LAS VEGAS: Texas-based Energy Future Holdings (EFH) is betting on virtualisation and hybrid cloud technologies to lead to a staggering $54m cost saving within the next five years.
EFH infrastructure management vice president, Paul Reyes, revealed the strategy during a session at EMC World attended by V3.
The firm was reportedly forced to rethink its IT architecture after several devices and services came to the end of their lifecycle in 2009.
"In 2009 90 percent of our infrastructure was coming to the end of life. We ended up having to focus on how we were going to standardise. So one of the first things we did was make a virtualisation strategy," said Reyes.
The first four years of the strategy saw the firm migrate its systems from three data centres to two, which currently house over 3,000 virtual machines. This has also help radically reduce the firm's labour costs.
"By 2014 we had reduced our footprint to 10,000 square feet and two data centres. In the first four years we had 1,200 [employees]. This was a mix between full-time employees, freelancers and outsourcers," he said.
"By the time we hit 2014 we had about 215 employees and had consolidated to have less contractors and outsourcers by standardising."
Reyes explained that EFH is now moving to hybrid cloud solutions based on EMC technologies to spearhead a further round of cost savings.
"Today IoT and cloud services are slowly being provided as standard. So, when I looked at the next five years I knew my role would be very different," he said.
"Looking forward, I said we need to provide a brokerage service to provide internal services and flexibility to move services in and out of the hybrid cloud.
"We wanted to focus on how to make our internal services as flexible as AWS or Azure and then take the first step into the market.
"With this we're looking for a $54m return on investment by 2020 and $30m in soft savings, things like infrastructure deployment costs and equipment refreshment costs."
He said that EFH was originally hesitant to choose any virtual stack solution out of fear that it would lock the firm to one service provider, but rising costs forced such a move.
"We looked at stacks and our services and didn't want to go into a vertical stack. We didn't want to be locked in," he said.
"But by not doing it, what we found was that each year I had to budget millions to build out our virtual farms, to build out services that should be dynamic. So we looked if we could get rid of this cost."
Reyes said he chose EMC because of its simple set-up process and robust support model.
"Going with a stack, many suppliers didn't do it as a service. You had to get the parts and put them together," he explained.
"EMC didn't do that. They certified services and sorted it for us. We didn't have to focus on the day-to-day stuff, firmware updates etc. They took care of that for us and, with V-Blocks on the floor within a week, we're pushing virtual services."
EMC is one of many technology vendors currently pushing its hybrid cloud offering. Microsoft released an Azure Stack service for hybrid cloud customers on 5 May.
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