Achieving our present hybrid cloud environment based on a converged IT infrastructure may have taken two go-rounds for us. But the results have certainly been worth it—for both the business units we serve and for our converged team members.Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) is a privately held, Dallas-based company with a growing portfolio of competitive and regulated energy companies operating in Texas. EFH companies include Luminant, a diverse power-generation business, and TXU Energy, a retail electricity provider with 1.7 million residential and business customers in the state.Technology plays a key role in how we compete for business, engage with customers, and innovate. In 2009, when we first virtualized our IT infrastructure, we made a conscious decision to avoid going with a vertical stack from a single vendor. We didn’t want to be locked in. And we succeeded in creating a robust private cloud environment.But with each major upgrade, we had to spend another $1 million to $1.5 million on labor alone over the six months it took to complete the build. This dated the new environment before we could even leverage it, and the quality of the builds varied dramatically. Equally concerning, our business-unit customers were beginning to think of us in terms of red tape, not getting things done.So, in 2014, we reversed course. We chose Dell EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud running on Vblock® Systems. And we began a transformation from teams responsible for managing a specific technology such as Windows or UNIX, or networks or databases—to being capable of supporting our entire converged environment from the hypervisor on down.Building the converged teamsWe are very data driven. In creating our converged teams, we reduced the number of outside contractors, which had been the lion’s share of our IT team, and focused on expanding the team members’ skill sets. In many cases, contracts simply weren’t renewed when they expired.Among the factors we considered were:What roles existed then, and what would we need to address in the near future?What roles might we need outside of our converged environment—such as handling patches within a specific OS, or dealing with enterprise equipment such as SANs or NAS?What qualifications were required for each role? Level one, two, or three? Novice, intermediate, engineer, or high-level architect? Improved collaboration and agilityGoing into the transformation, we were of course concerned about the impact on our culture. But the changes were accepted very well—especially with the commitment we made to training. Teams were sent to conferences and training classes and everyone was given numerous opportunities from Dell EMC, Cisco, and our IT team partner to stay current on the latest technologies.This enabled people to keep their skills relevant in a constantly changing operating environment. And it also led to improved collaboration and the agility to respond much more quickly to service requests, even with far fewer resources.It’s also had a tremendous impact on our builds. With the shift to converged, we can now connect, configure, power up, and start provisioning new systems in about a week, rather than requiring six months or more. And we can do that with just one or two resources—eliminating the $1 million or more we spent on labor previously.Impressive results—with more to comeWith the transformation to Dell EMC’s Converged Platforms well underway, we’ve seen some impressive results:Our investment of $20 million in Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and Vblock Systems is expected to return $54 million in avoided costs and net operating savings through 2020We’re providing higher quality service with 75% less IT staffWe’re enjoying performance gains from the Dell EMC converged platforms, averaging 40% to 50%, with improvement on some tasks of up to 300%We’ll have shrunk our data center space from 35,000 sq. ft. to 6,000 sq. ft. by year-end, with a goal of reaching 2,500 sq. ft. by the end of 2017We’re also now able to use our converged teams to pursue our goal of becoming a service broker for business-unit clients. With the implementation of cloud services and automation, I see our teams’ focus shifting away from the simple delivery of infrastructure to providing catalogs of services that will ensure business users can get completely out of the IT business.Just as importantly, this will enable us to see the true big picture of what’s being spent and do a better job of managing IT usage and costs for EFH.To learn more about how Energy Future Holdings benefits from Dell EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and Vblock Systems, read our case study and watch our video.
