ESG Validation

ESG Lab Validation: BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management

Introduction

This ESG Lab Technical Validation will focus on the operational value of BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM). The goal is to demonstrate and validate business value for customers in three key functionality areas: Full stack application environment provisioning, security and compliance (including remediation of non-compliant services), and decommissioning or consolidation of unused or underutilized resources.

Background

IT organizations are increasingly challenged to deliver IT services precisely when and how they’re needed. Business users seek faster, customized services and are going around IT to source infrastructure themselves from the public cloud. This brings additional risk to IT’s already difficult task of managing security and compliance across increasingly more heterogeneous cloud and legacy data center infrastructures. In fact, when asked to name challenges with moving servers, apps, and data in hybrid cloud environments, 25% of organizations surveyed by ESG reported governance and policy concerns.[1] Other concerns called out include the usual complement of performance, complexity, budgeting, and security.

Figure 1. Challenges Moving Virtual Servers, Applications, and/or Data Between On-premises Resources and Public Cloud Services


Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2016

Modern application development and deployment needs to be built around the principles of virtualization often addressed via containerization and microservices: agility, which enables adaptability and responsiveness to business needs; scalability, which is the ability to match capacity to demand; and manageability, which means securely supporting policy-based orchestration and day-two operational support across the lifecycle.

Manageability is by the far the most challenging of these principles because the overall increase in infrastructure flexibility and responsiveness is forging a new dynamic form of IT, in which new approaches to managing, trouble-shooting, and monitoring systems and applications are now required while embracing the principle of immutable infrastructure. Immutability is effectively changing the management paradigm from "update" to "replace," which impacts patching, monitoring, and operations. Software-defined storage and networking and the availability of hyperconverged systems mean a full-stack approach to system management is now a necessity.

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is a cloud management platform designed to accelerate and automate the provisioning of multi-tier IT services across cloud and non-cloud platforms. CLM integrates with IT processes like change management, the configuration management database (CMDB), compliance, and patching to manage risk and reduce cost. Organizations use Cloud Lifecycle Management to maintain essential governance and compliance for mission-critical workloads while enabling greater agility for the business to provide continuous delivery of digital services.

Figure 2. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2016

Cloud Lifecycle Management offers a self-service portal to enable business users to request configurable services without requiring IT intervention regardless of infrastructure, platforms, or applications. The portal integrates with BMC MyIT to provide a single service catalog for all IT service requests. The provisioning, ongoing management, and de-provisioning of full-stack business services is provided by CLM’s blueprint technology, which also automates the use of application container technologies to support agile development and deployment. Built-in integration with change management processes and updates to the CMDB ensure IT service management (ITSM) governance across the full lifecycle of the cloud service. Regulatory and security compliance policies can be automatically applied to the service at the time of provisioning, and then kept compliant through automation of patching, configuration management, and vulnerability remediation. CLM is platform neutral, enabling organizations to deliver services across any platform based on workload requirements across a wide range of infrastructures and public clouds. CLM also monitors service health and can auto-scale resources up or down per predefined service requirements to minimize disruption in services with proactive, actionable failure notifications and recommended remediation steps.

CLM is built to use two general categories of resources: data center and cloud. Data center infrastructure resources are the physical or virtual resources on which services are hosted, like servers, database systems, and networks. Cloud resources are virtualized abstractions of infrastructure resources. Examples of cloud resources include compute containers, network zones, and virtual firewalls. Both categories include four types of resources: compute, network, storage, and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). CLM can provision to a plethora of private and public cloud providers, including but not limited to: Docker Containers, AWS Classic, Amazon CloudFormation templates, VMware vCloud, Azure Classic, Azure Resource Manger templates, IBM SoftLayer, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and OpenStack. Storage providers and PaaS providers are also supported. CLM also provides a quick start wizard for rapidly standing up a ready-for-use cloud environment for AWS and VMware. Other cloud environments such as MS Azure, OpenStack, Savvis, and Terremark can be provisioned with minimal configuration.

ESG Lab Validation

This ESG Lab Validation report presents hands-on evaluation and testing results of BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management and explores how CLM enables delivery of flexible, customizable digital services while maintaining a structured, controlled, yet dynamic IT environment. ESG Lab also looked at how CLM automates and accelerates planning, governance, provisioning, operation, administration, maintenance, and reclamation of digital services.

