RightScale’s cloud management and IT service management (ITSM) tools by ServiceNow have combined in a move that caters to IT employees' broadening scope and a growing role as service broker across clouds and web services.
As a result of this enterprise IT transformation, companies often have to leverage and tap multiple clouds and services to deal with distributed infrastructures and services on the whole.
One way to cross this hurdle is to establish processes that can control it all. Since it’s no longer a matter of all servers residing in a central place, managing that distributed and varied infrastructure needs to be centralized and ultimately automated; thus, the reason behind the partnership.
RightScale CEO Michael Crandall defined the Holy Grail of IT transformation as, “A centralized system to streamline delivery of IT services and assets to your company’s consumers, and to manage those services and assets simply, securely, and cost efficiently using automation."
ServiceNow provides access to data on usage and trends that allow customers to make better decisions regarding where an application should be placed, while RightScale automates and orchestrates across a range of cloud platforms.
The requisition process is normally a slow and painful one, but the companies say the combo means going from 4-6 weeks to 10 to 15 minutes. ServiceNow triggers business process workflows to get appropriate approvals, and then calls on RightScale to provision the resources.
Sounds simple enough, but anyone familiar with bureaucracy knows there are several factors to consider in the process. The goal is achieving extreme flexibility and agility, while at the same time, masking the complexity required to accomplish those goals.
Big customer Technicolor, a company with more than 14,000 employees that runs “hundreds of thousands” of CPU cores, integrated the two services to create its own platform called Constellation.
Constellation provides one-click self-service provisioning of resources across seven cloud environments from a single interface. Services range from infrastructure to applications, and from servers, storage, and networking all the way to web services. They are available through standard workflows and registered as assets in ServiceNow’s CMDB for global visibility and auditing. Notifications are sent when resources are deprovisioned. Low-level configuration of server software is handled using Salt, in which ServiceNow recently integrated its automation tools.
It’s about "delivering products and services to the market faster than the guy next to you," Technicolor said in a discussion with Crandell.
Constellation can launch render farms with thousands of cores in continuous integration environments for its dozens of websites. It does so by using automated workflows that can allocate resources on any of its approved private or public cloud environments. And once running, critical maintenance tasks like patching a security vulnerability can be handled using one-to-many template-based updates in just a few hours.