|By Dana Gardner||
|October 20, 2012 12:00 PM EDT||
It's been a year since we first spoke to Revlon at the VMworld Conference in 2011. We heard then about their world-class private cloud, and how as an early adopter Revlon gained many benefits from aggressively embracing the cloud.
So we decided to go back and see how things have progressed at Revlon, how their comprehensive cloud has matured, and how the benefits from aggressively embracing the cloud have evolved into positive consequences for their data architecture.
This special BriefingsDirect podcast then comes to you from the recent 2012 VMworld Conference in San Francisco, part of a series on cloud computing and software-defined datacenter infrastructure developments.
To fill us in on Revlon's latest IT developments, we're joined by David Giambruno, Senior Vice President and CIO of Revlon. The interview is conducted by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: Now that you've been doing private cloud as an early adopter and at an advanced state, what has it been doing for you?
Giambruno: We have a couple of fronts. The biggest, which you alluded to, was the unintended consequences, and we've had a couple of them. When you think of Revlon, we're global and we have a huge application portfolio. As we put everything on our cloud and are using our cloud, we realized that all of our data sits in one place now.
So when you think of big-data management, we've been able to solve the problem by classifying all the unstructured data in Revlon and we did that efficiently. We still joke that it's like chewing glass. You've got to go through this huge process.
But, we have the ability to look at all of our data, a couple of petabytes, in the same place. Because the cloud let us look at it all, we can bring up all of Revlon in our disaster recovery (DR) test environments and have our developers work with it at no cost. We have disconnected that cost and effort.
Once we realized we had this opportunity to start working on our big data, the other unintended consequences was our master data model. On top of our big data, we were able to able to efficiently and effectively build a global master data model.
At Revlon, one of our chief directives from the executive team is to globalize. So we're collapsing 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems into one. The synergies of having this big-data structure and having this master data model is changing how to deploy a global ERP. Loading that data is now just a few clicks of a button. It's highly automated. We're not ETLing data and facing all the old challenges. We're not copying environments. Everything is available to us and it’s constantly updating.
At Revlon, we replicate all of our cloud activity every 15 minutes. You've seen on VMware, where we had disasters and we were able to recover a country quickly and effectively. That replication process and constantly updating allows us to update all these instances at no cost and with little effort.
You have to build the structure and you have to go through that process, but once it's done, it's now automated and you march that out. It's the ability to quickly and effectively manage all your big data coming in. For us, it's point of sale -- roughly 600 million-plus attributes.
For us to provide information to the business teams, to build good products, to sell good products, is a key differentiator in helping them.
Gardner: Why did you do the data the way you did that’s now led to this cloud architecture benefit?
Giambruno: We started the cloud architecture, and I always joke it's like having a Ferrari that you can take out for a spin. When we were building it, we didn't realize all the things we can do.
So it's really that je ne sais quoi, the little thing that, as you see it, you realize all these things you can do. You are always planning to do those things for the business, because that’s what we do, but it's how you do them.
I've always said the cloud is what the local area network (LAN) was 15 or 20 years ago. The LAN changed the way people dealt with information and applications, and the cloud is doing the same thing. Actually, it's on a bigger geometry, because it really eliminates geography and provides the ability to move data and information around.
We live in the information age, and to me, the most important thing is delivering information to the business teams. That's what we see as one of the big next evolutions in our cloud -- making information out of all this data and delivering that on whatever device they want to be on, wherever they are, securely and effectively, in a context that they can understand. Not in a way that we can understand, but in a way that they can consume.
Gardner: Understanding a bit about how you did this chronologically, for those that are still in the process of getting there with private cloud, did you focus on the data issues first and then application and workloads? Did you do them simultaneously? Is there some lesson to learn about how you did it in an orderly sense that others could benefit from?
First things first
Giambruno: I live in this simple world of crawl, walk, run. Whenever I say that my team starts cringing, because they think, "Oh, there he goes again." But it was literally fix the infrastructure first and then, from an application and data perspective, the low-hanging fruit, the file servers.
It's this progressive capability of learning how to do things -- low risk to high risk. What you end up doing is figuring out how to effectively do those things, because not only do you manage the technology, but you have to manage the people and the process changes, and all those things that have to happen.
But all ships have to rise at the same time. So it's the ability to run these concurrent streams. From a management perspective, it's how not to get overwhelmed and how to take advantage of the technology, the automation, and the capabilities that come along with that to free up work that you used to do and put it towards making the change.
I'm a big believer in not doing big bang. So it's not like, tomorrow we're going to have a private cloud. Throw the switch. It's the small incremental changes that help organizations adapt. It's a little bit every day. You look back, and at the end of six months or a year, you realize how much we've done.
It's been the same in Revlon. I constantly take my team and sit them down and say, "Look what we've done. You're in the forest. You're in the trees. It's time to look at the forest. Step back and look what you guys have done." Because it's a little bit every day, and you don't realize the magnitude or the mass, when you have a team of people doing something every day and going forward.
Gardner: For those of our listeners who may not be that familiar with Revlon, at least your IT operations, give us a sense of the scale -- the number of applications, size of data, just so we better appreciate the task that you've accomplished.
Giambruno: I usually quantify it by our cloud, because those are the simple metrics and we seem to be pretty steady, so the metrics are holding. Our cloud makes about 14,000 transactions a second. Our applications move around Revlon 15,000 times a month with no human intervention. Our change rate of data is between 17 and 30 terabytes a week.
We have roughly, depending on the ups and downs, between 97 and 98 of our total compute on our internal cloud, we have some AS/400s and I think one UNIX box left. But that's really the scale of what we do.
All of our geographies are around the world. We sit in all the continents except for Antarctica. We have a global manufacturing facility in Oxford, North Carolina, that produces 72 percent of everything we sell in the world. We have some other factors around the world. And we are delivering north of six nines uptime.
Gardner: An unintended consequence was a benefit for how data can be accessed and consumed, but a lot of people are hoping for consequences around cost. Is there something going on now a year later vis-à-vis your total cost, or maybe even the cost of data? Maybe you have been able to reduce the footprint of data, even while you have accessed more and more quickly. What's the cost equation?
Cost avoidance and savings
Giambruno: There is a history there, as we talked about. We have given back north of $70 million in cost avoidance and cost savings, and we're continuously figuring out how to use everything. My team is highly technical, so I call it turning screws. We are always turning screws on how to more effectively manage everything.
We're always looking at how to not spend money. It's simple. The more money we don't spend, the more that R&D, marketing, and advertising have to grow our company. That's the key to us.
We leverage capability, so one of the big things this year also was our mobile business intelligence (BI) capability. We've disconnected most of the costs for things in Revlon around IT. We only manage at a top line.
But if someone wants to try a new application, generally by the time the business team gets in a meeting with us, it's no cost. We have servers set up. We have the environment. We have the access control set up for the vendor to come in and set everything up. So that's still ongoing.
We have got this huge mobile BI initiative, which is delivering information to business teams and contacts. That's the new thing where we have disconnected the cost. We're not laying out money for it, and we're just now executing around that.
For me, the cost equation is more and more around cost avoidance and keeping on extending the capability of that cloud.
Gardner: And it seems as if those costs are more of an operational ongoing nature, predictable, recurring, easy to budget, rather than those big-bang types of cost?
Giambruno: Very, very predictable. For the past three years, we have had the same line items. While data keep growing, we're still figuring out how to manage things better and better in the background, because the cloud generates lot of data, which we want it to do. Data, information, and how we use that is the competitive weapon.
This cost avoidance, or cost containment, while extending capability, is the little magical thing that happens, that we do for the business. We're very level in our spend, but we keep delivering more and more and more.
Gardner: Because we are here at VMworld in San Francisco, tell me a little bit about the VMware impact for the cloud. How do you view the VMware suite and portfolio vis-à-vis the impact it has had on your maturation and benefits?
Giambruno: I want to use technology as a competitive weapon. My team masters it. We own it intellectually.
For us, it's where VMware is going. We're always pushing VMware. "What have you got next? What have you got next?" It's up to us to take capability and extend it. I don't mean to be flip or narcissistic or anything like that, but we've got that piece under control. It's about how do you do it better.
Every time there's an upgrade, what features and functionalities can we then take advantage and translate that into a business use? When I say business use, we tell the business teams, "Here's a new capability. You can do this and keep changing the structure of operating."
The new version of vSphere 5.1 came out, and we're in the process of exposing our internal cloud to our vendors and suppliers. We're eliminating all these virtual private networks (VPNs). It's about how we change and how IT operates, changing the model. For me, that's a competitive advantage, and it's the opportunity to reduce structural cost and take people away from managing firewalls.
We did that. We got that. Now we're going to do this a different way. We're going to expose to our vendors securely the information that they need, that they can interact with as easily and effectively.
There's even the idea of taking a portion of our apps and presenting those to our suppliers on their iPads and their iPhones so they can update our data and our systems much more cleanly and effectively. We can get the synergies and effectiveness and have our partners like to work with us and make it easy on them as well. It's always a quid pro quo, "It's Revlon. They're good to deal with. Let’s help them."
It's how you create those partnerships and effectiveness to get business done better. It makes it easier on the business teams, contracts go better, and it's cascading. I call it the spiral up effect, changing the way you operate to spiral up and take advantage of capabilities.
Gardner: Is that something we could classify as another unintended consequence -- a benefit that you have been able to enjoy these efficiencies around cloud internally for your enterprise, but now you are taking it to an extended enterprise benefit?
Giambruno: Absolutely. Look at the security complexity around VPNs and managing that and the audits. That's so much fun. Changing the model is really the opportunity, making it easier for the auditors to audit and making it easier for your supply chain, for all of those people to interact with you in a much more effective manner.
