There is a lot of buzz around Infrastructure Automation (IA) tools like the ones included in VMware vRealize Suite. So what is IA actually good for? How does it fit with DevOps? One thing is restricting freedom. That might sound a little weird. Let me explain.
In life in general, freedom can be costly. This is doubly true when it comes to life in IT. Take the cloud, for example. Cloud technology gives your coworkers the ability to collaborate at unprecedented speed, and rapidly change their architecture when it doesn’t serve their needs. Unfortunately, it also gives them the ability to screw things up in expensive and novel ways.
Developers are no exception.
Expensive Toys for DevOps
On the one hand, DevOps would be absolutely unthinkable without the freedom to provision resources provided by the cloud. On the other hand, it’s shockingly easy to over-provision these resources, or mismanage them, and run up huge price tags for nothing. What’s good for developers, in this case, can be a nightmare for accounting.
How widespread is the problem? Generally speaking, cloud overspend is a huge issue. A 2018 survey revealed that 35% of all enterprise cloud spending is wasted. A good portion of that is due to over-provisioning resources.
The question then is, how can we provide developers with the tools they need, without letting them spend recklessly? IA offers a way forward.
Eliminating Resource Mismanagement in the Cloud
It makes sense that you can spin down public cloud instances while leaving their workload profiles intact. However, this fact, combined with regular old human absent-mindedness, means that a lot of companies end up wasting money on idle workload profiles. This issue can balloon to huge proportions in organizations without specific cloud training. One organization we worked with spent two years paying for idle Azure disks.
That’s just one of many ways in which cloud overprovisioning can happen. It’s also something a problem you can solve with relative ease. With IA, the creation and destruction of instances is planned in advance—there’s no need to rely on human intervention to avoid wasted resources. With a platform like vRealize, all provisioning is centrally logged. This brings accountability to the process and allows for automated reclamation of unused capacity.
Provisioning, then, is still easy—easier, even—but is less likely to lead to overspending.
Good Options for DevOps, Good Decisions for Cloud Cost Management
People tend to take what you offer them. A messy person with a giant living room will find a way to scatter stuff everywhere. If you put a big, unhealthy meal in front of a hungry person, they’ll eat the whole thing, whether or not they want to. The same is true of cloud capacity. Developers will figure out how to use a lot of compute if the option exists.
With IA, you can move to a smarter model—a menu of options, rather than a smorgasbord of unlimited resources. Scripts define the size of your offerings in advance. Varieties of instances are set out in a catalog-style format, each tailored for every job. This translates into easier deployment for developers while preventing accounting nightmares.
Having Cake and Eating It, Too
IA helps you realize some of the promises of the cloud without having to suffer from its drawbacks. Your development team is at liberty to throw resources behind their brilliant ideas, quickly. Accounting can sleep easy knowing those resources are chosen wisely and are disposed of in the appropriate fashion. Everyone’s interests are served at the click of a button.
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