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All or Nothing
June 19, 2012
Why complex Cloud Computing works best as an End-to-End-solution.
We’re not going to bore you with the 10,000th cloud computing story. But before we officially announce the end of the hype, we want to be sure that we have truly understood the cloud. Inside out. Starting with the question: why do companies decide to go the cloud route in the first place? And we want to explain why this model is most effective when it is integrated with processes and people as an end-to-end chain – one that consists of four elements: Server and storage infrastructure, network, applications and devices.
Complex legacy systems
But not all providers are up to the job of migrating complex legacy systems, integrating disparate data and mobile-enabling apps. Because in these scenarios, it is all about identifying and understanding the key issues. In other words, it’s about developing a holistic approach to the cloud that takes into account the interdependencies between the IT architecture, processes, security and availability. This is the only way for IT to be a true enabler and to accelerate the business.
We profile three companies that leverage cloud computing in exciting ways:
Duropack: Application performance management - it’s a wrap
WAN traffic finds the perfect wave.
Dietmar Fink is a true expert when it comes to waves. After all, corrugated cardboard is all about finding the right waves. “Our data traffic also comes and goes in waves. This used to get in the way of our business goals,” explains Fink, CIO at Duropack. The Austrian enterprise manufactures over 1,500 cardboard products for transport and packaging – from gift boxes to heavy-duty cardboard pallet containers – at 18 production sites in ten European countries. Products are distributed via a truck fleet that has been outsourced. The corresponding processes are closely aligned with the logistics needs of customers. A high priority is extremely short time to delivery. “Reliable communication and collaboration across our international sites was becoming increasingly important,” comments Fink. “Our main aim was to increase productivity by accelerating our IT processes.”
Limited data throughput
Data throughput was limited, particularly for complex applications such as the home-grown production management system. Traffic was also sluggish on weekday mornings when Duropack staff came into the office and fired up their computers, and at crunch time for end-of-month or end-of-year reporting – times when financial data volume peaks.
Increase application availability
Fink’s solution: “We had to improve our networks’ bandwidth, and increase application availability.” In particular, he wanted a solution that would accelerate transmission of data and applications across the WAN, enable application consolidation, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by means of greater visibility into the corporate network. “We also needed a traffic prioritization system that recognizes what data must be transmitted at what speed – and that can be configured to reflect our requirements,” adds the IT decision maker.
APM: Compression ratio 70 %
Working together with IT provider T-Systems, Fink deployed an application performance management (APM) solution for the company’s five-year-old MPLS network. Today, he describes this event as a breakthrough. Thanks to APM, the compression ratio is now 70 percent. This dramatically decreased the WAN’s data traffic, cutting bandwidth use by 75 percent. What’s more, performance of all existing applications has significantly improved. “Feedback from our sites indicates a high level of user satisfaction,” says Fink. And, even more important for the CIO: “We now have Central Management Console reports with key metrics on how well data traffic is performing.”
Ironing out the speed bumps
Central Management Console (CMC), the APM solution implemented by T-Systems, enables central configuration, management and reporting for all applications. “This gives us anytime visibility into application performance on our WAN,” explains the CIO, adding: “And we have virtually eliminated the problem with latency as a function of distance.” And Fink didn’t stop at creating a strong network as a backbone for cloud services. He also took a critical look at the application level – to iron out any speed bumps.
Tailoring networks to applications
Making changes to the application landscape requires preparation. Take email traffic, for example. Duropack’s client-server communication is encrypted. This means that the APM solution must ‘know’ all application specifications such as the encryption code. Fink explains: “We tailored the networks to the applications and vice versa. This was crucial for achieving our technology-related goals: cutting costs and increasing productivity. This, in turn, had a positive impact on our business processes.
Magna: Growth on Wheel
PaaS delivers storage capacity and applications.
Meerane in the German state of Saxony, directly next to the A4 autobahn. René Schreiner is pleased with progress at his 50,000 m² construction site: “Everything’s going to plan,” confirms the IT manager at automotive supplier Magna. In September, Volkswagen will begin producing its new Golf here. Between now and then, Schreiner is coordinating the integration of IT at a Magna plant that will manufacture fenders for the 8th generation of the world’s most popular car. The factory will employ 250 people – and they must be ready to start work the moment the VW goes into production. Because Magna will supply components for the car just-in-time. And that means every fender is destined for a particular Golf and will be delivered straight to the assembly line.
