It was in 2010 that Telefónica took another step in its strategy to take advantage of its size to be more efficient and more according to is international scale, for this it was created the Telefónica Global Technology, which was responsible to globalize the management and operation of the information systems.
Until that moment, each local branch of Telefónica in the different countries had its own systems, so the objective is to unify them all in a subsidiary that allows to coordinate this matter and to manage it horizontally.
A new subsidiary company was created, based in Spain, and with a local presence in Europe and Latin American countries, employing a total of 2,000 professionals in a first phase.
The foundational and fundamental aim was to achieve a global and homogeneous system management, which makes possible a greater specialization of resources and efficiency in the online world. This specialization aims to increase quality levels, which, together with greater agility, should translate into an improvement in the rendering of customer services, one of the fundamental pillars of the company’s three-year transformation plan.
Associated to this, the Bravo program was born, which was intended to transform the company. So that it can go from being a network operator that provides mobile, fixed and broadband telephony to its subscribers, to a company focused on value added and open to collaborations to bring to its customers also all the services that the digital world can provide, such as financial, energy, health or safety services.
Telefónica took a fundamental step towards joining the main international trends in information technology (IT) systems for multinationals and initiating the simplification of internal processes, promoting IT innovation, as well as external processes, in the relationship between the company and its providers. The goal is to make it easier to reach global agreements with the main companies in the sector and at the same time strengthen the relationship with local suppliers in each country.
After five years of complying with the established guidelines and achieving successes, translated into greater technological competitiveness and greater efficiency in the management of IT resources and related infrastructures, Telefónica launched in 2015 a new restructuring in Telefónica Global Technology, due to the reduction of the perimeter of operations in recent times. Telefónica believes that there are more local needs and has decided that these activities will approach each of its major territorial divisions: Spain, Germany, Latin America and Brazil.
In addition, the company has taken a new step in the reorganization process of Global IT, which is responsible for the applications and technological solutions in the group. The simplification will go through more integration in the functions between Global IT and the mentioned TGT.
From those guidelines, plans and macro objectives in TGT, of those seeds, spawned more earthly, local realities, such as the one that motivated us to carry out this interview.
Among them, due to their importance in the datacentre sector present and especially for the future, around the need to transform the management model of these, to maximize their availability and reduce total operating costs, based on the DCiM technology provided by the company Bjumper .
We are in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with two key people in the process of change described in the title of this interview, which, like the famous novel by Cervantes, boldly decided and in the solitude of the risks implicit in the changes, taking innovation and running a path fraught with difficulties with numerous mills to fight, both internal and internal, to achieve the goal by planting the seed of the Management and Operation Model for the Datacentre’s based on a DCiM solution.
Geographically, with the motivations of this interview defined, let us introduce: Mr. Roberto Urrutia, Production Manager of Engineering Datacentre at Telefónica, Global IT, sponsor of the project and Mr. Roberto Vázquez, Project Leader, in Datacentre Engineering at Telefónica, Global IT.
Following the presentations, let us proceed with the questions:
What were the Project motivations, whose objectives have been described in the introduction?
RU: The main motivation is derived from the growth experienced in the Datacentre’s size, increasing the complexity of their management, making it unmanageable, as well as the decision making associated with the existing models.
RV: This complexity, coupled with the segregation of the information sources in the Datacentre, incorporated in Excel and Visio forms, showed the need to take a giant step towards new unified management models, complete with respect to the complex ecosystem and aligned with market standards. Like in the novel Cervantina, to fight with giants in a giant itself has not been easy task.
We speak of it, of the road that has travelled, of the battles fought, of the defeated giants. What are the antecedents and the evolution of the project of transformation the Management and Operation model for Datacentres based on DCiM, which are the keys to successfully lead a project of these characteristics.
RU: The various technological changes, but also human, that covers work processes and procedures, begin in the middle of 2013, with an active search for Datacentre Infrastructure Management solutions, DCIM , which meet the criteria of management and unification of the segregated information sources, providing a holistic, real-time view of the complex ecosystem of a Datacentre, from the micro level, providing information on the status of a simple processor of a server , at the macro level, that indicates the performance of the Datacentre itself (PUE), present and future capacities in terms of Space, Energy, and all this in combination with the operative tools like ticketing. Integrating each and every one of the infrastructures of Energy, Air Conditioning, Intelligent Wiring (Imvision), in a graphic model whose representation visual reliability, minimizing the possible human error in the processes of the Datacentre operation.
