In a sign of the level of complexity now associated with managing DevOps, Pivotal has partnered with Rackspace to create a managed services practice for its distribution of the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.
Ian Andrews, vice president of product for Pivotal, says that at least half of the company’s customers have a least one instance of Pivotal Cloud Foundry (CF) that they would like to have managed by a third party. The reason for that is two-fold. For one, the Cloud Foundry PaaS can be complex for many IT organizations to deploy and manage on their own; Andrews notes that Pivotal releases updates to its distribution of the Cloud Foundry PaaS every 90 days. That’s a cadence the average internal IT organization is not prepared to keep pace with without help from an external services provider, he says.
Also, increased usage of microservices based on containers running on Cloud Foundry is driving organizations to shift allocation of their own internal resources away from managing underlying infrastructure. By relying on managed services providers such as Rackspace to manage both the PaaS and the underlying infrastructure, Andrews says more resources can be focused on managing the DevOps pipeline.
Pivotal opted to partner with Rackspace because Rackspace is capable to supporting instances of Cloud Foundry running on a public cloud, in a hosting center or on-premises, he says, adding that 60 percent of the Pivotal instances run on VMware vSphere platform, while the rest are distributed across multiple clouds and other on-premises environments. Pivotal is a sister company of VMware, operating under the umbrella of Dell Technologies.
Brannon Lacey, vice president and general manager for applications and platforms at Rackspace, says his company is embracing Pivotal as part of a larger push to deliver managed services above the infrastructure level. Previously, Lacey says, Rackspace managed e-commerce and content management applications, then acquired TriCore to add a portfolio of managed ERP application services. However, the company doesn’t have any plans to add more PaaS environments to its portfolio beyond the Cloud Foundry PaaS curated by Pivotal.
Historically, managed services have accounted for about a quarter of all IT spending. But as the number of deployment options available to IT organizations continue to expand, Lacey says Rackspace is expecting the number of companies that look beyond their internal IT organizations to manage that complexity will only increase.
As more managed services providers become part of the DevOps pipeline, it’s clear that many companies will soon need to consider how to create processes that extend well beyond their own organizations. That may prove to be a significant challenge because of the cadence of the update process is dictated by the external entities. Of course, IT organizations can dictate the pace of the upgrades. But the further an IT organization falls behind in terms of upgrades, the more expensive the managed service tends to become. In short, there’s no such thing as a proverbial DevOps easy button.