JT Giri, Founder and CEOEnterprises are on an agenda of digital transformation. The demand for speed, flexibility and scalability in deploying associated IT resources is driving a seismic shift from on-premises systems to cloud. With cloud, the sheer number of users, coupled with expectations of immediate access and services, are causing hockey stick-shaped increases in volume and complexity of IT service management tasks and processes.
This new reality exposes vulnerabilities that, if not addressed, render a tangled mess for IT administrators and users alike, as there is no single, holistic process to manage change in cloud environments. Vulnerabilities include sluggish response to customer IT service requests that, in turn, smothers agility, plus ineffective management of costs, compliance, and security. The good news is there’s an opportunity for organizations to embrace modern ITSM practices that, much like DevOps, unify people, process and tools across IT and line of business use cases.
At the forefront is nOps, modern change management for cloud, from the smart gang at nClouds (see CIOReview “Top 20 Most Promising DevOps Solution Providers”, July 2017). “The increase in volume and velocity of service requests as organizations move to cloud takes most IT shops by surprise,” says JT Giri, CEO and Co-founder of nClouds. “nOps was shaped directly by customers to help organizations do three things really well—go faster with control, manage cloud compliance and costs, and improve security.”
A major appeal of cloud, of course, is to leverage the speed at which new computing environments are provisioned. Standing up dev/test and even production environments can be near-instantaneous, providing unprecedented IT and business agility. “We’re providing the tools for IT to create no/low-friction change requests,” comments Giri. To achieve this, nOps’ change management capabilities include lightweight processes and rules to enable pre-approval of low-risk, routine changes like auto-scaling that have a proven history of success. So, these changes speed through.
For requests that are not routine, exception handling can be pre-defined in a workflow and include integration with popular tools like JIRA, Slack and HipChat.
nOps was shaped directly by customers to help organizations go faster with control, manage cloud compliance and costs, and improve security
“These integrations are invaluable in the creation of business workflows for DevSecOps and other security-related processes,” says Giri. Notifications of security violations, for example, are sent to the right group, automating notification, ticketing, and remediation. By integrating with JIRA, nOps gives users the ability to trace back every change, and any implications for security or cost. “Our goal is to make sure the customer can document every single change that happens in their cloud environment,” adds Giri.
To help manage compliance and costs, nOps validates every change against pre-defined company policies. And, it lets IT admins easily filter through cloud resources to discover newly introduced services and active resources to check for compliance, enabled by an auditable, modern configuration management database (CMDB) for cloud, and service catalogs. What’s more, nOps makes it easy to publish pre-defined service catalogs so users can provision compliant resources without needing detailed knowledge of how services are created or managed.
Most IT admins will appreciate the challenge and resulting cost-savings illustrated by one of nOps’ customers. The organization noticed monthly cloud costs spiking, but their change management was not modernized to handle the increased access and change requests for cloud. Importantly, there was no housekeeping service built into the process to clean out unused resources, and as a result, there were many unused volumes. The customer implemented nOps to get a handle on changes and resources. Estimated annual cost savings were nearly $1 million, for a single department.