Building a Full Stack Application Environment

ESG Lab began by walking through the provisioning and deployment of a full stack application environment in a simulated enterprise. First, ESG Lab logged in to the BMC CLM portal, as seen in Figure 3. Users can also interact with CLM through BMC MyIT via a browser interface.

Figure 3. The BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management Cloud Administrator Dashboard

Administrators have access to general dashboard info, including value metrics, the health of CLM components, and licensing. The Catalog only displays the services that the user is permitted to access and My Resources represents the resources the user has provisioned. An administrator can see everything; a tenant administrator can see anything inside her tenant; and an end-user would only be able to see resources assigned specifically to him. Users can also see their quotas, or how much of their allowed resources are in use. To enable faster implementation, users can request services on behalf of other users, and manage ownership of the service.

ESG Lab Testing

ESG Lab started in the service catalog, as an end-user would, to request a full stack cloud service by clicking on AWS RedHat 5.8. The basic information required to provision a service is standard across most services. As seen in Figure 4, a user would enter the name of the service, enter a server username and password for the administrator of the service, and configure whatever request-time parameters are exposed to that user for that service. When selecting the service, the user has visibility into the projected cost and can see that the cost can adjust based on different user-defined configurations such as added memory or disk. This initial visibility helps users understand the financial impact to the business—and its budget—for different choices.

CLM allows extensive customization of services to allow non-technical users to provision and deploy services with a minimum of technical decision making while simultaneously enabling technically savvy users to specify the detailed configuration of services that have varying requirements. CLM also offers the ability to set custom “day-two” options that users can adjust on a service after it is provisioned, like memory, CPU, monitoring, etc.

Figure 4. Requesting a Cloud Service

ESG Lab selected the appropriate compliance option for this service by simply checking a box, as seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Requesting a Cloud Service—Adding Compliance

ESG Lab clicked Add to Cart, then checked out and the service was provisioned and built. Clicking on My Requests shows the service we requested with the status of “waiting for change approval” (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Requesting a Cloud Service—Waiting for Change Approval

In this environment, CLM is integrated with BMC Remedy for IT Service Management (ITSM), so a Remedy user would get a notification when another user requests a new service or a change to an existing service—triggered per the organization’s policies—and the approver would log in to Remedy to review and approve the change.

As Figure 7 shows, clicking on Resource List showed the service we requested running in AWS. Information in the resource view includes compliance status and decommission date, if one is set. If the service was made up of multiple servers, each server would be evaluated and the compliance percentage would reflect what percentage of resources are compliant.

Figure 7. Viewing the Running Service

CLM tracks cloud assets in the CMDB so everything is accounted for as it would be in a local data center. With the speed of movement of cloud assets, tracking cloud assets is even more important than in local data centers. It’s important to note that customers often add metadata to their services to be able to add information that can be used to classify the services for chargeback purposes or to set a decommission date for services that have a known lifespan. Users can add any metadata that is appropriate to their business.

Next, ESG Lab looked at monitoring. As seen in Figure 8, CLM monitoring rules enable organizations to proactively scale services up or down automatically. Services can be scaled vertically, adding or removing CPU or memory, or horizontally, adding or removing servers—or users can specify a custom-defined action.

Figure 8. Configuring Automatic Scaling with CLM

This enables organizations to automate the de-provisioning of under- or unutilized servers or services.

Switching to the dashboard view, ESG Lab next explored administrator dashboard options (see Figure 9). The Value dashboard—filterable by tenant—gives a view of the current load on the infrastructure. Organizations can see what is running, what’s stopped, peak server load, provisioned vs. decommissioned systems and services, and others. The Health dashboard gives a snapshot view of the components of CLM. Users can easily drill down into details of each component to check the status.

Figure 9. Cloud Lifecycle Management Administrator Dashboard Options

Finally, ESG Lab delved deeper into administration of the CLM environment. Clicking on the bar on the left, pulled out the Workspaces menu, as seen in Figure 10. Cloud administrators would most often work from the bottom up to build a cloud environment.

