Johnson & Johnson turns to AWS for hybrid cloud and borderless datacentre

Johnson & Johnson adopted Amazon Web Services to develop its hybrid IT strategy, its CTO told the AWS re:Invent 2014 conference

Multi-national consumer products firm Johnson & Johnson is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its hybrid cloud strategy.

The 128-year-old pharmaceutical, healthcare and baby products giant has a multi-supplier IT infrastructure, chief technology officer Dan Zalem told delegates at the AWS re:Invent 2014 conference in Las Vegas.

In its old in-house datacentre infrastructure, provisioning took weeks; application management and migration was slow; there was limited virtualisation; over-provisioning; low financial transparency; and a high degree of lock-in for entry and exit from IT contracts. It also had thousands of servers, complex IT operations and business risk associated with IT.

“We knew we wanted something better, faster, and cheaper,” said Zalem. So, in 2013, it devised a new IT strategy: to become more virtualised and improve processes in its internal facility.

“But the strategy wasn’t bold enough. So we decided to be even bolder and adopt a hybrid cloud infrastructure,” Zalem added.

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Johnson & Johnson collaborated with Amazon to run some non-mission-critical workloads on the public cloud platform, placing more important workloads on Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and retaining some legacy applications in its own datacentres.

“It is all about collapsing current infrastructure, seamlessly integrating apps and systems, and bringing agility,” said Zalem.

“It is important to maintain operational control and visibility, yet make infrastructure elastic, seamless and ready to take advantage of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. Hence the hybrid environment."

The hybrid cloud infrastructure has allowed the IT team to reduce the footprint of physical servers, automate IT and gain business efficiency, said Zalem. He added he expects Johnson & Johnson’s public cloud footprint to treble by the end of 2015.

The next steps for the company on AWS would be to take unstructured data to the cloud and turn it into useful information. This process will help the company "minimise time to turn data into insights and simplify big data architecture patterns”.

“After that, we are planning to roll out Amazon WorkSpaces desktop within Johnson & Johnson,” said Zalem. “This will allow us to decouple operating systems from hardware and bring the power of cloud to the desktop for more productivity and efficiency. It will also help us promote self-service and bring your own device (BYOD).”

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to roll out AWS Workspaces – a cloud-based managed desktop service – to more than 25,000 employees by 2015. The hybrid infrastructure will bring a borderless datacentre and a seamless IT experience, said Zalem.

For Johnson & Johnson, which operates in a highly regulated market, to trust AWS, shows how enterprises can leverage public clouds for a hybrid infrastructure, according to IDC analyst Larry Carvalho.

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