How Rentokil Drives Business Innovation with Google Cloud VMware Engine

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Rentokil uses VMware technology to support a safe and secure cloud migration that helps boost staff productivity and business agility.

Ed Higgs, Group Director of Shared Computing Services at Rentokil, explains that his company invests in technology platforms that create a standardized and reliable platform for product innovation, such as the use of traps connected to the IoT at customer sites to automatically detect signs of infestation.

in this regard, VMware plays a crucial role in the company’s technology stack. Rentokil has been using the vSphere virtualization platform for about 10 years. The company also uses the Workspace ONE device and application management platform and Carbon Black endpoint protection technology.

Other technologies used by the company include VMware SD-WAN, hyperconverged infrastructure technology VSAN, and network virtualization and security platform NSX. Two months ago, VMware moved its EMEA data center to the Google Cloud VMware Engine infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

Adopting VMware technology at Rentokil has been an ongoing process that happened almost by stealth, according to Higgs:

We were a Carbon Black customer prior to their acquisition. We were an AirWatch customer before they were acquired and turned into Workspace ONE. I guess that shows we had the same philosophy – we loved these tools, as did VMware, and then we found ourselves on the same path.

Cloud shift

Regarding the move to Google Cloud VMware Engine, Rentokil had been looking for several years to move its workload to the cloud, but the company wanted to avoid a big transformation project, where it would have to recreate all its servers on a new platform. -cloud shape. Google Cloud VMware Engine provided the right solution to meet the challenge, says Higgs:

Every time we had a hardware refresh coming up, we looked into whether there was a better option in the cloud. But it has always been prohibitively expensive. It always meant too much work in terms of transforming the environment. So Google Cloud VMware Engine was what we expected. And the success of the migration process testifies to this approach.

The team started planning the move to Google Cloud VMware Engine about 10 months ago. UK hosting provider Rentokil then went into administration during this planning period and its team had to dramatically accelerate the pace of change. The result was the completion of a data center migration in just four months, which would normally have taken 12-18 months:

The only reason we were able to do this was because of technology. It was literally “right click, highlight 20 servers, move”. And the next morning, it was done. No downtime, no downtime, perfect. Everything was operational.

Higgs says the company’s move to the cloud is important because it allows it to use IT resources more efficiently and ensures its staff are focused on activities that bring value to the business, such as the innovative use of data and the IoT:

Having people working overtime on weekends and evenings to fix the hardware environment is an absolute necessity, of course, but it doesn’t add intrinsic value to the business – it’s not a differentiator . What we want to do is focus our workforce higher up the stack and deliver innovations that will truly make a difference to our customers.

Another advantage is agility. Previously, if product team members wanted to develop a new solution, they were limited by the amount of hardware resources they could access. Now, with the cloud, they can develop new resources on demand. Higgs explains:

We don’t want to have to say, “I’m sorry, we’re running out of space, come back to us in three months and we’ll have a new server up”. We are no longer bound by these limitations. Within 24 hours we can start delivering new solutions.

Refine stack

As for the other VMware products that Rentokil uses as part of its technology stack, Higgs cites Carbon Black as a “big one” for the company. Rentokil is a fast-growing company and part of its team’s role is to ensure that newly acquired companies’ systems and data are quickly and securely integrated into the wider organization. The team uses Carbon Black endpoint protection to ensure that this onboarding process runs efficiently:

What we’re doing now, from day one of any acquisition, is we’re implementing the Carbon Black implementation. And immediately – 99 times out of 100 – we are reassured that everything is fine. And that 1 in 100 times when we need to take action, we get very quick visibility into everything we need to do to make sure the new business is secure.

Higgs also refers to Rentokil’s implementation of Workspace ONE, which he says provides a much higher level of visibility and control. Previously, the company had to rely on time-consuming manual audits of its fleet to ensure devices had the correct security patches. Higgs points out that the approval of investment in Workspace ONE was a game-changer:

We use this platform on all our devices globally. And now we can see where we’re having trouble, we can make sure everything gets fixed in time, and I can look the CEO in the eye and say, ‘Yeah, we’re in a good place.’

According to Higgs, Workspace ONE makes it easier to continuously manage group-wide application provisioning and updates. He gives the example of newcomers to the company: his team uses the platform to ensure that employees have quick access to the right applications. More generally, he adds, the broad portfolio of VMware tools used by Rentokil gives the company a solid foundation for technological change:

With our desire and ability to be early adopters, the relationship with VMware has really brought us great benefits, especially since the applications we originally implemented are now part of the same company, as opposed to different many different technology companies.

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