Our View… From the Clouds

Running a Hybrid Cloud? Are you tracking usage and costs?

Posted by Chris Moore

7/27/15 3:57 PM

At Microsoft Ignite 2015, 72 percent of IT professionals polled said cloud usage and cost tracking are essential for business management. When not in conflict with other departments, many administrators struggle with efficiently tracking resource usage and costs. This issue was too clear with a major networking vendor. Their administrators spent countless hours each month manually tracking resource consumption. Since this method was prone to human error, the vendor deployed CloudBolt to automate their reporting process. Doing so allowed them to improve the accuracy of cloud usage and cost tracking across five hypervisors and public clouds.

In addition to manual cost tracking, some administrators also manually control resource distribution. Due to limited IT resources, a leading data storage provider’s administrators are afraid of end-users spinning up VMs from a self-service IT portal. The concern came from the idea that administrators would be unable to control how many VMs end-users provisioned. In response to this concern, CloudBolt allows administrators to set quotas that prevent end-users from running over their allotted resources. CloudBolt also allows administrators to set thresholds that alert them when resources are reaching max capacity.

Taking an automated approach lightens administrators’ workload, allowing them to be more productive in areas that were previously neglected. So, whether a company needs to improve the provisioning process, measuring or controlling of IT resource consumption, they should consider deploying a self-service portal. Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government agencies and even the City of London have recognized the need for automated self-service tools, and they all chose CloudBolt as the solution.

CloudBolt has been recognized for its market leading time to value. With that in mind, simply submit a download request and test it out at any time.

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Topics: CMP, Cloud Management, VMware, Cloud, Shadow IT, Hybrid Cloud

Control the Clouds & Impress Your Stars

Posted by Chris Moore

7/21/15 1:57 PM

People crave a sense of control and importance, especially consumers.
Why? Because they are the stars of your business.

When consumers feel unimportant, they take their business somewhere else. Consider this: “78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.”1 If IT administrators provide poor service to their consumers, the IT end-users can go to AWS instead and contribute to VM sprawl. So, how does an infrastructure team avoid the unnecessary struggles that come from internal conflicts?

One method is to place an emphasized focus on keeping the IT end-users happy. In a world where virtually anything can be ordered on-demand, end-users are growing tired of tedious provisioning processes. They expect quick turnaround times on their requests, and Infrastructure teams struggle to keep up.

Automation is key.
In a CloudBolt case study, a major retailer’s infrastructure team failed to provide quick provisioning to their e-commerce group. As a result, e-commerce threatened to take Infrastructure’s budget to build a separate datacenter.  Doing so would have led to wasteful spending on areas where e-commerce lacks expertise. More importantly, Infrastructure would have lost their largest customer along with the ability to track usage and costs. By deploying CloudBolt, the retailer’s end-users gained the ability to build and manage VMs while administrators measure and control the consumption of IT resources.

Automating the provisioning process soothes end-user frustration while leaving complete oversight in the hands of IT administrators. Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government agencies and even the City of London have recognized the need for automated cloud delivery platforms, and they all chose CloudBolt as their solution. CloudBolt has also been recognized for its market leading time to value.

What Now?
Join the crowd to see what CloudBolt is all about!
Simply submit a download request and give us a test.
 
1 American Express Survey: Good Service is Good Business: American Consumers Willing to Spend More With Companies That Get Service Right
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CloudBolt v.5.1 Now Available

Posted by Rick Kilcoyne

7/15/15 3:17 PM

The heat of Summer has settled in, and we have a new release to help keep your end-users cool and comfortable. This release adds a plethora of new automation features starting with the ability to run remote scripts on any server regardless of cloud or OS. Yes, that includes Windows – we use winrm to work with our favorite OS from Redmond. You can also now wire up CloudBolt to your favorite internal tools using webhooks. Want to notify everyone in your project HipChat room when a server is ready? Create a webhook in CloudBolt!

We've all been been eagerly anticipating the ability to respond to user-defined thresholds on quotas. This release delivers this ability in the form of Admin > Event Automations. Speaking of Admin, checkout the new UI for the Admin section. This release includes several UI improvements and there are many more to come, so if you have suggestions – keep 'em coming!

There are many other new additions to CloudBolt with this release including initial support for Kubernetes/Docker, Service Catalog improvements, and API improvments. Also note, we've renamed CSCV to CIT (Continuous Infrastructure Testing). If you're not using this feature to test your CloudBolt environments, you're really missing out!

If you haven't yet tried CloudBolt, you have to see it to believe it – schedule a demo or request a download today.

