Showing posts with label mobile computing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mobile computing. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Ryder Cup Provides Extreme Use Case for Managing the Digital Edge for 250K On-Site Mobile Fans

Transcript of a discussion on how the 2018 Ryder Cup golf match between European and US players places unique technical and campus requirements on its operators.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on digital transformation success stories.

Our next extreme use case interview examines how an edge-computing Gordian Knot is being sliced through innovation and pluck at a prestigious live sporting event. We will now hear how the 2018 Ryder Cup golf match between European and US players is placing a unique combination of requirements on its operators.

As a result, the IT solutions needed to make the Ryder Cup better than ever for its 250,000 live spectators and sponsors will set a new benchmark for future mobile sports tournaments.

Here to describe the challenges and solutions for making the latest networks and applications operate in a highly distributed environment is Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer for the European Tour and Ryder Cup. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Cole: Thank you.

Gardner: What is the Ryder Cup, set for September 2018 near Paris, for those who might not know? 

Blue-ribbon infrastructure

Cole: The Ryder Cup is a biannual golf event, contested by teams representing Europe and the United States. It is without doubt the most prestigious team event in golf and arguably the world’s most compelling sporting contest in the world.

As such, it really is our blue-ribbon event and requires a huge temporary infrastructure to serve 250,000 spectators -- over 50,000 super fans every day of the event -- but also media, journalists, players, and their entourages.

Gardner: Why do you refer this as blue-ribbon? What is it about the US versus Europe aspect that makes it so special?

Cole: It’s special for the players, really. These professionals play the majority of their schedule in the season as individuals. The Ryder Cup gives them the opportunity to play as a team -- and that is special for the players. You can see that in the passion of representing either the United States or Europe.

Gardner: What makes the Ryder Cup such a difficult problem from this digital delivery and support perspective? Why are the requirements for a tournament-wide digital architecture so extreme?

Cole: Technology deployment in golf is very challenging. We have to bear in mind that every course essentially is a greenfield site. We very rarely return to the same course on two occasions. Therefore, how you deploy technology in an environment that is 150 acres large – or the equivalent of 85 football pitches -- is challenging. And we must do that as a temporary overlay for four days of operation, or three days for the Ryder Cup, operationally leading in, deploying our technology, and then bumping out very quickly onto the next event.

We typically deploy up to five different infrastructures: one for television; another for the tournament television big digital screens in the fan zones on the course; the scoring network has its own infrastructure; the public Wi-Fi, and, of course, we have the back-of-house operational IT infrastructure as well. It’s a unique challenge in terms of scale and complexity.

Gardner: It also exemplifies the need for core data capabilities that are deeply integrated with two-way, high-volume networks and edge devices. How do you tie the edge and the core together effectively?

Data delivery leads the way

Cole: The technology has a critical role to play for us. We at the European Tour lead the transformation in global golf -- very much putting in data at the heart of our sports to create the right level of content and insight for our key stakeholders. This is critical.

For us this is about adopting the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Intelligent Edge network and approach, which ensures the processing of data, location-based services, and the distribution of content that all takes place at the point of interaction with our key stakeholders, i.e., at the edge and on the golf course.
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Gardner: What do you mean by location services as pertains to the Ryder Cup? How challenging is that to manage?

Cole: One of the key benefits that the infrastructure will provide is an understanding of people and their behavior. So, we will be able to track the crowds around the course. We will be able to use that insight in terms of behaviors to create value -- both for ourselves in terms of operational delivery, but also for our sponsors by delivering a better understanding of spectators and how they can convert those spectators into customers.

Big BYOD challenges 

Gardner: This is also a great example of how to support a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) challenge. Spectators may prefer to use their cellular networks, but those aren’t always available in these particular locations. What is it about the types of devices that these fans are using that also provides a challenge?

Cole: One of the interesting things that we recently found is the correlation between devices and people. So whilst we are expecting more than 51,000 people per day at the Ryder Cup, the number of devices could easily be double or triple that.

