A software-defined data center (SDDC) offers benefits for many across the enterprise. However, when organizations evaluate an SDDC, they usually do so through the lens of one stakeholder.
To highlight the efficiencies and business outcomes that can be achieved for an organization when everyone is interacting with a single platform, we decided to take a different approach to traditional SDDC demonstrations.
Right now, we’re in the process of building SDDC demonstrations through our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) using a storytelling approach. When complete, our customers will be able to choose their path, so to speak, and see an SDDC from three different perspectives.
For now, let’s enter the fictitious world of “Initech” where our three company stakeholders work.
A company in need of change
Initech’s primary revenue-generating application, TPSreports.com, provides B2B translation between the ERP systems of large retailers and their suppliers. Unfortunately, the application is failing to deliver its users new and exciting digital experiences and is being challenged by startups in the market.
TPSreports.com’s static nature isn’t a surprise given its underlying infrastructure and development. Core components are delivered via mainframe, and application improvements are delivered through a waterfall methodology.
Knowing the importance of TPSreports.com to the health of the company, Initech’s IT department has recently moved to the VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC platform as part of its “OneCloud” initiative.
From left to right: Annie, Phil and Dan.
Annie the Application Owner
Annie is responsible for the P&L attached to TPSreports.com. She’d like to move to a DevOps model and focus on microservices to abstract some of the application’s legacy architecture. Additionally, she wants greater visibility into the cost of application services to predict project costs.
In the past, Annie has been burned by IT due to long lead times for getting the services she needs to keep TPSreports.com relevant in the market.
Phil the Platform Engineer
Phil is a new member of Initech’s recently formed Platform Engineering Team. He manages capacity for the OneCloud environment, handles Level 3 troubleshooting across multiple disciplines and approves new services on the platform.
A veteran networking engineer, Phil is struggling to be more in tune with the needs of application owners like Annie.
Dan the Developer
Dan is the most recent hire to Annie’s team. Annie is hoping that Dan, as a developer and container operator, can spearhead moving to DevOps delivery for certain elements of TPSreports.com, building a series of micro-services to abstract mainframe and certain distributed systems.
A new hire, a surprise email and puttering application performance
It’s late afternoon on a Tuesday, and Dan starts tomorrow. Annie wants to make sure he hits the ground running due to the scrutiny TPSreports.com is under. To do so, Dan will need a copy of the production application be deployed into a sandbox specifically for his use.
Traditionally, it would have taken Annie about 60 days to get a development copy of the production application, but she’s been assured the SDDC platform can give her the services she needs within 24 hours or less.
A detailed logical view of Initech's OneCloud environment.
With skepticism, Annie logs into her user view of ServiceNow. She automatically deploys her application stack that has been specifically allocated to her from the Platform Engineering Team.
Annie sees she has a choice of Bronze, Silver or Gold deployments with different cost implications, a welcome surprise given her attention to services costs.
After making the request for Dan to be setup by 7 a.m. the next day, she will need to gather some information about the current costs associated with her application.
As she reviews costs in vRealize Business, she’ll notice a TPSreports.com environment that she believed should have been decommissioned.
Annie immediately shoots an email to a developer to make sure the environment is in fact no longer required.
She then notices an email describing an issue with capacity in the production version of TPSreports.com. Luckily, there’s an imbedded link to vRealize Operations (vROps) so she can quickly and easily see what’s going on.
The capacity issue is storage related. Annie immediately opens a ticket to Platform Engineering to make sure it doesn’t become an issue.
By using the SDDC tools, Annie has requested services for Dan, headed off a potential cost-eating issue and stayed on top of application performance. Usually this would have created a "War Room" scenario with at least a half dozen engineers pouring in to help identify where the problem lies. Today, she did it all through one platform in under 8 minutes. She’s impressed but skeptical if everything will play out as ITOps has promised.
Phil receives Annie’s tickets. The first order of business is addressing the storage issue on her production virtual machine. After logging into vROps, he sees that TPSreports.com’s poor performance is due to a problem with the database storage. Leveraging an automated action within vROps, Phil solves the issue and notifies Annie that there should no longer be a problem.
He works the issue from the common interface shared across the platform in vROps and remediates the problem with his enhanced permissions. He reviews the new capacity that is available in vROps to make sure it meets expected SLAs.
After that, it’s on to getting Dan ready for tomorrow. He adds another host to the vCloud Foundation workload domain. He then publishes a new service (Pivotal Container Service) to vRealize Automation that has been prepared for the OneCloud portal that will deliver container services directly to a new group of developers.
Even though these tasks required significant preparation, Phil can see how publishing services to a common catalog is much more efficient overall. And, his ability to put time into service creation and delivery is enabled by the time savings on the operations side. His users get what they want when they want it and Phil has more time to deliver additional services to them.
In the morning
Dan starts the next day, and, to Annie’s satisfaction and surprise, the TPSreports.com production environment is ready to go in a sandbox. Not only that, but the application is running as it should. Overnight, the storage issue has vanished.
Annie thinks that the SDDC platform might just be what her team needs to reinvent TPSreports.com and deliver critical value to the company. She bets that by the end of the day she can get that cost-eating environment off her plate too. She calls to thank Phil for his quick response to her requests.
After hanging up, Phil sees a bright future for the Platform Engineering Team and the OneCloud platform.
The real world
We all have an Annie, Phil and Dan in our organizations, and while fictitious, the problems of Initech aren’t far-fetched.
As we look to deliver new digital customer experiences, we need a bridge to connect our legacy systems to where we’re going in the future. And we need to bring the business, ITOps and developers along the way at the same time.
My hope is that by combining technology demonstrations through the views of multiple stakeholders and showing how they win together at the end, our customers can start to see the full power of an SDDC.
So, whether you’re an Annie, Phil or Dan, or are trying to solve to meet the needs of all three, I hope you’ll not only explore some of the resources we have today but also connect with me for an executive briefing about an SDDC platform as well as more to come from our Initech storyline.