1 Available for download from Dell.com/support2 The X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter is available in selected countries for purchase from Dell. Contact a Dell representative to find out if it is available in your country. i1Display Pro is also available from X-Rite’s North American and Pantone online stores, and also from X-Rite’s worldwide network of resellers.3 Dell’s software development kit enables you to customize Dell UltraSharp Monitors to your preferred in-house custom system, allowing you to easily manage color space and control video layout. There’s nothing worse than editing photos on one display and then seeing them on a different screen and the colors are “wonky” a photographer friend recently told me.You want a monitor that not only provides precise, accurate colors right out of the box with broad coverage of industry color standards, but also offers crisp images and consistent color viewing at any angle.To find that, I looked both inside Dell and outside to professional photographers and reviewers.Dell Pros Say Go UltraSharp with PremierColorWhen I asked some of our Dell display experts which monitor is best for photo editing, they recommended one from our Dell UltraSharp monitor with PremierColor family because it offers the ideal tools for color-critical projects.And there are several of Dell UltraSharp with PremierColor monitors to choose from to meet your specific needs and budget, including:Dell UltraSharp 32 8K Monitor – UP3218K – The world’s first 31.5 inch monitor with 8K resolution, announced at CES 2017Dell UltraSharp 32 4K Monitor – UP3216Q– 32 inch UltraHD 4k MonitorDell UltraSharp 30 Monitor – UP3017” 32 inch 16:10 aspect ratio, UltraHD 4k MonitorDell UltraSharp 27 4K HDR Monitor – UP2718Q – 27 inch 4k monitor is the world’s first UHDA Premium certified HDR10 monitorDell UltraSharp 27 Monitor – UP2716D – 27 inch QHD monitor with ultrathin bezelsDell UltraSharp 25 Monitor – UP2516D-25 inch QHD monitor with ultrathin bezelsDell UltraSharp Monitors with PremierColor offer the ability to calibrate and color match to a specific color space, for consistent color results with very little deviation between individual monitors. They have compatibility to major industry standards, such as AdobeRGB and sRGB, giving photographers the flexibility to select and use their preferred color space.You can also calibrate the monitor in-house using Dell UltraSharp Color Calibration Solution software¹ with the optional X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter² (sold separately), or tweak color parameters according to their proprietary color solution with the SDK3.Reviewers and Professional Photographers ConcurBut don’t just take our word for it that the UltraSharp with PremierColor monitors are great for photo editing. TechRadar recently listed the Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q and the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K among their top screens for photographers.And professional photographer Jack Fusco, whose work has focused on the landscape-astrophotography field, recently shared an in-depth review of that 8K model.“In a year where I plan on upgrading one of my main camera bodies, I believe this monitor will be an even bigger asset in improving the quality of my work,” Fusco said.This monitor was called “stunningly ahead of its time” by The Verge last year, who also noted that the world needed to do some catching up “to Dell’s impressive technological achievement.” (their words, not mine.)But, Fusco believes that it can be good to be ahead of the curve.“Very often, expensive gear needs to be replaced or is outdated in a short amount of time,” he said. “Because people are still making the move to 4K, moving your workspace to 8K now means you’ll have plenty of time before you have to worry about upgrading again.”The World’s Favorite MonitorsYes, we can claim to be the world’s favorite because Dell monitors have been #1 worldwide for five consecutive years (2013 to 2017) according to IDC Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker, Q1 2018.By choosing a top-tier monitor with added features specific for color critical tasks, photographers can enjoy color depth of 1.07 billion colors (64 times more color depth than standard monitors) for smooth gradations in color and exceptional clarity – even in dark areas.Each monitor mentioned in this post is factory color calibrated on AdobeRGB and sRGB to a Delta-E < 2 and comes with a complete factory calibration report, giving you the confidence that colors will be accurate right from the start.All of this means photographers who chose Dell UltraSharp Monitors with PremierColor can feel confident that they’ve picked a winner.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead with President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators Tuesday to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. The action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president’s promise of a “unity” agenda. It’s the first time in a decade that Democrats have controlled Washington, and the party says it has no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new report says the Louisville Metro Police Department needs more diversity among its leadership. It also says police must work to improve trust with the community, especially among Black residents. The Chicago consulting firm Hillard Heintze was hired by the city to review the department in the wake of the Breonna Taylor shooting last year. Taylor was a 26-year-old Black emergency medical worker who was fatally shot by officers serving a narcotics warrant at her apartment. The 155-page report called for a “true transformation of the department.”
BOSTON (AP) — US judge paves way for extradition of American father, son accused of sneaking ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn out of Japan.