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Investing in cloud infrastructure, virtualization, and digitization have become mandatory for companies. However, a CFO who signs off a multi-million dollar check may still have to face irate department heads who aren’t seeing immediate benefits in day-to-day operations. IT Automation specialist Alemba saw a market opportunity to make the expensive physical infrastructure easily available to the business via self-serve portal.
“All the tools that exist in the market are cued towards technicians and not the business. This is where we come in. We want to bring businesses closer to the new cloud infrastructure,” explains Simon Nugent, the CEO of the company. Hailing from a consultancy background, the team at Alemba understands the challenges that IT departments on the one hand, and business departments on the other, face. IT needs to adhere to governance, compliance, and security policies whilst the business demands ever greater agility and responsiveness. Creating a cloud provisioning platform that meets both of these objectives has been extremely difficult–up to now.
Alemba which was founded in 2007 with offices across the U.S., Europe, and Australia, acquired VSM from VMware in 2014, and gained access to its technology and people. Alemba’s flagship product is vxStore, which they hope will provide the missing piece of the cloud provisioning jigsaw–a bridge between the cloud infrastructure and the business. Users have got used to slick front-ends for public cloud management like Amazon and Azure’s management dashboards. Now organizations can provide the same experience for their users as vxStore provides the same dashboard front-end over their private or hybrid cloud infrastructure, without compromising the needs of the IT department.
The uniqueness of the vxStore solution lies in the fact that the product has four planks. The first is the HTML storefront for business requests, which features a modern interface with clearly presented catalog items.
Alemba creates intuitive solutions which are slick at the front-end, but also offer an intelligent back-end that streamlines the technology for enhanced business benefits
This leads to the second plank which is the workflow engine. The workflow engine handles human and systems orchestration together, leading to the third plank which is the integration platform. The last plank is the infrastructure modeling which runs servers, software, network nodes, and linkages between all of them, which talk to each other.
One of Alemba’s customers is a large U.S.-based defence company which had a request-to-provision time of about two weeks for virtual servers. By implementing vxStore they have brought this time down to two hours without sacrificing any of the governance around the creation of the servers. “The solution allows multi-server environments to be added to the shopping cart. The business users specify what they want. The workflow makes sure that the correct authorizations are obtained then it instructs the VMware tools to create the machines. But then it records the actual machine names and links those together in a logical “environment”. These logical records are in turn available to the original user through the vxStore portal so they can both see what they have provisioned but also take further actions on those machines like extending storing, increasing memory or CPU, and taking snapshots,” explains Nugent.
vxStore’s workflow engine is flexible, allowing it to add users and utility as required. For example, a company which is expanding can add new vendors, customers, and partners with greater ease. Nugent says that one of its clients–the HR department of a large retail company added hundreds of templates and 700 forms to the workflow engine to customize it to its needs.
In spite of its achievements, Alemba does not intend to go slow. It is looking to build on its sales channels and create awareness of its products. Its team of researchers is also building on Artificial Intelligence. “We have some active projects that will see the light of the day within three to six months. We also realized that lots of people within the organization interact with the workflow end, be it occasional users who drop in a form, or business users who complete a task and get back out again. So, we came up with a project called Nano with a minimal interface. It is in beta testing at the moment, and we are very excited about it,” says Nugent. Alemba creates intuitive solutions which are slick at the front-end, but also offer an intelligent back-end that streamlines the technology for enhanced business benefits.