& cplSiteName &

Sysco Looks to Multi-Cloud for Digital Transformation

Mitch Wagner
8/30/2017
50%
50%

LAS VEGAS -- VMworld 2017 -- Sysco wants to do more than just "moving heavy things around at a very low cost."

Sysco is looking to multi-cloud for digital transformation, moving beyond its meat-and-potatoes business of food logistics for restaurants, healthcare, education, hotels and other food service and hospitality businesses.

For future growth, Sysco is looking to do more to help its customers succeed. "Historically, we've been good at moving heavy things around at a very low cost," Matt Nikolaiev, Sysco senior director and head of cloud infrastructure, said at a session at VMworld here Tuesday. "How can we do better at adding value for our customer?"

He added, "We want our customers to do well because if they do well they buy from us."

As part of that transformation, Sysco is looking to become a technology provider for restaurants, starting with point-of-sale systems. "Even something as silly as the little pucks you get from the counter at a restaurant -- what if we could build an app for that instead," Nikolaiev said. Each little puck costs $50, and eliminating those could save restaurants significant costs.

Photo by Xnatedawgx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Xnatedawgx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sysco is working with restaurants on improving their menus. "If you sell something called cheesecake, you sell it for $4.99, but if you put a drizzle of strawberry and a sprig of mint on it, and put a picture of it on the menu, our research shows you can charge $7.99." And the improvements don't add significantly to the cost.

Sysco helps its customers find opportunities to raise prices, position the most profitable items on the menu, and track supplies through the PoS sales system to know when to reorder.

Sysco is also looking into improving food safety, tracking supplies from the farm supplier to the customer using Internet of Things and blockchain to track such measurements as the temperature history throughout the supply chain. (See IBM, Partners Using Blockchain to Protect Food Supply.)

Sysco is moving to multi-cloud to provide the infrastructure it needs to run -- and transform -- its business. The company is 25% in public cloud today, primarily Amazon Web Services, with 1,500 servers on that platform, growing at a rate of 50-100 per month.


What are the hottest jobs in the cloud? Get our special report to find out:
Cloud Skills: What's Hot?


In its private cloud, Sysco has 4,500 to 5,000 servers, across four major data centers.

Additionally, Sysco has 200 operating companies, each of which has a small two-node highly available cluster to run processes local to the site, such as robotics requiring microsecond latency to the controller, Nikolaiev said.

Sysco was an early access user of VMware Cloud on AWS, which VMware announced this week. That service allows cloud operators to run VMware workloads on either private clouds or on AWS cloud. (See VMware Launches Amazon Cloud Support.)

A primary use of VMware Cloud for AWS is "cloudbursting," moving workloads from the private cloud to the public cloud when traffic requirements demand it. That kind of thing isn't magic -- it requires solving network, latency and storage issues. Data centers need to be located strategically to bridge public and private clouds, Nikolaiev said.

Hybrid apps present technical challenges. Adding modern components to legacy systems can be difficult -- for example, extending monolithic legacy applications using microservices. And it can also be difficult to provide cloud platform to a legacy application requiring a deep infrastructure stack, such as a Windows app requiring clustered servers and traditional block storage. That is kind of hard to manage on a public cloud, as is managing network and storage across multiple clouds, Nikolaiev said.

Other difficulties arise from cost management and storage, Nikolaiev said. "We've done decently at [cost management] but it's a lot of manual work."

Sysco's cloud wishlist includes managing and troubleshooting network and security across multiple clouds more easily; providing a holistic view and management of workloads and costs; and one-stop shopping for internal customers to request multi-cloud services, Nikolaiev said.

Sysco's challenges managing a multi-cloud environment are similar to issues that will be faced by most organizations. Some 70% of enterprises are operating in a multi-cloud world, and that will increase to 91% in 24 months, according to IDC, said Sajai Krishnan, VMware vice president of product marketing for cloud management, who introduced Nikolaiev at his session.

By 2020, slightly more than half of enterprises will have more than five infrastructure and platform clouds -- and that's not including cloud applications such as Salesforce. Some 26% of organizations will have more than ten clouds, Krishnan said.

Related posts:

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Friend me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Wagner’s Ring
IBM and Cisco are working with Europe's largest port to reduce fuel consumption and other costs and improve safety.
In which we receive an alarming email from Oracle.
SD-WAN is about more than saving money – it also provides application delivery, insights and reliability. Find out more in this podcast sponsored by Citrix.
Platform is designed to enable enterprises to build big data analytics apps that move easily between public and private clouds.
Buying Evident.io extends Palo Alto's portfolio with API-based security capabilities and compliance automation.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
5G in the USA: A Post-BCE Update
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2018
Vanquished in Video, Verizon Admits OTT Defeat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed