We’ve all experienced it. The home that was once just perfect suddenly becomes uncomfortable. It’s too cramped for our expanding family; it’s too big for our emptying nest – one way or another, it just doesn’t “fit” with the way we’re living our lives now. We don’t want to change everything, so we opt for a little renovation to make the space our own.
According to HP Distinguished Technologist E.G. Nadhan, companies should consider those same types of not-so-extreme makeovers for their “houses of IT” – transforming the environment to accommodate what’s needed today, as well as leaving room for future expansion.
If the name sounds familiar, Nadhan, who is the chief architect for HP’s Applications Process and Tools Framework, is also the mastermind behind the concept of applities, featured in a recent Outsourcing Center article.
Applities, an acronym for Application Personality Types, is HP’s way of segmenting applications by their personality types for more effective management. Nadhan identified the five major types (no doubt, your organization may have others – there’s one in every crowd):
- The Big Kahuna – a central application with a commanding presence, used by everyone and pretty darn critical to business. In other words, he’s the Master and he knows it.
- The Lone Star – the old, reliable app who does his job really well, like a rate calculation engine for financial companies. He is the best at what he does but does not make a big deal about it.
- The Crowd Pleaser – everyone’s favorite because she’s fun to work with, like a great search application. She is awesome and attractive, and she knows it.
- The Generalist – the app with standardized functionality that plays well with others, can morph to fit into any group within the company and can adapt to his surroundings without a lot of fuss. He knows what he needs to be.
- The Problem Child – that unpredictable, buggy, out-of-control app that never seems to mature. He knows what bugs you the most.
“Understanding these applications is just one part of the equation. To be successful, you have to create an environment in which each of these applities feels at home,” Nadhan said. “The application and the infrastructure are not pieces of two different worlds, any more than the electronic components and the housing of a washing machine are independent entities. Like the washer, applications and their infrastructure must be approached as one, integrated unit.”
In other words, in a data center you have a lot of personality types living under one roof.
The question is how can you remodel your infrastructure to create a little more harmony and efficiency in your “House of IT” without tearing everything out and starting from scratch?
We asked Nadhan for his thoughts on developing a blueprint.
Renovate to Increase Efficiency
“The first step is to look at what’s working – what you don’t have to change,” Nadhan said. “For example, the network is like a home’s plumbing and electricity. Transform, as needed, the applicable portions so that it can effectively deal with the new loads. Keep the portions that work well. The goal is transforming the environment for better functionality, not totally recreating it.”
Do you have enough storage space or are those closets currently overflowing? You could add more storage or take advantage of new, online and archive options that eliminate the clutter without requiring extra square footage.
Now assess the appliances. Using a mainframe is like running a 20-year-old A/C unit. It costs more to run and doesn’t cool as efficiently as a newer model. In other words, look at areas where modernization can bring greater gains – and reduce expenses in the long run.
And how about the thermostats? Yes, you can stay with the existing manual models, but why not consider programmable thermostats that reduce and increase temperatures based on specific life patterns? Wouldn’t your energy efficiencies counterbalance the initial investment?
“Essentially, those thermostats are analogous to data center automation. In the “House of IT”, you have to look at the efficiencies you can gain from strategically placed automation,” Nadhan said. “We work with our customers to automate where it makes the most sense. The idea here is to continually uncover ways to maximize returns. How can we make the house of IT more efficient?”
Creating a Space that Makes Everyone Feel at Home
Now comes the hard part. How are we going to create an environment that works well for all of the applications – each of which has its own persona?
“In the same way we’d ensure that the various personalities in a family have accommodations that meet their needs, the data center environment has to make each of the applities ‘feel at home’ as well,” Nadhan said. “The nature of the infrastructure that houses each applity has to adapt and align with that applity to maximize the synergies and ensure seamless management of the overall IT environment.”
So, what does an IT home makeover look like from an applity perspective?
The Big Kahuna requires a globally distributed and centrally managed infrastructure that ensures he functions well and meets all service levels. This applity could easily require a full wing – complete with a master suite, a master bath, a kitchenette and living area – often crowding out those other, less expansive applications.
