What is Environments as a Service?
In computing terms, an environment is a collection of components that are provisioned, deployed, and orchestrated to perform a task. In many organizations, environments that are created for non-production tasks, such as staging, testing, or certification for example, can be complex, costly, and time-consuming bottlenecks for supporting fast-paced development timelines, which is why Environments as a Service represents a new way of tackling the problem.
So first let’s start with the definition of an environment. An environment is more than just the infrastructure – it incorporates all the software, infrastructure, and platform services a developer or tester needs to complete his or her task.
Sample components of what is included in a software developers’ “environment”
Today, each environment requires individual provisioning, deployment, orchestration, and decommissioning of infrastructure components.
When there is a high level of demand for environments (particularly non-production environments) from different business units – or when business units request reconfigurations of existing production environments – it can result in bottlenecks. There may be long waits for delivery or periods during which resources are unused (but also incurring charges), due to the difficulty of sharing infrastructure components.
The Pain Points of the Traditional Process
Most companies today adopt one of two ways for delivering environments to end users. In centrally managed organizations, ITOps or Cloud Operations teams will receive a request for an environment and they are ultimately responsible for delivering it. Turn around times can fluctuate based on overall demand and the number of different teams and business units they’re serving at any given time. Delays in delivery can also prompt some business units to circumnavigate the traditional process and deploy their own “Shadow IT” environments.
Because they lack centralized governance, Shadow IT environments can lead to higher costs, degraded performance, and compromised security and compliance. Additionally, because non-production environments built “in the shadows” may not have the same quality controls as those built by trained engineers, they can produce inaccurate results due to environmental differences.
When inaccurate results occur due to a lack of quality controls (for example, code working in a non-production environment, but not when transferred to the production environment), the work required to correct the issues incurs additional time and money—exacerbating existing bottlenecks and further delaying time to market and operational improvements.
The other approach is when organizations adopt a more decentralized model. In this model, devops experts are part of individual teams and take on responsibility for spinning up environments on their own; but the skills and expertise to do this well are difficult to come by and result in its own challenges hitting scale and velocity.
At the end of the day, with either approach, the result is the same: long waits in delivery which can mean slower time to market, delays in operational improvements, governance and security risks, and lost sales opportunities.
Solving the Pain Points with Environments as a Service
Environments as a service (EaaS) solves these pain points by providing business units with a catalog of complete application environments with all of the necessary infrastructure components, permissions, and orchestration logic. These environments are accessible via a self-service portal, or if you’re serving DevOps teams, through their own CLI or IDE tools.
Because of the way in which the blueprints are configured, environments are provisioned, deployed, and orchestrated within minutes, and decommissioned automatically at the end of each session. In addition, blueprint designers can ensure each blueprint includes the correct security protocols and aligns with the organization´s compliance policies.
Environments as a service not only solves the pain points associated with bottlenecks, but also minimizes the risk of human error. It enables organizations to share reusable components and mitigates the likelihood of business units deploying Shadow IT environments, saving organizations time and money.
Environments as a Service Solutions
Quali’s Environments as a Service solutions—Torque for public cloud environments and CloudShell for on-premises and hybrid environments—enable business units to create environments within minutes. Both solutions automate the decommissioning of infrastructure components, ensuring costs are kept under control.
Additionally, when using Torque and CloudShell, organizations can apply role-based-access controls and governance policies to control resource usage, cost, and security, while accessing real-time data that details environment utilization.
To learn how Quali’s Environments as a Service solutions can help your organization solve the pain points of provisioning, deploying, and orchestrating individual environments, start your free 30-day trial of Torque or a demo of CloudShell.