Typically, people these days will have two to three devices. So when we consider the Ryder Cup week [in September] and the fact that we will have more than 250,000 people attending – it’s even more devices. This is arguably the biggest BYOD environment on the planet this year, and that’s a challenge.

Gardner: What are you putting in place so that the end user experience is what they expect?

Cole: I use the term frictionless. I want the experience to be frictionless. The way they on-board, the way they access the Wi-Fi -- I want it to be seamless and easy. It’s critical for us to maximize the number of spectators using the Wi-Fi infrastructure. It equally becomes a source of data and is useful for marketing purposes. So the more people that we can get onto the Wi-Fi, convert them into registering, and then receiving promotional activity – for both us and our partners -- that’s a key measure of success.
It is critical for us to maximize the number of spectators using the WiFi infrastructure. It becomes a source of data and is useful for marketing. I want the experience to be frictionless.

Gardner: What you accomplish at the Ryder Cup will set the standard for going further for the broader European Tour. Tell us about the European Tour and how this sets the stage for extending your success across a greater distribution of golfing events.

Cole: This is without doubt the biggest investment that the European Tour has made in technology, and particularly for the Ryder Cup. So it is critical for us that the investment becomes our legacy as well. I am very much looking forward to having an adoption of technology that will serve our purposes, not only for the Ryder Cup, not only for this year, but in fact for the next four years, until the next Ryder Cup cycle.

For me it’s about an investment in a quadrennial period, and serving those 47 tournaments each year, and making sure that we can provide a consistency and quality beyond the Ryder Cup for each of our tournaments across the European Tour schedule.

Gardner: And how many are there?

Cole: We will run 47 tournaments in 30 countries, across five continents. Our down season is just three days. So we are operationally on the go every day, every week of the year.

Gardner: Many of our listeners and readers tend to be technologists, so let’s dig into the geek stuff. Tell us about the solution. How do you solve these scale problems?

Golf in a private cloud 

Cole: One of the critical aspects is to ensure that data is very much at the heart of everything we do. We need to make sure that we have the topology right, and that topology clearly is underpinned by the technological platform. We will be adopting a classic core distribution and access approach.

For the Ryder Cup, we will have more than 130 switches. In order to provide network ubiquity and overcome one of our greatest challenges of near 100 percent Wi-Fi coverage across the course, we will need 700 access switches. So this has scale and scope, but it doesn’t stop there.

We will essentially be creating our own private cloud. We will be utilizing the VMware virtual platform. We will have a number of on-premises servers and that will be configured across two network corporation centers, with full resiliency and duplicity between the two.

Having 100 percent availability is critical for my industry and delivery of golf across the operational period of three days for Ryder Cup or four days of a traditional golf tournament. We cannot afford any downtime -- even five minutes is five minutes too much.

Gardner: Just to dwell on the edge technology, what is it about the Aruba technology from HPE that is satisfying your needs, given this extreme situation of hundreds of acres and hilly terrain and lots of obstacles?
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Cole: Golf is unique because it’s a greenfield site, with a unique set of challenges. No two golf courses are the same in the world. The technology platform gives us a modular approach. It gives us the agility to deploy what is necessary where and when we need.

And we can do this with the HPE Aruba platform in a way that gives us true integration, true service management, and a stack of applications that can better enable us to manage that entire environment. That includes through the basic management of the infrastructure to security and on-boarding for the largest BYOD requirements on the planet this year. And it’s for a range of services that we will integrate into our spectator app to deliver better value and smarter insights for our commercial family.

Gardner: Tell us about Michael Cole. How did your background prepare you for such a daunting undertaking?

Cole: My background has always been in technology. I spent some 20 years with British Telecom (BT). More recently I moved into the area of sports and technology, following the London 2012 Olympics. I then worked for technology companies for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. I have supported technology companies for the PyeongChang [South Korea] 2018 Winter Games, and also for the up and coming 2020 Tokyo Games, as well as the Pan American Games.

