Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Full Armor's Policy Portal: First Core Infrastructure Optimization Solution via Cloud

A new solution has been introduced that promises to change the way organizations implement and manage their core infrastructure via Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing platform. FullArmor’s PolicyPortal, running on Microsoft Azure, can help organization achieve infrastructure optimization leveraging the assets already in place, and without having to invest in incremental management infrastructure, training, labor or services.

According to IDC, organizations that having non-optimized “Basic” core infrastructure practices average a whopping $1,320 per user per year in end-point management and support costs alone. Reducing the high cost of endpoint management, representing 20% of total IT spending at typical companies, represents a great opportunity to meet cost savings goals in today’s frugal environment.

In research, IDC evaluated more than 20 potential best practices and identified three that are consistently used by top-performing IT departments for optimizing Windows desktops and end-point management:
  • Standard desktop strategy (savings of $110/PC). Deploying a standardized desktop by minimizing hardware and software configurations.
  • Centrally managed PC settings and configuration (savings of $190/PC): Keeping deployed PCs standardized by preventing users from making changes that compromise security, reliability and the application portfolio.
  • Comprehensive PC security (savings of $130/PC): Proactively addressing security with antivirus, antispyware, patching, and quarantine.

PolicyPortal was designed specifically to help organizations standardize endpoints, centrally manage settings and configuration, and implement comprehensive PC security , all using cloud technology to eliminate the need to install or support an infrastructure to deliver the management best practices. The PolicyPortal solution is able to deliver best practices which drive maturity improvements to Rationalized, moving IT from being perceived as a cost center with uncoordinated manual infrastructure, inefficient management and security risks to a key business enabler with managed and consolidated IT infrastructure and automation.

As a result, PolicyPortal is able to:> reduce end-point management costs to $230 per year, a savings of $1,090 per end point per year;*
  • Reducing service desk calls by 10% or more;
  • Improving business agility, allowing organizations to deploy new applications faster by 20%

The most differentiating factor is that these savings can be achieved via PolicyPortal with little / no need for management infrastructure and up-front investment. Providing standardization via the cloud can help reduce investments needed to achieve Rationalized levels of optimization by 50% or more, reducing investment requirements from $100 to $225 per endpoint overall.

The cost savings are the result that with PolicyPortal / Windows Azure instead of needing to purchase, setup, install and manage Windows Server and Active Directory, MDOP and System Center, the organization licenses the end-point management capabilities from the cloud.For many organizations, implementing traditional infrastructure is not an option.

One example of this was Ethiopia government’s ministry of education, who needed to deploy and manage 250,000 end-points throughout the country to support primary and secondary schools and teachers. Installing the necessary Windows infrastructure, System Center and MDOP would be incredibly costly and labor intensive, and was not an option for an emerging economy (even with the assistance of the World Bank) and especially, such a distributed operation.

To support 250,000 endpoints, a typical organization would have to invest over $12M in initial infrastructure and build-out, and an incremental $1.37M per year in annual recurring labor, support contract, energy and space costs.

This includes an estimated minimum configuration of:
  • 15 Windows Active Directory servers (est. $5,000 for each server's hardware + $2250 per each server for licensing of Windows Server 2008 and System Center Enterprise OEs),
  • 5 Windows System Center servers ($5,000 each for hardware + $2000 per server for Windows Server 2008 Licensing and System Center),
  • App-V host servers (usually sized at 1 per every 800 servers, yielding an estimated 300+ servers at $5,000 each for the servers + additional costs for Windows Server 2008 and System Center Enterprise OEs),
  • Windows Server 2008 CALs for 250,000 endpoints, an estimated $7M investment,> MDOP licenses for 250,000 end points, and estimated $2.5M investment,
  • Storage (at $5 per GB) and network infrastructure for the data center, an estimated additional $100,000 in hardware and software,
  • Setup and Deployment labor and services, estimated to be $1,000 per server, or $320,000 in initial fees and burdened labor costs,
  • On-going administration and support of the server infrastructure, assuming 30 servers managed per administrator, or more than $500,000 per year in services / burdened labor costs,
  • Data Center build out and lease fees (at $300 per square foot per year for 500 sq feet)> Annual energy consumption (at $1,500 per server per year on average),
  • Annual support and maintenance contracts on hardware infrastructure of 10-15% per year.
With PolicyPortal, organizations can avoid infrastructure and on-going costs to establish and manage core infrasstructure. The organization can select the best option for endpoint management – on premise or hosted – and help drive faster realization towards the significant benefits of core infrastructure optimization.

* savings are gross without the incremental investment in PolicyPortal / Microsoft

Optimizing Infrastructure using Microsoft’s Optimization model:

Optimizing Infrastructure: The Relationship Between IT Labor Costs and Best Practices for Managing the Windows Desktop (IDC Whitepaper)
Al Gillen, Frederick W. Broussard, Randy Perry, Seana Dowling - October 2006