A neighbor of mine recently installed automated light switches like the one shown here, in all of his children’s bed rooms. His kids had been constantly leaving the lights on when they went outside to play. This way, if they were not using the room, he was not paying for the electricity to light a unused room. The return on investment was quick given the cost of electricity vs the cost of the switches and time to install them.
Fast forward to a discussion I was having with a customer yesterday. The customer wanted to “test the waters” in the public cloud because they had some changes coming to their datacenter. They were looking to offload many of their applications to the public cloud so they could avoid having to purchase new server storage and networking hardware. During the discussion, I mentioned Automation Center from VMware. The customer asked, “If I looking to put things in the public cloud in the future, why do I need automation?” A great question. I shared with the customer my story about my neighbor above and asked him another question, “If your direction is to move things to the public cloud, you will begin purchasing your IT infrastructure as a utility. How will you make sure your kids do not leave the lights on?” There was a long pause as the gravity of the analogy set in. I have seen customers today with current monthly public cloud bills that are 100 times+ my monthly electric bill. This makes this requirement all the more critical.
Automation Center can build things in the public clouds in an automated fashion and still provide ownership and accountability for the things that users create. You can mandate that all things created in the public cloud have an expiration date. An application owner can see the end dates for everything they have requested. An App Manager can see everything their department has requested and owns in the public cloud. IT can see the owners and expiration of everything everyone from the company has created in the public cloud. If we near the expiration, we can give the owners the option to request an extension (with proper approvals of course) and the expiration date will be moved out automatically.
What I try to help customers understand is not to think of Automation Center as the tool to take the request and create the VMs. It’s a tool which manages the life of the things that users create from IT. Whether that’s in the private cloud or the public or both. With the cost of that public cloud adding up quickly, knowing that I’m only running the things I need to becomes all the more critical. Now off to get some new light switches, damn kids left the lights on again.