All posts by Ravi Srivatsav

The Apple Watch: now is the time to build your apps to be ready for launch

applewatch

Yesterday, Apple announced the Apple Watch, which is going to create a major revolution in how we consume, interact with, and share data. At ElasticBox we couldn’t be more excited about what this means for businesses building applications for a brand new platform.  Read More

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Senior Salesforce Exec Monish Sharma Joins ElasticBox as Vice President of Customer Success

I am really excited to announce our new VP of Customer Success, Monish Sharma.  Monish brings over 17 years of experience on the frontlines of DevOps to the ElasticBox team as the company scales to meet the growing demand for their service.

We created ElasticBox to help mend the frayed relationship between developers and IT teams, and by doing so, push a company’s bottom line forward.  Read More

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ElasticBox and Infoblox – Say that Five Times Fast!

Hello everyone!

We at ElasticBox are really excited about our partnership with Infoblox to integrate “Network Control” into your process for developing and deploying applications in a cloud environment. To align with the Infoblox press release today, I wanted to provide a little more detail on how Infoblox and ElasticBox work together.

First let’s define the partnership at a high level, and from a conceptual point of view. ElasticBox is a DevOps Platform that enables IT operations to deliver IT as a Service and also provides a collaboration mechanism for operations and developers to define and deploy applications in a modular process across any cloud environment – private, public, and hybrid. Infoblox, on the other hand, provides a powerful solution to centralize and automate network provisioning and control. So together, ElasticBox and Infoblox ensure that when you are developing, orchestrating, and deploying your applications in the cloud, everything – including the network – will work, automatically.

OK, I am being told that I should probably provide some more detail…

ElasticBox uses webhooks to provide a high level of integration to Infoblox. A quick example of how ElasticBox uses webhooks to integrate with Infoblox follows – you’ll see in the diagram below that Infoblox can discover IP endpoints and assign IP addresses reliably in your network.

By using webhooks within ElasticBox, you can integrate that Infoblox network configuration capability into your automated ElasticBox application deployment process. Follow these three steps to set up the integration:

  1. Build a custom web service for Infoblox. On the hosting web server such as Apache, add a web service resource that interfaces with Infoblox. In the resource, add the service, machine, and instance objects that ElasticBox can talk to when making web calls.
  1. Add a customization spec. Add customization specifications for Linux and Windows templates in vSphere so they can accept the custom parameters from ElasticBox.
  1. Add the webhook to ElasticBox. Finally, add the web service host URL as a webhook in ElasticBox.

Once this is done, it’s plug and play. Whenever users deploy applications using Box templates from ElasticBox onto vSphere, ElasticBox sends a HTTP POST request to the Infoblox custom web service. Infoblox returns the machine object appended with the IP address information. ElasticBox passes this on to vSphere to provision the Windows or Linux virtual machine based on the customization spec.

That gives you an idea of how ElasticBox webhooks can integrate closely with your Infoblox solution. Have any questions or need help getting started? Let us know how we can help.

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ITaaS: The Innovative CIO’s Recipe to Curb Shadow IT

Early this month I was at the CIO Executive Leadership Summit in San Diego, which attracted about 900 people; among them were CIOs from big enterprises, influencers from the press, and portfolio companies sponsored by Intel.

At this popular networking event, I had a chance to meet several C-level executives from enterprises that turn over upwards of a billion dollars in annual revenue. It was great to connect with these folks because you get to hear of challenges from a whole organization’s perspective thanks to their bird’s eye view.

Wary of the Shadow

In our meetings, the CIOs talked about shadow IT problems that affect departments today. Shadow IT happens typically when groups inside your organization quickly start experimenting with or using SaaS and cloud services without waiting around for IT and organizational approval.

Shadow IT problems spring up in large enterprises when IT departments are slow to respond to pressing business demands. IT is often too busy processing a flood of requests related to production, post production, dev, and test. They’re held back from delivering services fast because of workflow processes and the amount of manual setup involved.

Let me give an example. Company A, a publicly traded fortune 500 company, has a policy to not leverage anything from the public cloud because they have sensitive data and want to remain inside a private data center. On the other hand, dev and test groups in the company need virtual machine resources ASAP to code and test their applications. Say a developer requests 50 virtual machines from IT. IT takes a while to get to the request as they have to prioritize, approve, create a ticket, and then provision the machines. In the meantime, the developer is frustrated because they’re slowed down. So dev and the test groups turn to services like AWS, Google Compute, or Rackspace to meet their needs at the swipe of a card.