So I have always been passionate about technology, but increasingly passionate about the use of technology in sports. What I bring to the European Tour is the broader insight around multinational global sports and events and bringing that insight into golf.

Gardner: Where is the Ryder Cup this year?

Cole: It’s being held just outside Paris at Versailles, at Le Golf National. And there’s a couple of things I want to say on this. It's the first time that the European Tour has been held in Europe outside of United Kingdom since 1997 at Valderrama in Spain.

The other interesting aspect, thinking about my background around the Olympics, is actually Le Golf National is the venue for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games; in fact, where the event of golf will be held. So, one of my key objectives is to create a compelling and sustainable legacy for those games in 2024.

Gardner: Let’s fast-forward to the third week of September 2018. What will a typical day in the life of Michael Cole be like as you are preparing and then actually executing on this?

Test-driven tech performance 

Cole: Well, there is no typical day. Every day is very different, and we still have a heavy schedule on our European Tour, but what is critical is the implementation phase and the run in to the Ryder Cup.

My team was on site to start the planning and early deployment some six months ago, in February. The activity now increases significantly. In the month of June, we took delivery of the equipment on site and initiated the Technology Operations Center, and in fact, the Wi-Fi is now live.

We also will adopt one of the principles from the Olympics in terms of test events, so we will utilize the French Open as a test event for the Ryder Cup. And this is an important aspect to the methodology.
I am very pleased with the way we are working with our partner, HPE, and its range of technology partners.

But equally, I am very pleased in the way that we are working with our partner, HPE, and its range of technology partners. In fact, we have adopted an eight-phase approach through staging, through design, and through configuration off site, on site. We do tech rehearsals.

So, the whole thing is very structured and methodical in terms of the approach as we get closer to the Ryder Cup in September.

Gardner: We have looked at this through the lens of technology uniqueness and challenge. Let’s look at this through the lens of business. How will you know you have succeeded through the eyes of your sponsors and your organization? It seems to me that you are going to be charting new ground when it comes to business models around location, sporting, spectators. What are some of the new opportunities you hope to uncover from a business model perspective?

Connect, capture, create

Cole: The platform has three key aspects to it, in my mind. The first one is the ability to create the concept of a connected golf course, a truly connected course, with near 100 percent connectivity at all times.

The second element is the ability to capture data, and that data will drive insights and help us to understand behavioral patterns of spectators on the course.
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The third aspect, which is really the answer to your question, is how we utilize that intelligence and that insight to create real value for our sponsors. The days of sponsors thinking activation was branding and the hospitality program are long gone. They are now far more sophisticated in their approach and their expectations are taken to a new level. And as a rights holder we have an obligation to help them be successful in that activation and achieve their return on investment (ROI).

Moving from a spectator to a lead, to a lead to a customer, from customer to an advocate is critical for them. I believe that our choice of technology for the Ryder Cup and for the European Tour will help in that journey. So it’s critical in terms of the value that we can now deliver to those sponsors and not just meet their expectations -- but exceed their expectations.

Gardner: Beinga New Englander, I remember well in 1999 when the Ryder Cup was in Brookline, Massachusetts at The Country Club. I was impressed not only by the teams from each continent competing, but it also seemed like the corporations were competing for prestige, trying to outdo one another from either side of the pond in how they could demonstrate their value and be part of the pageantry.

Are the corporations also competing, and does that give them a great platform to take advantage of your technology?

Collaborate and compete

Cole: Well, healthy competition is good, and if they all want to exceed and compete with each other that can only be good news for us in terms of the experience that we create. But it has to be exceptional for the fans as well.

So collaboration and competition, I think, are critical. I believe that any suite of sponsors needs to operate both as a family, but also in terms of that healthy competition.

