If you’re using a computer, then every six seconds you’re communicating across a piece of Brocade technology. This is a calculation Marcus Jewell, Vice President EMEA at Brocade, shares while explaining the successes of the technology company. “We're the enabler, we enable everything to work so as social media explodes, as mobility increases, as mobile phones do more, as consumption of multimedia online increases, all of these things can only be made possible using the technology we sell. So we're not the instigator to the solution but we're the critical path in delivering it. As society expresses itself in different ways, as certain cultures change their attitudes to being online, everything is driven from the technology that companies like Brocade make.”
Founded in 1995, Brocade is headquartered in San Jose, California, with almost 5,000 employees across 36 countries and annual revenues over $2 billion. It is a leader in data centre networking, known for being a pioneer of Ethernet fabrics with approximately 70 percent share of the SAN (storage area network) switching market. It is also the creator of the most widely adopted NFV (network function virtualisation) solution with more than 100 million production hours.
Marcus Jewell heads up around 650 employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As well as strong sales and marketing teams, there is also a UK-based engineering force, as Jewell explains: “A lot of our software products are written in the UK in the Cambridge Science Park, where we have a staff count of around 160 engineers.” The engineering team has created a virtual traffic manager, which is a software traffic manager device. Jewell adds: “The focus for the virtual traffic manager is e-commerce and retail. People who use it a lot would be Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and Amazon Web Services, people who are looking to manage their traffic flows across the internet.” As suggested by the calculation at the beginning of this article, Brocade’s product portfolio is extremely widely used. Jewell says: “Everybody from enterprises to cloud service providers, from banks and central government bodies to defence to schools.”
But Brocade doesn’t sell direct, it works with a selection of leading partners. Jewell adds: “Everything we do is through partnership. In our SAN business we're 100% OEM, everything we sell is with either via EMC, IBM, HP or HDS (Hitachi Data Services). They're the big four in the storage market and they take our products to market so we're probably the most successful OEM company that's ever existed because we've managed to keep all the market players satisfied at the same time.”
Read the full interview in the February 2016 issue of Business Review Europe.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”