Although the company’s policy is not to use the public cloud, in reality, at the end of the month the CFO has to foot mounting bills for a cloud provider the company hasn’t even contracted with.

Every CIO is aware of such shadow IT problems. The question in their minds as the CIO is how to drive changes inside the organization to meet these growing demands. How to evolve from a Chief Information Officer to a Chief Innovation Officer.

The ITaaS Vision

Today that shift is slowly but surely underway. Like the Netflix VP of IT Operations Mike Kail says, to be a true engine of innovation, IT has to be delivered as a service (ITaaS).

The internal IT infrastructure team, for example, can use a self-service portal to deliver its infrastructure. Once you request infrastructure through the portal, a preset policy approves machines making them instantly available to you.

Now IT is not just infrastructure, but also services. If developers are prone to using the AWS Oracle service, they’d expect a similar service from IT. At the next level, developers need applications deployed to a specific environment right away. Such demands mean that IT has to deliver not just infrastructure but also services and platforms for businesses to deploy applications. To transform itself to ITaaS, every aspect of IT has to be delivered as a service.

ElasticBox serves as the self-service platform for ITaaS in your enterprise. As an IT admin, you can go in and provision infrastructure from your choice of provider. As an architect, you build application configurations in boxes to spell out exactly how applications should deploy. And then dev, test groups can use the boxes like templates, pick provider services from a catalog of different providers, and finally launch applications in an agile way.

From a CIO’s perspective, ITaaS shrinks the go-to-market time for products or applications. By automating how applications are developed and by deploying them faster, even if you cut short the time for a product to reach the market by 20%, that’s significant cost savings and a competitive advantage.

The Bottom-Up CIO

Some of the innovative CIOs at the summit were talking the ITaaS vision. This is becoming more and more a pervasive reality. My resonating highlight was this question from a CIO, “Do you think my developers would love the solution?”

CIOs today embrace this approach in their thinking. Their decision-making for IT is no longer top-down but bottom-up where developers play an influential role. As a Chief Innovation Officer, the CIO wants to enable the shift to ITaaS in the organization. They’re looking to bring about the transformation at a holistic level with help from both developers and IT. And ElasticBox is ready to help along this journey with developer-centered support.

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How 1+1+1=5 when Developers, Architects, and IT Ops Truly Collaborate!

When it comes to defining and deploying enterprise cloud applications, traditionally, there has been a healthy tension between the developers, architects, and IT Operations. This is largely due to the needs and success measures for these stakeholders being different and not fully aligned with the overall goals of the enterprise.

Developers want to focus on code and develop, test, and deploy their applications faster with unbridled freedom. Key requirements include:

  • An agile development environment that can be created and torn down at will, on demand.
  • Self-service of infrastructure components, such as servers, and services such as runtimes, databases, load balancers, scripts, etc.
  • Ability to replicate QA, production, or customer environment effortlessly

In general, the QA requirements are similar to those of developers, except with a focus on building a QA setup that is identical to a production environment in terms of scale, performance, security, and other capabilities.

The requirements from architects’ perspective are different but equally important to be addressed.

  • Developing and driving standards and best practices
  • Integrating new technology and rapidly developing blueprint for application innovation
  • Avoiding repetitive, tedious tasks

Meanwhile, the IT Operations team is responsible to fulfill the requests from developers, QA, and architects.

  • Ensuring service level agreements (SLAs) are met for the services consumed
  • Balancing tactical needs with longer term projects
  • Positioning IT as an enabler of innovation and eliminating bureaucracy while retaining control to ensure compliance and governance.

Traditional approaches to addressing these problems have yielded sub-optimal, partial, and siloed  solutions tightly coupled to the underlying cloud infrastructure. Consequently, collaboration is inefficient and lower productivity translates into slower innovation of new applications for the enterprise.

ElasticBox dramatically changes the game by fortifying the synergies between the stakeholders and streamlining the develop-test-deploy cycle in a boundary-less manner. Application definition can be completely separated from the details of the underlying cloud infrastructure.

Using ElasticBox, each of the personas can flexibly integrate their knowledge and expertise into the application life cycle. Reusable software components, called Boxes, can be created which include run times, web servers, and middleware. The library of templates so developed can be shared as a self-service catalog throughout the organization. Access based policies for resource allocation and scaling can be assigned based on users and groups to ensure governance.

