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Embotics Cloud Management Blog

The ROI of Your Cloud Management Platform

As IT organizations move towards adopting a private cloud model, many are trying to quantify the return-on-investment (ROI) of their cloud. The case for moving to a self-service cloud model is largely based on business agility, and most organizations readily admit that this is their primary driver as exhibited by this Gartner survey:

Topics: ROI ITaaS Cloud Management Platform (CMP) Cost Management

Users, Customers, Consumers… Oh My!

Running a private or hybrid cloud can be a lot like waking up in the Land of Oz. If you’ve avoided getting pinned down by a house crashing down, you still have to contend with an ever-growing cast of unusual characters placing unique demands upon you.

Topics: Service Catalog Application / Service Delivery Best Practices vCommander

Where did the name “Embotics®” come from?

I’m often asked by customers, partners and others involved in the wider virtualization and cloud management ecosystem where we got the name Embotics®. Today I’ll tell the story, and provide some resources that I hope will be helpful to anyone making the same decision.

We were starting up in 2006, coincidentally the same year Amazon AWS launched, and knew we needed a name that was:

1. Meaningful in the market we were pursuing
2. Short enough to roll off the tongue
3. Not going to violate someone else’s intellectual property rights
4. Available to register as a .com

Sounds easy, right? Well, until you’ve been through the exercise, you won’t appreciate how difficult it can be! Let’s break down the name Embotics against these four criteria:

Making It Meaningful

The founding team had its roots in policy-based systems management and automation technology, often referred to as autonomic computing back in the early 2000s, but saw that the growing trend of server virtualization held the future. We believed that virtualized data centers, the genesis of private and hybrid clouds, operated by future enterprises and service providers would need to be self-managing and self-regulating. Software controlled automation would be the heart of this effort – what we now refer to as the Software Defined Data Center, or SDDC.

Given the accelerated rate of change, virtual data centers would require purpose-built systems management automation and orchestration platforms to monitor, analyze, plan and execute the delivery and governance of IT services. Today, this type of software, including our own Embotics® vCommander™ is often called a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) by Gartner and other analysts.

John Kaldeway was doing some freelance marketing consulting for us at the time, and suggested the phrase “Embedded Bot”.

Short and Sweet

Okay, “Embedded Bot” feels a bit like the start of a tongue twister. Collectively, we decided to shorten the name to Embotics, a name that is true to its meaning, but has a sharper sound.

Intellectually Ours

Now that we were really getting somewhere, it was time for the due diligence. We search Google and Yahoo extensively. We also queried the trademark database operated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to make sure we were in the clear to proceed.

Registration Day

Without a doubt, the hardest part of naming a business today is finding an open .com name. Domains covering every word in the dictionary were all registered many years ago, so you either have to invent a new word, conjugate or combine two or more words, or buy a domain name at a premium from someone else who owns the rights. Of course, we ended up going with our invented word (we’re still hoping to get into the dictionary, though). We knew from our online searches that nothing was coming up, and confirmed this with our domain registrar, scooping up our .com right away.

If you’re an entrepreneur or founding team member in the existing early days of a startup, and you’re looking for more structured guidance on choosing a company name, here are some resources you may find useful:

How to Choose the Best Name for Your Business – Inc.com
10 Ways to Come Up with a Killer Name for your Company – BusinessInsider.com
How to Choose the Best Name for your Company – Forbes.com
10 Business Name Generators to Help you Create your Brand – Shopify.com

Topics: Cloud Management Platform (CMP) Embotics Culture

Data-Driven Design and the Embotics vCommander™ Service Catalog

The good news: If you’ve been using vCommander to enable self-service, rapid provisioning for any amount of time, your life is already easier. Gone are the days of hastily written emails that provide incomplete details about a VM that just has to be available right now. Remember these? They would come in late Friday afternoon as you were getting ready to leave the office for that golf game you booked.

vCommander’s comprehensive self-service features let your users pick from a catalog of relevant services and find exactly what they need, including your private cloud services on VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, or public cloud services on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others. This is even easier when you add thoughtful names and descriptions, and you use meaningful icons and categories, as discussed in our knowledgebase article Creating an Efficient Service Catalog.

But here’s the bad news: Whenever users get used to something being easy, they want more. Despite satisfaction with cloud providers hitting an all-time high, recent research by Frost & Sullivan predicts demand for greater end-to-end performance, visibility and accountability in 2015.

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly bad news. When you think about it, it’s really just a shift in where your effort as administrator is being spent. Where previously your time would be spent being reactive, trying to keep with requests coming in, you’re now shifting to being a proactive designer of services that will automatically be provisioned hands-free. This means anticipating your users’ needs and continuously adding value to the Service Catalog.

vCommander can help with this, too.

The Service Catalog itself facilitates making data-driven decisions about which services are being consumed. You can quickly determine which services are most used, which could be tweaked and which are not being requested and may be candidates for retirement. Let’s look at how you access this data.

Switch the Service Catalog to the Table  view if you’re currently using List  view. This way, you don’t have to drill into a service to get at the pertinent details you’ll be considering. If you want to consider one or more categories and exclude the others, tick the relevant checkboxes.

Sorting the table by the Completed Requests column provides a popularity ranking for the services. Just by looking at the sorted list you very quickly understand what’s being consumed. Are your Windows services outstripping your Linux ones? Is this because you have fewer distinct services, or are your users more interested in Windows?

It’s also important to examine the Last Request column, so you understand whether or not a service which has been requested many times is still currently useful. If a service hasn’t been requested in six months, it’s not likely needed. You don’t have to delete it — just edit the service and change its visibility settings to Do not publish.

Also keep in mind other means to complement your data-driven design with a more old-fashioned approach: get direct feedback from your users! Whenever possible, look to collect information from them on what services you could be providing to make their lives easier.

  • Do they want more support for public clouds?
  • Would they like more customization and control over services?
  • Are they routinely installing software manually that could be handled as new services?

Remember, the more likely your Service Catalog is to have what your users need, the more likely you are to make that golf game, after all.

Topics: Service Catalog Best Practices vCommander