Home > Scale > Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales: Part 2, Speak to the People

Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales: Part 2, Speak to the People

December 9th, 2010

This post is the second in the series: Designing a Virtual Infrastructure that Scales.

In Part 1, Taking Stock, I talked about looking at your current environment and seeing where you need to get to by doing a bit of crystal ball future capacity planning combined with understanding your current infrastructure limitations.

In this post I’m going to talk about something that isn’t done enough in infrastructure projects and that’s actually talking to real life people.

Many enterprise IT departments are pretty big places aften spread across the globe working in different timezones in multiple separate vertical silos. You quite possibly may not have met everyone in your own team let alone know what everybody else does in your office.

If you’re going to think about an infrastructure change to support a much bigger virtual environment, isn’t it worth looking at the really super-duper-bigger picture. Unless you know anything and everything (and there are some of you that may do!) you really should be getting other people involved from the very beginning to see if they would like to jump on the bandwagon and make changes to their environment for the greater good.

What I’m talking about is starting at the very bottom and working up through the many layers until you get to the very top and at least tell people what you are doing to first of all get people on your side and secondly to get their input. Too often projects are initiated and someone isn’t consulted which results in delays and cost implications when you need to make changes or even people getting upset and obstructive when you actually need them on board.

Let’s say you are looking at deploying blade servers in your datacenter. Speak to the facilities people about your grand plan early on and you may find you get more back that you were initially asking for. Yes, you may be able to get them to install 3-phase power to your rack which is what you want but your conversation may spur them to start thinking about smarter power management or a different way to deliver aircon, a new floor tile or a different rack model. They may then decide it is worth starting a power utilisation project themselves with associated metrics gathering to help justify the cost of purchasing new blades by offsetting the costs against power hungry old rack mount servers. You get your 3-phase power but they get to think bigger and crucially be involved in the decision making process early on. Yes you could have logged a call in your incident managment system that just said “Deliver 3-phase power to Rack AA45” but now you land up with a system that saves your company x amount over y years in electricity and also a team that was happy to be involved from the beginning and was able to move foreward with their own goals.

This is just one example but as you head up the chain, speaking to the people will result in unexpected gains for everyone. Obviously this needs to be a structured process otherwise your project will last longer than a public enquiry for a new runway but I hope you get my point that a little consultancy can go a long way.

Talk to your network team about what their new plans are for switches, IP load balancing and future VLAN expansion. Talk to your storage team about the IOPS requirements for VDI and whether provisioning will help out or whether they have any bright ideas to help you. Do your BR people have something they’ve been thinking about that could tie in with your change. Talk to your backup team to see if backups could be redone to be more efficient. Maybe by talking to your Anti-Virus people you land up changing your AV product to pick one that is more efficient with VDI.

Also don’t ever forget what all this is all for and that’s your clients, be it internal users, an external companies or someone who is using your infrastructure as their cloud.

Server PeopleWorkstation PeopleStorage People
Facilities PeopleSecurity PeopleNetworking People
Remote Access PeopleClients / UsersApp Packaging People
Performance PeopleSupport PeopleCompliance People
Monitoring PeopleManagement PeopleAnti-Virus People
Service Desk PeopleBackup PeopleActive Directory People
Procurement PeopleBusiness Recovery PeopleFinance People

That’s just an example list of people to consider speaking to, many may not apply to you or it may get you thinking about someone else.

Holding your cards close to your chest doesn’t deliver a better IT project and certainly doesn’t make you look good when you could have done it better by speaking to some more people.

In Part 3 we’ll talk specifically about scaling for VDI.

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  1. December 15th, 2010 at 15:23 | #1

    I like this post, it is definately something that a lot of IT departments should take note of.

    In an ideal world, I’d put my neck out here and say that IT ideally should be forecasting such projects/transformations with enterprise strategic business aligned roadmap, with all strategy agreed by the big cheeses and pursestring holders.

    This of course is structure/budget holder dependent, but even with siloed IT and within organisations within business structures not able to do this I still think it “can” work in moderation.

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