Gardner: When you do your postmortem on the platform and the technology, what will be the metrics that you will examine to determine how well you succeeded in reaching and exceeding their expectations? What are those key metrics that you are going to look for when it’s over?
The technology platform now gives us the capability to go far. Critical to the success will be the satisfaction of the spectators, players, and our commercial family.

Cole: As you would expect, we have a series of financial measurements around merchandizing, ticket revenues, sponsorship revenue, et cetera. But the technology platform now gives us the capability to go far beyond that. Critical to success will be the satisfaction; the satisfaction of spectators, the satisfaction of players, and the satisfaction of our commercial family.

Statistical scorecard 

Gardner: Let’s look to the future. Four years from now, as we know the march of technology continues -- and it’s a rapid pace -- more is being done with machine learning (ML), with utilizing data to its extreme. What might be different in four years at the next Ryder Cup technologically that will even further the goals in terms of the user experience for the players, for the spectators, and for the sponsors?

Cole: Every Ryder Cup brings new opportunities, and technology is moving at a rapid pace. It’s very difficult for me to sit here and have a crystal ball in terms of the future and what it may bring, but what I do know is that data is becoming increasingly more fundamental to us.

Historically, we have always captured scoring for an event, and that equates to about 20,000 data points for a given tournament. We have recently extended it. We now capture seven times the amount of data – including for weather conditions, for golf club types, through lie of the ball, and yardage to the hole. That all equates to 140,000 data points per tournament.

Over a schedule, that’s 5.5 million data points. When we look at the statistical derivatives, we are looking at more than 2 billion statistics from a given tournament. And this is changing all of the time. We can now utilize Internet of things (IoT) technologies to put sensors in anything that moves. If it moves, it can be tracked. If everything is connected, then anything is possible.

Gardner: It would be interesting to see how many sensors and how much more information and detail you can get in terms of the game of golf. It’s a very old game, but seemingly new aspects of enjoying it and viewing it continually are coming to the fore.
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We will have to leave it there. We have been exploring how an edge-computing Gordian Knot is being sliced through via innovation and pluck at a prestigious live sporting event. And we have learned how the latest networks and applications will -- across a massively distributed environment -- make the 2018 Ryder Cup a digital masterpiece for its 250,000 live spectators.

Please join me in thanking our guest, Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer of the European Tour and Ryder Cup. Thank you so much, Michael.

Cole: My pleasure. Thank you, indeed.

Gardner: And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining us for this BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer digital transformation success story discussion. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise-sponsored interviews.

Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your own IT community, and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Transcript of a discussion on how the 2018 Ryder Cup golf match between European and US players places unique technical and campus requirements on its operators. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2018. All rights reserved.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

HPE and Citrix Team Up to Make Hybrid Cloud-Enabled Applications and Workspaces Simpler to Deploy

Transcript of a discussion on how hyperconverged infrastructure and virtual desktop infrastructure are combining to make one of the more traditionally challenging workloads far easier to deploy, optimize, and operate.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on digital transformation success stories.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are combining to make one of the more traditionally challenging workloads far easier to deploy, optimize and operate. As businesses of every stripe seek to bring more VDI to their end users -- and to make the digital edge a virtual playground for workspaces and support devices -- HCI is proving a deployment back-end architecture of choice.

Now the benefits are being taken to managed cloud and hybrid cloud deployments as well. To learn more about the future of VDI powered by HCI and hybrid cloud, we are now joined by executives from two key players behind the solutions.

Please join me in welcoming Bernie Hannon, Strategic Alliances Director for Cloud Services at Citrix. Welcome, Bernie.

Bernie Hannon: Nice to be here, Dana. Thank you.

Gardner: We are also here with Phil Sailer, Director of the Software Defined and Cloud Group Partner Solutions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Welcome, Phil.

Phil Sailer: Thanks, Dana. Good to be here.

Gardner: Phil, what trends and drivers are making hybrid cloud so popular, and why does it fit so well into workspaces and mobility solutions?

