Why Shift to an Automated Consumption Model
Over the years we have seen lots of different movements in the IT industry. Many have taken off quickly and some have been slow to develop, but now we are at a key point in time. A time where businesses require more speed and flexibility than ever before! The question then becomes how do we ensure our customers have the ability to scale their infrastructure on-demand? The answer to that is through automation. I believe most in the IT industry are aware of the public cloud offerings such as AWS, Azure, GCP, and others. The one area where those public cloud providers shine is with the ability to scale up or out in a matter of seconds, and only with a few clicks (if any) from the customers perspective. The next question is, how can I provide a similar level of scale, performance, and flexibility for our on-premise data center deployments? One that allows the ability to scale up and out as needed, and one that allows the consumption of resources on demand.
Enter Automation. With Automation, we have the ability to not only deploy infrastructure services such as storage, compute, network and security on-demand, but we can also make changes on the fly to allow for a much more flexible business serving solution. Business solutions that allow the developers to request resources in a matter of seconds or minutes instead of the traditional hours, days or even months scenario that we are typically accustomed to seeing.
Comparison between traditional service consumption and an automated service consumption model
Let's start off with a typical business scenario.
In this scenario, the business has a need for a new application that will allow the business to either be more agile, more competitive or become more profitable. Let's say for this example the business needs to launch a new application that allows the business to better serve their customer base. The new application will be developed by the development team which is led by James. When we look at the basic needs for James to be able to develop, test and deploy this new application we know that James and his team will require some of the following resources: storage, compute, network, and security. In traditional deployments, each one of those blocks is typically handled by a separate team (storage team, server team, network team, security team, etc..). I.e. they are all siloed teams. When a request is made for resources the members of each team must work together to slice out resources that can then be allocated to James and his team, and in many cases, some of the resources can't be given out until someone from another team has taken care of their respective process. This process in some environments can take weeks or even months just to get the basics taken care of. That in today's fast-paced business is not acceptable anymore and at the end of the day, every second that is required to give James and his team the resources may be costing the company money or maybe pushing their competitive advantage in the market back.
Now let's take a look at the steps required for James and his team to consume resources in an automated environment.
First, those teams that we mentioned before (storage, server, network, and security). Those teams now become one combined team. A team where all involved understand what it takes to give James and team what they need. This means the team has been cross-trained in the other areas, thus making them a much more valuable asset to the business. They all understand the interdependencies for the overall solution! The team uses solutions such as VMware vRealize Automation coupled with other automation tools such as Ansible to deploy resources on the fly. This does a few things, first, it greatly reduces the time to deploy and also reduces human error. Once deployed they are able to provide James and team with a portal to request resources. Now when James and his team require resources, they are able to gain access to everything needed, in the correct amount, and the correct method (storage, compute, network and security). James and his team now are able to get started on the development of the company's new application in minutes.
Of course, there are many other ways give the development team the speed and flexibly required to bring business-related applications to production at the speed business now requires. One of the most notable is the use of containers. With that being said VMware has some really amazing solutions that will handle the provisioning and backend management required to have a scalable, flexible and secure container/cloud-ready deployment. A deployment that works amazingly well in private, hybrid and public cloud deployments.