1 WHITEPAPER STANDARDIZED OPERATING ENVIRONMENTS FOR I.T. EFFICIENCY Boost productivity, increase uptime, and enhance business agility by standardizing your IT environment INTRODUCTION Organizations that are standardizing today are enjoying lower management costs, better uptime. IDC, CUSTOMER STANDARDIZING ON LINUX: HOW, WHY AND THE BENEFITS, AL GILLEN, JULY 2013 Modern IT departments play an increasingly important and visible role in overall business success. With service quality and availability critical to business operations, IT departments must deliver effective and efficient services within budget to ensure competitiveness. However, the complexity of most companies IT infrastructures greatly hinders the ability to deliver on needs and priorities in a timely and cost-effective manner. With a variety of operating system vendors and versions, server hardware configurations, and management software tools, system and infrastructure administration becomes difficult at best. This complexity requires a large IT staff with deep expertise in all areas of the environment, further increasing costs. In addition to interoperability issues, these management challenges lead to increased downtime and availability concerns with less visibility and control of assets increasing security and compliance risks. Having a multitude of disparate processes for each configuration or operating system version, the process of provisioning new tools, applications, virtual machines, and servers becomes slow and tedious, often hindering IT and business agility. Many of these issues can be greatly diminished or even eliminated by reducing complexity and standardizing part or all of the IT environment on a set of processes and procedures. Management is simplified in a standardized operating environment, significantly increasing IT staff productivity and scalability. As labor costs contribute significantly to overall IT costs, improving staff efficiency and productivity can lead to compelling savings and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). For example, IDC studies show that IT organizations standardizing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux have a 50% higher server-to-administrator ratio than those deploying mixed Linux distribution environments, resulting in staffing cost reductions of 49%. 1 Standardized operating environments also benefit user productivity in terms of increased availability of services and less downtime. Compared to mixed Linux environments, companies standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience only one-fifth of the downtime. 1 With standard operating processes and procedures, applications, virtual machines, and hardware can all be deployed and configured quickly, increasing flexibility, scalability, and business agility and productivity. Moreover, reduced infrastructure complexity allows better control of IT assets, improves security, and reduces compliance risks. linkedin.com/company/red-hat All of this adds up to significant operational and staffing cost savings and enables IT organizations to respond with agility to dynamic business demands. Red Hat provides the software foundation and tools needed to take full advantage of the benefits of standardized operating environments.
2 HOW AND WHY STANDARDIZING WORKS I would recommend to try, from the very beginning, to provide a highly standardized environment. It pays off in the long term. You can decrease your operational costs over time. We have 35 guys operating over 2,000 Linux instances 24x7. You can t do that if you have 1,000 different ways of setting up a cluster and 2,000 different ways of setting up a backup. LINUX PLATFORM MANAGER IDC, RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX IN USE: SERVICES COMPANY HELPS AIRLINES TAKE OFF USING LINUX, NOVEMBER 2012 Implementation of a standardized operating environment is a long-term investment that benefits many areas, including simplified management, increased reliability, elevated productivity, and lower operating costs. Standardization hinges on increasing consistency and reducing complexity within an operating environment. The ideal standard operating environment implements a defined set of components, interfaces, and processes to be used throughout the entire IT infrastructure. While it may seem counter intuitive, standardization does not imply that all systems will be exactly the same; it simply means that all systems will have a defined, known foundation upon which a set of applications, virtual machines, and tools can be built. EASIER MANAGEMENT, MORE CONTROL Reducing the number of variations in core technologies such as operating systems, administration tools, and security and compliance requirements creates an environment that is easier to manage. Operating systems in particular play an important role in infrastructure manageability, as each has different management tools and functionality. Multiple management tools lead to variations in operating procedures and more complicated administration, ultimately driving the need for specialized training and experience and larger IT staffs on the whole. When a limited number of operating system versions are deployed in an IT infrastructure, it is possible to define a single, standard set of operating procedures and processes. This approach simplifies and streamlines operation, and allows a smaller staff to administer a larger number of physical and virtual systems more easily and efficiently. Extremely favorable administrator-to-system and -user ratios are possible with standardized operating environments. LESS DOWNTIME Fewer operating system variations decrease the statistical likelihood of operational and security issues that cause downtime. Better management practices, resulting from increased infrastructure consistency, catch issues before they bring down systems and applications. Simplified patch management ensures that systems are kept up-to-date and online. Non-Standardized Environment Standardized Operating Environment Management Tool A Management Tool B Management Tool C Standard Operating Process Standard Management Tool Operating Process X Operating Process Y Operating Process Z Figure 1. Implementing a standardized operating environment greatly simplifies and streamlines management and operation. 2