Sailer: People are coming to realize that the world is going to be hybrid for some time when you look at the IT landscape. There are attractive attributes to public cloud, but there are many customers that are not ready for it or are unable to move there because of where their data needs to be. Perhaps, too, the economics don’t really work out for them.

There is also a lot of opportunity to improve on what we do in private data centers or in private cloud. Private cloud implies bringing the benefits of cloud into the location of a private data center. As our executives at HPE say, cloud is not a destination -- it’s a way to get things get done and how you consume IT.

Gardner: Bernie, how does hybrid cloud contribute to both opportunity and complexity?

Hannon: The premise of cloud has been to simplify everything. But in reality everybody knows that things are getting more and more complicated. A lot of that has to do with the fact that there’s an overwhelming need to access applications. The average enterprise has deployed more than 100 applications.

And users -- who are increasingly mobile and remote, are trying to access all of these applications on all kinds of devices -- they have different ways of accessing the apps and different log-in requirements. When they do get in, there are all sorts of different performance expectations. It has become more and more complicated.

Why hybrid cloud?

For the IT organization, they are dealing with securing all those applications – whether those apps are up in clouds or on premises. There are just so many different kinds of distributed organizations. And the more distribution, the more endpoints that have to be secured. It creates complexity -- and complexity equals cost.

Our goal is to simplify things for real by helping IT securely deliver apps and for users to be able to have simpler work experiences, so they can get what they need -- simply and easily from anywhere, on whatever device they happen to be carrying. And then lock everything down within what we call a secure digital perimeter.

Gardner: Before we look at VDI in a hybrid cloud environment, maybe we should explain what the difference is between a hybrid cloud and a private cloud.

Sailer: Let’s start with private cloud, which is simpler. Private clouds are within the company’s four walls, within their data centers, within their control. But when you say private cloud, you’re implying the benefits of cloud: The simplicity of operation, the capability to provision things very easily, even tear down and reconstruct your infrastructure, and consume resources on a pay-per-use basis. It’s a different financial model as well.
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So the usage and financial models are different, but it is still private. You also have some benefits around security and different economic benefits depending on the variety of parameters.

Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a mix between taking advantage of the economics and the flexibility you get with a public cloud provider. If you need to spin up some additional instances and resources for a short period of time, a very bursty requirement, for example, you may want a public cloud option.

In these environments you may have a mix of both hybrid and private clouds, because your workloads will have different requirements – a balance between the need for burstiness and for security, for example. So we see hybrid as being the most prevalent situation.

Gardner: And why is having that hybrid mix and choice a good thing when it comes to addressing the full desktop experience of VDI?

Hannon: Cloud is not one-size-fits-all. A lot of companies that originally started down the path of using a single public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud have quickly come to realize that they are going to need a lot of cloud, and that's why multi-cloud is really the emerging strategy, too.

The ability to seamlessly allow companies to move their workloads where they need to -- whether that’s driven by regulation requirements, governance, data sovereignty, whatever -- gives users a seamless work experience through their workspace. They don’t need to know where those apps are. They just need to know that they can find the tools they need to be productive easily. They don’t have to navigate to figure out where stuff is, because that's a constant battle and that just lessens productivity.

Gardner: Let’s dig into how HPE and Citrix specifically are working together. HPE and Citrix have talked about using the HPE SimpliVityHCI platform along with Citrix Cloud Services. What is it about your products -- and your cloud approach -- that delivers a whole greater than the sum of the parts?

Master cloud complexity  

Hannon: HCI for the last several years has been adding a huge amount of value to customers that are deploying VDI. They have simplified the entire management process down to a single management stack, reducing all that complexity. So hyperconverged means you don't need to have as much specialization on your IT staff to deploy VDI as you did in the past. So that's great.

So that addresses the infrastructure side. Now we are dealing with the app delivery side, and that has historically been very complicated. To address that, we have packaged the control plane elements used to run Citrix and put them in a cloud, and we manage it as-a-service.