This is the power of true win/win/win collaboration between developers, architects, and IT Operations. We simply call it the 1+1+1=5 effect.

What is the level of collaboration in your organization between the developers/QA, architects, and IT Operations? Why not build an application lifecycle process that celebrates the healthy tension between these personas while empowering each stakeholder to unleash their potential?

Self-service and IT governance can harmoniously coexist. Who said you cannot have the cake and eat it too!

 

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ElasticBox Selected as Innovation Showdown Finalist at CloudBeat 2013!

We are honored to be selected as a finalist for the rapid-fire Innovation Showdown on September 10.

Come join us for a demo and Q&A and jumpstart your path to a cloud-ready enterprise!

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ElasticBox: “A Best of VMworld 2013 Award Winner.” Finalist in Public and Hybrid Cloud Computing Technologies

ElasticBox CEO Ravi Srivatsav is all smiles as he received the award at the VMworld 2013!

ElasticBox- “A Best of VMworld 2013 Award Winner.” Finalist in Public and Hybrid Cloud Computing Technologies_best-vmw-aware-2013

We are honored to be named  one of the “Best of VMworld 2013” award winners,  finalist in the category Public and Hybrid Cloud Technologies. A testimonial to our approach to focus on applications, not just infrastructure, across heterogeneous clouds.

Congratulations to the ElasticBox team, especially our engineering team, for building a great solution. And our sincere thanks to our customers for your support and guidance. Without you, we wouldn’t be here!

Sign up for a Free Trial and discover how easily  you can define and deploy any application on any cloud your way!

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Top 3 Reasons to Visit ElasticBox, Booth #543 VMworld 2013

  1. Save a lot of money by extending the benefits of your VMWare Private Cloud by embracing public cloud such as AWS, Rackspace, HP Cloud, and Microsoft Azure
  2. Get a great demo latest version of ElasticBox and Think Applications, not just Infrastructure.
  3. Participate in the raffle to win one of six Nike Fuel Bands!
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ElasticBox Product Review by Bernd Harzog, Analyst, The Virtualization Practice

Check out the in-depth Product Review of ElasticBox solution conducted by Bernd Harzog, Analyst at The Virtualization Practice, and CEO of APM Experts. Find out how ElasticBox can help you define and deploy your application on any cloud your way!

Abstract
There is a lot of talk about how successful Amazon is being at making it easy to consume virtual infrastructure via its AWS public cloud offerings. There is a lot of talk as well from vendors of private and hybrid cloud solutions about how they can help IT departments in enterprises stand up their own clouds and deliver the same level of self-service and automated virtual infrastructure as Amazon can to their business constituents.

However, almost all of this talk focuses upon either Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which focuses upon delivery of virtual machines, Platform as a Service (PaaS) which focuses upon the delivery of the software platforms (web servers, Java servers, database servers) upon which applications run, or Software as a Service (SaaS) which is generally taken to mean that the vendor of the application hosts the back end (like SalesForce.com).

What is missing from this conversation, and these categories of cloud computing is the one thing that most enterprises care about the most. That one thing is how to they manage the lifecycle of the applications that they own (the ones that they purchased and the ones that they custom developed), in a manner that allows the enterprise to deploy these applications as they desire across various public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment options.

This is a review of ElasticBox, a product that specifically addresses the issue of managing the lifecycle of applications across combinations of private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Download the ElasticBox Product Review.

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Extend VMWare Private Cloud Benefits while Embracing Public Clouds

Extend VMWare Private Cloud Benefits while Embracing Public Clouds_logoVisit us at VMworld 2013, Booth #543, to see the latest release of ElasticBox, v2.0. Learn how you can extend the benefits of your VMWare private cloud deployment while embracing public clouds. Just like how Netflix and other customers have done, you can get the following benefits immediately!

  1. Separate application definition from the underlying cloud infrastructure, whether it is VMWare private cloud or public cloud such as AWS, Rackspace,  HP Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.
  2. Deliver self-service catalog for applications and services across these heterogeneous clouds.

  3. Ensure consistency between development, quality assurance, staging, and production environments
  4. Apply policy-based access control and resource allocation to provision heterogeneous cloud environments and dynamically scale infrastructure to address business needs.

ElasticBox — Powering the Cloud-Ready Enterprise

Sign up for a free trial and find out for yourself!

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