3 AUTOMATION DRIVES EFFICIENCY Increased consistency and reduced complexity effectively enable environment automation. With only a few variations in the core system features, many repetitive, non-strategic tasks can be automated, reducing both the time needed to accomplish the task and the risk of human-induced errors. With automation, new applications can be deployed to a large number of systems in a fraction of the time needed for manual deployment. Servers and virtual machines can be provisioned in a matter of hours and minutes, instead of days and hours. Speeding deployment and provisioning enables faster scaling and adaptation to changes in business and market needs and increases the company s competitive potential. HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY All of the strengths mentioned above work towards a single goal: increasing productivity. With the simplified structure of a standardized operating environment, each administrator can manage a larger number of servers and users, enabling growth and scalability without bringing on additional staff. Because deep expertise in multiple operating systems and kernel development is not required, IT staff can afford to focus on core business applications. Automation also returns valuable time to strategic tasks that move the business forward. Increased productivity is not limited to the IT staff; both end users and the business itself benefit from a standardized operating environment as well. With more consistent services, fewer help desk tickets are filed, and a reduction in downtime keeps users up and running. On the business level, enhanced infrastructure agility facilitates increased competitiveness and alignment with goals, while reduced operational costs benefit the bottom line. IMPLEMENTING A STANDARDIZED OPERATING ENVIRONMENT Proper planning is essential to implementing a standardized operating environment and can be broken up into four steps, as shown in Figure 2 and detailed below. Each step should be given careful consideration to ensure the most effective and efficient environment. Assess Current Infrastructure Catalog current hardware and software Plan new standardized processes Choose and tools for SOE Create Core Build(s) Tools Applications Security Requirements Compliance Requirements Training & Maintenance Train staff on new standardized operating processes Operate SOE to meet current and changing business needs Migrate & Implement SOE Migrate to new hardware and as necessary Implement new standardized processes Figure 2. Planning is required to effectively move to a standardized operating environment. 3
4 ASSESS CURRENT INFRASTRUCTURE READINESS The first step in moving to a standardized operating environment is an assessment of the current infrastructure state and readiness for standardization. All current hardware and software assets should be cataloged. A comparison of present operating processes and those intended for the standardized operating environment is needed for planning the migration roadmap. At this time, the operating system(s) and tools to be used in the standardized environment should also be chosen. CREATE A CORE BUILD A core build is the foundation upon which the standardized operating environment is built. It encompasses a common set of drivers, tools, and requirements across the planned infrastructure, including the operating system, management tools, hardware and software drivers, and security and compliance configurations. When creating a core build, current and planned business operations should be closely examined to ensure that all technical and business requirements are met sufficiently. MIGRATE SYSTEMS Once a core build has been defined, systems must be migrated to the new environment. While migration can be accomplished manually, the process is slow and tedious, and requires valuable IT resource hours. The most effective way to migrate systems is to use the same system management and provisioning tools planned for operation of the standardized environment. Management tools reduce the incidence of human errors and speed provisioning significantly, saving time and lowering TCO. TRAIN AND MAINTAIN Once the standardized operating environment is in place, it is critical that IT staff adhere to the new operating processes and procedures. All IT staff should be trained on usage and maintenance of the new environment. As the environment is adapted to meet changing business needs over time, ongoing training is required. STANDARDIZING WITH RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Red Hat Satellite provides an ideal platform for standardization. Based on the Linux open source kernel, Red Hat adds enterprise class stability, features, and support for increased business benefits. The two key components in the Red Hat solution the operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and the systems management platform, Red Hat Satellite work together to further enhance the benefits of