As someone who talks to a large number of people about automation and cloud enablement, I run into a surprising number of people who haven’t yet taken their first steps into this better world. They say things like, “Our environment is too small” or “I can already clone a server in a matter of minutes” or “I don’t see the point.”
I actually hear those words as, “Show me how my environment could be better than it is today.”
There are no small environments
Some IT shops have a small footprint of virtual machines. Is this because there is no need for additional servers or is this because the actual time to fully configure a server is so great that developers don’t ask for resources and choose to develop on existing infrastructure whenever possible? If there is a significant lead time to not only deploy but fully configure a server, often times developers will use existing infrastructure or worse … they’ll go to a public cloud provider and set up temporary virtual machines for development often without their employer knowing. This is known as shadow IT and according to a recent survey by the Cloud Security Alliance, 72% of IT managers didn’t know that their developers were using shadow IT. What we find when deploying hybrid clouds for clients is that when the process for requesting and deploying a virtual environment becomes frictionless, the number of servers increases exponentially. Your developers likely want infrastructure on demand and once you provide it, it will be used.
Cloning a VM is only half the story
The popularity of virtualization has given way to a world where an administrator can clone a new virtual machine from an existing one in minutes. Some potential customers point to this as a reason that cloud or automation is not right for their company. It has been our experience that these cloned servers still need some amount of configuration to make them conform to corporate standards. When we perform strategic sessions with customers, we find that the process to deploy a server is far more complex than it appears at first glance. Some customers can take a month or more to deploy even a single server. The red tape associated with building a server is what usually mires down the business process. When you pair a hybrid cloud solution with an ITSM solution like ServiceNOW, you can bring the same level of automation to your business processes that is possible with your servers. Also, it’s never a good idea to have your developers using infrastructure that’s outside of your company’s oversight as it introduces the possibility for sensitive company data to be compromised. With the high profile data leaks that have made the news over the last couple of years, this is a very real concern that companies should mitigate.
The new reality
In days gone by, developers had no choice but to use corporate IT for their needs as infrastructure was too costly for an individual to replicate. Now that the datacenter has been commoditized, IT departments are in competition with external cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and VMware. It can be a daunting prospect to compete with those companies whose cloud offerings are constantly evolving but the advantage that a hybrid cloud gives you is that you can craft an offering that is uniquely suited to your business requirements and security standards. That’s an advantage that public cloud providers can’t easily match. When coupled with a product like vRealize Business you can provide a cost comparison between your private cloud and the public cloud to show what each offering costs so your company can make an informed decision on where to run their workloads. At Sovereign Systems, we specialize in helping customers avoid these pitfalls and give them the tools they need to provide a hybrid cloud solution flexible enough to meet the rapidly changing needs of corporate IT. Contact us today to see how we can help your company.