Figure 10. The Cloud Lifecycle Management Administrator Dashboard—Workspaces

Configuration covers global configuration parameters, default settings, and ITSM integration settings. Providers defines how CLM talks to the various cloud providers and hypervisors for compute, network, etc. CLM onboards the resources of the providers as network containers or logical data centers, managed under Resources. Service Governor is the mechanism for implementing policies on specific services, and policies can govern any resource used by a service: infrastructure, provider, or geography, for example. Tenants define entitlements: quotas and cost centers, for example. Users are defined inside tenants with individualized quotas and cost centers. Service Designer is how CLM creates application, server, and service blueprints—reusable components that can be combined to make up customized services. In traditional IT, hundreds of templates would be created with all the possible combinations of components and services that IT could offer. CLM’s Service Blueprints allow for user configuration at selection time, reducing the need to create and maintain blueprints for every possible deployment configuration. Blueprints are exposed to users via the Service Catalog, which describes the services to users including pricing, request options, etc. The Quick Start option enables administrators to stand up a complete cloud environment in a matter of minutes using configurable default parameters.

Figure 11. The BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management Administrator Dashboard—Infrastructure

CLM can granularly manage on-premises and cloud resources (see Figure 11). CLM logically groups hardware resources by Location, and the hardware in the location is divided into Pods, which are segmented into Network Containers. Zones are subnets inside Resource Pools. For cloud resources, the network container level is referred to as a Logical Data Center (LDC). CLM allows organizations to tag resources so that when a user requests a service that needs to go on Azure, for example, CLM knows which LDCs are eligible candidates. CLM also allows organizations to map resources to specific tenants.

Why This Matters

Rapid, precise delivery of IT services where and how they’re needed is a challenge in today’s increasingly hybridized IT environments. Business users seek faster, customized services and are going around IT to source infrastructure themselves from the public cloud, often heedless of compliance and risk. Thirty-one percent of organizations surveyed by ESG reported organizational complexity as a challenge in moving workloads between cloud and on-premises environments.[2] What is needed is a solution that provides business users with the same dynamic speed and ease of use and provisioning as going directly to the public cloud while maintaining a structured and controlled IT environment.

Traditional IT provisioning can take weeks or months with multiple manual steps, including but not limited to specifying and acquiring hardware, validating OS and application software versions and compatibility, security and compliance reviews, QA, and actual installation. BMC CLM automates the process and reduces this time drastically, enabling immediate monitoring of the entire service and easy modification of the service after deployment to solve “day-two” issues without burdening IT. ESG Lab talked with customers who consistently reported verifiable time savings in excess of 90%. Prebuilt compliance and security checks make verifying and reporting on vulnerabilities and compliance with regulations such as SOX simple, saving time and effort. ESG Lab provisioned and deployed two services, one in the public cloud and one in the data center—with full monitoring and compliance—in less than ten minutes.

 

Streamlined Operations and Economic Value

ESG Lab validated the economic and operational value of streamlining operations and decommissioning unused or underutilized services to save resources, reduce capital expenditures, and reduce risk. During testing, ESG Lab observed first-hand CLM’s ability to automate multiple previously manual processes and decommission resources automatically. These capabilities will enable customers to improve resource utilization and defer or avoid capital expenditures.

Figure 12. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management—Streamlined Operations and Costs

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2016

Using customizable tags set at request time, organizations can keep track of services and automatically ensure that they are on the right infrastructure, are in the right geography, and are not sitting idle, racking up monthly charges unnecessarily.

To explore the real-world operational and economic benefits offered by CLM, ESG Lab spoke with BMC CLM customers across a number of industries.

  • One financial services company used CLM to implement an automated compliance process that reduced the resolution time for compliance issues from days to minutes and reduced the time and effort required for audit preparation by more than 98%. Another financial services company reduced provisioning time in their 500+ server environment by nearly 94%.
  • A private cloud infrastructure hosting provider uses CLM and automatically provisions 95% of its service requests in minutes, with no human interaction.
  • One supply chain management customer that provides more than 130 applications via the cloud reduced onboarding time using CLM from up to 90 days to just two hours, a 99.9% savings.

Finally, ESG Lab looked at resource utilization in data center and cloud environments to model how much savings an organization might be able to expect through reclamation and repurposing of underutilized resources. Multiple studies have been done on resource utilization for data center and cloud environments. Data center utilization has been reported in the 6-12% range industry wide, while cloud utilization has been reported in a much wider range, from 7% to 40%. ESG Lab used the median values of these ranges to make a conservative estimate.