Existing customers: start your upgrade process today by going to http://support.cloudbolt.io and downloading the latest upgrader. As always, if you run into any issues, please don't hesitate to drop us a support request at support@cloudbolt.io and we'll jump on it ASAP.

Check out the release notes.

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Topics: News, Upgrade, Release Notes

Game of Clouds

Posted by Colin Thorp

6/22/15 2:37 PM

There is a war among the clouds, the public and private providers are fighting to see who will reign supreme.  Public vs Private, Public vs Public, and Private vs Private. It is chess match to see which vendor(s) will capture the largest share of the market.  This non-stop battle has made it  more challenging for the customer, the normal people, to make the best choice.

Large companies have ruled the land for years: VMware, Red Hat, and others have their stake in the ground. In recent years AWS, GCE, OpenStack and Azure have established control and are now eating away the edges of the market; corrupting the business models of traditional vendors. In a market that is redefining itself every year, how do you make the right choice? First you have to look at the state of the clouds:

Public

The public clouds are simple and easy to use. Public cloud’s destiny is manifested by pushing at our most basic needs: gain control, lower costs, increase speed, and deliver simplicity. However, public providers don’t want you to know how much you will owe them until after the fact, post billing. You don’t get locked in, but clearly the goal is to be the stickiest product that you use with their growing toolset.  The on-premise security you need might not be provided by a public cloud which creates a need for a private cloud with the ability to move between the clouds.

Private

The private/internal cloud providers will reel you in continually attack your budgets with their ever expanding set of services. Layering in so many different tools from their “suites” that you are never quite sure which tools you are using, which tools you have bought, or which you are being charged for. Be wary, these vendors lock customers in at the root level of your infrastructure to the point where you’ll have no choice, but to renew, renew, and renew. There are so many varying levels of integration between these tools that it becomes complex and hard to manage, forcing you to buy professional services. More professional services means more money, and the vicious cycle continues.

So who is the right choice?

The answer is a hybrid approach. For various reasons, maybe it is cost or security or ease of use or vendor lock-in, you will come to use a variety of these tools and they will continue to challenge one another. They will have tunnel vision with one goal in mind: how can we lock our customers in with an vendor specific set of products.  This makes none of them fit to rule the throne, so whose turn is it?

It is time for “choice” to be your weapon. Come above the clouds to be the broker, the king of clouds and give yourself the choice. Enough is enough with vendors ruling you! Take control of the clouds and manage them. Claim your place on the throne by putting the power of the clouds in the hands of your people so they can manage their own IT resources without getting caught up in the fog of vendor war.

So you want to sit on the throne?

To lay claim to the throne is to be the “broker of clouds” above the fray.  End users must be happy, if they aren’t happy you will know and hear about it. Users are ok with paying an IT team to be their broker as long as resources are delivered quickly and correctly. Users care that the job is done, not how you do it. Private and Public clouds have become a commodity, it is time to make the delivery of this commodity readily available. Waiting hours, days or weeks to get commodity resources is no longer sufficient.

When you look at what is preventing private and public clouds from being readily available, you see the following issues: complexity of multiple UIs, slow provisioning, IT overwhelmed with tickets, inability to track costs between clouds, and VM sprawl. IT is spending so much time servicing complexity that they can’t service their users. Solution? Simplicity.

Simplicity is the Vaccine for Complexity

Kings and Queens can’t do it on their own, they need an ally. A tool that reigns above the clouds; a Cloud Delivery Platform that provides you the nimbleness, flexibility, and agility that you need.  Give users a simple intuitive interface that eliminates multiple UIs and gives users the single portal that spans the entirety of your realm of clouds. If you are truly going to lead your users, public, and private clouds, then for every resource you need to know: Who owns it, What is it doing, Where is it, When does it expire, Why does it exist, and How much does it cost. CloudBolt is a vendor agnostic tool that is worthy of the title “Hand of the King/Queen.”

Conclusion

By this point if you’ve read this far you must be somewhat interested. Reach out, schedule a demo, and see how a cloud delivery platform like CloudBolt will put you on the path to the throne and bring the convenience of the clouds to all of your users.

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Topics: Public Cloud, IT Challenges, Cloud Management, Private Cloud, Self Service IT, Hybrid Cloud

CloudBolt Named to Red Herring Top 100 North America

Posted by Jon Mittelhauser

6/8/15 12:00 PM

N_America_WinnerCloudBolt Software today announced that the company has been selected as a Red Herring Top 100 North America winner. The Red Herring Top 100 North America recognizes leading private companies in North America, celebrating these startups’ innovations and technologies across their respective industries.

