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Efficient Data Centers

EMC IT is faced with the same challenges surrounding the growth of data and demand as our customers. By innovating and deploying new technologies, we advance our vision for secure cloud computing and Big Data while also developing and redefining best practices that we can deliver to our customers.

EMC’s Journey to Cloud Computing

EMC IT supports more than 63,000 “internal” users working in approximately 400 sales and corporate offices in more than 86 countries – not to mention the home offices of our large telecommuting population. EMC’s Global IT environment spans five data centers with approximately 11,000 OS Images and 94 percent of all servers virtualized, and hosts more than 500 applications and 22 PB of information storage.

EMC IT began its multi-year journey to the cloud in 2004. What began as “doing more with less” became an opportunity to completely rethink the way IT is built, managed, and consumed. Virtualization, cloud computing, and IT as a Service (ITaaS) provide EMC with an opportunity to improve efficiency, gain agility, enable business innovation, and create competitive advantage.

Our initial goal was to reduce IT costs by consolidating and virtualizing the IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, networks, and desktops. This resulted in significantly higher utilization rates for storage and servers and dramatically improved efficiency and power consumption in our data centers. We then focused on improving quality of service and time-to-value for our business units and employees. EMC accomplished this by extending virtualization to existing business-owned, mission-critical applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), email, customer relationship management (CRM), and decision support/business intelligence.

Rather than building complex, custom solutions for every need throughout the company, EMC IT began automating, simplifying, and packaging competitive IT services for dynamic selection. The EMC IT service catalog offers transparent prices and service levels that give the business choices based on needs, usage, and budget. EMC IT’s cloud operating model enables the business to embrace our standardized technology and application platforms for a broader spectrum of choice, while allowing EMC IT to spend more time consulting proactively with our business professionals in support of their strategic objectives. While our journey was fueled initially by economic factors, it has also produced environmental benefits from both lower GHG emissions and reduced material consumption. To learn more about our cloud journey, please visit EMC IT Proven.

Leveraging Our Technology for Efficiency

Virtualization and cloud computing are improving energy efficiency in our data centers. By leveraging our own products and technologies – virtualization, data deduplication, and Fully Automated Storage Tiering (EMC FAST™) – we are delivering significant energy and cost savings on our journey to the cloud.

Dynamic allocation of server and storage resources in a highly virtualized IT infrastructure allows us to strike the right balance between energy efficiency and business performance.

Our virtualization strategy includes:

  • Tiered, shared, and virtualized server and storage – based on the VCE Vblock® converged infrastructure; implementing this change to one portion of the Hopkinton data center resulted in a reduction of 477,000 kWh in the fourth quarter of 2013 alone
  • Virtual (thin) Provisioning of IT infrastructure
  • Integrated management and automation for virtualized infrastructure

By the end of 2013, EMC IT had virtualized 94 percent of OS images using the VMware® vSphere® platform. On average, we are achieving virtual to physical consolidation ratios of 14:1. Capacity utilization rates across compute and storage have increased to about 75 percent. EMC FAST VP™ technology, which automatically moves data to the appropriate tier of storage, such as Flash drives for ultra-high performance or SATA drives for infrequently used information, is further optimizing our storage infrastructure for performance, energy efficiency, and cost.

By deploying EMC Avamar® and Data Domain® data deduplication solutions, EMC IT has transformed backup and restore. We have eliminated backup for certain applications by providing online archiving, removing more than 1 PB of email, file system, and database data from the backup schedule. Data deduplication, using Data Domain for databases and Avamar for virtual machines (VMs) and file systems, has further reduced the amount of data to be backed up – and reduced backup times by 75 percent. Avamar is also used to centralize backups for 121 remote sites, increasing data availability and eliminating offsite backup costs.

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