Transitional Data Services: The Data Center and IT Transformation Specialist

Michael Bullock, President & Co-Founder With virtualization and cloud changing the way applications are developed and deployed, today organizations are fundamentally rethinking, transforming and even retiring their legacy data centers. Take for instance, the case of streaming media giant Netflix, who recently closed its last data center, completing their move to the cloud. “Data centers have evolved from being physical facilities to the concept of hybrid IT encompassing traditional facilities, IT infrastructure, SaaS and cloud services with the ultimate purpose of delivering end-to-end applications availability,” propounds Michael Bullock, President and Co-Founder, Transitional Data Services (TDS). On the flipside, with this flexibility—where the boundaries of the application are no longer contained by the physical data center facility—comes new complexities and perils, which can lead to application outages and downtime if not planned effectively. And the plug and play approach of mixing technologies, vendors, and architectures results in an environment that is fragile and resource intensive to manage. New approaches to achieve sustainable application availability are required in this new, frequently changing, hybrid IT environment.

“While there are excellent point solutions that streamline or automate workload migrations, most of these tools are not focused on application availability,” says Bullock. As a consequence, according to Gartner, 80 to 90 percent of IT transformation projects fail to meet the target benefits. Headquartered in Westborough, MA, TDS is addressing the challenges and risks in data center evolution with their TransitionManager software. Enabling IT organizations to embrace the changes and address the risks associated with data center transformations, TransitionManager increases the velocity of IT modernization by breaking down operating silo barriers and leveraging reusable workflows. As a SaaS based product, TransitionManager provides rapid startup, enables online collaboration and provides real-time visibility into project status and updates.

IT Transformation with Minimum Disruption

The emergence of hybrid computing and federated systems has blurred the lines between physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures. Systems have simultaneously become much more powerful, interconnected and more fragile. As IT environments evolve, each next change increases complexity and interdependency. The application architect alone is no longer equipped to assure that the business applications keep running smoothly. It requires a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) representing the various IT silos working together to develop an approach that accounts fully for the server, storage, networks, database, applications, and security.

TransitionManager was originally developed to fill this void in collaboration tools that simplify application migrations and data center transformations.

While there are excellent point solutions that streamline or automate workload migrations, most of these tools are not focused on application availability

Today, TDS competes with some of the largest technology companies in the world, as TransitionManager delivers projects faster with a tremendous success rate, at a much less overhead cost. “It is used by our own migration consultants, directly by end customers and by large global service providers who leverage our solution within their own delivery teams,” remarks Bullock.

TransitionManager automates the tedious, resource-intensive, and error-prone aspects of data center migrations, consolidations and transformation. This includes inventorying all IT assets, accounting for interdependencies and correctly developing groupings of related applications and infrastructure to assure ongoing operations. With TransitionManager, users can improve the entire process of data center and IT transformation, from initial discovery through analysis and execution.

TransitionManager integrates the collective knowledge of teams and systems, provides a framework for planning and orchestration, and manages the transition process through dashboards and task lists—all controlled by auto-generated runbooks, specific to the client environment. A runbook is a detailed step by step execution plan which ensures that shutdown, migration, and start-up procedures are properly sequenced. The efficacy of TDS’ runbook is such that it virtually eliminates sequence and dependency errors and accelerates the migration process by more than 35 percent. “Since IT transformation is perpetual, change management must also be flexible and adaptable. If there are any changes to the application, infrastructure and migration procedures, our runbooks can easily be regenerated. This balancing of structure with adaptability and flexibly is what makes TransitionManager vital to transition and transformation success,” remarks Bullock.

Breaking Down IT Silos through Collaboration

Core to the TransitionManager approach is to combine and codify the collective knowledge of systems, tools and staff and to empower each team member with full IT visibility, even beyond their traditional scope of responsibility.By combining the collective knowledge of silo specialists and application SMEs—including application owners, database administrators, server / storage / network administrators, software developers, application architects and CTO—an organization can establish a “vault of truth” that is essential to moving forward with innovation and change.

As a recent example, TDS completed a transformation project with Bemis Company, a global Fortune 1000 manufacturer well ahead of schedule.
The client initially required assistance from TDS with their selection process for a new compute facility. Ultimately, with the aid of TransitionManager, Bemis was able to conduct a tech refresh on their hardware, migrate to the new facility, and implement a new disaster recovery program, all with no unplanned disruption to their employees and IT users. “In fact, the project went so well, that the business resiliency plan was accelerated by nine months and they continue to use TransitionManager on an ongoing basis,” reveals Bullock.

Driving Overall Business Value

Besides TransitionManager, TDS also offers customized services to help organizations with their IT transformations and business resiliency planning and execution. “Often, the focus with IT is too narrowly limited to just reducing cost, while revenue, risk, and security factors are ignored,” says Bullock. The company is especially receptive to the regulatory concerns surrounding the U.S. Government’s “cloud first” initiative and their services go beyond the physical facility and devices when planning transitions. Currently, TDS is extending the feature and functionality of their software by assembling and implementing direct feedback from practitioners, employees, partners, and end customers. Having served the industry for more than a decade, Bullock believes in maintaining close relationships with customers to fuel continued differentiation and growth. “We always consider how to implement enhanced features so they cover multiple use cases in IT transformation and resiliency,” adds Bullock.

Developing the Application-Centric Approach

Moving forward, TDS will continue to improve the usability of their software, ensuring that it is easy to install, update, and manage. The firm is specifically focussing on improving integration with other software in the Infrastructure and Operations ecosystem, including cloud and virtual migration tools, Data Center Infrastructure Management Systems (DCIMs), and Configuration Management Database (CMDB). “We are working on enhancing dashboards for disaster recovery, business resiliency, and DevOps—which is the ultimate example of managing continuous change,” points out Bullock.

According to the most recent Cisco Global Cloud Index, the global data center traffic will triple to 10.4 zettabytes by 2019. More telling, Cisco predicts that 83 percent of the traffic will come from the cloud and 80 percent of the workloads will be processed in the cloud. As the conventional data center continues to transform toward this hybrid IT / cloud model, TDS is ardently leading the way in minimizing risks even for the most complex environments. “By taking a fresh approach that is unbound by conventional silo and niche tool limitations, TDS will continue to enable complex data center, cloud and applications migrations for many years ahead,” ends Bullock.

Transitional Data Services

Michael Bullock, President & Co-Founder

Provides software and services to manage the end-to-end process for data center migration and consolidation, network and infrastructure design, and technical operations.