3 imperatives for self-service in a multicloud environment

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self-service multicloudThe advent of cloud-based platform services has dramatically expanded the options available to developers. While many developers have flocked to cloud-based development tools, others continue to use on-premises development environments.

What has become clear is that there is no single development platform or cloud deployment model that fits every situation. With the advent of the hybrid cloud, developers have never had more options. IT management can get caught in a difficult situation of having to please multiple groups of constituents. It must provide departmental developers with the options they need to quickly develop new solutions while maintaining security, governance and cost control.

While self-service is fairly straightforward in a single cloud environment, it can be much more complicated across multiple clouds and cloud services. Administrators must decide which teams should have access to which services. For example, a team that routinely handles personal information might be restricted to on-premises services. Alternatively, teams working on developing mobile applications might receive access to a variety of public cloud services. Each environment needs its own self-service interface and environment. The challenge is to provide an overall self-service interface across cloud development tools.

But enabling self-service is more than simply providing an interface to access the right image from a public cloud service. Increasingly, we are moving to a world where companies are using microservices and a variety of application and data services to help developers quickly create new applications in quickly changing markets. Creating new applications from highly-distributed services requires coordination among a variety of elements: basic cloud compute, storage, complex application services, data services, security and governance.

Below are three imperatives that businesses can achieve by implementing a multicloud self-service environment.

1. A consistent way to evaluate options

Users need to have a way to evaluate their options and choose the best cloud environment that meets their technical and financial requirements. A self-service portal will expose the options that are appropriate for that developer based on the type of data that is involved, their workload requirements and cost restrictions. The developer can read a brief description of each service, assess the tools that are available on that service and decide if it will fulfill their needs.

2. Balance control while allowing choice

Executive management should make sure they retain overall visibility and control of costs and governance. At the same time, developers want to the freedom to choose the platforms that meets their immediate needs. By giving developers choice, organizations are avoiding the problem of “shadow IT.”

3. Allow DevOps teams to focus on creativity and coding

Business leaders don’t want DevOps teams investing time setting up environments, selecting tools and environment teardowns. Instead, teams should be focused on rapidly improving applications, responding to feedback and creating new services. A self-service, multicloud environment with automation allows teams to quickly spin up tested images so that they can focus on coding.

There’s only one way to pragmatically approach the complexities of a multicloud environment: create a self-service portal that is designed with well-defined APIs. This self-service portal must include rules that assist developers in selecting the most appropriate service. All of these services need to be managed with a carefully-vetted catalog so that only approved services are used.

A self-service portal provides a predictable and safe environment to ensure that a business can create innovation at the pace of change. To be successful, the business demands ease of use for the developer with the right safeguards to protect the integrity of the business. The portal brings together the tools for the developers in context with the deployment models needed to support scalability and protection.

To learn about IBM Cloud Automation Manger, visit ibm.biz/tryICAM. The first version of IBM Cloud Automation Manager is now available on IBM Bluemix and supports IBM Cloud and other public cloud offerings.

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