In this case study

Platform pitfalls

As more companies turn to the cloud to accelerate the delivery of IT services through automation, picking the right cloud management platform becomes an important decision. Without a strategy to achieve the right diversity of technology, organizations can encounter pitfalls like vendor lock-in (tying yourself to a single OEM), labor lock-in (investing in highly customized tech with limited expert resources) or coding silos (unsupported coding or workflow development that creates division within your IT department).

Even when partnering with a leading OEM to procure cloud services, IT teams may still need help enabling and integrating cloud automation tools into an environment to improve the agility, quality and efficiency of IT services.

Enablement options

A WWT customer purchased an enterprise license agreement (ELA) that included VMware's vRealize Automation (vRA) — a cloud automation tool designed to help developers and IT better access infrastructure and application resources on any cloud platform. A debate arose within IT around how best to enable and integrate vRA into the company's environment to get the most out of the tool.

An organization typically has three main options for enabling and integrating a cloud automation tool like vRA:

  • In-House Option: Leverage internal IT engineers to develop a custom solution.
  • Outsource Option: Hire an outside subcontractor to develop a custom solution.
  • Third Party Option: Select a proven third-party solution from the marketplace and layer custom development on top (either internally or through a trusted partner).

To make the right decision, the customer compared and contrasted the overall risk and time-to-value of each option above. Factors weighed included the level of customization required, the cost of man hours, the cost of workforce training and education, and the level of support offered.

Some of the company's engineers advocated developing an in-house solution. Separately, an incumbent vendor was pushing for a solution based on additional ServiceNow integration.

Faced with multiple options for enabling and integrating vRA with varying costs and timelines, the company chose to solicit competitive proposals for guidance.

WWT was asked to participate thanks to our established global multicloud practice, featuring a team of experts with hands-on experience implementing vRA for customers to help them realize the full value of the solution. WWT's goal from the start of the engagement was to help the company achieve a well-balanced, standardized and supported enablement solution for its vRA platform.

vRealize Remediation from WWT

As a first step, WWT asked the company to participate in a vRealize Remediation session, which is recommended by VMware's Cloud Management Business Unit.

vRealize Remediation from WWT comprises a concentrated two-hour session highlighting how vRA can be adopted and developed with the quickest time-to-value and the least amount of risk. It also includes a vRealize development investment strategy that remediates the coding silos most common with vRA implementations.

The session features a review of vRealize's strengths and limitations, a customer questionnaire assessment, plus a hands-on education workshop hosted in WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC). Central to our vRA Remediation methodology is educating an organization's engineers about best practices for workflow standardization.

Proposed solution

Based on our understanding of the company's environment, WWT recommended SovLabs — an off-the-shelf third-party framework — as the appropriate bridge for extending vRA. Our Application Services developers would use vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) to optimize integration into the company's environment and write code to support subsequent workflow requirements.

WWT recommended SovLabs because it involved the least overall risk and the quickest time-to-value when compared to competing in-house and outsourced options. In terms of comparative assessment criteria, WWT's solution featured:

  • An ELA with predictable and affordable costs.
  • Custom coding.
  • Fewer overall management hours are needed.
  • Minimal training costs.
  • Excellent levels of support.

Agility begets satisfaction

The organization chose WWT to enable vRA as a result of our proposal.

After using vRO to optimize integration into the company's environment, our Application Services team developed custom code to support their Day 2 workflow requirements through an agile software development methodology we use for all client engagements. WWT has been a recognized leader in agile development practices for more than a decade.

The agile methodology allowed WWT to be highly responsive to the evolving needs of the company over the eight-week project. Our developers and engineers worked closely with project stakeholders to determine the best way to integrate vRA into the existing architecture through iterative development and continuous testing.

The results speak for themselves as the company gave WWT excellent ratings in a subsequent satisfaction survey for developing and implementing the cloud platform solution. This organization is now more flexible as its engineers are empowered with the tools needed to standardize workflow development behind vRA going forward.