Enterprise applications are on the rise and are solving critical business problems for large firms. Due to their importance in the performance of these huge firms, a lot of investment is made in managing their infrastructure. Complex networks lead to operational overhead in terms of cost and manpower. While cloud and SDN will significantly simplify the network and its management, enterprises need to invest in the right self-service solutions to increase operational efficiency before they look at automation, and later, SDN-type technologies.
Enabling self-service for individual teams increases the operational efficiencies of organizations and reduces the cost that results from slow deployments. Individual teams need dedicated access to pools of resources to be able to provision and monitor their application services across the network. The right self-service solution will ensure that network teams are able to securely provide access (read and read/write access) to the respective teams and significantly reduce the day-to-day operational burden and number of tickets to resolve.
Self-service is a base for ensuring the automation vision that most organizations have begun targeting. Without the right self-service solution in place, automation can also add overhead to the network. Public cloud systems have made provisioning and managing services easy and extremely cost-effective. Application teams are now looking at a mix of public cloud, private cloud, and traditional infrastructure—the hybrid data center. To be able to effectively scale out to a public cloud when the demand is high (cloud burst) requires a solution that is capable of providing access for the customer to do so without breaking the network.
The huge cost of network management is due to the absence of a simple and easy-to-use solution for end users. Some key advantages of adopting a self-service model in the network management include:
Reduces operational costs: If customers can request resources and deploy and manage applications quickly and securely, it reduces the cost involved in day-to-day network operations.
Increases cross-team collaboration: Multiple stakeholders are involved in deploying an application. Self-service systems should be able to handle efficient workflow systems that route requests from application teams to network engineering and security, and finally reach the operations team for deployment after all the approvals are in place.
Increases end-user satisfaction: Business units and application teams like to have visibility into how their application services are behaving on a day-to-day basis. Application teams should be able to quickly route traffic to other servers during maintenance windows and reduce application upgrade downtime.
Automation: Self-service is key to enabling automation. Slow manual processes are quickly replaced by fast workflows and error-handling systems. Self-service also helps automate the backend deployment process once the self-service workflow is defined and proven.