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Learning on our dime: lessons from the largest software-defined data center in the world

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In today’s world, customers expect or even demand ‘instant gratification’ from delivered products and services (thanks, Gmail).  This forces organizations to constantly look or new ways to improve their ability to respond to these demands, while maintaining a competitive edge in the market – in essence, they are always striving toward greater business agility. Forrester defines business agility as “the quality that allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine”.

A common trait across successful businesses is their ability to efficiently adapt to the latest trends and processes that have positive impacts to business performance and revenue growth. Here technology trends play a key role in enabling greater business agility. While people, operational and organizational processes are important factors that determine an organization’s business agility standard, the underlying thread that enables the people, operational and organizational processes to work smoothly together is information technology (IT), but not IT as we’ve known it in the past.

What is now required from IT is agility: delivering the right resources to the right users in the right way. IT organizations must be innovative adopters of the new technologies that make their businesses more competitive.

Inside of Symantec, we're fully committed to this concept of an agile data center. We have learned a lot by boldly embracing some of the cutting edge technologies and developing solutions to fill the gaps. Let me take you through one of our journeys, and share what we learned.

Organizations around the world use a wide variety of Symantec security, backup, and availability solutions to help them protect and manage their information. When enterprise customers need assistance, they turn to Symantec Enterprise Support Services. This team resolves customer issues for thousands of Symantec’s customers around the world, across its 150 product lines—from browser and anti-spam protection for individuals and small business, to major enterprises, including technology that helps protect critical power-grid infrastructure.

Recreating problems reported from complex data centers around the world quickly and efficiently within Symantec required us to build an agile solution. The first element we needed was elastic infrastructure, something that can be dialed up and down based on demand. We also needed to create a self-service delivery model where engineers can spin up virtual data centers of any size and specs to match those at customer sites. The result was Symantec Granite Labs that leverages technologies from Cisco, NetApp and VMware. It has become the largest software-defined data center in the world!

However, we soon realized that IT agility required a lot more than software-defined infrastructure and a service model. In order to complete the picture and achieve true business agility, we needed to bring IT intelligence to bear that paves the way to deliver the right resources to the right users the right way. Who keeps these virtual netowkrs safe from intrusion? Who protects the data that needs protecting, and helps you ignores that which is irrelevant? Who ensures that the appliactions can remain highly available? We think we're approaching agility as we bring in Symantec’s own innovations and technologies to bear, and we're announcing some of these latest offerings at Symantec Vision 2014.

Stay tuned! Watch this space for links to additional blogs sharing the key elements of an Agile Data Center