Let’s imagine an organization running 500 servers in its data center with a 9% average utilization rate and 200 instances using a public cloud service provider with a 24% average utilization rate, which sets a target of just 50% utilization to allow for spikes in demand and batch processing. That organization should be able to return or repurpose 82% of the resources in its data center and decommission 50% of its cloud instances.

Why This Matters

ESG asked 633 IT executives, managers, and professionals which business initiatives would drive the most technology spending in their organizations. Reducing costs, ensuring compliance, and providing employees with the devices and applications they need to maximize productivity were all in the top five most-cited responses.[3] The nature of the public cloud makes it easy for employees to stand up services without any corporate oversight or control. The ability to provide business users with the capability to develop, provision, and deploy business applications from a self-serve portal while ensuring that compliance and governance policies are being enforced is key.

ESG Lab experienced extremely rapid provisioning and deployment times for public cloud and on-premises data center applications, with easily configured policies for security, compliance, automatic scaling, and enforceable decommissioning. The ability to assign tags to services and monitor usage enables organizations to track costs, charge back for resources, and identify idle or underutilized instances. All of this adds up to a tangible economic benefit.

 

ESG Lab Validation Highlights

  • ESG Lab provisioned and deployed two services, one in the public cloud and one in the data center, with full monitoring and compliance in less than ten minutes.
  • BMC CLM automated the request, provisioning, authorization, and deployment processes and reduced the time to stand up a complete service to just a few minutes.
  • CLM enabled immediate monitoring of the entire service for health, compliance, and performance.
  • CLM provided the ability to easily modify the service after deployment to solve “day-two” issues without needing to engage IT.
  • Prebuilt compliance and security checks made verifying and reporting on vulnerabilities and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and SOX simple.
  • CLM streamlined the operational process, automating what used to be a labor-intensive, manual process.
  • Tracking services in the cloud using tags provided a straightforward way to track and recoup costs.

Issues to Consider

  • The test results presented in this report are based on applications and systems deployed in a controlled environment with industry-standard tools. Due to the many variables in each production environment, planning and testing in your own environment are recommended.

The Bigger Truth

When business users need customized services fast, they are ever more frequently going around IT to source infrastructure themselves from the public cloud. IT organizations are increasingly challenged to deliver the digital services their users need in a timely manner. This adds unnecessary risk to IT’s already difficult task of managing security, governance, and compliance across hybrid cloud and traditional data center infrastructures. In fact, when asked to name challenges with moving servers, apps, and data around in hybrid cloud environments, governance and policy concerns was in the top five most-cited responses, along with performance and organizational complexity.[4]

Modern application development and deployment requires that organizations provide virtualization, agility, scalability, and manageability, across the lifecycle. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is a solution designed to empower IT to address the challenges of speed, risk, and complexity. It delivers digital services fast enough to deter shadow IT while maintaining effective controls and optimizing a heterogeneous, multi-sourced infrastructure. The end game is to become a trusted services broker to the organization while reducing both risk and cost.

ESG Lab requested, provisioned, and deployed services in the data center and in the public cloud in minutes, while satisfying corporate governance and compliance and not sacrificing any of the convenience of the public cloud, without the need to master the intricacies of configuration, placement, or management.

ESG Lab firmly believes that IT can support agile development for new digital services and respond quickly to the needs of the business with BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management while ensuring effective security, compliance, and governance. The unified management platform provided by CLM across all types of cloud and legacy infrastructure reduces both cost and complexity. If your IT organization is interested in overcoming the challenges of managing complex hybrid environments and becoming both a trusted partner to the business and a key contributor to competitiveness and growth, you should take a close look at BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management.

  1. Source: ESG Research Report, The Cloud Computing Spectrum, from Private to Hybrid, March 2016.
  2. Source: ESG Research Report, The Cloud Computing Spectrum, from Private to Hybrid, March 2016.
  3. Source: ESG Research Report, 2016 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2016.
  4. Source: ESG Research Report, The Cloud Computing Spectrum, from Private to Hybrid, March 2016.

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Topics: Cybersecurity Cloud Services & Orchestration