RV: With this vision, the project’s mission is carried out by conducting a pilot in the Vélez DC at the end of 2013. The results were satisfactory enough, as for it will be launched an open bidding process in the mid-2014. This tender was awarded to one of the companies with the greatest international experience in projects of this size and responsibility, Bjumper, at the end of 2014. The initial battle, the main one, is the transformation of the traditional operation, to a model whose three fundamental pillars are the processes, the technology and the people, whose training associated to the changes of working model and derivative technology, are key. The fourth key is the choice of a partner with the ability to accompany the paradigm shift, that beyond the software tool, has the experience, skills and human talent to do so.
Described because, what, when and how, now focus the question at the present time, What have been the real benefits and value contributed. The objectives have been fulfilled, Toboso and Dulcinea were reached.
RV: (laughs) We continue in the search for platonic love, as in the novel. It is a continuous process, loaded with ups and downs, high slopes, mills to surround to not enter in lost battles, but in the general, the fundamental objectives have been achieved from multiple perspectives. Now, we operate the Datacentre proactively, planned and non-reactive as it did before.
RU: At this moment, after the different phases, covered almost 70% of the planned scope in the Vélez and Viale Datacentres, we can say that we have a Unified and Integrated Management Model, where all the infrastructures (SAN, LAN, Networking, Energy and Air Conditioning) are providing real-time and useful information that results in a unique decision-making capability.
RV: and all this is combined with a processes automation, where the works/tasks are programmed and assigned to the personnel, reducing times and errors, thanks to the integration of the management system with ITSM Remedy and the perfect fit of the solution with the ISO / IEC 20000 standard and its application in the company, without having any non-conformity. In addition, thanks to the characteristics of the DCIM implemented, we have a holistic view in 3D to scale, which reliably reproduces the Datacentre, minimizing the potential human error in daily operations.
As Roberto Vázquez commented, you are facing a continuous process, so what are the next associated challenges derived from the conclusions related to the automated and integrated management of the Datacentre.
RU: The first conclusion, derived from the current phase of the project, is the necessary continuity of the project until it is covered the defined scope at 100%. This is the challenge. Along the way, we are working to be able to quantify and derive in precise costs of the different Datacentre activities, to be able to establish the services costs by areas.
RV: another fundamental challenge is to finish overcoming its own resistance to change towards the new management model, taking more advantage of the new reporting system, to give an example
RU: In general, the challenge pivots on three fundamental issues:
- The departmental convergence, the other areas of the company must be involved and be participants in the project.
- The technological, for example, introducing the Logical Layers in the management model (Virtualization)
- The Budget, a correct management of the Datacentre under the new model, must be implicit in the cost of the hosting within the Datacentre.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to ask for a recommendation to those companies and people involved similar projects but in a previous phase.
RV: Run away, they are still in time. (Laughs). In addition to what I said, I would like to highlight a couple of critical issues per experience. The first, typical of the initial phases, is the Data Collection. This phase is very critical and complex, since we are going to represent an image that must be true to reality. The correct implementation of this phase is the key to simplify the implementation, but above all to maximize the value of the solution in the Operations phase.
The second one has to do with the project itself, is the definition of the implementation phases, in order to add value to the organization in the shortest possible time as DCiM is a solution of marked complexity, since it combines processes, technology and people. To do this, the definition of the phases must be done in a way that is aligned with the company’s business model and its service and revenue priorities.
RU: To add to the comments made by Roberto Vázquez, there is a third reality as a recommendation, and not least, it has to do with the beginning of the operation phase, where staff training is the key, as well as to have a partner that accompanies the transition phase from a management model to the new one, which allows correcting the deviations of such complex transformations as is the change of derived culture.
Thank you for the recommendations, for your presentations and we hope it will be useful for a sector that is living an authentic revolution derived from the modern world, its reflection in the Datacentre, where all this takes place and that needs of Management Models aligned with a reality that will only increase the pressure regarding availability and operational efficiency in terms of costs. Thanks again, we let them follow their particular path of adventure, hoping that they surpass or surround each of their giants, as before.