Take your average IT team in a young enterprise in the midst of skyrocketing growth. There’s a good chance the workflows they’ve used since the outset can’t keep up with the ever-increasing volume of requests from the business. In the minds of some DevOps and app development teams in particular, the IT department of the scrappy startup has gradually become the department of slowing things down.
As a result, tasks that once took hours, such as provisioning resources (e.g., virtual machines, workloads, XaaS), can now take days. For agile DevOps teams, this is essentially a showstopper: They need access to resources when they need them–not when you deem them worthy. Anything else feels like a drag on development and the business.
Giving DevOps What They Want
IT needs to make access to resources as seamless as possible for DevOps teams. The ultimate goal is self-service. DevOps should be able to instantly gain the access they need to the resources they need, without the back and forth of ticketing systems, or the complexity of provisioning resources on totally unfamiliar systems. And with a user interface that only serves up the resources relevant to the requesting team, DevOps can easily manage and provision resources on demand.
Maintaining the Controls the Enterprise Needs
Of course, it’s not about just giving DevOps access to whatever they want when they want it. You need real controls in place.
For example, without the right guardrails, DevOps teams can easily spin up more virtual machines than they need and let them run without limit. To give you an example of how bad it can get, Gartner estimates shadow IT accounts for 30-40% of IT spend, from idle resources consuming costs by the minute.
Through blueprints, repeatable ways to orchestrate and automate provisioning of resources, this self-service nirvana to eliminate shadow IT can be a reality for admins. Since blueprints contain set rules and builds sanctioned by IT, they’ll always be able to accurately and securely deliver the right resources, without users going rogue and out of compliance with taking provisioning into their own hands.
For instance, IT can determine who can order servers, workloads and XaaS—along with quotas set for spend and resource usage—to who can approve fulfillment of those orders. This way, resources are never over-provisioned and a real tally is kept as to exactly who is using which resources across the business. By automating routine approval processes and applying the proper conditions to user requests, the errors and time associated with manual provisioning are eliminated and users can get what they need without going at it alone.
Control Doesn’t Have to Come at the Cost of Delight
In the absence of the right tools and the right processes, IT can start to seem like a slow-moving gatekeeper to DevOps teams, who need resources fast. Consuming resources needs to be easy and quick for agile developers who need to ship products to market fast. In this sense, the self-service IT model plays greatly to agility: By presenting only the resources needed for DevOps teams, and orchestrating automated processes, resources are provisioned in seconds versus the days involved with an IT ticket. Additionally, with built-in, automated permissions and role-based controls, IT teams can still protect the enterprise, as they should, but at the same time delight users.
Take for example an organization as big as Home Depot, with over 385,000 employees: By rolling out a self-service approach to provisioning resources, they were able to completely reign in VM sprawl and at the same time make their developers’ lives easier with a provisioning time decreased from two weeks to just under 20 minutes.
Indeed, IT admins can win the hearts of DevOps and at the same time win back their role as an enabler of enterprise-wide innovation. By empowering users with intuitive self-service to quickly get resources when they need them, IT becomes the heroes that enterprises–and their DevOps teams—need.