Andrew Davidson

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Andrew has been in tech marketing for quite some time and strangely still retains a keen desire for it. He’s worked in the agency world and the client environment with organisations such as Lucent, Sony, AT&T and Cisco, he’s now Head of Marketing, EMEIA – Business Application Solutions at Fujitsu.

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What do rocket science and migrating data centres from on-premise into a Hybrid IT environment have in common? More than you’d think…

That’s according to Fujitsu’s Dr Stewart Watson, who argues the methodology used to get rockets into space (used by NASA and the European Space Agency, no less) can be applied to Hybrid IT.

Speaking at this year’s Fujitsu Forum, he suggested that breaking down complex problems into timescales and areas of discipline is an incredibly useful way of getting your Hybrid IT strategy off the ground.

“They (NASA) have a time stream – and at certain points they will stop the clock if things aren’t going to plan,” said Dr Watson.

“So at T-Minus 30 minutes-and-counting they ask various people of different disciplines to give the ‘go’, or ‘no go’ in order to take the next step.”

For data centre transformation in a Hybrid IT model, Dr Watson named the seven stages:

  • Assess: find out exactly what data you have in your existing systems, along with what data and applications need to be put together in ‘move groups’.
  • Plan: which workloads are to go into the cloud? Ask how it will work compared to where they are today.
  • Prove: test workloads, focussing on ones where there is uncertainty on how they run and load in future environments.
  • Transform: move the application group from A to B.
  • Test: check the application works in same way in the new environment as it did in the old environment.
  • Go live: push the button!
  • And finally, decommission: take the expensive legacy systems that are no longer being used offline.

So those are the seven stages, but what about the seven disciplines? Dr Watson says these are the areas he feels are “absolutely vital” in getting this right:

  • Application: the people who can tell you what applications are used by your organisation, and what ‘move groups’ are in.
  • Server and storage: to tell you where data has been virtualised, and which applications are associated to what.
  • Provisioning: to tell you if an application already runs in the cloud, in a consolidated data centre environment, or hosted data centre.
  • Network: a data centre is never flat; more often than not it has a layered network inside it. If you move applications that are contextual in these network environments, when you move to the cloud or another data centre environment it will need the same network structure around it.
  • Security: to ensure procedures that are in place before the move are still in place afterwards.
  • Risk management: Watson suggests treating this as an area in its own right. It’s about adding up risk in each of the other disciplines, while understanding the impact if a compromise has to be made during the whole process.
  • Commercial: to ask ‘what’s driving ROI?’ This whole exercise is a waste of time if it doesn’t deliver a return on investment.

So, what’s the process?

Take each of the seven steps together, and only when each of the seven disciplines are happy can you move on to the next step. Look at each one stage by stage and move along together, and repeat the process until you have lift off.

Who said rocket science was difficult?

Watch Dr Stewart Watson explain the concept in his Fujitsu Forum session ‘The Hybrid Data Centre – Balancing the Old and the New’ here (from 27 minutes in).

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