Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Challenges to Enterprise Adoption of Multi-Tenant Messaging Services

Mid-Large Enterprises, typically defined as circa 3,000 to 20,000 employee’s, face a common and well defined set of challenges when it comes to evolving their messaging delivery model from a traditional in-house approach to an outsourced model delivered by a service provider. Enterprises of this size are typically fluid in size and shape, geographically dispersed, and operate a set of processes and procedures with clear demarcations of responsibility and accountability.

Multi-tenant services provide a good economic alternative to in-house messaging delivery, but are more suited to the sub 500 user market segment than for Enterprise customers due to the limited ability of multi-tenant environments to accommodate the needs of Enterprise requirements for:

Merger & Acquisitions (Complex Active Directory structures, Multiple Domains, Multiple Global Address Lists)
Geography (User Access, Data Jurisdiction)
Compliance (E-Discovery, Data Retention, Policy Enforcement)
Security (Authentication, Encryption, Permissions)
Business Continuity Planning (including Disaster Recovery)
Availability & Performance Monitoring and Reporting
Application & Data Dependencies (Integration, Migration)
Bespoke Billing

Enterprise organisations will undertake detailed Risk Management exercises and are naturally wary of the complexities and dependencies unique to their business which frequently do not lend themselves to a on-size fits all service. The challenges described above mean that multi-tenant services are not yet mature enough to deliver against Enterprise requirements. Further, widespread adoption and market penetration of multi-tenant is not apparent leaving only the avant-garde CIO to adopt this service delivery model as a mechanism to satisfy Enterprise messaging requirements.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

In-House Delivery Model for Messaging: The Total Cost of Ownership


Email is the most visible and widely used application within Enterprise organisations and is often used as the barometer for IT capability and service performance by end-users.
However, Email is no longer just Email. Instead, Email is an entire Eco-system of inter-related services spanning areas such security, compliance, end-user mobility, and service continuity.
To compound complexity, Enterprises are increasingly reliant on email, infrastructure is often distributed over national and international geographies with each region operating its own localised service typically shares sharing minimal commonality with other geographies and operating their own localised processes.  


Understanding the true total cost of owning and operating the Email Eco-system via an internal service delivery model can be challenging.
Forrester estimates the true cost to be around £15 per mailbox per month for a single site deployment that excludes long term archiving, service continuity (multi-site resilience) and e-discovery. This extra capability is estimated at a further £10 per mailbox per month.
Our experience at Cable&Wireless has yielded similar cost profiles in our customer base supporting Forrester’s TCO figures. For example, an IT function with 5,000 mailboxes demonstrated DIY costs of between £12.75 and £14.50 per mailbox per month. 

TCO Components

In order to fully understand the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an Email Eco-system, there are a number of tangible cost components to consider.
Tangible costs are those costs that can fully or partially apportion directly to the provision of Email services. They typically fall under the following headings:
  • Staff Costs
  • Environment Costs
  • Solution Infrastructure Costs
  • Solution Software Costs & Licensing
  • Connectivity Costs
  • Service Management Costs
  • Finance Costs
  • In-Life Upgrade & Refresh Costs

Intangible Costs, although not measurable are also worth considering in any TCO model to ensure a fair and complete exercise is completed. These include:
  • Opportunity Cost - what else could IT resource deliver if they were not focused on delivering commodity email services
  • End-Users - can end-users communicate and function more productively, with higher levels of satisfaction
  • Perception of IT - can the profile of an IT function be improved by delivering a better service and gain support for additional IT transformation projects

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Exchange 2010: The Green Impact of Disk Choice

Microsoft Exchange is the most widely deployed Enterprise messaging system on the planet. Exchange 2010 was released Q4 2009 to a solid reception, and the upcoming release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) will push Exchange 2010 to become the default version for upgrades and green field installations. One of the core areas of focus since Exchange 2003, addressed in Exchange 2007 and continued in Exchange 2010, was to reduce disk I/O as a means to improving performance and reducing the total cost of ownership through less expensive disk and lower energy costs.

Exchange 2010 indicates an I/O reduction of around 90% when compared Exchange 2003, and 50% against Exchange 2007, while this does not necessarily translate into less disks (due to increased mail volumes, larger mailboxes, and wider usage across Enterprise employee’s as a common part of HR policies to ensure all employee’s have access to email), it does provide the opportunity to deploy a different TYPE of disk.

A report from EMC focusing primarily on their Clariion SAN technology summarises the power consumption of different sized disks with differing performance stats. The following diagram is extracted from the report and demonstrates the significant energy saving of utilising higher capacity drives that can be used for Exchange 2010 as I/O performance requirements are reduced:
While the Green agenda is often confused with cost savings, it’s clear that progress made with Exchange 2010 and the resulting CHOICE of disk type will have a positive impact on both issues for Enterprises supporting thousands of employee’s, requiring ever increasing mailbox sizes, and increasing email volumes.

The Growth in Enterprise Email Volumes

A December 2007 New York Times blog post described E-mail as "a $650 Billion Drag on the Economy", and the New York Times reported in April 2008 that "E-mail has become the bane of some people’s professional lives" due to information overload.

Despite the widespread adoption of email by corporate enterprises over a decade ago, the growth of emails sent and received per person per day is still rising sharply. The graph below illustrates how daily email quantities are predicted to continue to grow by a further 30% in the next two 2 years. 

While end-users are feeling the Email growth pain, the impact to Enterprise IT Function is compounded by both volume AND complexity. Email is no longer just the sending and receiving of messages, instead Email today relies on a complex Eco-system of messaging and related services that address wide variety of Enterprise requirements to ensure compliance, policy enforcement, security, disaster recovery / business continuity, and long term data retention.

Drivers for Change in Email Management

A recent study concerning the drivers for change from an in-house email service delivery model to an outsource approach concluded that cost and the need to consolidate and upgrade existing email estates accounted for almost three quarters of the responses to the study:

The cost of email isn’t simply accounted for by the sending and receiving of emails, instead it is comprised of a complex email eco-system that typically contains an intertwined web of services for security, archiving, compliance, continuity services, and a plethora of access methods utilised by increasingly mobile workforces, operating in many time zones often outside of core IT hours and local office hours.

Typical Enterprise-scale organisations have multiple messaging systems due to mergers and acquisitions. This presents the opportunity to consolidate, centralise and standardise the messaging platform on to the latest software version to minimise support costs, take advantage of new features and functionality, and integrate with desktop client software refresh programmes.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Hello World

Hello World....rather apt as I spent the weekend clearing out my Mum's loft and found numerous interesting computer items including a ZX Spectrum 48K, and Atari ST 512K, and a serious collection of 'Input' magazines.

Memories swiftly returned of spending hours typing in programs from Input magazine back in the '80s, which all started with the simplest of programs to display 'Hello World' on the screen.