Road to Automation with VMware vRA – GSS Company Profile

Caution: Articles written for technical not grammatical accuracy, If poor grammar offends you proceed with caution ;-)

In my previous article The Road to automation with VMware vRA I discussed I would be published a company profile for my fictitious company GSS.  In this article we will be digging into GSS to take a look at where it is today, its challenges, processes, systems, and automation use cases.

Company: (GSS) Gregarious Simulation Systems
Profile: Successful Video Game Manufacturer
Employees: 1200+
IT Staff: 80+
vSphere Sockets: 200+
Managed VMs: 3000+
Server Build Team: 12
Environments: Development, Test, Stage, Production

Current Challenges:

Currently within GSS all systems are built manually by a team of 12 individuals.  Requests come in the form of a ticket that the users opens via a form driven web page.  The users don’t always know all the information needed.  They fill out the form using a best guess approach.

Due to process, time to complete manual tasks, and research needed to clarify portions of the users request it currently takes the build team 6-8 weeks to deploy a new server from the time it is requested.  GSS is preparing to launch their new virtual reality simulation environment and the project is taking longer than anticipated due to long lead times for workload deployments.

GSS is also afraid once the new service launches they will not be able to keep up with the demand for new servers to support the virtual simulation environment.  With the pressure rising, deadlines approaching, and an unknown future demand for services GSS needs to put a solution in place that will achieve the following:

Requirements:

  • Reduce server build times to under 2 hours
  • Provide teams the ability to request workloads from a catalog of services
  • Apply leases to workloads for development and QA to ensure optimal utilization of resources
  • Determine appropriate network, storage, and related placement decisions without user knowledge
  • Abstract technical details from user
  • Integrate to existing necessary IT Systems such as; IPAM/DNS, AD, Configuration Management, Load Balancing, and Backup.
  • Must support vSphere Tagging and DRS
  • Must be able to conform to GSS naming convention
  • All systems must conform to necessary compliance needs
  • System must be able to be supported and maintained by a team no larger than 4 individuals
  • Additional requirements as determined by individual teams

Processes:

GSS realizes that processes already implemeneted based on manual tasks may not all apply to automation and is willing to make some changes.  Even though they are willing to make changes some existing processes  must stay.  Processes known at this time are:

  • Workload sizing must conform to predefined company standards
  • Approvals must be obtained before any production workloads can be deployed
  • All staging and production systems must be recorded in the CMDB
  • All windows based systems must be placed in secured build environment until properly patched and secured.

Systems:

  • Infoblox
  • Active Directory
  • Ansible Tower
  • Red Hat Satelite
  • F5
  • VEEAM
  • ServiceNOW
  • vCenter
  • vROPS
  • vRB
  • Log Insight
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