How to increase #DevOps productivity in large ?


Summary: In this short video clip learn how Quali Systems helps test/dev pros get access to dev environments in a self service model to really help streamline production and improve speed. By creating a drag and drop modelling tool, one can create a digital twin of the production environmnent from virtual data to the pysical infrastructure, to quickly model and manipulate it as the test/dev engineer requires. Transcript follows below:


 Mike Matchett:                  Hi, I'm Mike Matchett, with Small World Big Data, and I'm here with Shashi Kiran, the CMO of Quali, who's going to tell us a little bit today about environments on demand, and what Quali's doing to help people get very dynamic, I guess, get their environments spun up and spun down, and take control of copies of environments, which is a cool concept altogether. Welcome, Shashi.

Shashi Kiran:                        Thank you, Mike. Good talking with you.

Mike Matchett:                  So, first, you were telling me about Quali, where you guys are really focused, and environments on demand. Maybe you can just tell me a little bit more about what it means, to get an environment on demand.

Shashi Kiran:                        Yeah, certainly. So, today, if we look at a lot of the R&D development process, where every company is a software company, you have a whole amount of digitization initiatives going on. The question is, how do you make these development test engineers a lot more productive, particularly in larger organizations?

                                                      We find that, many times, they end up having to raise a ticker into IT, to get an environment set up for them to develop for, or test against, and this is a huge productivity impediment, and it also impacts time to market. Everybody wants to move fast.

                                                      So, it's also issue with collaboration, particularly in distributed organizations that are looking for somebody with business contacts to help define why a certain environment needs to be ready, and somebody else is, and I'm secreting upon it.

                                                      These are challenges that we see, particularly in larger enterprises, even sales providers, globally, and so, what we end up doing is really helping them to very quickly get access to on-demand environments in a self-service manner. So we call these as, self-service environments on demand, obviously.

                                                      The idea here is, there is somebody who's a solution expert, architect, somebody with the context, who helps design these blueprints. These blueprints are essentially replicas of production environments, or it could be an area that they're focused on for development, or for testing, and so, these blueprint designers design them.

                                                      We have a couple of ways. It's sort of, a very elegant, visual-like, modeling tool, where they can drag and drop different components, physical infrastructure, virtual data, application service, API's testing tools, whatever it is in the context of that environment, or slices thereof. They can model and bring that, in the context of a blueprint, and these blueprints are passive entities.

                                                      They publish these blueprints into self-service catalogs. Now, a development engineer or a testing engineer could go, click on the particular blueprint that they want to invoke, and they could tweak it as appropriate, and they can reserve that. Now it becomes a live environment that's ready for them to do whatever they want to do with it. What's that?

Mike Matchett:                  And these are things that can be spun up on different target platforms, and, even more importantly, shut down and recovered very quickly, because you don't have to worry about it, because you can just spin another one up. Right?

Shashi Kiran:                        Exactly. So, first of all, because it's a self-service, they cut down the amount of time it was taking for them, maybe weeks together with IT, in certain cases. So they get to move things very fast. It's a huge productivity improvement, and time to market improves.

                                                      At the same time, to the point that you mention, it's also about much more effective resource utilization. We have the ability to go layer, and spin this environment up on, either physical, [inaudible 00:03:52] infrastructure, in the context of data centers or labs, or in a public-private, hybrid Cloud environment, as well. So, it's Cloud agnostic solution.

                                                      So it's not just spinning these up, but gracefully, it's bringing that environment down, and giving visibility into the utilization, usage metrics, and the cost aspects associated with it. That's why it's very ephemeral, but very efficient utilization of infrastructure and resources. We call these as sandboxes as a result.

Mike Matchett:                  I see now. So, I understand, in the dev ops use case, I think everyone kind of understands, we want to move quickly, and have agility, and spin things up and down. But the other two things that we were talking about earlier, one was, just in the data center, automation and orchestration space, what struck me was that you can do hybrid environments, where you can actually, not just spin up a sandbox, for example, in a data center, or a sandbox in a Cloud, but effectively, a sandbox that spans both, and that seems fairly unique, right?

Shashi Kiran:                        It is, and I'll tell you why it's important. Because today, we have a number of enterprises that want to take certain workloads into the public Cloud, and they have made a significant amount of investment into the data centers, on-premise infrastructure, applications that have been running for ages, and now, they want to utilize a public Cloud or a hybrid operation and model.

                                                      But they don't know what the performance of the application is going to be, when they lift and shift it. They don't know if the security posture is going to be impacted, and so, usually, this migration, which is planned for a certain time, ends up doubling or even tripling, because they hit all these speed bumps in between.

                                                      So they find a lot of value in being able to replicate their current environment, as well as their target environment, and maybe even model a connectivity between the two, and expose their applications. It could be a monolithic application that we have now, that we are re-architecting to be modernized container, by a base with microservices. And so, it is an architectural shift, and when there's a change in architecture, obviously, there are things that do get broken, or sub-optimized.

                                                      So they can, now, with this hybrid environment, detect a lot of things earlier on in the cycle. As you know, it's always less expensive to shift things, when you catch them to the left, than to the right.

Mike Matchett:                  Yeah, and then, finally, I just wanted to ... The other interesting use case, I just wanted to touch base on here, was a security use case, and you calling this a cyber range, which makes me think of a firing range, where you go and you blow things up, and it's in a safe place off on the side. Just, in 30 seconds, what is a cyber range, and what does this have to do with an environment on demand?

Shashi Kiran:                        Yeah, think of a cyber range as something of a controlled environment, somewhat similar to a shooting or a firing range, where you can go and fire a gun, in a very controlled environment. So, today, we have so much cybersecurity threats that are hitting the enterprise, and a lot of it is hard to detect, because of the complexity of the environment.

                                                      And so, for them to, first of all, understand their own security posture, they need to be in a position to replicate that environment, and then, figure out where the vulnerabilities lie. And, subsequently, train their people to figure out how best to handle certain attacks.

                                                      So this where they're building cyber ranges, which are, sort of authentic replicas of their own environments, whether it's a physical, on prem, distributed, and then, using it as a best practice to train their personnel, and maybe use it to harden their security posture, and in some cases, for forensic. After an incident has happened, how do you find out what actually caused it? So they try to replicate it in the context of their environment.

                                                      It's become a very popular use case for us, which originally started with different institutions. But now, we see a lot of mainstream enterprises attracted to it.

Mike Matchett:                  I mean, jeez, it sounds like there's a whole ton of use cases out here, for these environments on demand. I know you've got an exciting road map coming up this year yet, with even more capabilities. We'll have to come back and talk about that later on, Shashi, but thanks for being here today.

Shashi Kiran:                        Thank you, Mike. Thanks for having me, and I'd love to come back, and talk more with you.

Mike Matchett:                  All right, and thank you for watching today. I'm sure you can all find more on Quali's website about how to access and use these environments on demand. Thanks.

Shashi Kiran:               Thank you.