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.