In the past, this international research company was set up with many business units in different industries with separate cost centres. To manage their finances, they had created their own cost reporting tool. "We started using VMware technologies early on to partition our infrastructure and resource the different business units as needed," said the infrastructure manager. "Our custom cost reporting tool worked very well, but for a number of reasons we felt we were reinventing the wheel and needed to rethink our approach.”
The organization's use of computing resources varied significantly between the different business units within the organization. "It was no surprise to me that the use of resources was heavily dependent on the research projects each unit was involved in," said Alain Geenrits, Lead Architect at comdivision. "For IT, it was very difficult to predict the infrastructure load. Therefore, a more flexible approach was required," explained Geenrits.
"The client has many research projects that require different levels of confidentiality, so a comprehensive cloud-first strategy would not be signed off by the legal department." The client therefore decided to invest in a standardized foundation for its future infrastructure. A new greenfield environment was deployed using VMware Cloud Foundation. The client was already using NSX for micro-segmentation. This was very valuable given the need to keep workloads strictly separate. They had also been using HCI for some time but found that while HCI was much more flexible and powerful than traditional hardware, it only worked up to a point: "At the end of the day, once a host has no workloads, it can only be turned off. But what was left was the investment," says the infrastructure manager. "We wanted to complement our basic on-premises system with a multi-cloud approach." This approach allows them to burst workloads into the cloud. At a time when many analysts are using VDI infrastructure, they can even put VDI workloads in the cloud (or any cloud), for example, closer to their cloud-native applications.
They used VMware Aria Automation for their automated service catalogue and workload lifecycle management.
This is where the client turned to comdivision's operations expert, Alain Geenrits. Alain has extensive experience with VMware Aria Operations in general and cost reporting in particular.
"We started with a workshop to introduce the stakeholders to what Aria Operations Manager can do for the business in general," said Geenrits. "Since they're analysts, we thought they should be able to understand and trust analyst reports," Geenrits said wryly, "so we showed them the impressive data Forrester compiled and calculated in its 2019 study, 'The Total Economic Impact Of VMware Aria Operations.' 20 % reduction in hardware costs, 93 % reduction in unplanned downtime, and 50 % reduction in database management software licensing costs… these numbers resonated with the client."
"So we initially established basic cost reporting," explained Geenrits. "The typical dashboards we created first gave an overview of the overall cost of ownership. The next step was to work with the client to integrate price lists from Aria Automation."
The comdivision team also set this up for the internal reporting tool.
"We prepared the system to integrate cloud costs in the near future." Geenrits said. "By leveraging the AI capabilities of VMware Aria Operations Cloud, the client can improve cost reporting in a way that was not possible with the old system. With vROPS Cloud, not only can the client get visibility and cost reporting for their on-premises workloads, but thanks to the operational visibility provided by the Cloud Foundation Federation, we can add those metrics to vROPS!" Geenrits concluded.