After virtualising IT estate, Jaguar Land Rover now eyes cloud computing

Jaguar Land Rover's IT team takes its newly virtualised infrastructure to the next stage of IT evolution by adopting cloud-based services

After modernising its IT with virtualisation, automation and desktop virtualisation, Jaguar Land Rover is now looking to embrace cloud computing to bring more IT efficiency, agility and scalability to its infrastructure.

In the last two years.the car maker transformed its IT from a UK-centric to a globally scaled facility by upgrading its datacentre infrastructure with virtualisation, automation and tools to support a mobile, collaborative workforce.

 Jaguar Land Rover’s IT team used VMware’s virtualisation platform vSphere in its UK datacentre and provides access to global engineers by provisioning virtual machines.

With virtualisation, all the data, applications and IP resources stay within the UK and the central IT team remains in complete control of the IT assets but at the same time is able to provide unlimited data access to its engineers around the world, according to its CTO Gordon McMullan.

McMullan said the company wanted to take virtualisation further to provide an agile infrastructure.

VCE Vblock

VCE is a joint venture formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel four years ago.

“VCE’s Vblock is a pre-configured converged cloud service that enterprises can implement quickly in their datacentres as a template,” says Nigel Moulton, VCE’s EMEA chief technology officer. “This means enterprise IT can focus on IT strategy and development rather than simply stacking racks and servers in their infrastructure facilities.”

“It is also pre-tested, pre-engineered eliminating the time needed for enterprises to design, build and test services,” Moulton says.

“Our long-term roadmap is to have an IT infrastructure that is scalable, agile and is adaptable to Jaguar Land Rover’s expanding supplier, engineer and user-base. But at the same time, I don’t want to be worrying about the underlying technology of the infrastructure and instead focus on more strategic IT issues,” he said.

For Jaguar Land Rover’s IT team, virtualising its old IT estate was the first step towards cloud computing.

“We are still relatively immature in the cloud era,” McMullan said. The company is currently busy implementing VCE’s Vblock – the converged cloud platform-as-a- service (PaaS) which integrates compute, network, and storage technologies from Cisco, EMC, and VMware. VCE’s cloud platform is designed for VMware’s virtualisation technology.

VCE’s Vblock infrastructure on Jaguar Land Rover’s virtualised datacentre will act as the car maker’s private cloud. The IT team’s cloud strategy starts with a private cloud and then move on to a hybrid cloud environment by adopting public cloud services.

“Adoption of private cloud, followed by public cloud to build a hybrid IT is a well-known cloud maturity model and that’s our cloud adoption strategy,” McMullan said.

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Jaguar Land Rover will be migrating business-critical applications and workloads on to its VCE’s private cloud platform including its engineering and design-related applications.

For Jaguar Land Rover, security of its IT infrastructure is paramount given that its intellectual property (IP) assets are critical to the business.

One of the main reasons we opted for a private cloud service first is for its enterprise capabilities, sophistication, security and integration capabilities. “I don’t want to be worrying about how to fix the underlying technology,” McMullan said.

The company will use public cloud services to host consumer-oriented applications and workloads related to marketing, advertising and mobile computing.

McMullan and the team are still assessing public cloud providers and are currently focusing on building a robust private cloud infrastructure. “A lion’s share of our workloads will be hosted on the VCE cloud while around 10% will go on to the public cloud platform."

Scalability and agility have driven the company's move to the cloud. The car maker is looking to add additional 1700 engineers and double its supplier-base from 100,000 to 200,000.

Jaguar Land Rover’s IT team chose VCEs Vblock cloud service for its integration with the car maker’s virtualised infrastructure and pre-integrated, plug-and-play capabilities.

Jaguar Land Rover’s IT team approached several cloud vendors before deciding to implement VCE. “We did our due diligence but for our use cases, Vblock proved to be the most optimum,” McMullan added.

McMullan also said that Jaguar Land Rover didn’t want big vendors and big system integrators because of the long processes and complexities involved. “Large SIs don’t have easy processes in place where new cloud customers can take advantage of the technology quickly.

"Being a new company, VCE did not come with  historic baggage and was agile to help is in our needs,” he said.

“This IT project is not a cost-reduction programme. It was about making sure we have an agile platform and a scalable infrastructure that can support Jaguar Land Rover’s expansion outside the UK.

And we found that this was the most cost-efficient way of achieving our IT objectives."

Virtualisation and  cloud services has helped Jaguar Land Rover build a robust, agile and scalable IT infrastructure. It has also helped McMullan achieve his objective – providing an easy-to-use and highly available IT services to its end users and engineers who focus on designing and building world-class automobiles.

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