A Deep-dive into ACS Solution's Cloud Management Platform
Designed for enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud environments
A Fortune 100 technology and communications provider engaged in advanced private and public cloud deployments, which comprised virtual machines, K8s clusters, host clusters, bare metal servers, virtual switches, and load balancers across multiple operating systems. These deployments could support several business units, thousands of application developers, and multiple assets supported by private cloud technologies such as VMware, Dell, Hyper-V, and Oracle Cloud.
However, the client was grappling with a series of challenges. Although it had advanced data center management and cloud architecture capabilities, delivering cloud services at scale proved difficult. The challenges the client faced were:
The client aimed to enhance and productize their cloud capabilities, streamlining the time-to-value, and getting the infrastructure in the hands of the business faster, seamlessly, and with greater visibility.
ACS Solutions partnered with the technology and communications provider to transform their cloud operations with the proprietary Cloud Management Platform.
Together we identified the following opportunities and tailored CMP to meet the client’s immediate business needs:
Our client had significant cloud investments in VMware and wished to diversify its technology portfolio with Microsoft, Oracle, and AWS clouds. With this strategy, infrastructure leaders believed they could offer the most comprehensive array of services to fit the business needs at the lowest cost. To accomplish this, they required a platform that could support the provisioning and management of the leading cloud technologies, with the ability to easily extend the solution to new service provider technologies as required.
We rapidly onboarded APIs and aggregated services/assets across disparate vendor technologies to create a universal service layer for cloud operations. This service layer made it possible to centralize and streamline complex cloud services, tools, and enterprise systems into productized solutions. With this foundation, the client could adapt to changing trends and technologies by moving between service providers and adopting tools without disrupting the service or the business.
Aggregated Service Catalog
The second opportunity we identified was aggregating infrastructure capabilities into a single service catalog and standardizing services across vendors to simplify how cloud resource requests were made, orchestrated, and fulfilled.
Our client’s cloud infrastructure teams supported a multi/hybrid cloud environment with a wide variety of services across multiple vendors. Their environment was complex, where fulfilling service requests was a manual and time-consuming process. A single service request required the support of several teams, various cloud tools/technologies, and more than a half-a-dozen interactions with other enterprise systems to manage workflow, financial approval, and order tracking.
Our platform played a critical role here as it is designed to create an intuitive aggregated service catalog that can be used as a typical digital storefront. As a result, developers and business users can describe their application needs generically through a self-service portal. Behind the scenes, platform micro-services coordinate with IT systems to automate provisioning and help infrastructure teams fulfill requests efficiently.
This paradigm shift helped the client to move from the passive act of providing infrastructure to the value-generating act of building productized ready-to-use solutions.
Governed Self-Service Portals
Self-service has been a critical driving force in the rapid adoption of public cloud technologies. In single cloud environments, cloud-native self-service tools may suffice. However, as hybrid and multi-cloud environments scale, cloud-native tooling becomes increasingly deficient in satisfying the enterprise cloud management requirements. In addition, traditional ITSM processes struggle to keep up with the demand.
Our client relied on manually routing requests to vendor-dedicated infrastructure engineers to fulfill the requests. This manual process was inefficient and fraught with significant lead times and rework. The process was also ungoverned, and there was limited visibility into service request(s) state, compliance, and cost tracking.
With CMP, we ensured a configurable (no-code) branded portal experience. The portal delivered a single-pane-of-glass for self-service requests and management of application assets. Inspired by the ease of use of native hyperscaler tooling, we provided an aggregated catalog of infrastructure solutions in a hassle-free shopping experience. Application developers and other consumers could now submit orders for new infrastructure (or modify existing) based on their needs with a complete view into the ongoing cost of the assets.
Consequently, our client could manage their cloud lifecycle across vendor technologies and provide centralized visibility into their cloud operations with the branded portal built on our CMP.
Fulfilling service requests for cloud resources is complex in enterprise environments. It requires connectivity and orchestration across cloud technologies, development tools, and supporting enterprise systems.
For our client, a single service request for cloud infrastructure required interaction between ITSM, cloud service provider(s), container service(s), configuration tooling, asset tracking databases / CMDB, monitoring services, IDM, and financial systems. Forced to facilitate these service interactions manually via traditional ITSM, the service delivery process was long and prone to errors and inconsistencies.
CMP automated these complex service requests, leveraging our universal service layer and configurable workflow automation tools. Each of our client’s service requests (I.e., provisioning, modification, decommissioning) were routed through tailored and dedicated workflow automation processes, where they interacted with necessary systems to support the delivery of the solution.
Towards an Optimized Future
With our workflow engine, service requests for cloud resources could be completed in hours instead of weeks. In addition, infrastructure teams once devoted to service delivery could be optimized and redirected to advancing solutions available in the aggregated, self-service catalog.
Outcomes of the Engagement
Together with our client partner, we created an industry-leading solution for enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The result was a Cloud Management Platform highly tailored to serve the needs of the complex IT cloud operations at an enterprise scale.
Through our partnership, we were able to:
To learn more about ACS Solutions and our Cloud Management Platform, check out https://acsicorp.com/services/cloud-enablement/cloud-managed-services/acs-cloud-management-platform/
About the Author
Justin J. Carlson is a serial entrepreneur and product executive at Onis Solutions. Justin has a history of success bringing SaaS B2B Products to market.
Vice President Lead, Product Development