The Dell on Dell Story: How we are transforming our IT infrastructure for increased efficiency

As I stated in my first blog in this Dell on Dell series, every IT organization in the industry struggles with a common issue – complexity. Most of these IT organizations have grown up with their companies through the many different technology changes experienced over the years, and certainly in a much different environment than the current digital world we live in today. But in the age of the customer, IT has to move at the speed of the internet and develop solutions that solve the business problems of tomorrow. It is our responsibility and priority to ensure that our corporate systems are reliable, available, secure and performing at peak performance on the best platform possible. In the last few years, Dell IT has worked to transform our infrastructure, laying the foundation to deliver the increased efficiency Dell needs in this new world, and in most cases, have used our own technology to do so.

Just to give you an idea of what Dell’s environment looks like, we have over 50 petabytes of storage in our data centers worldwide. Sixty-two percent of the data resides on Dell’s EqualLogic while 36 percent on Dell’s Compellent.  The benefits have been clear – a 2-3X uptick in performance, ease of configuration for specific use cases and the ability to perform data tiering where infrequently used data is moved to inexpensive disks allowing actively used data to be on the faster, better performing disks. Backing up all of this data could be a challenge which is why Dell IT has started using the Dell Disk Backup appliances, DR6000. The DR6000 provides the capacity needed for this volume of data and have now replaced sequential tape solutions of the past.  In our remote sites where IT personnel are not required, we are capitalizing on the hands off capabilities of Dell’s Netvault solution, providing increased performance when paired with our DR6000. This partnering allows the clients to write directly to the DR6000 appliances improving the backup and restore speeds by not requiring the server to participate in the process.  In addition, Netvault gives us the ability to reduce traffic over the network with its client side deduplication functionality. A winning combination all the way around for protecting one of our most important assets!                                                                                                           

Our Dell Poweredge server environment is over 54 percent virtualized and provides the foundation for efficiency in the data center by saving energy, reducing the data center footprint, and enabling faster server provisioning. We have reduced our provisioning time from days down to hours with future plans to make this entire process “on demand.” This virtualized environment is monitored by Dell’s Foglight for virtualization giving us a dashboard which allows us to visualize, optimize and analyze the performance of our virtual infrastructure. It gives us that holistic view into the health, risk and utilization of the virtual machines.  Dell’s Foglight for virtualization has also given us the ability to reduce operational costs by reclaiming and reallocating resources as necessary. We are using Foglight to monitor over 20,000 VMs globally. You can only imagine how important Foglight is to help us contain virtualization sprawl!

A final example of how Dell’s infrastructure has been transformed is through the implementation of our future-ready network in our data centers, which is comprised of 73 percent Dell Networking solutions. We have rolled out a global solution for our storage environments which run completely on Dell Networking products. Also, this year we have deployed our first Hadoop environment within our Austin data centers which runs completely on a Dell Networking solution. These environments need high throughput and a low latency which the Dell Networking products provide at a very low cost point when compared to other network vendors. Also, our Dell Campus Networking solutions provide high-performing local area networks and reliable WiFi connections that allow our employees world-wide to be productive using a host of different communication applications. Read about our campus networking implementation in Bratislava, Slovakia which cut our annual network costs at that campus up to 60 percent.

Our Dell infrastructure made up of our Dell storage, servers and network really lays the foundation that allows us to transform the speed in which we do business. Next, I will focus on how we are using that foundation to connect our workforce to achieve greater productivity through technologies such as our Dell vWorkspace.

About the Author: Paul Walsh