So now we have Citrix-as-a-service up in the cloud. We call that Citrix Cloud Services. We have HPE SimpliVity HCI on the on-premises side. And now we can bring them together. This is the secret sauce that has come together with SimpliVity.

We have built scripting and tools that automate the process for customers who are ready to use Citrix Cloud Services. With just a few clicks, they get the whole process initiated and start to deploy Citrix from the cloud onto SimpliVity infrastructure. It really makes it simple, fast, and easy for customers to deploy the whole stack.

Gardner: We have seen new applications designed of, by, and for the cloud in a hybrid environment. But there are an awful lot of organizations that would like to lift and shift legacy apps and take advantage of this model, too. Is what you are doing together something that could lead to more apps benefiting from a hybrid deployment model?

Making hybrid music together 

Sailer: I give Citrix a lot of credit for the vision that they have painted around hybrid cloud. By taking that management plane and that complexity away from the customer --that is singing right off our song sheet when it comes to HPE SimpliVity.

We want to remove the legacy complexity that our customers have seen and get them to where they need to go much faster. Then Citrix takes over and gets them the apps that they need.

As far as which apps, there aren’t any restrictions on what you can serve up.

Gardner: Citrix has been the bellwether on allowing apps to be delivered over the wire in a way that's functional. This goes back some 20 years. Are we taking that same value that you pioneered from a client-server history and now extended to the hybrid cloud?

Hannon: One of the nice things about Citrix Cloud Services is that after we have established the relationship between the cloud service up in the cloud and the SimpliVity HCI on-premises -- everything is pretty much as it was before. We are not really changing the dynamics about how desktops and applications are being delivered. The real difference is how customers deploy and manage it.
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That said, customers are still responsible for managing their apps.  Customers need to modernize their apps and prepare them for delivery via Citrix, because that is a huge challenge for customers, and it always will be. Historically, everything needs to be brought forward.

We have tools like App Layering that help automate the process of taking applications that are traditionally premises-based -- not virtualized, and not available through app delivery -- and package them for virtual app and desktop delivery. It really amplifies the value of Citrix by being able to do so.

Gardner: I want to go back to my earlier question: What kinds of apps may or may not be the right fit here?

ROI with the right apps 

Sailer: Bernie, can you basically turn a traditional app into a SaaS app that's delivered through the cloud, in a sense, though not a traditional SaaS app, like a Salesforce or Asana or something like that? What are your thoughts?

Hannon: This is really something that is customer-driven. Our job is to make sure that when they want to make a traditional legacy application available either as a server-based app or as a virtual app on a virtual desktop -- that it is possible for them to do that with Citrix and to provide the tools to make that as easy as possible to do.

Which apps exactly are the best ones to do? That's really looking at best practices. And there are a lot of forums out there that discuss which apps are better than others. I am not personally an expert on trying to advise customers on whether you should do this app versus that app.
Our job is to make a traditional legacy application available either as a server-based app or as a virtual app on a virtual desktop, and to make that as easy as possible.

But we have a lot of partners in our ecosystem that work with customers to help them package their apps and get them ready to be delivered. They can help them understand where the benefits are going to be, and if there a return on investment (ROI) for doing certain apps versus others.

Gardner: That's still quite an increase from what we hear from some of the other cloud providers, to be honest. The public clouds make promises about moving certain legacy apps and app modernization, but when the rubber hits the road … not so much. You are at least moving that needle quite a bit forward in terms of letting the customer decide which way to go.

Hannon: Well, at the end of the day just because you can, doesn't always mean you should, right?

Gardner: Let's look at this through the lens of use cases. It seems to me a killer app for these app delivery capabilities would be the whole desktop, VDI. Let's start there. Where does this fit in? Perhaps Windows 10 migration? What are the other areas where you want to use hybrid cloud, with HPE SimpliVity on private and Citrix cloud on hybrid to get your whole desktop rationale process juiced up?

