Delivering ITaaS: The role of the Cloud Management Platform

David Coulter

by David Coulter

Delivering IT as a Service (ITaaS) is a key goal as we move towards the promise of the software-defined data center, and the efficiency, flexibility, and control that this new paradigm makes possible.  In a previous post we discussed how automation is pivotal in delivering IT services at scale with consistency, reliability and speed.  But in our pursuit the following questions remain:

  • How do you deliver automated IT services?
  • How do you manage user request and fulfillment, while being mindful of security policies and change management?
  • What do you do with existing infrastructure stacks and hypervisor/OS combinations?
  • How do you bring your public cloud consumption under management?
  • How do you demonstrate the true business costs of IT services consumption?

Enter the cloud management platform, or “CMP.”  The CMP promises to make life easier by introducing a centrally managed portal where someone, usually the IT department, can define a service catalog and users can request items from that catalog (private or public cloud).  This enables things like life cycle management, charge back, and abstraction of resources.

There are several cloud management platforms on the market, and new CMPs are popping up all the time.  Some of the leading CMPs include VMware’s vCloud Automation Center with vCenter Orchestrator, Cisco’s UCS Director, HP’s Cloud Service Automation with HP Operations Orchestration, and Red Hat’s CloudForms. Each of these CMPs have varying levels of support for provisioning servers on physical, hypervisor, and public cloud platforms.  They also have an accompanying or embedded orchestration engine for extending and customizing features such as approval policies, provisioning activities, and integrations with external components and services.

CMPs and orchestration engines are foundational for enterprises embarking on ITaaS.  CMPs provide a base set of provisioning and service management capabilities out-of-the-box.  Their orchestration engines provide a framework with which infrastructure components can be integrated and with which rich IT services can be created and delivered to end-users.  Common integrations with CMPs include IP management solutions, ticketing, accounting, and change management systems.  To meet most enterprise needs, integration with existing infrastructure and services such as storage, network, security or custom services may also be required.

As the level of automation in an environment increases, other services can begin to be incorporated, such as monitoring, backups, disaster recovery, high-availability, and auto-scaling of resources.  Application provisioning and configuration management can also be integrated into the CMP to further streamline the provisioning of IT services.

Gas Station 1939 by Don O’Brien is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s no secret that automation can help drive efficiency and consistency.  Automation enables self-service, which is fundamental to providing ITaaS.  Just as the service station went from full-service to self-service, this shift toward automation will enable greater flexibility, efficiency, and control.  The time has come for the modern day IT shop to make the inevitable transition to self-service and do more with less!

Are you doing more with less?  Tell us about your experience.

About Sovereign Systems and SovLabs

Sovereign Systems was founded in 2008 with the goal of marrying outstanding customer service with a superior level of engineering excellence in information technology infrastructure design.  Since that time, Sovereign Systems has broadened its focus substantially by expanding the number of top-tier technology manufacturer partners with whom we work, as well as developing a top-notch virtualization team.  In 2014, Sovereign Systems introduced SovLabs, an independently run business unit.  SovLabs has been specifically created to enable speed, agility, and efficiency by focusing on automation, orchestration, configuration management, and DevOps solutions that streamline complex and time-consuming infrastructure and application deployment tasks.