IBM Client Reference Program:
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Cloud & smarter Infrastructure Weekly. An IBM service management perspective.The IBM Client Reference program is, when you think about it, a collection of stories—stories of challenges overcome, problems solved, and ultimately, business success.

And for every one of the stories you’ll find there, the client involved received the following benefits:

Also appealing: the program's flexibility. Clients get to choose the specific form their references will take. Presentation? Case study? Video testimonial? Media and analyst interview? The client’s choice is always the determining factor.

And no matter which form of reference clients provide, IBM will work around their needs in developing it—always with an eye toward exploring the client’s special strengths and value proposition.

US Foods: A case study in endpoint management

Because the endpoints themselves do most of the work, a single Endpoint Manager server can suffice for an incredible number of endpoints—as many as a quarter million, in fact.

One recent program participant, US Foods, recently found itself confronted by a common IT challenge: the need to simplify, accelerate, and optimize the way endpoints were managed throughout the organization.

As a major distributor with more than 15,000 laptops and desktops, US Foods had many management complexities. Among others: difficulties tracking and monitoring software on endpoints, to ensure they remained in compliance with government regulations and internal policies specifying which endpoints should have which software.

Toward resolving these issues, US Foods chose an IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure solution: IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager. This offering leverages a single intelligent agent to aggregate information from all endpoints, yielding unified, continually updated insight into the complete infrastructure.

Because the endpoints themselves do most of the work, a single Endpoint Manager server can suffice for an incredible number of endpoints—as many as a quarter million, in fact. And thanks to its policy-based engine, Endpoint Manager also makes it both simple and fast to distribute new software to any endpoint (or logical group of them) over the network—all in a business-transparent fashion, so that most users won't even notice a change is taking place.

The results for US Foods? Patch deployment times across the endpoint infrastructure have fallen by 80%. Improved visibility into endpoint configurations means that US Foods continually knows which endpoints need new software (or have software they shouldn't have). And that improved visibility, in turn, translates into easier, faster, and more comprehensive regulation compliance—meaning that every year, US Foods now saves an estimated $500,000 in unneeded software licenses, as well as roughly twice that in license noncompliance fines.

Dow Chemical: Reducing costs through smarter facility and asset management

Another recent IBM customer that chose to participate in the Client Reference program, Dow Chemical, had a different set of challenges—but no less need for a fast and effective solution.

Dow is an exceptionally distributed organization, with more than 197 locations in 36 countries worldwide. The impressive scale of its operations means that any improvement in the way it manages real estate assets—lease terms, for instance, or space management, or energy consumption—can potentially yield a substantial improvement to the business bottom line. And when building and asset goals can be achieved in a centralized fashion—in which each domain provides information available to, and used by, the others—the realized benefits increase still further.

That's why Dow has deployed IBM workplace management solutions to help better understand and visualize how its real estate assets are utilized, establish and quantify potential areas of improvement, create new strategies designed to yield a better outcome, and execute those strategies. Specifically:

Unum: Protecting critical virtual machines through optimized backup and restoration

As its IT infrastructure has evolved, Unum (YouTube, 00:02:41)—a major disability, life, and protection benefits provider—found that its management complexities evolved in parallel—and new solutions and strategies were needed.

Specifically, the organization had virtualized and consolidated more than 80% of its servers—over 1,600 virtual machines, running both Windows and Linux. With the advent of the virtualized infrastructure, though, came new difficulties in backing up critical systems. For instance, when backups took place, virtual machine performance fell, affecting the services those virtual machines helped to support. Updating the backup agent used in each virtual machine also required time and energy.

Today, Unum has deployed a new backup solution specifically designed for virtualized infrastructures: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Virtual Environments. This offering helps by offloading backup workloads to a centralized server; this reduces any potential impact on business services, yet provides ongoing protection of key systems and thus increases overall business resilience. Backup processes are also much faster, and so can occur more frequently, improving system protection even more. And should system recovery be necessary, the restoration can take place at the file level, the volume level, or the level of the entire virtual machine (via an image), providing exceptional flexibility to match the specific business need in any given case.

For Unum, these capabilities are generating value every day—and that value is only expected to increase. Currently, Unum backs up more than 650 virtual machines using Tivoli Storage Manager for Virtual Environments, with the expectation that that figure will climb to over 1,000 by year's end. Faster backup recovery, centralized management, reduced risk of data loss, and seamless integration with other Tivoli Storage Manager solutions exemplify the many benefits Unum receives from this solution—and your organization can receive as well.

Interested in participating in the IBM Client Reference Program? Send an e-mail to custref@us.ibm.com today to get the process started!

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