Ways to Get More Value Out of vRA

 

Looking for ways to expand your vRA Installation?

There are several ways you can quickly get value out of vRA.  Here are some ideas to help ensure your vRA deployment delivers as much value as possible.

Interview your users and meet with them regularly

How can you know for certain that you’re providing value if you don’t seek and analyze feedback from your users?  All too often, IT organizations deploy tools like vRA but fail to ensure they solve real problems for their customers.  If you’re not solving their problems, you might actually be creating more problems.  This can have catastrophic impacts and could lead to the IT organization becoming irrelevant to the business.

So, then how can you align your capabilities to business and mission needs?  Simple – talk to your users.  There are usually pain points they’re facing that you can easily address with automation.  The best way to understand these problems is to engage your customers in ongoing dialog.  This should start during the design and planning phase of a vRA deployment, but should continue well beyond.  Creating a user group is one great way to keep customers engaged on a monthly or quarterly basis.  Be sure to understand where they’ve been, where they are, and where they want to go.  The more you can integrate yourself into their roadmap, the more value you can show, and the less chance you have of becoming irrelevant.

Message wins to management

Sometimes there are opposing camps dividing IT organizations, with some individuals being in your corner and others looking for opportunities to upend a product or capability and bring their preferred vendor in.  If you’re struggling to identify ways to show value, it can often be as easy as remembering to take the time to brief senior management on wins and efficiencies gained through vRA deployment.

You should keep it short and concise, and focus on a few data points:

  1. Adoption Rate – how many customers have you converted to vRA? Is the organization getting its money’s worth?
  2. Increased Deployment Rates – how much faster are you accomplishing business now than you were before?
  3. Decreased Costs – how much many have you saved the organization through the implementation of vRA?
  4. Increased Compliance & Security – focus on some high-value intangibles like compliance & security. These save headaches and future money that would have been spent on cleaning up problems.

Integration with external systems

Reducing manual human interaction points throughout the system lifecycle can have a huge impact on the total value of the system.  Processes that used to take hours, days, or weeks, will be reduced to minutes with vRA.  This presents a huge opportunity to show value.

Add customizations during provisioning time

Allow your users to request things like storage tier, operating location, and networks to attach to VMs.  This reduces interaction required with IT providers and puts users in control of their services.

Automate complex software deployments

Partner with your users to identify the most high value targets for automation.  Ideally, you should take into account whether the effort required to automate these will save at least as much time as it takes to complete the automation.  In general, it’s a good idea to tackle the lowest hanging fruit first – the ones that can be automated very quickly.  This might include items that already have scripts and deployment packages available which you can reference during provisioning to do most of the work for you.

As you move on to the more complex items, it becomes necessary to identify the return on investment in terms of time.  You don’t want your engineering team spending 200 hours to automate something that takes 10 hours deploy once and will only get used 3 times.  (10 * 3 = 30 – 200 = net time savings of -170 hours)

Add container and Kubernetes integrations

Most organizations are currently engaged in identifying how to operationalize containers and utilize the Kubernetes orchestration engine.  Automating these components can help unify dev and IT teams by solving some problems the devs may be seeing.  It is highly recommended to partner with devs on this effort to ensure you’re building a solution they’ll actually adopt.

Expand to the cloud

Bringing multiple clouds and hypervisors under a single management umbrella can introduce a lot of efficiencies.  First, the same system is used for self-service requests, you can place an authentication and authorization layer in front of multiple systems that might not have native access (i.e. AD accounts accessing AWS resources), and you can apply the same governance policies to a heterogeneous set of resources.  All of these options greatly increase the value of your vRA deployment.

 


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