IT resources for several hundred thousand automotive products
Whether it’s 100 different fenders in Meerane or 2,000 types of door trim for a Mercedes in Bremen, effectively planning IT resources for several hundred thousand automotive products worldwide presents Schreiner and team with a fresh challenge every day. Not least because Magna is strengthening its market position each year through mergers and acquisitions. As Schreiner explains, both of Magna’s goals – strategic growth and seamless just-in-time delivery – require timely provision of storage and server capacity and high availability of specialist applications for car parts manufacture.
Ongoing portfolio enhancement
In line with this business strategy and in light of ongoing portfolio enhancement, Magna succeeds in getting IT systems for new production plants up and running within a matter of weeks, and integrates new acquisitions into its infrastructure in record time. This year alone, Schreiner and his colleagues are managing 17 of these greenfield and brownfield projects (see feature, page 26). Cloud computing is the only IT model with the level of flexibility Magna needs to meet its rapidly changing requirements. And that is why, since 2011, the company has made use of virtualized servers and storage from T-Systems. “The open interfaces provided by the standardized PaaS systems enable us to integrate applications and hardware whenever a new production facility goes live,” comments Schreiner.
Preparation for the transition to the cloud
In preparation for the transition to the cloud, T-Systems consolidated Magna’s entire application landscape. In addition, the automotive supplier leverages Application Management and Modernization (AMM) to streamline all systems. Each time Magna makes a new acquisition, Schreiner is confronted with legacy solutions that have to be migrated to the cloud. And AMM can help here too.
Consistent and continuous quality management
Alexander Stamm, Schreiner’s team leader and IT Director for Europe at Magna, believes the success of the PaaS project is also down to another key factor: “The SLAs we’ve defined with T-Systems enable consistent and continuous quality management. They guarantee high availability with no bottlenecks at any of the interfaces.”
Deutsche Telekom: Apps that hit the road
iWorld@DT and AppWorld@DT – between networks, applications and devices.
During his meeting with the customer, Kai Kyhrt checks availability and delivery time on his iPad. “We can deliver a week earlier than expected,” he confirms to the CIO who immediately places an order. Even before Kyhrt gets back in his car, he concludes the order process and kicks off the internal logistics process.
Mobile access to the right data and applications
According to IDC, in just three years almost 40 percent of the working population, some 1.3 billion people, will work like Kyhrt – on the move via notebook, smartphone and tablet. As Kyhrt explains, “Whether our sales people and consultants are presenting a VoIP telephone system, a connection to a new, super-fast optical fiber network, or the latest teleconferencing solution, they need access to the right data and applications. It is a key competitive differentiator.”
Since the start of this year, Deutsche Telekom has provided employees with applications from the cloud via a dedicated enterprise app store. From ERP and CRM for mobile order entry, to facts and figures for senior management reports – everything is available to go. Sales teams can call up the latest versions of proposals and delivery data, and view updates to presentations and sales statistics. “There won’t be an app for everything,” says Harald Pietsch, Head of Integration Management and responsible for enterprise mobility solutions at T-Systems. Rather he recommends: “Regularly checking the innovation potential of mobile apps for deployment on smartphones and tablets. This is the only way to continuously drive the mobilization of business processes.”
How can mission-critical data be made secure?
For Deutsche Telekom, security plays a central role – regardless of operating system or device. Just like in other organizations, the BYOD trend is gaining momentum. And just like in other organizations, it gives rise to important questions: how can mission-critical data be made secure? How can private data be segregated from business data? And how can valuable information be protected even if a device is lost or stolen? Sales staff like Kyhrt access data and applications via a secure mobility platform. All communications are encrypted and transmitted via a private cloud. The platform ensures data segregation. For example, employees can save non-critical data such as product presentations on their devices. But valuable information such as customer and order data is saved exclusively in a private cloud. And if a device goes astray, data can be wiped remotely via T-Systems Mobile Device Management.
A-Z mobility solution from a single provider
“Today’s companies want a comprehensive, A-Z mobility solution from a single provider,” explains Hagen Rickmann, Member of T-Systems Management Board and responsible for portfolio and innovation management. “Operating mobile devices and integrating them into existing systems requires an end-to-end approach. Smartphones and tablets must be hooked up to the back-end and to business applications via highly effective, secure infrastructures. Otherwise they act as isolated entities and play no role in streamlining business processes. T-Systems Mobile Workplace Services is a truly comprehensive solution. What’s more, we deliver Mobile Device Management from the cloud that enterprises can leverage to manage their devices themselves. Both of these offerings are available at a fixed price.”
Find out more in the next edition of Best Practice, to be released on June 27.