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Bridging Worlds with Technology

Chris Sexsmith is a Staff Solutions Architect in Vancouver, BC. He works with the GTS team in VMware’s Global Center of Excellence developing and delivering integrated architectures and solutions.

Technology has a fascinating effect on humans.  It can shape behavior, bring seemingly disparate worlds together and reinforce bonds between people and teams. I witness this constantly in both my professional and personal life.

A short time ago, I spent a few hours teaching my father how to use his smartphone. This may be a familiar experience to many of you reading this. I was, admittedly, frustrated at first…and second…and third, but then I realized this little piece of technology was bringing our worlds closer together.

As the weeks passed by, the frequency of the support calls had not diminished, however the urgency and panic inherent in those calls certainly had.  “My email disappeared!!” had transformed into “I found this little app that tells you about good restaurants! How do I ask it for pizza?” Keenly aware that the traditional father/son relationship has inverted itself, I now find a lot of time and patience for those calls. I even look forward to them…sort of.

Have you ever sat in a room with the infrastructure and application teams at the same time? Did it feel like an uneasy truce was in place, or perhaps, they were outright hostile with each other? I sit in a lot of rooms with audiences like this, and more often than not, the teams each pick one side of the table and group according to team membership. Why? Are their goals that diametrically opposed they have to physically segregate themselves?

Frankly, there are a lot of reasons that this may be the case: deadlines, outages, escalations, failed projects – these can all contribute to friction and divisiveness.  As problems occur, the natural inclination is to assign blame, and because each team has their own “source of truth,” it becomes very difficult to find the common ground necessary to address the underlying problem.

A common framework helps alleviate this problem. I’ve seen it firsthand countless times as a consultant and an Enterprise Management Specialist. Our solutions help repair and reinforce the bridge between these teams. By pulling in infrastructure and application metrics into the same UI, applying a consistent set of analytics against the data, and charting it against other known telemetry, such as logs and OS level change events over time, the mean time to resolution of an incident can be drastically reduced. Instead of attacking the problem from strictly an OS- or VM container-based perspective, we are now able to see both vantage points and come to a deeper understanding of the issue.

While repairing the immediate problem was the ostensible objective, the ancillary (and seemingly less tangible) benefit is that the teams achieved their goal by working together as a cohesive unit. A common instrumentation framework is a fantastic mechanism by which technology can reinforce desired behavioral outcomes. VMware’s solutions can get you there.

For further consideration, let’s look at the vCloud Suite in the context of the emerging field of Development Operations. We are not the leaders in the Development Operations space. In fact, there are a wide range of solutions available. Rather than negating the importance of these tools, VMware has adopted a pluggable-type of architecture that allows tools like Puppet to integrate with our application and infrastructure blueprinting solutions. Our goal here is to foster a space for the developers and infrastructure people to work together to instantiate the best possible solutions for their business. Again, a common framework can bridge the divide.

VMware can help break down the silos preventing your applications from being delivered and maintained efficiently. Our technology can reinforce the behavioral and transformational changes your organization needs to become symmetrically aligned with your business requirements. I have seen it first-hand.

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