Desktop migration pathways

Hannon: The tip of the spear is definitely Windows 10 migration. There are still tens of millions of desktops out there in need of being upgraded. Customers are at a real pivot point in terms of making a decision: Do they continue down the path that they have been on maintaining and supporting these physical desktops with all of the issues and risks that we hear about every day? Do they try and meet the needs of users, who frankly like their laptops and take them with them everywhere they go?

We need to make sure that we get the right balance -- of giving IT departments the ability to deliver those Windows 10 desktops, and also giving users the seamless experience that makes them feel as if they haven’t lost anything in the process.

So delivering Windows 10 best is at the top of the list, absolutely. And the graphics requirements that go with Windows 10, of being able to deliver that as part of the user experience is very, very important. This is where HPE SimpliVity comes in and partners like NVIDIA who help us virtualize those capabilities, keeping the end users happy however they get their Windows 10 desktop.

Gardner: To dwell just for a moment on Windows 10 migration, cost is always a big factor. When you have something like HPE SimpliVity -- with its compression, with its de-dupe, with its very efficient use of a flash drives and so forth -- is there a total cost of ownership (TCO) story here that people should be aware of when it comes to using HCI to accomplish Windows 10 migrations?

Sailer: Yes, absolutely. When you look at HCI you have to do a TCO analysis. When I talk to our sellers and our customers and ask them, “Why did you choose SimpliVity, honestly, tell me?” It's overwhelmingly the ones that really take a close look at TCO that move to a SimpliVity stack when considering HCI.

Keeping the cost down, keeping the management cost down as well, and then having the ability to scale the infrastructure up and down the way they need -- and protect the data -- all within the same virtualized framework -- that pays off quite well for most customers.

Gardner: We talked about protecting data, so security impacts. What are some other use cases where you can retain control over desktops, control over intellectual property (IP), and with centralized and policy-driven management over assets? Tell us how hybrid cloud, private cloud, HPE SimpliVity, and Citrix Cloud work together in regard to privacy and security.

How much security is enough?

Hannon: The world is going remote, and users want to access their workspaces on whatever device they are most comfortable with. And IT is responsible for managing the policies – of who is using what on whatever devices. What’s needed, and what we deliver at Citrix, is the ability for these users to come in on any device that they have and uniformly be able to provide the same level of security.

Because how much security is enough security? The answer is there is never enough. Security is a huge driver for adoption of this hybrid cloud app delivery model. It allows you to keep your apps and data under lock and key, where you need them; on-premises is usually the answer we get.

But put the management up in the cloud because that's where the ease of delivering everything is going to occur. Then provide all of the great tools that come through a combination of Citrix, together with HPE SimpliVity, and our partners to be able to deliver that great user experience. This way the security is there, and the users don’t feel like they are giving up anything in order for that security to happen.
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Gardner: Let’s pursue another hybrid cloud use case. If you’re modernizing an entire data center, it might be easier to take everything and move it up into a public cloud, keep it there for a while, re-architect what you have on-premises and then bring it back down to have either private or hybrid production deployments.

Is there a hybrid benefit from the HPE and Citrix alliance that allows a larger migration of infrastructure or a refresh of infrastructure?

Opportunities outside the box 
Hannon: We know that a lot of customers are still using traditional infrastructure, especially where VDI is concerned. Hyperconverged has been around for a few years, but not that many customers have adopted it yet.

As the infrastructure that they have deployed VDI on today begins to come to end of life, they are starting to make some decisions about whether or not they keep the traditional types of infrastructure that they have -- or move to hyperconverged.

And more and more we are seeing our customers adopt hyperconverged. At the same time, we are presenting the opportunity for them to think out of the box and consider using a hybrid cloud model. This gets them the best of both -- the hyperconverged simplicity and relieves the IT department of having to manage the Citrix environment, of constantly doing updates, patches, and watching over operations. They let Citrix do that, and let the customers get back to managing the things that are really important -- and that's their applications, data, and security.