It's about enabling procurement to process their information and work with the vendors, because everything is about change. It's about speed of change. If we get a demand signal that changes and we need to buy more raw materials or whatever for our factories, we have the ability for not only our procurement teams, but our vendors to interact with us easily to make those changes. It ensures that we can deliver the right products, to the right stores, to the right peoples, so at the end the consumers are happy. It's about how do you change the model of delivering that.
VMware has done that for us, and we keep taking advantage of all the stuff. I joke that I'm like a technology enabler: "What have you got for me? What have you got for me?" So I can give it out to the business and my teams, because it keeps people interested. We can say, "We saw you guys, and it was hard for you. Now, you can do this." And it's done.
"What do you mean it's done?" "It's done. Just use it. It's okay. Let us know what you think, if you want us to change something." But it's always being on the front of the bow, saying, "Here's what we can do. Here's how we can help."
That’s the culture of IT in Revlon. I'm merciless about how we're just here to help. We run the technology and own the technology intellectually, so we can help. That’s my only concern.
In the future, in my internal cloud, I should be able to take a vertical instance of functionality and push that. To me, that's next. If the vendors can figure out how to do that and have my internal cloud manage those transactions back, but push the pieces of functionality wherever it needs to be, so it sits in those Mini Me data centers and let it be close to people, so I don’t have to deal with latency and then manage those transactions back, that's the next big evolution.
Then there's mobile computing. What I mean by mobile computing is viewing applications, so data never leaves my data center.
I know a device. I know the person. When they hit the edge of my network, essentially hit my data center, we know their device. We know who they are, and they only get access to information they are supposed to have and they only view it.
I could encrypt my entire data center, and at a hypervisor level, encrypt everything, because if you encrypt the VBK file, the job is done. The compliance and security impact is huge. No more data leakage, audits become easier, all of those things.
Again, it's a completely different way to operate and think about things, but we need to slice applications up, move them out, and then view the applications. That’s a whole new geometry of operating IT in a much more efficient manner.
You may also be interested in:
- Services Provider BancVue Leverages VMware Server Virtualization to Generate Private-Cloud Benefits and Increased Business Agility
- Roundtable: Revlon and SAP executives describe accretive benefits from aggressive cloud adoption
- From VMworld, cosmetics giant Revlon harnesses the power of private cloud to produce impressive savings and cost avoidance
- VMware CTO Steve Herrod on How the Software-Defined Datacenter Benefits Enterprises
- Case Study: Strategic Approach to Disaster Recovery and Data Lifecycle Management Pays Off for Australia's SAI Global
- Virtualization Simplifies Disaster Recovery for Insurance Broker Myron Steves While Delivering Efficiency and Agility Gains Too
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
Feb. 19, 2017 10:30 PM EST Reads: 2,322
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of Dev...
Feb. 19, 2017 05:45 PM EST Reads: 5,275
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
Feb. 19, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,153
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Feb. 19, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 952
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
Feb. 19, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 928
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Feb. 19, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 846
DevOps and microservices are permeating software engineering teams broadly, whether these teams are in pure software shops but happen to run a business, such Uber and Airbnb, or in companies that rely heavily on software to run more traditional business, such as financial firms or high-end manufacturers. Microservices and DevOps have created software development and therefore business speed and agility benefits, but they have also created problems; specifically, they have created software securi...
Feb. 19, 2017 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,947
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
Feb. 19, 2017 10:45 AM EST Reads: 7,741
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Feb. 19, 2017 10:45 AM EST Reads: 802
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
Feb. 19, 2017 10:00 AM EST Reads: 5,722
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
Feb. 19, 2017 09:45 AM EST Reads: 793
Software development is a moving target. You have to keep your eye on trends in the tech space that haven’t even happened yet just to stay current. Consider what’s happened with augmented reality (AR) in this year alone. If you said you were working on an AR app in 2015, you might have gotten a lot of blank stares or jokes about Google Glass. Then Pokémon GO happened. Like AR, the trends listed below have been building steam for some time, but they’ll be taking off in surprising new directions b...
Feb. 19, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 3,224
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Feb. 19, 2017 04:00 AM EST Reads: 11,030
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 18, 2017 09:30 PM EST Reads: 6,288
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Feb. 18, 2017 06:15 PM EST Reads: 5,819
Docker containers have brought great opportunities to shorten the deployment process through continuous integration and the delivery of applications and microservices. This applies equally to enterprise data centers as well as the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jari Kolehmainen, founder and CTO of Kontena, will discuss solutions and benefits of a deeply integrated deployment pipeline using technologies such as container management platforms, Docker containers, and the drone.io Cl tool...
Feb. 18, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,815
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Feb. 18, 2017 04:15 PM EST Reads: 1,943
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, explored HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Feb. 18, 2017 03:00 PM EST Reads: 7,431
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Feb. 18, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 4,273
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Feb. 18, 2017 08:00 AM EST Reads: 5,332