“CloudBolt is on a major growth trajectory—recording consistent year-over-year revenue growth since its founding in 2012. In the past year alone, CloudBolt saw 10x growth in annual recurring revenue and 3x growth in customer deployments,” said Jon Mittelhauser, CEO, CloudBolt. “This award is strong recognition of the benefits that CloudBolt’s cloud delivery platform provides to the enterprise, helping organizations manage their increasingly complex IT environments and bridge legacy, current and future technologies.”

Red Herring Top 100 America enlists outstanding entrepreneurs and promising companies. It selects the award winners from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these up-and-comers. Red Herring editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.

“In 2015, selecting the top achievers was by no means a small feat,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “In fact, we had the toughest time in years because so many entrepreneurs had crossed significant milestones so early. But after much thought, rigorous contemplation and discussion, we narrowed our list down from hundreds of candidates from across North America to the North America winners. We believe CloudBolt embodies the vision, drive and innovation that define a successful entrepreneurial venture. CloudBolt should be proud of its accomplishment, as the competition was very strong.”

About Red Herring Top 100 North America 
Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technological innovation and intellectual property, DNA of the founders, business model, customer footprint and addressable market. A review of the track record and standing of startups relative to their sector peers, allowed Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models in North America, complement this assessment of potential.

About CloudBolt Software 
CloudBolt Software transforms how IT interacts with business by significantly improving service to lines of business. CloudBolt is a powerful cloud delivery platform that doubles as an on-premise, unified IT manager and self-service IT portal that leverages existing IT resources and technologies to maximize the value of private and hybrid cloud environments in minutes. Enterprise IT organizations can be more agile with CloudBolt, automating the request, provisioning and ongoing management of systems and applications from an intuitive user interface or through a common API. For more information on CloudBolt visit http://www.cloudbolt.io.

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Topics: Press Release, News, Corporate

CloudBolt Version 5.0 is here...

Posted by Jon Mittelhauser

5/27/15 5:30 AM

We are very happy to announce the immediate availability of CloudBolt version 5.0.  

The platform’s new features include:

  • powerful new service catalog functionality to facilitate complex, multi-tier app deployments

  • provisioning of service catalog blueprints available through both the CloudBolt web interface and a powerful REST API

  • deeper out-of-the box integration with technologies such as VMware, OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Infoblox, Puppet and Chef

  • ability to define arbitrary server actions so DevOps experts can provide simple buttons for users to perform complex operations on servers

  • ability to snapshot VMs from the CloudBolt user interface

  • increased control for administrators, including the ability to set rate-based limits and set limits on environments in addition to groups and handlers

  • significant UI improvements, including adding social aspects to the interface

  • even deeper extensibility - additional trigger points for hooks/actions

  • revamped docs, now made public: http://docs.cloudbolt.io/

  • new trigger points for power on/off, rebooting servers and post-order completion process have been introduced and currency units are no longer limited to USD 

The full press release (as well as all our others) can be viewed on our press release page

If you are an existing customer, you can immediately download the update through our support portal.  If you have any questions or desire hands on help with the update, please (as always!) feel free to contact us. 

If you are interested in downloading and evaluating CloudBolt, you can do so here

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Topics: Press Release, News, Event, Upgrade

CloudBolt's CTO at Vancouver OpenStack Summit...

Posted by Jon Mittelhauser

5/13/15 12:56 PM

The 2015 OpenStack summit in Vancouver is only a week away!  Are you attending?

CloudBolt's CTO (Bernard Sanders) will be in attendance and is currently setting up meetings with folks who are interested in learning how CloudBolt works seemlessly with OpenStack public and private clouds to provide self-service IT.

If you are interested in learning more about CloudBolt and/or setting up a discussion with Bernard while he's in Vancouver please let us know.  You can reach us at info@cloudbolt.io.  

 

 

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Topics: Cloud Management, OpenStack

Meet the CloudBolt team at ChefConf 2015

Posted by Rick Kilcoyne

3/21/15 7:34 AM

ChefConf 2015 is a little more than a week away and we couldn't be more excited!

Not only is ChefConf amongst the seminal configuration management events of the year, but it's also a great opportunity for us to rub elbows with our automation peers and demonstrate how we leverage Chef to quickly deliver configured applications to end-users. CloudBolt includes native integration with Hosted Chef, Enterprise Chef, and Open Source Chef to deliver the best cloud delivery platform, and it does so by building atop your existing Chef infrastructure and automation efforts.

If you're headed to ChefConf 2015 in San Jose, stop by booth T3, say hello, build a server, and get some free stuff!