standardized operating environments. RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX Over the past decade, Linux has become an increasingly popular choice for enterprise operating environments. With many paid and nonpaid Linux distributions to choose from, Red Hat Enterprise Linux sets the standard and provides the best set of features for standardization. Stability and support. Building standardized enterprise applications and services requires a stable foundation with a defined lifecycle. Red Hat Enterprise Linux features a 10-year lifecycle with ongoing support and updates from launch to retirement. Security. Because a security issue in a standardized operating system will affect the entire environment, it is critical that any security issues are mitigated quickly. Red Hat fixes 95% of all critical security issues in Red Hat Enterprise Linux within 24 hours, allowing patches to be deployed faster and leaving less time for problems to arise. 4
5 IT departments standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux suffer only 20% of the downtime experienced by mixed and nonpaid distributions IT Departments deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux spend 82% less time dealing with server downtime issues and 92% less time dealing with help desk issues Total operating costs are 39% lower and IT staffing costs are 49% lower with Red Hat Enterprise Linux IDC, Understanding Linux Deployment Strategies: The Business Case for Standardization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, April 2011 Reliability. According to an IDC study comparing standardized Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments with both mixed and primarily nonpaid Linux environments, companies that standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience significantly less downtime than those operating mixed or primarily nonpaid Linux distributions. In fact, Red Hat Enterprise Linux shops suffer only 20% of the downtime experienced by mixed and nonpaid distributions, due to better management practices and regression testing by both Red Hat and the Red Hat partner community. 1 OEM and ISV certification. Red Hat s large, well-established original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and independent software vendor (ISV) communities ensure that customers can be confident that recent hardware innovations are supported. They can choose from over 14,000 certified software offerings to best meet their needs without compromising security, reliability, or support. Additionally, the communities help further exercise Red Hat Enterprise Linux, resulting in fewer security and downtime issues than Linux distributions without the same set of strong ISV affiliations. ABI and API compatibility. Application stability is maintained with application binary interface (ABI) and application programming interface (API) compatibility between Red Hat Enterprise Linux version upgrades. Applications written for a version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (e.g. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6) will run unmodified on any minor release (e.g. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4) until the retirement of the version. Greater IT efficiency. The IDC study mentioned above also found that those IT departments standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux were more efficient across the board, with more users and servers per administrator, faster application and virtual machine deployment, and less time spent dealing with server downtime and help desk activities. 1 Table 1 shows a comparison of the number of servers and end users managed per IT administrator for each situation in the IDC study. TABLE 1. ADMINISTRATOR TO SERVER AND USER RATI RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX MIXED LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS UNPAID LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS Servers per admin End users per admin In addition to managing more servers and users with smaller IT staffs, application and virtual machine deployment times are cut roughly in half for those IT departments standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux as compared to both mixed and primarily nonpaid deployments, enabling greater business agility and saving time. IT departments deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux also spend 82% less time dealing with server downtime issues and 92% less time dealing with help desk issues than nonpaid Linux distributions, allowing IT staff to spend more time focusing on strategic business tasks. 1 1 Understanding Linux Deployment Strategies: The Business Case for Standardizing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, IDC, April
6 Time to market is important to the business and we use Linux servers for everything including business critical applications. Our e-commerce runs on it and when we get a new application, we just hit a button and get that out to 100 servers in about 20 minutes. If we didn t have Red Hat Satellite, it would take two to three days. COMPANY IT MANAGER IDC, LINUX MANAGEMENT WITH RED HAT SATELLITE: MEASURING BUSINESS IMPACT AND ROI, JULY 2013 Lower total cost of ownership. Though it may seem that standardizing on a nonpaid Linux distribution would offer lower costs, Red Hat Enterprise Linux actually delivers significantly lower TCO. Subscription costs are quickly recovered through higher IT efficiency and productivity. In fact, total operating costs per 100 users per year for Red Hat Enterprise Linux are 39% lower than for nonpaid distributions, and IT staffing costs per 100 users per year are 49% lower. 