Executive Exchange: Manufacturing and DevOps with Intel

header_text_exec_1170The ties between DevOps and manufacturing are clear today, but to Glenn Rudolph, IT director of Data Centers and Hosting at Intel, that tie simply describes his career path. Rudolph was a manufacturing supervisor, and before he read Gene Kim’s book on DevOps, he made the connection between efficient manufacturing practices and IT efficiencies.

Manufacturing is linear. There’s process control. Lean manufacturing methodologies. Modular progression.

When Rudolph joined Intel’s IT team, he was faced with a sea of acronyms (PaaS, SaaS, IaaS, DaaS, BMaaS), and many mentions of cloud, “I’m so sick of cloud, now. It’s a word I love to hate.” He also faced a litany of IT challenges like, “public/private/hybrid, multiple BU teams demanding different capabilities, security, support, confusing marketplace, open versus proprietary” etc.

Rudolph’s fresh perspective helped him navigate the behind-the-scenes world of IT. “Think about this from a customer’s point of view. Customers don’t know all of this.” They just interact with the end product.

Rudolph also advocates for creating a “model of record” (MOR). He’s defined it as a high-level model for all IT processes that might seem difficult to achieve.

IT is an an in flexion point, according to Rudolph. He recommend three areas of focus for CIOs.

Compete (lower your TCO):
Infrastructure process – Define a MOR
Build enterprise cloud – Enhance user experience

Business process
ID and focus on share of available market globally – You can’t be everyone to everyone
Increase standardization – Reduce variability and complexity

Human process
Transform the workforce – change the toolbox. Technology requires different competencies. Make sure you have the right people and skills in place to compete.
Integrate teams and drive collaboration – Remove waste from the system

While the term “cloud” seemed overused in Rudolph’s early days in the datacenter, he has embraced OpenStack as a platform for IT hosting. It’s flexible enough to work alongside his existing infrastructure, because it’s open source technology. He also values open APIs. “People will create their own solutions if you don’t keep yourself relevant,” Rudolph said. He wants to know who the next player is, and said open source helps you use the best in class, and plan ahead.

But cloud management is hard, according to Rudolph. He is no longer looking for narrow specialists with a focus on hardware. He’d prefer to have generalists who know a lot about different areas of the datacenter, and have a software focus. He sees the silos of hardware and software becoming obsolete.

Rudolph is building an “open cloud,” and he is using the DevOps (or manufacturing) model to do it. He said it’s helped his team “spread its wings, and build expertise in a production environment. We’re learning a lot.”

So what’s the business value of all this? Rudolph is, of course, tracking his acronyms—specifically KPIs and TCO. He also compares these to 3rd party figures to validate his team’s value to the business. “Compute numbers, storage numbers up. Head count costs are down. Physical and virtual server costs (TCO) have been very competitive compared to 3rd party vendors. Cost is going down, but you need people to support it on your side. TCO tells you.”

Enterprise hosting is alive and well, according to Rudolph. Visit intel.com/IT for more information.



Event: Red Hat Executive Exchange
Date: Tue, April 15, 2014