On my summer vacation I was building a boat rack for my cottage. Then a strange thought occurred to me: This is completely analogous to building out cloud automation.

Yes, I know some might think that’s a bit of a stretch, but follow my story and you’ll see why.

In the past whenever I had built outside decks, I first had to manually dig the supporting post holes, then mix cement, insert the 4×4 post, pour the cement, get the 4x4s aligned, and wait for the cement to set. Then I would go about building the deck. Anyone who has ever done this can attest to the labor involved. Fortunately when I was planning my boat rack, a friend of mine showed me these post supports that I’d never seen before. Here’s a before and after picture:

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Why pour your own cement?

It works like an auger in that you just manually screw it into the ground. There’s even an inside thread that allows for fine height adjustments. It took just 20 minutes to do both posts, whereas in the past this would have taken many times that in manual effort.

Now when you build out your cloud offering, you can also select a technology that simplifies your life. In fact we’ve architected the Embotics® vCommander™ Cloud Management Platform (CMP) to do exactly that, and our customers continue to save countless days and weeks in setup and configuration.

But even though you’ve chosen a great technology platform to support your boat rack (or cloud offering), you’re still not done. You need to tailor it to the exact needs of the people using it.

In the case of the boat rack, I had some very specific usability needs: It needed to hold two canoes and two kayaks, it needed to fit into a particular space on my property, and because my family aren’t exactly giants, the top rack had to be below a certain height. Here’s the final product:

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My new boat rack… easy to build and easy to use.

Similarly for delivering cloud automation, it’s critical to consider the key offerings for your consumers of IT services, and their expectations for overall user experience. You might have production workloads with standard OSs and off-the-shelf applications along with custom applications from your engineering team’s build server. You may need to offer them in a private, public, or hybrid cloud environment. You also need to consider the processes important for your data center. You may want to enforce either hard or soft quotas, and you’re certainly going to want to automate the integration with other important stakeholders and third-party systems. The vCommander CMP provides the flexibility to easily adapt to all of your organization’s specific requirements and provide a service catalog that looks like this:

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The vCommander Service Catalog… easy to build and easy to use.

Regardless of what you’re building, when you select an underlying technology platform, it’s important to find a solution that provides those innovative “supporting posts”. And if you choose wisely, you can easily customize anything you may want on top, deliver a top-notch user experience, and save yourself a bunch of time in the process.

—Mark Jamensky, EVP Products