Systems Design, the latest way to
manage large infrastructure is known as virtualization. Virtualization is creating logical representations of
physical infrastructure. For
storage is located in lots of different places within an
could be disks, tape backups or online backups of your database.
you put a layer of storage virtualization between your application
server and your storage, you can now dynamically control and manage
the storage independently of the vendor or type of storage that
exists underneath. Often,
utilizing a storage area network solution is a far more flexible
environment with greater cost savings.
major issue: Infrastructure Consolidation.
Dave, how do you reduce the cost of a company’s complex
infrastructure and maintain technology at the least possible cost?
“Strategies and methodologies that my team has implemented
to save companies money were generalized into “Best Practices”
and software. As a
result, companies in various industries use our Best Practices and
tools to identify opportunities to save money.”
“There are always opportunities to be found in large
often, software squatters are uncovered.
Once, a long time ago, software was purchased.
Now, many lifecycles later, that software is no longer being
used. Somewhere in the
company, somebody is still holding on to it, just in case they need
it . . . In the meantime, someone else in accounting is paying
maintenance costs on that software thinking it’s a legitimate
piece of software bringing value to the bottom line.
But it’s not because it’s not being used!
That is an example of an untapped asset within an
can that happen? Well,
in large infrastructure there are always problems like that because
the way business works, it becomes complicated.
Quite often, the person who bought the software is no longer
there. The new person
coming in to fill that roll doesn’t know if the software is going
to be used or if the purchase was for future planning purposes.
Troubles, Toil and Billing
“When hardware is ordered there are usually two addresses.
The address of the one who ordered the hardware and the ship
to address. Very
frequently the one who ordered the hardware gets the bill . . .and
it sits in a file somewhere. So
when the bill does not get paid on time, a duplicate bill is sent to
the shipping address. Eventually,
both invoices get forwarded to the Purchasing Department who winds
up paying both invoices!”
sloppy as this is, it happens all the time.
It’s really an issue of Infastructure Intelligence©.
Simply put, — How to manage your assets more efficiently so
your technology investments are aligned with the value they bring to
the business (same money). This
is what is missing in business today.
How can these things happen?
Isn’t there documentation so Accounts Payable knows what to
“Unfortunately, with large infrastructure another inherent
problem is that things get bundled up and rolled up until the people
can’t see the forest thru the trees.”
see, once upon a time in the year 1, there was a project and it had
documentation. So in
this year of 1, the project is funded and gets deployed.
Then the people are happily ever after sent off to new
projects. So now there
is no one left to tell. Oh,
there might be some core group of people that are responsible for
the project at this point. However, they are nowhere near the level of expertise, they
don’t have the vision, they may not know anything.
They could even be outsourced!
They don’t understand the big picture—they’re only
looking at the parts!”
could come up to them and say, “…your using BMC Control”.
The guy might even be turning in on once in a while, but it
is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing and it is NOT
bringing any value.”
in the year 1, the documentation starts off quite accurately and
there is a lot of architectural backup.
So in a situation that an application is written to use 5
servers, in year 1 it needed 5 servers.
But applications have and go thru a lifecycle.
New applications come along and replace it.
So over time, the functionality of the application becomes
outdated and inefficient. However,
the software that is being licensed for that application to function
continues to be paid for, under the assumption that it still is
viable and efficient. This
continues because no one peels back the onion to that level of
detail. Those are the
types of large holes that Mr. Nocera often finds.
This style of infrastructure consolidation requires total
understanding of how to save money on existing assets.
tactical approach to show and tell companies exactly just what it is
costing them in extra time, money and assets is something called, Modeling.
Nocera explains, “Many times companies will ask for hardware
maintenance contracts for a 4 hour turn around time.
But they are paying for a 2 hour turn around time.
As a result these companies wind up over paying for the
infrastructure because they’re paying for a faster turn around
continues, “When we model an infrastructure, we are in effect,
building a mathematical model that takes into consideration business
requirements and current technology, then predicts future technology
modeling we can better align the technology with the needs of the
business, showing the costs and risks of adjusting these maintenance
contracts and determine what we are getting for that extra two
any company’s infrastructure is designed properly, some equipment
failure or downtime will usually not affect company operations or
put the company down. This
especially applies to medium and large companies.
you are a large company, you are defined as large by having more
than 50 servers. So if
some of your servers go down, the multitude of remaining servers can
pick up the slack without affecting your business performance, while
you wait for the downed equipment to be checked out and restored.
the other hand, a small company running along on a few servers may
find it difficult to keep their company from actually going down
when they experience equipment failure.
So a small company will want the technician out there ASAP.
large company might select the Platinum contract over the Silver
these companies thought they were buying a higher level of
to Mr. Nocera, “The outages are so infrequent that when you feed
the data into a model, the difference doesn’t really amount to
that much. It might be
the difference of 99.999
% availability VS. 99.9% availability.
And that might boil down to 5 minutes VS. 45 minutes of
equipment downtime a year – not company downtime.”
How do you fix these problems?
“The opportunities to align business decisions and
technology all revolve around having the high quality data.
Frequently that data is unavailable for reporting and analysis. Our
patent pending technology pulls data from sources and stores it into
a single optimized database for analysis and optimization. So the answer is good data drives good decisions.”
translates into how a company can save millions of dollars!!!
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