Gardner: Speaking of management, we are seeing the need as complexity builds around hybrid models for better holistic management capabilities across multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. We have heard lately from HPE about OneSphere and even OneSphere-as-a-service, so HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud.
There is probably no end to the things that are possible after this. We are going to start mapping out a roadmap of where we want to go.

Is this an area where the requirements of your joint customers can benefit, around a higher-order cloud management capability?

Hannon: We have just stuck our toe in the water when it comes to hybrid cloud, VDI, and the relationship that we have with HPE as we deploy this workspace appliance capability. But there is probably no end to the things that are possible after this.

We are going to start mapping out a roadmap of where we want to go. We have to start looking at the capabilities that are inside of HPE that are untapped in this model -- and there are a lot of them.

Take, for example, HPE’s recent acquisition of Plexxi. Now, software-defined networking has the potential to bring an enormous amount of benefit to this model. We have to sit down and think about how we can apply that and then work together to enable that in this hybrid cloud model. So I think there is a lot of opportunity there.

More to come

Gardner: So we should be looking for more to come along those lines?

Hannon: Watch this space.

Gardner: Before we sign off, there was some news at the recent Citrix Synergy show and there has been news at recent HPE shows, too. What are the specific products in the workspaces appliances space? What has been engineered that helps leverage HPE SimpliVity and takes advantage of Citrix?

Sailer: The Citrix Workspace Appliance Program enables customers to connect to the Citrix Cloud Services environment as easily as possible. We stuck with our traditional mantra that the interface should live where the administrator lives, and that’s within System Center Virtual Machine Manager, or within vSphere, depending on what your hypervisor choice is.

So in both locations we place a nice Citrix connector button right next to our own SimpliVity button. Within a few clicks, you are connected up into the cloud, and we just maintain that level of simplicity. Even through the process of setting all of this up, it's a very easygoing on-ramp to get connected into the cloud. And that ease of management continues right through the cloud services that Citrix provides.

We had this available in tech preview at the recent HPE Discover show, and we will be releasing later in the year the plug-ins.

Gardner: Bernie, tell us about your vision for how this appliance approach can be a go-to-market benefit. How should people be thinking about such ease in deployments?

Your journey to the cloud, at your pace 

Hannon: At the end of the day, customers are looking for options. They don’t want to be locked in. They want to know that their journey to the cloud, as Phil said, is not a destination; it’s a journey. But they are going to go at their own pace on how they adopt cloud. In some cases they will do it wholesale, and others they will do it in small, little steps.

These kinds of appliance capabilities add features that help customers make choices when they get to a fork in the road. They ask, “If I go hybrid cloud now, do I have to abandon all the infrastructure that I have?”
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SimpliVity HCI
No, your infrastructure is going to take you on that journey to the cloud, and that's already built in. We will continue to make those capabilities integrated and built-in, to make it possible for customers to just elect to go in that direction when they are ready. The infrastructure will be simplified and enable that to happen.

Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We have been exploring how HCI and VDI are combining to make it easier to deploy, optimize, and operate through hybrid cloud and appliance models. And we have seen how HPE and Citrix have aligned to extend the value of hybrid cloud via these approaches for a variety of high-priority use cases.

So please join me in thanking our guests, Bernie Hannon, Strategic Alliances Director for Cloud Services at Citrix. Thank you, Bernie.

Hannon: Thank you, very much. It has been great being here.

Gardner: And we have also been joined by Phil Sailer, Director of the Software Defined and Cloud Group Partner Solutions at HPE. Thank you, sir.

Sailer: Thanks, Dana. My pleasure.

Gardner: And thanks as well to our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer digital transformation success story.

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Hewlett Packard Enterprise-sponsored interviews. Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your IT community -- and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Transcript of a discussion on how hyperconverged infrastructure and virtual desktop infrastructure are combining to make one of the more traditionally challenging workloads far easier to deploy, optimize, and operate. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2018. All rights reserved.

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