A couple months ago, VMware announced a set of SaaS cloud automation services that support management of multiple clouds based on infrastructure-as-code. In this post we will describe the market evolution that has made such a solution essential and how VMware can help you and your company navigate the multi-cloud world through DevOps.
Next Stop: Digital Transformation
A lot of companies are embarking on a digital transformation journey to stay relevant and competitive. They need to offer their services through multiple channels (web or mobile) while ensuring consistency and 24/7 availability; downtime and outages are not an option. This requirement forces the application developers and IT operations teams to change their way of working. It’s no longer viable to release new applications and updates once or twice per year. To keep up with the digital transformation of the business, IT needs to become an integrated part of the business. IT is the business, the business is IT. Application development teams are now moving to adopt agile development practices which result in more frequent releases of new applications and features. But more releases also result in more changes to the infrastructure; the domain of IT operations.
Developers and IT Ops joining forces: DevOps
To be able to support the business, developers and IT operations need to work more closely together. Over the last couple years the DevOps movement has gained traction within a lot of Enterprise companies. DevOps is a set of technical, architectural and cultural practices that are adopted to improve the interaction between the developers and IT Operations. The goal of implementing the principles of DevOps is to get a fast, reliable and secure delivery of applications while maintaining the quality and keeping cost under control. After all, the business uses the applications to provide services to its consumers. These applications require the infrastructure to run smoothly and reliably. DevOps helps achieve this goal: support the business in becoming successful in this digital age.
The impact of DevOps on IT Ops
Of course, moving towards DevOps impacts the way infrastructure resources are being consumed resulting in the re-evaluation of IT Operations priorities. When talking to customers we see two trends:
- IT Operations teams need to become more app-centric; Developers need to consume infrastructure resources easily and programmatically. The infrastructure platform needs to be dynamic enough to accommodate the needs of the applications the developers are trying to build.
- Provide multi-cloud and multi-application framework; Developers and the business want to consume the best infrastructure resources available. Can be public cloud or private cloud. Can be a virtual machine, containers or something as-a-service. IT Ops needs to provide, manage and maintain it.
These two trends are a shift for most IT Operations departments. Most organisations have already moved towards a private cloud model where infrastructure resources are provided as-a-service. However, in this fast moving world the services delivered do not always meet up with the needs of the developers. What is needed is someone who understands both the Developer and the IT Operations world. A role that can design, engineer and maintain what is needed by the developers. DevOps Engineer, Infrastructure Developer and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) are some of the titles companies use for such roles. The role can be filled by people with Dev or Ops experience. Generally these are people that in their Dev or Ops job already have lot affinity with “the other side”. And from a VMware perspective we see the virtualization / cloud admin ideally fitted to evolve into this role. Most virtualization and cloud admins already have a wide experience with all infrastructure components as virtualization touches compute, storage and networking. They also tend to like to automate stuff or have been involved in automating stuff to make things work more easily. This skillset combination makes these professionals a perfect fit to satisfy the requirements of a DevOps oriented organisation.
How VMware can help with Cloud Automation Services
Over the last couple of years VMware has extended its portfolio to help companies on the journey towards digital transformation. We’ve made it easy for customers to evolve their virtualization infrastructure into a private cloud: automate infrastructure and application services and deliver them to the consumers through our vRealize cloud management platform. But with the adoption of DevOps in Enterprise IT we need to evolve our products and enable the virtualization and cloud admins with the right tools. This is why VMware created Cloud Assembly, Code Stream and Service Broker; the cloud automation services bundle. A set of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings that provides the right tools to automate across multiple clouds, both private and public, and with an app-centric focus to truly support the developers and lines of business. The VMware Cloud Automation Services consists of three services:
- Cloud Assembly : a multi-cloud, declarative blueprint orchestration and automation solution that enables infrastructure as code for expedited infrastructure consumption and application delivery;
- Service Broker : content aggregator in native formats from multiple clouds and platforms into a common catalog for consumption through UI or API;
- Code Stream : provides release automation and continuous delivery to enable frequent, reliable releases of application and IT code for developers and operations teams.
These tools are building on the foundation and experience that VMware created with the vRealize suite. They will enable our virtualization / cloud admins with the right set of tools to move towards the role of DevOps engineer. The Cloud Automation Services create a platform that can deliver infrastructure and application services to developers who can consume them through an API whenever they need it while IT Operations maintains control when and where needed. Service Broker is the central point of consumption and governance. It will enable IT Operation to govern all the services that are needed by the business. The Service Broker can expose native services from public clouds (AWS CFTs, Azure ARM templates), VMware Marketplace content, Kubernetes Helm charts, vRealize Orchestrator Workflows and many more to come. Finally, you can publish natively built blueprints through Cloud Assembly. Cloud Assembly provides IT Operations with the ability to automate and orchestrate self-built services that are tailored to the needs of the consumers of the cloud management platform. The building blocks of these services can come from private and public cloud infrastructure and application resources and be combined in Cloud Assembly into a new service that can then be published and consumed through the Service Broker. With DevOps gaining popularity in enterprises we see IT Operations adopting new methodologies for deploying new apps and features to production. As the retirements for deployment frequency increases, manual handling stops being an option and automation of the deployment process becomes mandatory. This is where Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) comes into play; making sure that code and infrastructure are always in a deployable state. This requires IT Operations to provide a “deployment pipeline”. The VMware Code Stream services is the tool that can help DevOps teams to model the stages of the pipelines (e.a. test to dev, dev to production) to get new applications and features into production.
Bringing it all together
As you can see there is an evolution taking place within most enterprise companies. Everyone is looking to deliver applications faster and in an easier way to production. Moving application development and IT Operations helps it making that a reality. DevOps helps in creating the right culture, mindset and processes to deliver IT at the speed of business. But it also needs the right tools to be able to automate, orchestrate and keep control of the IT resources. That’s where VMware can help with the Cloud Automation Services that support IT in making the digital transformation a reality.
These services are already available as a cloud automation services bundle.
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