Typical of the best run software companies, it is not surprising to find out that VMware’s internal IT department is an early adopter of VMware products. VMwareIT is a large operation supporting a variety of users – from R&D, sales, marketing, finance, to a large partner effort, and more. Running an IT department has its challenges in every organization. Running an IT department at a software company full of technologists who are pushing the envelope of cloud computing means additional pressure to make sure the IT department is an enabler for the company instead of a bottleneck. VMware IT, of course, rises to the challenge. In a story published today, VMware’s internal IT department talks about how they were ableto reduce provisioning time for applications onto cloud infrastructure by 80% using a new cloud application provisioning tool called vFabric Application Director. The provisioning tool ultimately does two things:1) helps serve the business better by having more IT resources available to capitalize on opportunities , and 2) drastically reduces the amount of work for the IT department to fulfill requests.

Within the overall solution, several VMware applications were involved:

  • vCenter Orchestrator automates tasks across humans and other applications.
  • VMware Service Delivery Manager provides a catalog of services whereby ITusers could make requests for environments
  • vFabric Application Director automatically installs applications and components in a specified order from pre-defined, logical blueprints of the middleware applications and components 
  • vCloud Director automatically provisions infrastructure images and components
  • VM Studio lets IT staff design virtual images, patch-sets, etc.

In the initial phase, the approach was applied to two applications: SOA and portals. Additional phases are underway and address several other applications such asbusiness portfolio management, online community, DRM, email, and data quality.

The previous process for provisioning was complex, error-prone, and took somewhere between 3 days and 8 weeks per application. The process involvedmultiple request tickets, architecture reviews, security reviews, approvals,meetings, and rounds of compliance as well as logistics. As application usage,analysis, or complex architectures grew, some sub-set of this process was followed for all environments.

After implementing, several improvements were immediately measurable:

  • Time to provision VMs went from 2 weeks to under an hour.
  • Time to provision applications went from 5 weeks to 4 hours.
  • Time to scale applications went form 2 weeks to under an hour.

For the full article with more detail and additional diagrams, click here.