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Follow the money -- Revlon's private Cloud

Georgina Swan | Dec. 13, 2011
Think of a brand such as Revlon and words such as ‘glamour’ and ‘excitement’ are far more likely to come to mind than terms such as virtual machines and private Cloud infrastructure.

Another Giambruno saying -- trust by verify -- typifies how the CIO runs the technology department.

"It is all about trust. If you are going to do these things and change the way you operate, you have to be trusted. If you're not, the challenges will come out at every corner.

"It was really a nice kudos back to my organisation for the finance department to recognise what we were doing. We didn't ask them; they saw the changes that were happening and took it upon themselves to quantify it."

Today, Revlon has 98 per cent of its applications and workload running on top of its private Cloud.

"We pick one thing and do it incredibly well; it's about that density of skill sets and capability," Giambruno said. "And so we picked up our application portfolio -- 531 apps -- and put them on our Cloud. It's VMware running the Microsoft Guest OS and that's it. It was about the focus and execution around that capability."

All mission critical tier-1 applications run in the Cloud, leaving Revlon with just two Unix servers and three AS/400s. It has become somewhat of an in-company joke among the IT team that the former data centre is now a soccer field.

"One of the other big benefits is we have reduced our data centre power by 72 per cent. We have corporate greenness goals, but it really is that total transformation. Simplicity wins."

In the ephemeral world of Cloud computing, private Cloud infrastructure is often confused with a highly virtualised environment. For Giambruno, however, the difference is all about geography. Terms such as 'data centre in a box' and 'SAN in a can' make the agility with which Revlon can now deploy applications into accessible terms of reference.

"These things are potentially geographically dispersed," Giambruno explained. "We move applications globally. It's not just about the virtualization -- it's actually moving applications around the Revlon universe.

"We had a factory burn down in Venezuela a couple of months ago. Nobody was hurt, and when I think of Cloud, it was our ability to literally move a country's operations into DR in two hours and 20 minutes -- and the first two hours were finding the guys because it was a Sunday afternoon. It was moving all the systems, bringing up the virtual desktops and getting everybody back to work so they could focus on running the business again. That's a Cloud, that's not virtualization."

Revlon's next foray will be using its internal Cloud to create a business-to-business working space between the company and its third party manufacturers, developers, and customers.

"The capability that we have -- the richness -- and the fact that we can control it is something we find very enticing and has great strategic value," Giambruno said.


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