But, what if The Big Kahuna is so big that there’s not enough space in the structure to house him? What if he’s using so many resources that there’s not an ounce of wiggle room left for everybody else? HP has the answer: give this applity his own, updated space in a mobile home – or POD – out back.
“The POD, or Performance Optimized Datacenter, is a self-contained, temperature-controlled unit that enables companies to modernize and increase data center capacity in only six weeks, instead of months or years. Essentially, the legacy infrastructure stays as is, while the POD is modernized,” Nadhan said. “A number of our clients are using the POD as a back up, but it’s also a viable solution to accommodate large applications in an overcrowded house of IT very quickly.”
The Lone Star is at the other end of the infrastructure needs spectrum. This applity is very accommodating, yet always efficient. He doesn’t need a room, let alone a bed, to function – just provide a blanket and a couch and he will be fine. The Lone Star is best served with an appliance where the infrastructure housing the application can maximize the efficiency of the application. But, he doesn’t need much.
The Generalist is also very adapting and has a pre-defined, templated configuration that is used across multiple enterprises. That gives you a lot of options in remodeling. If space is at a premium or the remodeling budget is running short, this very predictable applity is an ideal candidate for outsourcing. Send him to a host family; put him up in a hotel – he’s going to function just as well, as long as you keep things consistent. Whether he resides in the house or in a remote location, the Generalist is going to keep on producing.
“For The Generalist, the configuration itself is not important, but making that configuration consistent across the enterprises, or ‘houses,’ is,” Nadhan explained.
The Crowd Pleaser thrives on interaction, so you want this applity to be housed in the middle of activity where she has easy access to all the other residents – as well as the living room and the kitchen.
“Crowd Pleasers operate best in infrastructures that support a high volume of transactions with disparate platforms in a relatively open environment,” Nadhan said. “They need easy access to the support infrastructure of applications and systems so these applities can continuously grow to make everyone happy.”
Finally, we come to The Problem Child, the hard-to-manage, tough-to-please applity. As you might guess, no matter what you create or what amenities you include, this applity probably won’t be happy with whatever you provide him. Everything changes on a whim. What works for this applity one day may not the next. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to put The Problem Child in permanent time out.
Problem Child applities need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis based upon the environment specific to your enterprise as well as the genre of challenges posed.
It’s also critical to create an environment that prevents the Problem Child from doing a great deal of harm. You can lock the Child in his self-contained room, but that’s not enough to prevent the mischief. Security measures, like a web cam, smoke detectors and extra protections are critical for risk management – and preventing this applity from tearing down the house you so painstakingly built.
“Securing your ‘House of IT’ at all layers is critical,” Nadhan explained. “You don’t want to create the ideal environment and then put everything at risk. “
Choosing the Right Infrastructure Remodeler
Clearly, creating the right IT infrastructure for your wide berth of applications, with room for future expansion, is not a do-it-yourself project for most. That’s where the HP strategists, architects and technologists shine by delivering the company’s end-to-end services.
“At HP, we can help our customers profile applications using applities, then create the right infrastructure to ensure they gain the maximum benefits and the highest performance from those applications,” Nadhan said. “Our end-to-end services incorporate modernization, automation and layered security to enable our clients to achieve their goals, with the capability to expand in the future.”
HP Professionals work alongside their clients to:
- Profile each application.
- Assess each application for optimization opportunities.
- Transform an existing environment into one that enables greater efficiency though automation and modernization.
- Create a business case for investment consideration.
- Define a program for change that enables customers to realize their vision.
- Apply innovative measures to streamline application management.
For remodeling without the pain, choose an architect who can create perfect harmony in the all-important “House of IT”. HP has a team of expert consultants who are highly skilled, available and ready to build you the kind of environment that ensures every type of application is welcomed home. At HP, we are all about delivering and managing solutions including the right applications on the right infrastructure that effectively enable our customers’ business processes while realizing tangible business value.
For more information visit HP Applications Management Services.