EMC Expands Services, Training for Private Cloud

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As users gathered at VMworld in San Francisco on Wednesday to learn about virtualization and cloud computing, EMC was stepping up its efforts to help enterprises that adopt private clouds do it right.

The parent company of host VMware announced new consulting and implementation services, as well as lab-tested deployments, for enterprises to use when virtualizing their data centers and ultimately setting up private clouds. EMC also announced it will add VMware product training to its portfolio of educational offerings.

Virtualization separates computing and storage resources from the underlying hardware they run on. The ultimate step in virtualization for many organizations will be setting up a private cloud, turning IT infrastructure located across the enterprise into a single virtual resource, EMC believes.

Virtualization represents such a sea change in how data centers are organized and used that enterprises can't just jump in and start creating virtual machines and expect smooth scaling, said Nina Hargus, vice president of EMC Global Services marketing. There are specific techniques that have proved successful in virtualizing IT infrastructure, and these have become a major focus of EMC's services business, she said.

To address the many scenarios IT managers may face in virtualizing their data centers, EMC has added to its catalog of EMC Proven Solutions. These solutions are planned and carried out in several EMC labs around the world, using products from both EMC and other vendors, then documented and updated, so the company can share the lessons it learned. There are 14 new solutions for enterprises to refer to, including ones for implementing Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, SQL Server 2008, and SAP and Oracle business continuity solutions with virtualization under various scenarios.

When they try to deploy the technology themselves, enterprises can refer to how these tasks were carried out in the EMC Proven Solutions, Hargus said. For customers of EMC services, there is no additional charge to use these blueprints and lessons.

EMC is also introducing several new services in which its experts come in and help enterprises through the move to cloud computing. For example, the company is offering a consulting service for re-evaluating an organization's application portfolio before making the change. IT departments regularly go through their applications when they make a major architectural change, deciding which OS each should run on, among other things, said Dave Buffo, a professional services marketing manager at EMC. Doing so for a migration to cloud computing introduces several new wrinkles, which EMC consultants will address with a new service. For example, some applications may be suited to a private cloud, while others may best be outsourced to a public cloud, he said.

The company is also adding 19 new design and implementation services for virtualization technologies, including VSphere, the latest version of VMware.

EMC, which acquired VMware in 2004 and still owns a majority percent of the now publicly traded company, has been closely associated with it in the services area for some time. In January, EMC became a VMware Authorized Consultancy, or services partner, and it has been offering various services related to VMware since then. In May it added more services for business continuity in VMware environments, and it's now a VMware Authorized Training Center, which can provide classes on VMware's products. That includes custom classes presented within an enterprise, Buffo said. The education services are priced from about US$1,500 to $5,000 depending on the length of the course.

Also on Wednesday, the company introduced management services for Ionix, a suite of management tools designed to give comprehensive visibility and control over virtualized IT infrastructure. For example, EMC now will help enterprises use a tool in Ionix that can find and map out all the parts of the infrastructure that are affected by an application such as SAP and its related components. The insights it provides can help enterprises plan changes, Buffo said.

On Monday, EMC announced it is now a fully authorized reseller of VMware vCenter AppSpeed, a software tool that provides information about the performance of applications in a virtualized environment. EMC will offer AppSpeed in conjunction with Ionix, its suite of management software for computing, networking and storage infrastructure.

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