In any organization, you know that there is a defined process to raise a request for all your needs. This request then goes to your manager for approval. If approved, your wish is granted and you are happy. At Mindtree too, we have a request/approval system called Genie. The Genie at Mindtree like the original Genie grants wishes, but only on approvals.
VMUnify manages the Private Cloud at Mindtree. It is integrated with Genie. Any Mindtree mind that requires a Virtual Machine (VM) raises a request in Genie and if approved, VMUnify gets a command and we go ahead and provision the VM, giving the VM a name and adding it to the Mindtree domain. We add the user to the VM and then provide the user with the IP address to access the VM. We also update our billing module so that the project that the Mindtree mind belongs to is charged for the VM usage.
When we decided to address the Public Cloud user cases, we did a study on how a user requests VMs through some of the most common providers – Amazon, Rack-space, etc. The simplified workflow included the user creating an account, giving his credit card details, moving to the portal to select the VM type and selecting the geographical location where it needs to be provisioned. Once the selection is finalized, the VM is provisioned by the Public Cloud provisioning system and the user gets access to it, RDP for Windows and SSH for Linux VMs.
Though a number of the Public Cloud users are individuals who aren’t part of any organization, there are a number of users who belong to particular organizations. In Mindtree too, we have at least 10 – 20 users using either Amazon or Rackspace at any point of time for their project.
This knowledge of the Public Cloud workspace led us to the question, why do Public Cloud providers not have a provision for approval workflows? It may be because Public Cloud was initially designed for SOHO users who didn’t need any approvals. Organizations also started taking a liking towards Public Cloud, but it was too late to change the already familiar workflow. Another reason could be that the Public Cloud vendors had no idea of the approval hierarchies at organizations and there was no way to get this information either. Whatever be the reasons, we feel that approval systems are an accepted fact in every organization and support for this in Public Cloud systems will be welcomed by these organizations.
With this in mind, VMUnify’s Public Cloud offering has the option for organizations to use approval workflows. Public Cloud providers can create organizations, create the approval hierarchy and add the users to the organizations. On receiving a VM request from the user in an organization, the request flows up the approval hierarchy. The VM is provisioned after approval.
With the popularity of the Public Cloud rising, we believe it is a matter of time before approval workflows become standard. Till then, we are more than happy being the trail blazers.