~Rick

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Topics: Event

App and Cloud Management, added Nebula Private Cloud with v4.6

Posted by Justin Nemmers

10/27/14 2:22 PM

In our latest release, we've continued enabling IT organizations that want to provision and manage their applications more effectively. CloudBolt v4.6 makes providing self-service IT access to applications easier than ever, regardless of whether that application resides on a single server, or is a complete end-to-end stack of servers deployed across several environments. Like never before, users can interactively request entire stacks with just a few clicks, and deploy those stacks into any one of the dozen or so supported cloud and virtualization platforms.

We haven’t stopped there, though. In addition to streamlining the application provisioning process, we’ve put a significant amount of effort into other areas of CloudBolt as well. 

Nebula

We're also proud to announce an all-new connector for Nebula Private Cloud environments.

Image: CloudBolt now supports Nebula Private Cloud

Image: Add Nebula Resource Handler in CloudBolt Cloud Manager

With this new connector, CloudBolt customers gain the ability to deploy into and manage servers, applications, and even entire services in Nebula-backed environments. Nebula private cloud customers using CloudBolt gain immediate access to all of CloudBolt's features in both new and existing environments:

  • Chargeback and Showback
  • Reporting
  • Governance
  • Automated provisioning and management
  • Lifecycle management
  • Software license management
  • And more

Service Catalog

Customers are using the CloudBolt Service Catalog to provide end users self-service access to entire application stacks for some time now. In v4.6, we've updated the service creation process to make it even more straightforward. Just as they can do for the single server ordering process, admins can alter how the service ordering process looks for different end users and deployment environments. End users can be prompted to enter specific information as necessary based on their desired target deployment environment. 

Once ordered by a user, CloudBolt’s built-in approval mechanism can be leveraged for additional validation before CloudBolt steps through any number of automated processes required for delivery of a fully functional application stack.

The end result is clear: CloudBolt administrators can quickly create new service offerings that are able to span any supported target environment. Regardless of your platform of choice, CloudBolt can deliver a complete stack to your end users, and in less time than you think. 

Active Directory Group Mapping

Are you using one or more AD environments to authenticate CloudBolt users? In v4.6, admins gain the ability to map AD groups to CloudBolt groups. This AD group mapping also works with multiple AD environments, so if you're using CloudBolt in a multi-tenant capacity, you can still pick-and-choose how auth is handled for each tenant. 

Orchestration Hooks

Orchestration Hooks enable IT administrators to automate every step needed to deliver IT resources and applications to end-users. Extending on this capability, we've added a new Orchestration Hook type that enables the execution of an arbitrary remote script.

Image: Add a hook for remote script execution

This further extends CloudBolt’s lead as the most powerful cross-platform application deployment and management platform, as it can now be seamlessly integrated into nearly any manually-scripted provisioning and management process. Reusing your existing IP has never been easier or faster. 

Connector Improvements

Discovering and importing current state from existing environments is a CloudBolt Cloud Management key strength. In v4.6, this is even more thorough, as we now also detect all disk information from VMware vCenter virtual machines as well as AWS AMI, and Microsoft Azure public cloud instaces. 

Have a lot of VMs? Users in environments with tens of thousands of VMs will be happy to learn that VM discovery and sync is more efficient and faster. 

Puppet Enterprise users can now also leverage multiple Puppet environments rather than the default "Production". This can further help customers simplify their IT environments. 

Get It Now

The CloudBolt Cloud Manager v4.6 is available today via the CloudBolt support portal. Our updates are just another feature, and take mere minutes to complete

Don't have CloudBolt yet?

Schedule a Demo
or try it yourself
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Topics: Public Cloud, VMware, Private Cloud, Upgrade, AWS, Puppet, azure, Nebula

Integrating Chef Enterprise with CloudBolt

Posted by Justin Nemmers

10/21/14 2:23 PM

Integrating Chef Configuration Management with CloudBolt enables IT Organizations to offer end users a broad selection of Chef-provided Roles, Cookbooks, and Recipes for self-service provisioning and management right from the CloudBolt UI and API. Users can deploy a single server and application, or entire server and application stacks with just a few clicks.

In this video, Bernard Sanders from CloudBolt Engineering walks through the integration of Chef Enterprise with the CloudBolt cloud management platform. This includes importing Chef Enterprise Roles and Cookbooks into CloudBolt, enabling end users to directly provision and manage servers and applications in a VMware-backed environment.

Video integration of CloudBolt with Chef Enterprise Configuration Management

Like what you see? Get your own copy of CloudBolt here.

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Topics: Chef, Video

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