1 RED HAT SATELLITE Systems management is a key component to deriving the most value from a standardized environment. Red Hat Satellite provides efficient deployment and management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux standardized operating environments, including overall lifecycle management, automation, and monitoring. Management. Red Hat Satellite incorporates full lifecycle management features, including system and application provisioning, configuration, management, redeployment, and eventual retirement, across the entire standardized environment. Physical and virtual systems can be easily and quickly provisioned according to standardized operating processes and pre-defined configurations, ensuring adherence to security and compliance requirements. Patch management is simplified and automated with the ability to roll patches out to multiple servers with the click of a button. Automation. Red Hat Satellite automates repetitive tasks and management processes, such as system provisioning, patch roll out, and application deployment. The result is faster IT response and increased agility with fewer human errors and faster failure recovery. Built-in scripting capabilities, automated workflows, and policy-driven engines allow automation of a variety of custom tasks. Monitoring. Proper and efficient management requires comprehensive knowledge about the infrastructure and its status. Red Hat Satellite provides complete monitoring of the standardized operating environment, including infrastructure health, application and database availability, and service quality statistics. Productivity Gains. Incorporating Red Hat Satellite into a Red Hat Enterprise Linux standardized operating environment further enhances IT productivity. Automation of many management tasks reduces the amount of time IT staff spend administering systems, allowing them to focus on line of business applications and objectives. End users benefit from reduced downtime due to reduced system errors and faster system recovery post-failure. On the business level, more efficient management operations allow the IT environment to scale without increasing costs, while faster provisioning and deployment result in increased agility and reduced time-to-market for new applications and services. RED HAT SERVICES Implementing a standardized operating environment is a long-term investment. Red Hat services can help organizations move through the steps needed to plan for and migrate to a standardized operating environment. The Red Hat Consulting Operational Efficiency Pathway program delivers a strategic roadmap that targets the business processes around IT operations and focuses on improving automation, standardization, and management of the IT infrastructure in three steps. Assessment and planning. A Red Hat consultant catalogs existing hardware and software assets and analyzes current business processes and IT operations. Gaps between current processes and those required to establish a standardized operating environment are identified and a standardized architecture is proposed. 6
7 Real business value is associated with a consistent, standardized infrastructure. IDC, UNDERSTANDING LINUX DEPLOYMENT STRATEGIES: THE BUSINESS CASE FOR STANDARDIZING ON RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX, AL GILLEN AND RANDY PERRY, APRIL 2011 Implementation. Red Hat offers several build and implementation services to execute standardized operating environment plans faster. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Core Build Service creates a standard, tested, and ready-to-deploy distribution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to meet business, operational, and security needs. The Red Hat Satellite Accelerator Service installs and configures Red Hat Satellite and trains IT staff on Red Hat proven management methodologies. Training and support. Red Hat offers many training programs to aid in the transition to and operation of a standardized operating environment, as well as ongoing support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Satellite. Contact a Red Hat sales representative for information on creating a training program to accelerate the journey to operational efficiency. CONCLUSION With a growing number of application, operating system, middleware, and hardware options to choose from, standardization is critical to maintaining control over IT infrastructure. While implementing a standardized operating environment alone will result in significant efficiency and productivity gains, choosing the right operating system and management tools maximizes operational savings and prepares the IT environment for future business initiatives, such as virtualization and cloud deployment. Contact your Red Hat sales representative to find out more about standardizing with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and preparing your infrastructure for the next generation of IT. ABOUT RED HAT Red Hat is the world s leading provider of open source solutions, using a community-powered approach to provide reliable and high-performing cloud, virtualization, storage, Linux, and middleware technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. Red Hat is an S&P company with more than 70 offices spanning the globe, empowering its customers businesses. linkedin.com/company/red-hat NORTH AMERICA REDHAT1 EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA ASIA PACIFIC LATIN AMERICA # _v1_1013_KVM Copyright 2013 Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, and JBoss are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.