The University then established a “cloud service first” directive in 2010, with all new services going automatically to their cloud environment unless there was a compelling reason not to. Now, all of the University’s schools of study and support departments utilize the service.
However, as their private cloud environment grew, the IT server team started to experience problems with capacity and with their manual chargeback system. To continue their cloud expansion, they needed help.
After examining a variety of different products from VMware and Veeam, the University settled on Embotics’ V-Commander, which provided out-of-the-box management and automation to help the University continue to build out its cloud initiatives.
V-Commander replaced Aston’s existing manual chargeback system, reducing errors and automating many manual tasks. V-Commander’s capacity management and resource optimization features identified existing VMs that were either sprawling out of control or were over or under resourced, while also automatically guiding new services to hosts with available capacity.
Today, Aston is closer to achieving a service-based, automated infrastructure, with many tasks that used to burden IT now resolved by clients through a simple self-service portal.
In a tight economy, everything is about ROI. Logicworks, IPR International and Aston University all cited ROI as a major benefit of unified cloud monitoring and management. However, none of them went into the engagements with ROI as the top concern. Of course, solid ROI was expected going in, since the status quo was unsustainable, but these solutions were deployed first and foremost to solve immediate, pressing problems.
Logicworks estimates that through ScienceLogic EM7 it boosted IT efficiency by 75 percent – and that’s a somewhat low and misleading number.
“A number of capabilities that we have now really weren’t possible to accomplish before,” Zeller said. “There was no way we could sustain what we were doing in the cloud. Monitoring was completely overloaded, and we typically had to purge and defrag servers as often as twice a week. Alerts would tell us we need to fix something, but it took a long time to figure out what that ‘something’ was.”
IPR International has been using Nimsoft for less than a year and hasn’t measured ROI so concretely. However, Wasserman notes that ROI is significant, with their highly trained operations team freed from a number of simple, time-consuming, manual tasks, such as report generation and low-level troubleshooting.
Aston University, meanwhile, says that it was able to justify the purchase of Embotics V-Commander through the day-one savings provided by the resource optimization features alone. The automated chargeback, self-service user portals, and the other management and automation features added additional value.
In a hyper-competitive global market, it’s not enough to strive for competitive advantages today. Smart organizations keep looking ahead, striving to build the foundation for future success.
A compelling side benefit -- especially over time -- is the ability to spin out value-added services based on cloud monitoring and management solutions.
“By default, we do all the hardware monitoring, network monitoring and return to service incidents for our customers. However, our customers then have the ability to engage additional services that allow them to do things specific to their businesses, such as monitoring unique performance metrics for business-critical apps or even to monitor various types of content,” Zeller said.
It’s often difficult enough to achieve ROI for the problem at hand. Having a solution that continues to yield benefits over time should move cloud monitoring and management to the top of the must-have list for any cloud-enabled organization.