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Efficient Data Centers

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

EMC’s Journey to Cloud Computing

EMC IT supports more than 70,000 “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 95 percent of all servers virtualized, and hosts more than 500 applications and 22 petabytes 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.
As EMC’s technology portfolio evolved to deliver cloud computing, the EMC IT organization also had to adapt to deliver IT-as-a-Service and become a true service provider to the business. In a journey spanning six years, EMC IT transformed the organizational structure, culture, people, and processes to align more closely to the needs and objectives of the business. In the process, the IT organizational transformation dramatically improved IT efficiency, saving EMC tens of millions of dollars. It also improved end-user satisfaction, as well as EMC’s business agility and competitive position in the global market.

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, email, customer relationship management, 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.

Continuous Improvement at the Hopkinton Data Center

In late 2013, EMC began an optimization program at our Hopkinton data center. The goals of this project were to reduce energy consumption without reducing the level of client services, upgrade critical infrastructure to support future needs, and improve the overall efficiency of the data center.

The effort consisted of multiple activity streams, and was substantially completed in 2014. Through the end of 2014, 209 servers have been decommissioned and removed from the data center. In addition, a total of 53 storage systems have also been powered down. These changes have resulted in better utilization of the remaining assets. The data center’s IT equipment has been reconfigured to meet current best practices for efficient deployment and operation.

To date, these changes have resulted in electricity use reductions of 834 kWh (518 kWh in 2014), or a 20 percent decline in consumption. The data center is now configured in a manner that will support best practices as it grows, including additional infrastructure enhancements to improve efficiency. The changes through 2014 have resulted in a decrease of 0.1 in the data center's PUE.

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
  • Virtual (thin) Provisioning of IT infrastructure
  • Integrated management and automation for virtualized infrastructure

By the end of 2014, EMC IT had virtualized 95 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 been consistent with our target utilization rate of 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 since we implemented diskless backup. Avamar is also used to centralize backups for 121 remote sites, increasing data availability and eliminating offsite backup costs.

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