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Implementing e-Government Cloud, Huawei Tackles Two Difficult Problems with Its Advantages in O&M

By Zheng Kai, PPtech

IT management services, from asset management to CMDB construction, to standard operations of O&M, and the eventual realization of automatic and intelligent O&M, is the evolution direction of Huawei government cloud operations. In 2017, International Data Corporation (IDC), ranked Huawei's e-Government cloud first in China. Huawei customizes its e-Government cloud to continuously meet customers' needs. Huawei's e-Government cloud not only meets security and stability requirements but also allows service upgrades during O&M. Huawei has successfully implemented the e-Government cloud.

Government services are migrated to the cloud due to various features. While government services bring tangible benefits and improve the public's well-being, there are limits on these services due to public concern. The cost and efficiency also affect the process of migrating government affairs to the cloud.

Cloud computing has overwhelmingly changed O&M and business models for enterprises. The O&M of e-Government cloud is a typical example. Due to its limitations, most governments cooperate with carriers instead of building their own O&M teams. Carriers have extensive experience in traditional data center O&M, however, they lack experience in cloud data center O&M.

Carriers are now migrating their services to the cloud, while also being responsible for local e-Government cloud O&M. During this process, complicated problems can occur. Encountering such difficulties, Shanghai e-Government cloud leveraged Huawei's extensive experience in O&M. What are the results of the cooperation?

Shanghai e-Government Cloud Encountered Typical O&M Difficulties

China experienced a "golden age" of e-Government construction soon after entering the Internet era. From 2011 to 2015, e-Government construction developed rapidly and reached a peak time, however, data centers were built with no coordination. No unified plan led to low resource usage efficiency and difficult O&M.

The e-Government cloud supports the next-generation of data services and sharing, addressing the various problems related to developing e-Government. Within these conditions, governments nationwide are eager to develop their e-Government cloud.

The differences between traditional data centers and cloud data centers are as follows.

In terms of the general function, the cloud is a new IT status of data centers. Both traditional and cloud data centers aim at providing IT-based services for governments.

In terms of O&M objects and service content, cloud data centers are different from traditional ones. Taking the IaaS layer as an example, O&M objectives of traditional data centers include physical resources, such as equipment room infrastructure, network and network equipment, server, and storage products. In addition to these physical resources, cloud data centers O&M objectives also include virtual resources established on the infrastructure, such as network resources, computing resources, storage resources, and the virtual platform.

Cloud data centers transform IaaS into services, and provide these services for customers. Cloud data centers leverage technologies, such as virtualization and SDN, to put all resources, such as network, computing, and storage, into a resource pool, and automatically allocate these resources to customers based on their needs.

The development of cloud services will transform carriers' operations model from selling resources to selling services and capabilities. This transformation changes O&M organizational structure, resource allocation, and O&M processes. Carriers choose Huawei to customize a cloud center O&M planning and design solution, collaboratively supporting the Shanghai e-Government cloud project.

Huawei Breaks Down Challenges and Tackles Problems One by One

Although all e-Government cloud projects have similarities, every project has its own characteristics. The solutions to customize the Shanghai e-Government cloud project were not easy. Huawei's experience and professionalism ensured that a successful O&M program was built.

The challenges were as follows.

After elaborate analysis, the first challenge was to confirm whether the customer's existing tools could meet O&M requirements. With a limited project budget, the customer hoped to use existing tools to implement O&M. Therefore, the project team needed to fully understand the functions of the customer's O&M platform, to customize the applicable part. Determining whether these tools and services could be interconnected with the cloud platform was a critical problem.

After objective live network evaluation, the second challenge was to customize an O&M organizational structure, a management process, policies and regulations, and SOPs based on the e-Government cloud and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standard and framework.

The design of an O&M organization architecture is not easy. Adopting a step-by-step model, Huawei first developed a standard O&M model, and then customized it based on characteristics of the customer's business, and even simplified the structure after it was put into use. In the early stage, on-site troubleshooting was not available due to limited capabilities. With the increase of the service volume, responsibilities of different roles were specified based on the workload, to eventually develop a highly efficient organizational structure.

A step-by-step deployment was not enough, Huawei continuously optimized the process, regulations, and SOPs in actual operations. Lacking tools to support the process, Huawei suggested the customer form a standard operations process among on-site personnel, and then migrate the standard process online when tools and the platform were well developed. During the early stage of operations, only a few problems occurred. On-site personnel communicated over phone or WeChat for higher efficiency, and then collected and recorded any issues on paper worksheets.

Huawei's customized, professional services included developing internal procedures, establishing teams, producing methodology, and continuously optimizing the process based on customer requirements. During this process, Huawei broke down and resolved various problems one by one, which showed its professionalism and maturity.

Summarizing the Experience Gained in the Shanghai e-Government Cloud Project, Huawei Has Produced a Complete Cloud O&M Methodology

An e-Government cloud has unique characteristics when compared to other cloud services, e-Government cloud O&M focuses on business support. New e-Government cloud services grow slower than other Internet services that feature fast iteration. e-Government cloud development prioritizes security, management and performance. In addition, an e-Government cloud normally has hierarchical management requirements and focuses more on the potential value of data.

Huawei has summarized the experience gained in the Shanghai e-Government cloud project and produced a four-stage process of e-Government cloud O&M.

Stage 1: the preliminary stage

Focus on asset management. The O&M in this stage is to perform troubleshooting. No dedicated receptionist and management position were available. Therefore, the first task is to visualize resources by implementing integrated surveillance to monitor computing, storage, and network resources in the virtual resource pool. This allows for problems to be detected and resolved in a timely manner.

Stage 2: the basic construction stage

Develop a CMDB based on the integrated surveillance. CMDB implementation results will directly impact O&M efficiency and costs. The CMDB should be planned with a long-term perspective while deployed by level and by stage. Huawei believes that in the early stage, logic relationships can be added to IT assets. The granularity does not need to be too specific, which will cause difficulties and higher costs during O&M and reduce O&M efficiency. The CMDB construction is the best method to show organizational O&M capabilities.

The Shanghai e-Government cloud project involved a small number of configuration items (CIs). All models were newly deployed. The service application volume grew gradually, and service management relationships were not well-developed. Under this circumstance, enough time and space were provided for CMDB modeling and deployment. Since the O&M organization model was still immature, the O&M process focused on resource application, distribution, and fault handling. Advanced functions can be developed until the organization becomes more mature.

Stage 3: the standard operations stage

When the CMDB construction is more mature and the granularity meets routine requirements, the ITIL O&M process system can work effectively, and the value of resource application, event, problem, change, and release can be truly realized. In this stage, the O&M organization model is mature enough, and the service volume is high. Standard operations can effectively improve O&M efficiency.

Stage 4: the automatic and intelligent stage

In this stage, more tools are required to support O&M. Work in this stage focuses on customizing tools and then matching them to services. This stage marks the successful implementation of an e-Government cloud O&M project.

At the end of 2017, IDC ranked Huawei first in developing the e-Government cloud within China. This methodology demonstrates that the development of Huawei's e-Government cloud product strictly follows customer requirements with clear planning. Huawei's products not only meet the requirements for security and stability, but also support service upgrades during O&M. Eventually, Huawei has successfully implemented e-Government cloud.

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